Joint WMO/INFCOM - IOC - ISC – UNEP [drafting Group on GCOS-SG] Study Group on the Global Climate Observing System (JSG-GCOS)


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The Joint WMO – IOC – ISC – UNEP Study Group on the Global Climate Observing System (JSG-GCOS, hereinafter “the Study Group”) will consider the governance and structure for the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) and, if and as necessary, make recommendations for adoption by WMO, IOC, ISC and UNEP. The governance and structure of GCOS should be reconsidered in the light of the WMO governance reform and the recommendation in the GCOS Review . The Review recommended that the co-sponsors of GCOS might consider changing the GCOS governance structure in order to strengthen the level of support, recognizing the aim of GCOS to meet the needs of climate system monitoring, for assessing the impacts of climate variability and change, applications to economic development, as well as research leading to improved understanding, modelling and prediction of the climate system.

Making reference to the letter from the Co-sponsors to the Steering Committee in November 2019, the Study Group will use the findings of the 2014 GCOS Review as a baseline, taking into account the changing external environment and, in particular, the strategic directions of the Co-sponsors.

• The proposed Study Group will review GCOS governance and structure, and develop a proposal for an optimal governance and structure for GCOS, that recognises GCOS as an activity across the WMO Infrastructure Commission, the Services Commission and Research Board, as well as relevant programmes of IOC, ISC, and UNEP. This proposal will:
(a) ensure that the GCOS programme will continue to provide guidance and support to relevant observing systems to efficiently and consistently meet climate related needs, including driving further developments to address gaps and deficiencies;
(b) ensure that the GCOS programme will support the WMO earth system approach and climate services, and other relevant WMO activities in the framework of the WMO Strategic and Operating Plans and the WMO Integrated Global Observing System (WIGOS) (e.g. hydrology, research, disaster and risk reduction, space program);
(c) ensure that the GCOS programme will support the strategic objectives of co-sponsors to ensure consistent and coherent observations of the climate system;
(d) take into account the views of, and strengthen links with, partner agencies, coordinators and operators of major observing systems, as well as co-sponsors and partners of GCOS and other relevant organizations; and
(e) ensure that the GCOS governance structure will include an appropriate representation of co-sponsors, partners, stakeholders and donors of GCOS, and seek input, in particular from the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) and from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), taking into account the historical partnership in terms of systematic observation and assessment of the climate system;

• Make recommendations on GCOS outputs that will:
(a) ensure that the needs of climate observations are better incorporated into the design, specification and operation of global observing systems, and also improve reporting to partners and stakeholders;
(b) promote ways in which GCOS can partner to influence the requirements and guidance used by implementers of climate observations outside of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services; and
(c) promote ways in which GCOS can participate in, or support, the implementation of initiatives undertaken by international science organisations, such as ISC, IOC, UNEP and others.

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