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6th IGOS Partners Meeting
Rio de Janeiro, 7-8 November 2000


THIRD DRAFT (22 December 2000) 
see list of documents

The IGOS Partners met for the 6th time in Rio de Janeiro, in the afternoon of November 7 (Tuesday) and the morning of November 8 (Wednesday), 2000.


Chairman Marcio Barbosa/INPE welcomed the participants and opened the meeting thanking the IGOS-P Liaison Group for the important support received during his term as IGOS-P Chair and in putting this meeting together. Logistics information about the meeting were provided by Mr. José Luiz Aguirre/INPE and the Preliminary Agenda (6/AGP/05) was adopted with the following changes:
- inclusion of a WMO report on a potential Atmosphere Chemistry Theme (related to Action Item 5/9) under agenda item 5.6;
- have agenda item 6.3 presented before 6.2, as 6.1 and 6.3 have the same speaker;
- have a review of this meeting's action items under agenda item 7. 


The Meeting Report of the 5th IGOS-P Meeting (6/REF/01) was approved by the participants. A review of its Action Items showed that all of them had been closed except: 

Action 5/3: Partners urged to accept Ocean Theme Report as the strategy document for the implementation process and, as appropriate, to seek governing body approval at the earliest opportunity. [Just the part concerning governing body approval.]

Action 5/15: UNEP and other involved parties to continue the IGOS dialogue initiated in October 1999 with Scientific and Technical Subsidiary Bodies of International Environmental Conventions, reporting the results of such dialogue to Partners. [A standing action.]

Action 5/16: IGOS Partners encouraged to participate in the preparatory process for the April 2001 Commission on Sustainable Development 9th Session, advising UNEP and UNDESA of specific IGOS-related accomplishments or messages they would like to see reflected.

Action 5/17: UNEP and interested parties, with support from the IGOS-P Chair/Liaison Group, to investigate the possibility of a dedicated IGOS side presentation at the April 2001 CSD.

Action 5/18: Partners, the IGOS-P Chair/Liaison Group, and Theme Teams to provide IGOS documents of general interest to UNEP/Dahl for posting on the IGOS web site. [A standing action.]

Originating from the report on actions that involved IGOS Promotion issues, despite this topic coming later in the agenda, an action was set for Partners to explore their possibilities of financially supporting those activities. 

Action 6/1: Partners are urged to contribute as possible in efforts to promote IGOS by organizing and committing resources to IGOS Special Sessions and exhibits in connection with international environmental Conventions and other related intergovernmental processes.


3.1 CEOS (SIT)

SIT Chairman Dr. Jean-Louis Fellous/CNES, first on the list, instead of presenting his report at this point, preferred to provide comments related to the CEOS involvement in connection with the presentations to be made in each Theme. 

3.2 Other Partners

Dr. Alan Thomas/GCOS spoke about the future of GOSSP (6/DOC/07) as reviewed by the GCOS Steering Committee at its recent 9th Session in Beijing, China. The Partners acknowledged the work of GOSSP and the GCOS SC suggestion that GOSSP be dissolved and replaced by an ad-hoc GCOS Space Panel for coordinating GCOS/climate requirements relating to space based observations. It was recommended that requirements for all global observations in the atmospheric, oceanic and terrestrial domains be contributed to IGOS for consideration during the definition phase of new Themes. The space-based observation experts to be added to the GCOS discipline panels (AOPC, OOPC and TOPC, two each) could fulfil that component of this requirement through participation in Theme activities as appropriate. 


4.1 IGOS Process

Dr. Roy Gibson/EUMETSAT presented the IGOS Process Paper (6/DOC/03), mentioning that two aspects raised at the last IGOS-P Secretariat meeting (the observed Themes tendency to evolve into ever broader Themes and some weakness in the wording of the paragraph (#22) mentioning Assessment) were still to be taken care of. The discussion pointed out still other areas where rewording was found to be necessary. 

4.2 IGOS-P Membership

Dr. Gibson presented also the paper addressing extension of the IGOS Partnership (6/DOC/04). The feeling of the meeting was that the recommendations put forth in the paper sounded more discouraging than intended towards newcomers. 

A drafting team was formed and tasked to produce revised versions of both papers with appropriate changes reflecting the discussions and present them for approval the next day. The next morning, the revised IGOS Process Paper (6/DOC/03rev) and IGOS Membership Extension recommendations (6/DOC/04rev) were presented to the Plenary and approved. IOCCG (represented by Ms. Venetia Stuart), that had expressed interest in becoming a Partner, was oriented to follow the approved procedure, which involves having the application supported by two existing Partners and submitted through the Secretariat for consensus approval at the next IGOS-P meeting. 

4.3 Permanent IGOS-P Secretariat

Dr. Brent Smith/NOAA presented the recommendations of the IGOS-P Liaison Group concerning an IGOS-P standing Secretariat (6/DOC/02). There were several suggestions about specific implementation details but the meeting endorsed the paper's recommendations in full and agreed to include them as Annex A of the revised IGOS Process Paper. The meeting also welcomed the IGFA offer voiced by Dr. Thomas Spence to add its contribution to those of EUMETSAT, GTOS, INPE, NOAA, UNEP and WMO, who had already enrolled as Secretariat members. The Secretariat will include also the current IGOS-P Chair and his appointed contact. For effective action, it was mentioned that the Secretariat needs up-to-date information on points-of-contact for Partners not participating in the Secretariat. 

Action 6/2: Partners not directly participating in the IGOS Secretariat to identify their points-of-contact to the incoming IGOS-P Chairman by November 30, 2000, providing names and full addresses (including e-mail addresses for inclusion in the IGOS list server).


Dr. John Townshend, author of the IGOS DISS report (6/DOC/11) could not attend the meeting due to health reasons. Dr. Gibson informed the meeting that Dr. Townshend was aware that there were reservations by some Partners on the recommendations expressed on his report, and he was willing to revise them although very few Partners had attended the Tokyo meeting on DISS where they originated. The meeting decided to approve the report and to task Dr. Townshend with a small group of Partners to revise the recommendations for inclusion in the IGOS Process Paper. 

Action 6/3: John Townshend, Colin Summerhayes, Peter Churchill (at the request of CEOS) and Don Hinsman (coordinating within WMO) to jointly produce and provide the Secretariat by March 15, 2001, with an appropriate set of IGOS DISS (Data and Information Systems and Services) recommendations to serve as Annex B of the revised Partners Process Paper


5.1 Ocean Theme

Dr. John Marra/NASA presented the Ocean Theme final report (6/DOC/08rev, also handed out at the meeting). The SIT Chair noted that the report provided a satisfactory response to the concerns raised on the in situ component, as well as on the data and information system issues, and recommended approval by the Partners. He drew attention to the necessity of a prompt reaction from the Partnership, particularly GOOS and its sponsors and governing bodies in taking over the responsibility for its implementation. Moreover, he informed the meeting that SIT accepted responsibility to seek space agencies' contribution in meeting the Ocean Theme report challenges and to monitor progress in its implementation. The meeting approved the report and commended the Team for the quality of the work. 

At this point the IGOS-P Chair mentioned having received a letter from POGO (Partnership for the Observation of the Global Oceans, an NGO) concerning an invitation to its upcoming meeting in São Paulo (Nov. 29) and expressing interest on IGOS activities. Incoming IGOS-P Chair Dr. Patricio Bernal (IOC, but also representing GOOS) informed he would attend that meeting. Dr. Arthur Dahl/UNEP suggested POGO could participate in the implementation of the Ocean Theme. Actions were then taken to appropriately respond to POGO. 

Action 6/4: Outgoing and Incoming Chairs to respond to POGO regarding IGOS participation in POGO's upcoming (Nov. 29) São Paulo meeting.

Action 6/5: The Ocean Theme Implementation Team leader (GOOS) to invite appropriate POGO participation in the Team.

5.2 Carbon Cycle Themes

Dr. Josef Cihlar/CCRS and Dr. Will Steffen/IGBP presented respectively the Terrestrial Carbon Cycle Theme (6/DOC/05) and the prospective Integrated Global Carbon Theme (6/DOC/01) reports. Invited to comment, the SIT Chair considered as a positive step the active role now played by IGBP, while cautioning about the necessary balance among the team members, particularly in what concerns articulation between research and operational aspects. He also mentioned the need for a quantitative approach in specifying Carbon Cycle Theme requirements so as to ensure their proper accounting in the implementation phase, and suggested the Team to develop an implementation plan for the IGCO, with specific requirements for the space observing segment. Finally, he recommended IGOS-P-6 to further encourage development of the Integrated Carbon Cycle Observations Theme along these lines. 

In the discussion that followed, Dr. Ghassem Asrar/NASA emphasized the importance of the theme development process and suggested that the presented reports could profit from using the Oceans Theme report as a template for both format and development aspects. The just-approved Process Paper should also be used. Dr. Bernal commented that it might be necessary to decouple the process of developing and implementing Themes (which feeds into political process) from the final theme approval. Dr. Tillmann Mohr/EUMETSAT suggested that the IGCO proposal be approved as a Theme, reminding the participants that a Theme Report as such is not required at this stage. 

In the SIT discussion on TCO and IGCO, Mr. Greg Withee/NOAA emphasised that operational agencies need to put into effect components of the Carbon Cycle theme as much as they can because of the need for continuous measurements; thus, the theme should not be kept exclusively in the research domain. Dr. Edryd Shaw/CSA and Dr. Bernal spoke in support of this view. 

The decisions of the meeting are reflected in the five Action Items below. 

Action 6/6: Partners to provide any comments on the TCO Theme report to Josef Cihlar by January 10, 2001.

Action 6/7: Josef Cihlar to incorporate Partners' comments (Action 6/6) and ensure that a revised TCO report is consistent with the IGOS Process guidelines as soon as feasible after January 10, 2001. Partners' consensus will be sought by early March.

Action 6/8: Will Steffen, Jeff Tschirley, Alan Thomas and Colin Summerhayes to proceed with the development of an Integrated Global Carbon Theme in accordance with the IGOS Process guidelines. A revised draft proposal will be provided to the Secretariat for circulation among Partners by December 11, 2000, taking into account the comments made at IGOS-P 6.

Action 6/9: Partners to provide Will Steffen with any comments on the IGCO revised draft proposal (Action 6/7) by January 15, 2001. A final draft should be provided by Will Steffen to the Secretariat by February 15. Partners' consensus will be sought by March 15.

Action 6/10: IGCO Theme Team to provide a draft, aimed at public release, of their proposed prospectus on the IGCO Process to the Secretariat by April 2, 2001, for review by the Partners by April 17.

5.3 Water Cycle Theme (prospective)

On behalf of WCRP, Dr. Richard Lawford/NOAA updated the meeting about the prospective Water Cycle Theme, and was complemented by Dr. Toshio Koike's presentation on the CEOP (Coordinated Enhanced Observation Period), which can be a precursor for the Theme. A meeting to further define the Theme will take place in January. The Partners reacted favourably to the Water Cycle Theme concept and tasked WCRP to develop a proposal to present at P7. The SIT Chairman recommended that detailed, specific requirements be prepared by CEOP and directed to the cognizant space agencies for their consideration. 

Action 6/11: WCRP to lead a small group to develop a draft proposal by May 2001 for a Water Cycle theme. This will be reviewed at IGOS-P7 and approval will be sought at P8. Additional members in the small group include FAO, GCOS, IGBP and UNESCO.

Action 6/12: Partners to identify to Rick Lawford, as appropriate, attendees for the Water Cycle theme meeting of 8-10 January 2001 in Irvine, California, by December 1st, 2000

Noting the many meetings mentioned so far in connection to the Themes activities, the Chair asked the Secretariat to collect and put together a table with all IGOS-related meetings for reference of the Partners. 

Action 6/13: Secretariat to gather inputs and maintain a calendar of relevant meetings and publish it at the IGOS-P Website.

5.4 Disaster Applications Theme (prospective)

Ms. Helen Wood/NOAA, reported (6/DOC/09) on the meeting that she convened in Paris, hosted by UNESCO, at the request of IGOS-P, to determine the degree of interest in creating a theme on disaster applications. The meeting concluded that there may be some benefit from a more integrated strategy that considers research and operational domains and that identifies observational needs from multiple sources. Interest was expressed by ICSU and UNESCO in exploring within their respective organizations the development of an IGOS theme on Geological/geophysical hazards. Subsequent interactions were positive, but additional time will be needed for internal and broader discussions. Ms. Wood expects to have a better sense of the level of interest by the June IGOS-P meeting. She submitted no resolutions to the Partners at this time.

5.5 Global Atmospheric Chemistry Theme (prospective)

Dr. Don Hinsman/WMO presented a draft proposal for an Integrated Global Atmospheric Chemistry Observations (IGACO) Theme (handout distributed on site). Dr. Cihlar suggested cross-coordination between IGACO and TCO as atmospheric chemistry is an important aspect of the Carbon cycle. The meeting looked favorably at the proposal but cautioned that effort duplication be avoided. 

Action 6/14: Proponents of the IGACO concept to complete the development of a draft proposal to be presented to IGOS-P7, consulting as appropriate with TCO and IGCO to avoid duplication of efforts already underway


Mr. Naomasa Murakoshi presented NASDA's views on increasing the visibility of IGOS (6/DOC/06) and included a rich collection of relevant paragraphs (6/REF/03) endorsed by international fora regarding Earth Observations. He recommended that some reference documents be generated for the use of Partners as a basis for coordination at CSD-2001 and other relevant events such as the May SBSTA, COP-7 and other environmental Conventions. The meeting approved the recommendation and took the action that follows. 

Action 6/15: A small drafting group focused on the promotion of IGOS visibility to be set up under the lead of the IGOS-P Chair. As the initial task this group is to contribute by January 10, 2001, for consideration at CSD-9 in April 2001, a short explanatory paper on IGOS and draft texts for decision support on "Atmosphere" and "Information for Decision-Making". The E.C., EUMETSAT, FAO, GCOS, NASDA, NOAA and UNEP offered voluntary participation in the drafting group.

Dr. He Changchui/FAO suggested that the Chair address UNESCO to suggest that space is opened to IGOS-P issues at the UN Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC). The Chair agreed but suggested that the IGOS-P Chair and the CEOS Chair should prepare jointly a letter to the UNESCO Director. 

Action 6/16: Incoming IGOS-P Chair, in coordination with the incoming CEOS Chair, to prepare a letter seeking UN ACC support for IGOS-P initiatives, addressed to the UNESCO Director and other ACC Directors to whom Partner agencies are connected.

Brief updates were presented to the meeting by Dr. Alan Thomas/GCOS and Dr. Arthur Dahl/UNEP respectively on COP-6 and the coordination with Convention Secretariats. 

Dr. Fellous/CNES reported that the 3rd issue of the IGOS Bulletin was released late September and the next one is planned for April, 2001. A draft table of contents was highlighted. Ms. Masami Onoda/NASDA reported on plans for the next issue of the IGOS Brochure. 

Reporting on the IGOS Website, Dr. Dahl/UNEP pointed out that several documents from past IGOS-P meetings are still not available. The Chair then tasked the Secretariat to help locating and providing Dr. Dahl the corresponding electronic versions for inclusion in the site. 

Action 6/17: Secretariat to identify gaps in the existing documentation available at the IGOS-P Website, obtain electronic versions and provide them to Arthur Dahl before the next IGOS-P meeting for inclusion. [This complements Action 5/18]


Mr. José Luiz Aguirre/INPE handed out a preliminary list of the meeting Action Items (6/REP/01/PR/1), asking for on-site feedback as feasible. 


Mr. Barbosa invited Dr. Patricio Bernal/IOC to the front and passed to him Chairmanship of the IGOS Partnership. Dr. Bernal addressed the meeting expressing his enthusiasm with the responsibilities of the position and confidence on the good outcomes to be achieved. He informed the meeting that IGOS-P 7 shall take place in Paris, on June 1st, at Room 14 in the IOC Annex of the UNESCO building, starting at 9AM. The G3OS meeting will be held the day before at the same place, in parallel with SIT-8, which shall be hosted by CNES. 

Mr. Barbosa and Dr. Bernal then thanked the participants and declared IGOS-P 6 adjourned. 

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