INTEGRATED GLOBAL OBSERVING STRATEGY (IGOS)
Third IGOS Partners Meeting
FAO Headquarters, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, Rome, 00100
1. Welcome by FAO
The participants were welcomed in an opening address by Henri Carsalade, Assistant Director-General, Sustainable Development Department, FAO.
2. Adoption of the agenda
The agenda was adopted, with the provision that the second issue in agenda item 5 be placed at the end of item 6. It was agreed that the meeting report would summarize the main issues and actions required.
3. Record of the second IGOS partners meeting
The chairman of CEOS reviewed the 11 action items arising from the previous meeting. All items had either been completed or were on the agenda for discussion and follow-up.
The representative from WMO informed the group that the language used in the report of the previous meeting regarding pilot projects should better reflect the views of several partners. The partners therefore agreed that the terminology "... pilot projects must be brought under the partnership framework ..." should be replaced with "CEOS pilot projects should be conducted under the auspices of the IGOS partnership."
4. Status of IGOS
All partners who were invited to join the IGOS partnership had confirmed their participation. The chairman of CEOS would compile a full set of confirmation letters that can be made available to the partners on request.
The UNEP representative reported that the IGOS umbrella document had been revised based on comments received; some sections still required minor inputs. The partners decided that any additional inputs and comments would be provided to Arthur Dahl within the next two weeks whereupon he will distribute a new version.
Colour copies of the pre-print version were distributed by the representative from NASDA. The partners expressed their warm approval of the work initiated and coordinated by NASDA. It was agreed that the brochure be produced in time for UNISPACE III and that substantive comments should be received by NASDA or the editor not later than 16 June 1999.
An internet address had been reserved as http://www.igospartners.org. It was decided that the address would link directly to UNEP in Geneva which would continue to provide the server. NASDA would provide graphics from the IGOS brochure for use in updating the web pages.
A prototype bulletin was presented by the representative from CNES. The format consisted of sections dealing with editorial, "burning issues", news, progress, success stories. The partners decided to proceed with two issues per year, each issue approximately four pages in length. Both paper and web versions would be produced.
An editorial board would be comprised of Leslie Charles, Arthur Dahl, Jean Louis Fellous (as chairman), Anne Lariguarderie, Colin Summerhayes, and Jeff Tschirley. This group would also serve as the focal point for web content.
The first issue would follow the theme of climate change and would be ready by the last week of October in order to allow for circulation at the FCCC COP V.
Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC)
The chairman of the GCOS Steering Committee reviewed progress in working with the FCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) and the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) on matters related to the global observing systems, including the report on the adequacy of the observing system that was delivered to COP IV and the report to the tenth session of the SBSTA.
It was recalled that a decision had been taken by SBSTA calling for the GEF to support capacity building on selected climate change related matters; countries were encouraged to come forward with integrated programme proposals. There was need to assist countries in developing national plans for climate change observations – draft guidelines have been prepared and some inputs from governments received.
A paper would be prepared for COP V in October 1999. A consultant had been engaged to assist with the analysis and writing and a draft was under preparation. The focus would be on options for strengthening national observing systems and processes that could be followed.
The partners noted that reporting to FCCC COP was done in the framework of the Interagency Committee on the Climate Agenda (IACCA). The view was expressed that future reporting should reflect the emerging role of the IGOS partners group.
It was decided to explore the possibility of presenting a one-hour briefing session at COP V to interested delegates, press, and NGOs outside of the plenary. This could build upon the UNISPACE presentation and text prepared for the G8. Colin Summerhayes, Kirk Dawson and He Changchui would be the focal points for the content. EUMETSAT would liaise with DLR on the form and structure of a possible exhibition. It was agreed that efforts should be made to create an IGOS display stand based on the brochure and stressing the climate change aspects of IGOS. The CEOS Chairman agreed to pursue this matter.
The partners agreed that international organizations should play a supportive role in promoting IGOS at FCCC fora.
Global Environment Facility (GEF), Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP)
The chairperson informed the partners of the agreement of the G3OS sponsors to develop a framework approach to both GEF and UNFIP. Alan Thomas and Patricio Bernal would lead this. Some participants noted that GEF has been reluctant to fund advanced technology, research, etc. at the global level and suggested to emphasize national level activities, relevance to national development priorities, national benefits.
Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD)
The representative from UNEP introduced the item and suggested that IGOS may wish to seek visibility at CSD sessions 8 and 9. It was decided that CSD 9 (2001) could provide a useful opportunity to increase IGOS visibility among countries. UNEP and FAO were requested to serve as focal points on this matter. Examples of products illustrating the value added of IGOS would be required.
5. IGOS strategy components
"In situ" strategy component
The representative from WMO reported that work had begun on this component with the request for inputs from the IGOS partners. It will be followed by an analysis for presentation to the partners in November.
The inputs for ocean areas were under preparation. The terrestrial inputs were to be prepared.
It was agreed that a draft report would be ready in time for the next IGOS-P meeting.
Space strategy component
The elements for this component were well advanced and based on a theme approach which was discussed separately.
The CEOS SIT chair presented the activities undertaken within the space component since the first partners meeting. The commitments of the space agencies to meet the space-based requirements of the six IGOS pilot projects initiated under CEOS were noted.
Themes and criteria
The CEOS chairman introduced the themes paper as a framework that could be used to advance the IGOS partners toward the implementation of projects. The paper reflected the comments received to date. The list of themes outlined in the paper did not preclude adding additional ones or a decision not to pursue those listed. Agreeing to a theme required a commitment to action, identification of team members, a leader (or co-leaders) and a specified timeframe.
Among the comments made during the discussion were:
1. The themes could be viewed as folders in which projects, agreed on a case-by-case basis, could be inserted.
2. The difference between "domains" and "cross-cutting themes" as presented in the paper was not always clear.
3. Gaps in observations need to be assessed jointly at the space and in situ levels.
4. Themes help identify the in situ/space requirements but integration of the two could take a much longer time.
5. The use of themes should not be permanent; it should start as a rolling process and be phased according to need.
6. GOSSP would assess the space-based requirements but not necessarily the in situ ones; who would do this?
The representative from NASA introduced the criteria paper which consisted of guidelines, role and responsibilities, milestones, evaluation criteria, and resources required.
It was suggested that the criteria need not be applied retroactively to existing CEOS projects.
The partners endorsed the themes framework subject to revision of the document which would be completed by the end of July. The revision should make clear that the theme list is indicative and that themes will only be initiated when partners make specific proposals satisfying the criteria in the guidelines document.
The partners endorsed the criteria for new activities and requested that they be incorporated into the revised themes document. Any outstanding comments on the document should be sent to the CEOS chairman.
Ocean theme - NASA had taken a lead role to develop an oceans theme in collaboration with other partners based on the IGOS activity criteria. It would focus on strategic and tactical actions required during the next ten years. In the process of developing the theme observation requirements, products and capabilities, key actions would be identified along with milestones and deliverables. The partners decided the development of this theme should occur and in a timeframe that would allow it to be presented for review at the next IGOS-P meeting. GOOS should play a central role in collaboration with the other partners.
The G3OS Steering Committees should be intimately involved in the development of themes and related project proposals.
The partners agreed that the next partners meeting would consider proposals to develop new themes.
6. Future IGOS activities
It was noted that the IOCCG, through the ocean biology project, and GOOS providing ocean colour advice to GOSSP could lead to some confusion. It was agreed that recommendations arising from these two groups be integrated before reaching GOSSP.
Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO)
The GOOS representative briefed the partners on POGO which was aimed at long-term observation in support of CLIVAR and GOOS. It was composed of academic institutions working together on global ocean observations. The initiative was welcomed but its membership, scope and goals needed to be refined, after which the IGOS partners would be better able to assess it.
The group discussed opportunities for strengthening ties with International Environment Conventions, particularly those on Biological Diversity (CBD) and on Desertification (CCD). Ongoing work on developing synergy among the conventions, including a conference hosted by UNU (Tokyo, 14-16 July 1999), was noted.
It was observed that, in most cases, representatives in convention discussions are not the persons responsible for making observations. The role for IGOS could be in matching convention requirements with data availability, identifying gaps and seeking to fill them.
The partners decided there was need to understand better how convention decision and resource allocation processes work. The IGOS contribution to the conventions needed to be more fully defined and existing mechanisms should continue to be pursued until such time as the partners were clear on what they could offer.
The UNEP representative was requested to develop a concept paper to assist the partners in their thinking on this matter.
Data and information systems
There was insufficient time available to discuss this matter in detail. The GTOS representative informed the partners that the topic of data and information systems was being addressed by some of the partners but that a more coordinated approach was needed for IGOS.
The G3OS was developing the Global Observing System Information Centre (GOSIC) < http://www.gos.udel.edu >. CEOS had its Working Group on Information Systems and Services (WGISS) < http://wgiss.CEOS.org >. The USA and Japan had developed the Global Observation Information Network (GOIN) < http://www.nnic.noaa.gov/goin > which will be continued through WGISS.
There is need for IGOS to address a range of data and information issues such as access, ownership, products, and quality, and a process set up for addressing them. IGOS-P should not advance too far before taking on this issue.
The partners decided the matter would be discussed further at the next partners meeting.
7. UNISPACE III
The FAO representative reported on progress in organizing an IGOS Forum at the UNISPACE III conference (Vienna, 21 July). The partners reviewed and endorsed the programme for the IGOS Forum.
8. Other business
IGOS Liaison group
The IGOS-L was working satisfactorily, primarily through electronic means. In addition to responsibility for preparatory work for meetings (agenda, documents, etc.) the partners decided to add liaison with GOSSP and the SIT.
The partners decided that membership of the group would be composed of Dahl, Gibson, Smith and Tschirley.
The next meeting of the IGOS partners would take place at the CEOS
plenary which is presently scheduled for 10-12 November 1999 in
Stockholm. The main agenda items would be status reports on progress
since the third meeting; consideration of additional themes, discussion
of data and information system issues, and promotion of IGOS at
Robert S. WINOKUR
Louise O. FRESCO
Alan R. THOMAS