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Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB)

Volume 12 Number 677 | Sunday, 23 October 2016

Summary of the 44th Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

17-20 October 2016 | United Nations Conference Centre (UNCC), Bangkok, Thailand

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The 44th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-44) convened from 17-21 October 2016, in Bangkok, Thailand, and brought together over 300 participants from 109 countries.

The IPCC addressed items including: the outline of the Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty, and the outline of the Methodology Report to refine the 2006 Guidelines on National Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventories.

The IPCC adopted 12 decisions on the: outline of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C; IPCC Trust Fund Programme and Budget; admission of observers; Expert Meeting on Mitigation, Sustainability and Climate Stabilization Scenarios; communications and the scoping process; future of the Task Group on Data and Scenario Support for Impact and Climate Analysis (TGICA); review of IPCC communications strategy; review of the IPCC conflict of interest policy; review of the IPCC Scholarship Programme; outline of the Methodology Report to refine the 2006 IPCC Guidelines on National GHG Inventories; and workshop on climate change and cities.


The IPCC was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to assess, on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis, the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding human-induced climate change, its potential impacts, and options for adaptation and mitigation. The IPCC is an intergovernmental and scientific body with 195 country members. It does not undertake new research, nor does it monitor climate-related data. Instead, it conducts assessments of knowledge on the basis of published and peer-reviewed scientific and technical literature. IPCC reports are intended to be policy relevant but not policy prescriptive.

The IPCC has three Working Groups (WGs): Working Group I (WGI) addresses the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II (WGII) addresses climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III (WGIII) addresses options for limiting GHG emissions and mitigating climate change. Each WG has two Co-Chairs and six Vice-Chairs, except for the fifth assessment cycle when WGIII had three Co-Chairs. The Co-Chairs guide the WGs in fulfilling the mandates given to them by the Panel and are assisted in this task by Technical Support Units (TSUs).

The IPCC also has a Task Force on National GHG Inventories (TFI) to oversee the IPCC National GHG Inventories Programme, also supported by a TSU. The Programme aims to develop and refine an internationally-agreed methodology and software for the calculation and reporting of national GHG emissions and removals, and encourage its use by parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The Panel elects its Bureau for the duration of a full assessment cycle, which lasts between five and seven years and includes the preparation of an IPCC assessment report. The Bureau assists the IPCC Chair in planning, coordinating and monitoring the IPCC’s work, and is composed of climate change experts representing all regions. Currently, the Bureau comprises 34 members, having expanded from 31 as of the elections held at IPCC-42 per a decision taken at IPCC-41, and includes the IPCC Chair and Vice-Chairs, the WG Co-Chairs and Vice-Chairs, and the TFI Co-Chairs and its Bureau. In 2011, the IPCC established an Executive Committee (ExComm) to assist with intersessional work and coordination among the WGs. The ExComm consists of the IPCC Chair, IPCC Vice-Chairs, WG and TFI Co-Chairs, and advisory members, including the IPCC Secretary and the four Heads of the TSUs. The IPCC Secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland, and is hosted by the WMO.

IPCC PRODUCTS: Since its inception, the IPCC has prepared a series of comprehensive assessment reports, special reports (SRs) and technical papers that provide scientific information on climate change to the international community and are subject to extensive review by experts and governments.

The IPCC’s First Assessment Report was completed in 1990; the Second Assessment Report in 1995; the Third Assessment Report in 2001; the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) in 2007; and the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) in 2014. Currently, the assessment reports are structured in three parts, one for each WG. Each WG’s contribution comprises a Summary for Policymakers (SPM), a Technical Summary and an underlying assessment report. All sections of each report undergo an intensive review process, which takes place in three stages: a first review by experts; a second review by experts and governments; and a third review by governments. Each SPM is then approved line by line by the respective WG. A Synthesis Report (SYR) is then produced for the assessment report as a whole, which integrates the most relevant aspects of the three WG reports, and an SPM of the SYR is then approved line by line by the Panel.

In addition to the comprehensive assessments, the IPCC produces SRs, methodology reports and technical papers, focusing on specific issues related to climate change. Thus far, SRs include: Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) (2000); Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (2005); Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SREN) (2011); and Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX) (2011). Technical papers have also been prepared on, among other things, Climate Change and Water (2008).

In addition, the IPCC produces methodology reports or guidelines to assist countries in reporting on GHGs. Good Practice Guidance reports were approved by the Panel in 2000 and 2003, and the latest version of the IPCC Guidelines on National GHG Inventories (2006 IPCC Guidelines) was approved in 2006. The IPCC also adopted the 2013 Supplement to the 2006 Guidelines for National GHG Inventories: Wetlands (Wetlands Supplement), and the 2013 Revised Supplementary Methods and Good Practice Guidance Arising from the Kyoto Protocol (KP Supplement).

For its work and efforts “to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about manmade climate change, and to lay the foundations needed to counteract such change,” the IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, jointly with former US Vice President Al Gore, in December 2007.

INTERACADEMY COUNCIL (IAC) REVIEW: In response to public criticism of the IPCC related to inaccuracies in AR4 and the Panel’s response to the criticism, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri (India) requested the IAC to conduct an independent review of IPCC processes and procedures and to present recommendations to strengthen the IPCC and to ensure the quality of its reports.

The IAC presented its results in a report in August 2010 and made recommendations regarding, inter alia: the IPCC’s management structure; a communications strategy, including a plan to respond to crises; transparency, including criteria for selecting participants and the type of scientific and technical information to be assessed; and consistency in how the WGs characterize uncertainty.

IPCC-32: This session (11-14 October 2010, Busan, Republic of Korea) addressed the recommendations of the IAC Review. The Panel adopted a number of decisions in this regard, including on the treatment of gray literature and uncertainty, and on a process to address errors in previous reports. For recommendations requiring further examination, the Panel established task groups on processes and procedures, communications, the Conflict of Interest (COI) Policy, and governance and management.

IPCC-33: This session (10-13 May 2011, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) focused primarily on follow-up actions to the IAC Review. The Panel established an ExComm, adopted a COI Policy, and introduced several changes to the procedures for IPCC reports.

IPCC-34: This meeting (18-19 November 2011, Kampala, Uganda) adopted revised Procedures for the Preparation, Review, Acceptance, Adoption, Approval and Publication of IPCC Reports, as well as Implementation Procedures and the Disclosure Form for the COI Policy.

IPCC-35: This session (6-9 June 2012, Geneva, Switzerland) concluded the Panel’s consideration of the recommendations from the IAC Review by approving the functions of the IPCC Secretariat and TSUs, and the Communications Strategy.

WGI-12 and IPCC-36: During these meetings (23-26 September 2013, Stockholm, Sweden), WGI finalized its AR5 contribution: “Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis.” The Panel then met to approve the WGI SPM and accepted the underlying report, including the Technical Summary and annexes.

IPCC-37: During this session (14-17 October 2013, Batumi, Georgia), the Panel decided to establish a Task Group on the Future Work of the IPCC (TGF). It also considered and adopted two methodology reports, the Wetlands Supplement and KP Supplement. The IPCC also undertook initial discussions on mapping the IPCC’s future.

WGII-10 and IPCC-38: These meetings (25-29 March 2014, Yokohama, Japan) finalized the WGII contribution to AR5: “Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.” The Panel then met to approve the WGII SPM and accepted the underlying report, including the Technical Summary and annexes.

WGIII-12 and IPCC-39: These meetings (7-12 April 2014, Berlin, Germany), finalized the WGIII contribution to AR5: “Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change.” The Panel then approved the WGIII SPM and accepted the underlying report, including the Technical Summary and annexes. The Panel also discussed, inter alia, COI and future work of the IPCC.

IPCC-40: This meeting (27 October - 1 November 2014, Copenhagen, Denmark) considered and finalized the SYR, which integrates the findings from the three IPCC WGs. The Panel also approved the SYR’s SPM line by line, and adopted the longer SYR section by section.

IPCC-41: This meeting (24-27 February 2015, Nairobi, Kenya) addressed the future work of the IPCC, including the recommendations of the TGF, and took a decision on the size, structure and composition of the IPCC Bureau and TFI Bureau (TFB). The Panel also adopted decisions on: IPCC products, their timing and their usability; IPCC structure; respective roles of the IPCC Secretariat and the IPCC TSUs; options for the selection of and support to Coordinating Lead Authors and Lead Authors; and improving the writing and review process. Following the resignation of IPCC Chair Pachauri, Ismail El Gizouli (Sudan) was appointed Acting IPCC Chair pending the election of a new Chair at IPCC-42.

IPCC-42: This meeting (5-8 October 2015, Dubrovnik, Croatia) elected members of the IPCC Bureau and the TFB, including the IPCC Chair, IPCC Vice-Chairs, WG Co-Chairs and TFB, Vice-Chairs of the WGs and TFB members. The Panel elected Hoesung Lee (Republic of Korea) as IPCC Chair for the sixth assessment cycle.

IPCC-43: This meeting (11-13 April 2016, Nairobi, Kenya) discussed Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) products, including SRs and strategic planning. IPCC-44 agreed to undertake three SRs, on: the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above preindustrial levels and related global GHG emission pathways; climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security and GHG fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems; and on climate change and oceans and the cryosphere. The Panel also agreed that an SR on cities would be prepared as part of the next assessment cycle.


On Monday, IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee opened the session. General Surasak Karnjanarat, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Thailand, said the session was an important milestone for AR6, with important decisions to be made on the SR on 1.5°C, and highlighted the relevance of the IPCC’s Assessment Reports and products in providing information needed for international cooperation on climate change. 

Kaveh Zahedi, Deputy Executive Secretary for Sustainable Development on behalf of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, underlined: the relationship between climate change and sustainable development; the need for integrated systems solutions to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement; and the urgency to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement to keep warming well below 2°C, while also addressing disaster impacts and vulnerabilities.

Elena Manaenkova, WMO Deputy Secretary-General, underscored the key role that WMO and IPCC play in supporting decision making on climate change and elaborated on WMO’s multiple strands of work in this regard, including integrating data from multiple sources, providing intermediate-scale information and supporting adaptation. She highlighted, inter alia, WMO’s model inter-comparison projects and work on ocean heat content, as well as the WMO Annual Statements on the Status of the Global Climate and the report on the Global Carbon Budget. Manaenkova advocated strong involvement of WMO scientists and weather services from developing countries in the IPCC.

Via video link from Nairobi, Jacqueline McGlade, UNEP, said that the Kigali outcome on the phase-out of hydrofluorocarbons, along with the Paris Agreement and the International Civil Aviation Organization agreement on bunker fuels, are a clear signal that the trend begun in Paris is irreversible and quickening, with countries “now walking the talk.” Noting that the UNEP Emissions Gap Report will be released in the next weeks, she expressed UNEP’s pride in supporting IPCC and communicating its key messages to the public. She stressed that the Paris Agreement is only the first step on a longer road of challenges and opportunities, and that the IPCC is key to strengthening these efforts and ensuring they are backed by sound science.

Florin Vladu, UNFCCC, thanked the IPCC for accepting the UNFCCC’s request for a SR on, inter alia, emissions pathways to meet the 1.5°C goal in the Paris Agreement, which he said would be a main input to the 2018 facilitative dialogue. He welcomed discussions related to how the IPCC can contribute to the global stocktake, which began at a special session held during the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies in May 2016. He called the upcoming 22nd meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) an opportunity for the IPCC to further engage with UNFCCC delegates.

IPCC Chair Lee identified two items among the “packed agenda” of the IPCC-44: the outline of the SR on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related GHG emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty; and the outline of the Methodology Report to refine the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National GHG Inventories. He underlined the policy relevance of these reports to assist parties in reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement.

ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA: On Monday, IPCC Chair Lee introduced the provisional agenda (IPCC-XLIV/Doc. 1). The UK asked for an opportunity to discuss strategic planning for AR6 and, supported by Germany and Belgium, proposed addressing the future of the Task Group on Data and Scenario for Impact and Climate Analysis (TGICA) early to allow for a prompt initiation of work should the proposal for TGICA’s transformation be accepted. IPCC Chair Lee responded that the scoping and strategic planning for AR6 would be addressed under the agenda item on other business. The IPCC then adopted the agenda.

APPROVAL OF THE DRAFT REPORT OF THE 43ND SESSION: On Monday, IPCC Chair Lee introduced and the Panel adopted the report of the 43rd session of the IPCC (IPCC-XLIV/Doc. 3).


FINANCIAL STATEMENT – AUDIT REPORT: On Monday, IPCC Chair Lee introduced the audited 2015 annual financial statements for information (IPCC-XLIV/INF. 1). The US expressed concern over the decline in the number and magnitude of contributions to the IPCC Trust Fund. The IPCC then took note of the annual financial statements.

BUDGET FOR THE YEARS 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019: This item (IPCC-XLIV/Doc. 2) was taken up Monday and Thursday. On Monday, IPCC Chair Lee introduced the 2016 budget as compared to that approved by IPCC-42 and invited member states to consider a draft decision: urging member states to make their 2016 contributions and where possible make a multi-year pledge; approve the revised proposed budget for 2017; and take note of the 2018 and 2019 budgets. IPCC Chair Lee invited the financial task team (FiTT) to discuss this issue and report back to the plenary on Thursday and to consider financial and budgetary implications of draft decisions.

On Thursday, IPCC Chair Lee invited the FiTT Co-Chairs to present the draft decision. Co-Chair Helen Plume (New Zealand) said some adjustments were made to the budget to reflect the discussions in the FiTT.

The Panel adopted the draft decision.

Final Decision: In its decision (IPCC-XLIV/CRP.12), the Panel, inter alia, decides that the revised 2017 budget proposal should include modifications listed on governing bodies, scoping, expert meetings and workshops to TFI. The Panel requests the Secretariat to develop and present to IPCC-45 proposals for decreasing the expenditures associated with travel and proposes that pre-sessional briefings take place on a pilot basis before IPCC-45 and asks that the briefing session be evaluated against the value of holding in-session briefings.

RESOURCE MOBILIZATION: On Monday, IPCC Chair Lee introduced an information document on a resource mobilization strategy for the Sixth Assessment Report cycle (IPCC-XLIV/INF. 9). IPCC Secretary Abdalah Mokssit noted the need to generate resources to support the production of the IPCC’s products for the AR6 and introduced the resource mobilization strategy proposed for the phases 2016-2019 and 2020-2022. He said this included: development of a resource mobilization strategy, preparation of a joint WMO, UNEP and IPCC letter addressed to all member states, and visits to the ambassadors of the 24 countries that no longer make contributions to the IPCC. He said a two-page leaflet indicating the financial situation of the IPCC has been prepared and the Secretariat has identified new potential partners.

Germany urged clearly stating in the resource mobilization strategy that the delivery of the products of the AR6 were at stake and called for the plenary to evaluate any activity that goes beyond the core business of the IPCC. Saudi Arabia suggested that the IPCC should not accept additional requests without an upfront commitment of financial resources.

Switzerland said it was the responsibility of the governments to support the work of the IPCC and suggested focusing efforts on governments to obtain additional resources. The UK said the IPCC should mostly be funded by governments and suggested awaiting the results of the letter sent to member states before approaching new donors. France called for putting in place mechanisms to ensure the independence of the Panel.

Brazil suggested engaging in partnerships for specific events, and Ecuador noted the possibility of cooperation among UN agencies to participate in the organization of meetings.

IPCC Chair Lee clarified that partners had been identified internally and had not yet been contacted. Belgium asked who the newly identified donors were. Secretary Mokssit said they were African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Finance Corporation, and the World Bank. He said the FiTT could hold further deliberations on this issue.

Sweden, with the US, noted the need to take steps to mobilize resources alongside a careful management of costs. China called for the Secretariat to work with member governments and international organizations toward these goals. The US said a comparison between current contributions and expected contributions under an assessed scale would be informative. On reducing expenditures, he said there was a need to find cost-saving opportunities regarding meeting participation.

Brazil, Tanzania and Morocco underscored the need to avoid compromising the ability of developing countries to participate in the IPCC’s work in an effort to reduce expenditures. Japan called for harnessing existing networks to help build capacity among developing country scientists.

Mexico said a list of in-kind contributions made by member states would be useful. Mali proposed defining member states’ budgetary contributions alongside voluntary contributions, in line with prevailing practice in some UN agencies. Madagascar suggested that member states make contributions through the WMO by earmarking amounts to the IPCC. Nigeria said the reason for the declining trend in contributions needs to be identified.

Responding to the suggestions and concerns raised, IPCC Secretary Mokssit underscored that the strategy is driven by the IPCC’s principles. He stressed that the “picture is clear” about the need for resource mobilization to meet the expectations for the sixth assessment cycle. He outlined ways to reduce expenses, consider in-kind contributions, and increase resources, which he said could include extending the possibility of partnerships with those who align with the basic principles of the IPCC.

IPCC Chair Lee stated that all the comments and suggestions were recorded. The IPCC then took note of the report.


On Monday, IPCC Chair Lee introduced requests for IPCC observer status (IPCC-XLIV/Doc. 4). The IPCC Secretariat reported on this agenda item, noting that ten organizations had requested observer status and been reviewed positively by the Bureau. The observers that applied are: Climate Alliance; C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group; Climate and Clean Air Coalition; World Climate Research Programme; Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR); Friends World Committee for Consultation; Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice; Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils; Université catholique de Louvain; and Pacific Community.

The IPCC Plenary accepted the requests without further comment and adopted the decision.

Final Decision: In its decision (IPCC-XLIV/CRP.10), the Panel decided to admit ten new observer organizations.


COMMUNICATION AND OUTREACH ACTIVITIES: On Monday, IPCC Chair Lee introduced this agenda item (IPCC-XLIV/INF.2). Jonathan Lynn, IPCC Communications Officer, noted activities in addition to the ones mentioned in the document, highlighting activities engaging younger people and people in a UNFCCC COP host city and from neighboring countries. Together with IPCC Chair Lee, he called for funds to continue with this kind of outreach.

Mali commended a workshop held in June 2016 with the presence of IPCC Chair Lee, which was attended by many parliamentarians and young researchers from Francophone Africa, and called for a continuation of outreach efforts in developing countries. In response to a question by Belgium, the IPCC Secretariat provided information on the composition of the Communication Action Team. Spain referred to a WMO campaign that consisted of brief videos with weather reports in 2050, calling for such inexpensive yet high-impact communications.

The panel took note of this agenda item.

STATUS WITH RESPECT TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE TSUs: On Monday, IPCC Chair Lee asked the WG Co-Chairs for oral reports. WGI Co-Chair Valérie Masson-Delmotte (France) said the WGI TSU has been established and is operational to support the special report on 1.5°C, noting its budget for 2016 and 2017 and that the TSU was recruiting further staff members. She reported that the WGI TSU host institution is the Université Paris Saclay, France.

WGII Co-Chair Hans-Otto Portner (Germany) said office space for the WGII TSU has been leased and staffing expanded. He reported that the host WGII institution is Alfred-Wegener-Institute, Germany. Reporting on the progress made on the South African component of the TSU, WGII Co-Chair Debra Roberts (South Africa) said administrative arrangements were being developed to support scientists and was being hosted by University of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa.

WGIII Co-Chair Jim Skea (UK) said the WGIII TSU was “well established” to support the IPCC’s work and reported that the WGIII TSU host institution is Imperial College London, UK. He also noted that progress was being made in setting up the Indian component of the TSU at the Indian Institute of Management – Ahmedabad, which is led by the WGIII Co-Chair Priyadarshi Shukla.

TFI Co-Chair, Kiyoto Tanabe (Japan) said the TFI TSU has been working “seamlessly” and a new head of the TFI TSU has been recruited. He reported that the TFI TSU host institution is still the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Japan

The Panel took note of the oral reports.

PARTICIPATION OF DEVELOPING COUNTRIES IN IPCC ACTIVITIES: This item (IPCC-XLIV/INF.4) was discussed Monday and Tuesday. On Monday, the Secretariat introduced the document on participation of developing countries in IPCC activities, which contains five sets of actions: preparation of regional and national plans to enhance participation; transmit communications to UNEP and WMO to follow on communications; briefing and training sessions before the IPCC sessions; publicity of IPCC’s call for authors and reviewers; and training and mentorship for new authors.

During discussions, many countries, including Chad, Comoros, Mali, and Switzerland, called for enhancing and reinforcing the capacity of national focal points. Norway said the IPCC needed close cooperation with national focal points and urged maintaining an up-to-date contact list of national focal points.

South Africa said the proposed actions were based on decisions taken by IPCC-41 and urged their implementation. Swaziland suggested the proposed actions could be carried out in a sequential manner. Ethiopia supported the proposal, hoping it would increase the level of engagement by politicians in his country and enhance participation by young researchers.

Tanzania urged addressing stumbling blocks that hinder participation by developing countries. Congo, Mali, Benin and Togo underlined the role of language barriers in preventing the involvement of some researchers and consideration of literature from developing countries.

Lamenting the small number of review editors and contributing authors from developing countries, Indonesia suggested, inter alia: considering the professional experience of scientists from developing countries; increasing the involvement of early career scientists; and developing a database of IPCC data in developing countries. Chad called on the IPCC to provide grants for researchers to pursue masters degrees. Zimbabwe called for support for young scientists beyond workshops and to include funding for research. The US urged discussing this issue together with the IPCC Scholarship Programme.

On access to information, India, with Benin, urged facilitating the access of developing country experts to international peer-reviewed journals and suggested using national communications as a source of information. The US asked for an update on the status of UNEP’s library facility. The Secretariat noted that a partnership agreement between the IPCC and UNEP would be finalized in the next few days. Switzerland said the partnership needs to be based on the principles of full transparency and the autonomy of the IPCC. France noted the importance of this agreement in the assessment report production process. UNEP clarified that there was still some paperwork to be completed but that arrangements would be shortly finalized, and assured the Panel of UNEP’s willingness to provide all available information and communication resources to the IPCC. WGII Vice-Chair Andreas Fischlin offered, as a fallback case, to seek support from institutions such as the ETH Zurich library, which has helped in the past to make scientific literature available to the IPCC, to give access to authors and others during the AR6 process.

On regional activities, noting the IPCC plenary has not convened in the Caribbean and Latin American region in recent times, Venezuela, supported by WGIII Vice-Chair Ramon Pichs-Madruga and Dominican Republic, called for better regional balance for IPCC events. Niger called on greater collaboration between the IPCC and regional organizations, and Spain highlighted the Iberoamerican Network of Climate Change Offices. Zimbabwe stressed the importance of involvement by the IPCC through its Bureau in the organization of plans of action at the regional level. Lesotho said the participation of experts from least developed countries needed to be enhanced.

On pre-session briefings, the UK supported the aims of holding pre-session briefings but, with the US, France and Germany noted the budgetary implications of such meetings. The US said it was unclear what the briefing sessions would achieve. The Secretariat said the briefings would allow focal points to share best practices on how they have engaged their scientists in the work of the IPCC. WGIII Vice-Chair Pichs-Madruga said pre-session briefings would help developing countries prepare for plenary sessions. Germany said the briefings could happen once or twice in an assessment cycle and called for in-session briefings instead of pre-session briefings, noting budget limitations. In response to questions on the budgetary implications of pre-session briefings, IPCC Chair Lee said the financial implications of the proposed actions will be assessed under the agenda item on Budget for the years 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Leo Meyer, University College London, presented a recently-launched project regarding enhancing the participation of developing countries in the IPCC, aimed initially at increasing participation by African climate scientists in the AR6. He said that activities under the project included workshops, e-learning courses, and training for African researchers that would like to be nominated as authors or review editors for the AR6. Meyer noted that while funding for 2017 is still a problem, funds are currently being sought, and welcomed feedback and questions from the Panel members. Germany drew attention to other initiatives of the sort in her country, including Regional Science Service Centers.

Economic Cooperation Organization, ECO, underscored the key role that intergovernmental organizations can play in enhancing participation by developing countries, noting ECO’s readiness to provide in-kind contribution through capacity building and serving as a communication network in the Central Asia, Caucasus and East Asia regions.

The Panel took note of the document (IPCC-XLIV/INF.4).

IPCC CARBON FOOTPRINT: On Tuesday, IPCC Chair Lee introduced this agenda item (IPCC-XLIV/INF. 5). The Secretariat highlighted that travel-related emissions are the major contributor to the IPCC’s carbon footprint. The US suggested scheduling Bureau meetings and ExComm meetings to coincide with plenary sessions, and to find ways to promote active remote participation.

The Panel then took note of the document.


REVIEW OF IPCC COI POLICY: This item (IPCC-XLIV/Doc. 13) was first considered on Tuesday. Following discussions, the COI Sub-Committee presented a revised COI disclosure form and decision for consideration on Thursday.

On Tuesday, Youba Sokona, IPCC Vice-Chair and Chair of the COI Sub-Committee, highlighted the recommendations of the Sub-Committee: to receive more detailed information from applicants via a revised declaration form annexed to IPCC-XLIV/Doc. 13; to ask that a CV be attached to the form; to downsize the COI Committee from 15 to eight members; to discontinue the Expert Advisory Group and hire experts only when required; and to amend paragraph 7 of the Implementation Procedures to arrange that the COI forms of the professional staff of the TSU for the Synthesis Report be evaluated by the IPCC COI Committee instead of the IPCC Bureau.

While the US, Japan and Germany supported the recommendations, there were suggestions for the disclosure form. The US suggested that it should be clarified on who is required to complete the form. Several countries asked for specific wordings to be clarified to avoid uncertainty on how to complete the form. The UK added evaluation of conflict of interest should be completed before the applicant can participate in IPCC activities. Sweden queried what type of feedback would be given to the applicants.

The US, Belgium and Saudi Arabia suggested developing a recommendation on what to do if there is a perceived conflict of interest.

Saudi Arabia underscored the need to keep the process objective and non-prohibitive, noting that this policy could impede the participation of scientists from developing countries in the work of the IPCC. He said the form should make it clear to the applicant if there is a conflict of interest, rather than leaving it to the Committee’s decision. He suggested that the Panel return to this document after further revisions.

On Thursday, COI Sub-Committee Chair Sokona introduced the draft decision and revised form (IPCC-XLIV/CRP. 6).

WGII Vice-Chair Sergey Semenov, Saudi Arabia, the Russian Federation, Dominican Republic and Algeria expressed concerns over potential ambiguities in the form, with Saudi Arabia suggesting that the Committee learn from the policies of other international organizations, revise the form and return to this issue at a future meeting. Germany and the UK underscored that the Panel is reviewing only the form, not the policy. WGIII Vice-Chair Andy Reisinger, supported by Hungary, suggested appending fictional examples of COI forms to provide a clearer idea of the level of detail and type of information sought.

The US queried the budgetary implications of discontinuing the Expert Advisory Group and, supported by Belgium, suggested adding to the decision that Committee members could attend meetings virtually rather than in person to ease efforts to achieve quorum.

Saudi Arabia reiterated calls to develop a policy on what to do should there be an apparent or perceived conflict of interest, noting that some organizations have waivers in such cases under specific circumstances.

Following an informal meeting, Sub-Committee Chair Sokona reported that several concerns would be alleviated when the form is read in conjunction with the current COI policy. He suggested amendments to the form, including clarification that answering “yes” on the form does not necessarily indicate that there is a conflict of interest, and adding reference to, and inclusion of, the paragraphs of the COI policy that define what constitutes a conflict of interest. With those changes, he suggested the form could be ready for adoption.

The US requested that the chapeau of the decision recall paragraph 12 of the IPCC COI policy, which states that author teams are to include individuals with different perspectives and affiliations.

The Panel then adopted the decision as amended in plenary.

Final Decision: In its decision (IPCC-XLIV/CRP. 6), the IPCC decides:

  • to adopt and replace Annex B to the IPCC COI Policy by the revised COI disclosure form as contained in Annex 1, which includes the request that COI disclosure forms should be submitted together with a CV;
  • to delete paragraphs 23 and 24 of the Implementation Procedures of the IPCC COI Policy on the COI Expert Advisory Group (EAG), as well as the reference to the EAG in paragraphs 3, 4, 10, and 17 of the Implementation Procedures;
  • to replace the words “IPCC Bureau” in paragraph 7 of the Implementation Procedures by “COI Committee;”
  • to revise the COI disclosure form in order to solicit and ensure the provision of complete and relevant information;
  • to add and start the last sentence of paragraph 5 of the Implementation Procedures with the words: “Before a Coordinating Lead Author, Lead Author or Review Editor can start working” and delete the word “then;” and
  • to delete the phrase “in person” in paragraph (f) in the Method of Working of the IPCC COI Committee. This will allow virtual participation in COI meetings by the COI Members.


OUTLINE OF SPECIAL REPORT ON THE IMPACTS OF GLOBAL WARMING OF 1.5 °C AND RELATED GHG EMISSION PATHWAYS: Panel participants discussed this item (IPCC-XLIV/INF. 6. Rev. 1) throughout the meeting. On Monday, the item was introduced and participants provided comments, which the scientific steering committee later discussed, presenting a revised outline for further comment on Tuesday. The plenary further discussed this issue on Wednesday, adopting a further revised outline of the SR, and, on Thursday, adopted the decision.

On Monday, Thelma Krug, IPCC Vice-Chair and Chair of the scientific steering committee for the scoping of the SR, presented the report of the scoping meeting held in Geneva in August 2016, which contains the timeline for the development of the SR and an elaboration of each chapter. She noted that of the 589 expert nominations received, 86 experts were selected, 51% of which were from developing countries. She highlighted a background document prepared by the steering committee with themes and questions identified to stimulate an exchange of views and said a questionnaire was sent to all of the IPCC focal points and observer organizations for views on the format, structure and content of the report. She further noted that for each draft chapter of the outline, consensus was achieved among all participants at the scoping meeting.

Many countries called for a more concise, shorter SR focused on impacts and pathways associated with a 1.5 °C warming, in line with the request by the UNFCCC. Given the short time frame, many also stressed the need to avoid redundancy and ensure the report’s policy relevance. Tanzania and Luxembourg said that it was not clear how chapters four (strengthening the global response) and five (approaches to implement the strengthened response) were distinct, while Morocco questioned if merging the chapters would be to the detriment of some parts of those chapters. Others noted that some of the issues could be taken up later in the AR6. Brazil urged a politically-neutral report and said that while a readable and concise report is important, this should not limit the analysis that might be needed. Many countries also emphasized the importance of accessibility of the report. Several countries suggested a short, focused summary for policymakers (SPM), with Belgium and Luxembourg suggesting that the currently-labeled SPM could be turned into a Technical Summary.

In contrast, Saudi Arabia and the Russian Federation called for accepting the outline of the SR as presented, noting that addressing a 1.5 °C warming had been a political decision by the UNFCCC, with Saudi Arabia warning against opening up the outline for discussion lest there be no agreement by the end of the week.

Tanzania, Chile and Zambia urged restricting focus to 1.5 °C and not higher degrees of warming.

Saint Lucia lamented that only a single chapter had been dedicated to impacts and said impacts must be the first priority of the SR. Spain and others also suggested more attention to impacts. Some countries, including the US, questioned the availability of peer reviewed literature available for all of the elements of the outline, and several, including China, underlined the scientific credibility and objectivity of peer-reviewed literature.

South Africa called for “special efforts” to assess literature from developing countries. The Philippines said the limited modeling capacity of developing countries needs to be recognized.

Japan highlighted the inclusion of information on the uncertainty of climate sensitivity and the emission scenarios. Mexico and Chile called for including short-lived climate pollutants. Canada supported the inclusion of global and regional information sources and coverage of the range of impacts. He also called for avoiding reference to the intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) in the report, noting that they are expected to change over time.

On Tuesday, scientific steering committee Chair Krug introduced a revised outline to the SR (IPCC-XLIV/CRP. 1). She underscored that the revised outline maintained the spirit of the scoping meeting while taking into account the recommendations by the Panel, and drew attention to the balance achieved. To enhance the focus of the report, the revised outline: reduced the length of all chapters with the exception of the one on impacts and pathways; merged chapters four and five into one on strengthening and implementing the global response to the threat of climate change; and proposed a shorter SPM of 5-8 pages excluding figures and tables. With regard to other suggestions by the Panel, Krug said the steering committee believed that social and natural impacts should be considered together to account for their interdependence, and had suggested adding a note for authors to include only material for which there is sufficient scientific basis in accordance with IPCC principles. She also noted that the bulleted list under each chapter of the outline was indicative and the length could be adjusted in view of the existing literature.

Several countries, with the exception of Saudi Arabia, supported the revision as presenting a more balanced, clearer outline and welcomed the shortened length.

Saudi Arabia stressed the indicative nature of the outline and the content being subject to the availability of science. The US, supported by Hungary, suggested adding language on the indicative nature of the bullet points under each chapter of the outline, and, with Norway, Germany and others, on the need for the assessment to be based on peer-reviewed literature in accordance with IPCC principles.

Saudi Arabia regretted the merging of chapters four and five, and called for references to a warming of 2 °C or higher as a benchmark for comparison and to spillover effects of far-reaching and accelerated mitigation actions.

The UK, with Belgium, Luxembourg, Japan, Norway, Spain, Ireland, Sweden, Congo and others, called for clear reference in chapter two on mitigation pathways to a warming of 2 °C for comparison purposes.

Saint Lucia, with Marshall Islands and Bahamas, called for more extensive coverage of impacts, possibly in two chapters, addressing global, regional, sectoral and other impacts. WGII Vice-Chair Fischlin noted the advantages of having one larger chapter on impacts, saying that doing so contributes to an integrated understanding of the issue.

Solomon Islands, with Nicaragua, El Salvador and Ecuador, called for an explicit reference to loss and damage.

The Netherlands, Austria, Spain and others, opposed by Norway, called for inclusion of a Technical Summary, with Belgium suggesting the Technical Summary be based on chapter summaries. The Netherlands, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg, opposed by Norway and Morocco, suggested that the 5-8 pages allotted to the SPM include figures and tables to allow for a shorter report. Afghanistan suggested that regional impacts be included in the form of tables as in the AR5.

On Wednesday, Chair Krug introduced the revised draft outline and the draft decision. She highlighted: the proposed length of the SPM is up to ten pages, including figures and headline statements; references to 2 °C of warming was added to chapter two; references to the limits of adaptive capacity was added to chapter three; and net zero emissions replaced reference to negative emissions in chapter four. Participants primarily discussed the references to 2 °C or higher of global warming and net zero emissions.

Saint Lucia expressed concern that the decision paragraph stating that the report will assess literature focusing on 1.5 °C compared to 2 °C and, where warranted, comparison with high levels of warming suggests that the focus of the report may be on comparing 1.5°C to 2°C, rather than a focus on the impacts and emissions pathways of 1.5 °C. Supported by the US, WGIII Vice Chair Reisinger, the Marshall Islands, Germany, and Jamaica, she called for removing this paragraph in the decision and instead referring to a comparison with 2 °C or higher in the outline, on the relevant bullets on impacts and emissions pathways. WGIII Vice-Chair Diana Ürge-Vorsatz stated that linking to temperature may exclude some literatures, such as in the social sciences and quantitative bottom-up literatures that are not able to link directly to temperatures. Saudi Arabia supported the outline, saying that the scientists should be trusted to decide where a comparison is warranted.

Responding to comments, Chair Krug proposed adding to the chapters on emissions pathways and impacts a reference to “1.5 °C compared with 2 °C and, where warranted by the literature, comparison with higher levels of warming.” Saint Lucia, Brazil and China expressed support for this change.

On net zero emissions, Japan and the Philippines suggested removing the term “net zero” and leaving it as “assessing current and emerging mitigation options and associated opportunities and challenges.” Norway called for keeping reference to net zero, saying it is important to address issues relevant to achieving a balance between emissions and removals by sinks.

Responding to comments, Chair Krug proposed to delete reference to net zero emissions. Saudi Arabia said they would not be prepared to accept the outline without reference to net zero emissions, noting that the term was originally “negative emissions.” Krug suggested that the term “emerging mitigation options” was broad enough to include negative emissions. Norway and Ireland expressed trust that negative emissions would be addressed and supported the text as proposed by Chair Krug. WGII Vice-Chair Semenov suggested replacing “net zero emissions” with “zero net emissions” and referring to “including zero negative emission methodologies.”

With these changes, the Panel agreed to the outline.

On Thursday, noting that this SR would be one of the most high-profile reports by the Panel, the US urged adherence to the highest standards, including by supporting findings with sufficient literature.

Participants discussed how best to reflect the need for authors to engage in an analysis of gaps in the literature on this topic in the text, with views diverging on whether doing so would modify the indicative list of topics. IPCC Chair Lee invited Krug informally consult with interested countries to find agreeable language.

The Panel then adopted the decision document with an amendment linking the analysis of gaps to the indicative list of topics.

Final Decision: In its decision (IPCC-XLIV/CRP. 2.Rev. 2), noting that the SR is in response to the invitation by the UNFCCC, the Panel agrees on the outline of “Global Warming of 1.5 °C” SR as contained in Annex 1. The Panel decides the report will assess literature relevant to 1.5 °C, particularly what has been available since the AR5 and in accordance with IPCC guidance. The Panel further decides that the bulleted text in the outline in Annex 1 should be seen as indicative by the authors and should take into account scientific gaps that will be explicitly identified.

The outline of the SR contains five chapters, totaling up to 225 pages: framing and context (15 pages), mitigation pathways compatible with 1.5 °C in the context of sustainable development (40 pages), impacts of 1.5 °C global warming on natural and human systems (60 pages), strengthening and implementing the global response to the threat of climate change (50 pages), sustainable development, poverty eradication and reducing inequalities (20 pages). The approval of the SR is planned for IPCC-48 in September 2018.

OUTLINE OF METHODOLOGY REPORT(S) TO REFINE THE 2006 IPCC GUIDELINES FOR NATIONAL GHG INVENTORIES: This item (IPCC-XLIV/Doc.12) was first taken up on Monday, and the TFI Co-Chairs presented a revised outline and decision on Thursday, which the Panel adopted.

On Monday, the TFI Co-Chair Tanabe provided an overview of the scoping meeting held in August and highlighted proposed features of the report, inter alia: a single Methodology Report, comprised of an overview chapter and five volumes following the 2006 Guidelines; providing updates only where necessary; updating default emissions factors and default parameters where there are significant differences; and providing additional or alternative clarifications to existing guidelines.

The Netherlands called for more representative default factors and said global IPCC default factors should only be used as the last resort.

Republic of Korea, supported by Belgium and Japan, proposed to include direct measurement of GHG emissions from sources, noting that they help to improve accuracy of estimates. Switzerland, with the US, asked how remote sensing could be combined with the bottom-up monitoring system of the Paris Agreement.

Togo enquired about the software that would go along with the 2019 Refinement report and stressed the importance of translating into French. TFI Co-Chair Eduardo Calvo Buendía said the question of software would be taken up at the next Task Force Bureau meeting.

The Philippines stressed the importance of guidance on national inventory management systems. Co-Chair Calvo Buendía noted that this possibility was being discussed.

Noting that hydropower reservoir emissions could make up 1 percent of global emissions, the US said the topic of flooded lands should be addressed in detail. Noting the lack of scientific maturity on this issue, Brazil suggested that refinement should not be prejudged.

Mexico, with Chile, suggested adding black carbon to the Methodology Report. Co-Chair Calvo noted that the mandate was to refine current guidelines and it was too late to include black carbon.

Belgium recalled his formal proposal to dedicate the 2019 Refinement to the Guidelines to Dr. Jim Penman, who passed away in 2016. Many participants supported this proposal, which was included in the meeting report so it could be realized in 2019. The Panel observed a minute of silence in memory of Dr. Penman.

IPCC Chair Lee supported by Germany, Denmark and the US, proposed that the Panel adopt the outline of the report, as presented, while allowing the Task Force Bureau to discuss details. Brazil objected, asking for an amendment to Chapter 7.3 on Flooded Lands, including a footnote clarifying that no refinements may be necessary even for chapters where refinements are foreseen in the draft table of contents.

On Thursday, TFI Co-Chair Calvo Buendía presented a revised version (IPCC-XLIV/CRP.4), highlighting changes that he said do not alter the spirit or structure of the text. TFI Co-Chair Tanabe responded to comments that were not reflected in the document, including that the current table of contents addressed direct measurement for the purposes of verification, developing local emission factors and national GHG inventories. He said that the Task Force Bureau will discuss: an update of the IPCC inventory software based on the 2019 Refinement; the proposal to make the guidance on national inventory management systems a distinct chapter or section in Volume 1; and the consideration of cross-sectoral expertise in the nomination and selection of authors.

The Philippines, opposed by Brazil, suggested removing reference to factoring out emissions that would otherwise occur in the absence of flooded lands, yet, after a clarification by the TFI Co-Chairs that flooded lands are a unique category where multiple approaches can be used, he withdrew the proposal. The Panel agreed to the outline.

Mexico proposed, on behalf of Chile, Belgium and Kenya, that the IPCC begin a process at the next plenary to amend the mandate of the TFI to allow methodology reports to address methodological issues related to short-term climate forcing factors such as black carbon. Brazil expressed concern, stating that black carbon is not a gas and is not regulated by the UNFCCC. Japan raised caution about the budgetary implications.

Final Decision: In its final decision (IPCC-XLIV/CRP. 4), the IPCC decides to prepare a methodology report to refine the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National GHG inventories, with the format of one single methodology report comprising an overview chapter and five volumes following the format of the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National GHG Inventories (2006 IPCC Guidelines), and the title of “2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.” The Panel further adopts the terms of reference for the production of the report and the report’s table of contents, both annexed to the decision.

WORKSHOP ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND CITIES: This item (IPCC-XLIV/Doc. 9) was first taken up on Tuesday and the decision was adopted on Thursday.

On Tuesday, WG II Co-Chair Debra Roberts introduced the item, noting that cities provide an opportunity for both mitigation and adaptation, saying that the international conference would be jointly organized with international partners in 2018. She noted funding contributions from Cities Alliance, C40, and UN-HABITAT.

The US supported the concept of the workshop but noted, with Belgium and Germany, budgetary concerns, particularly travel. He proposed to endorse the proposal without approving the budget line. Noting that HABITAT III was also discussing climate-change-related issues, Germany said delaying the conference could be an option.

Mali, with Saint Lucia and South Africa, supported the proposal and, with Marshall Islands, urged highlighting regional issues.

Belgium called for broader involvement by the IPCC and urged the engagement of WGI and WGIII Co-Chairs. Saudi Arabia underlined the need for the IPCC to focus on the scientific literature on this issue.

On Thursday, WGII Co-Chair Roberts introduced the draft decision, saying that the revised decision responds to the comments that were made, including: special attention to regional issues; holding the workshop early so as to inspire research for the SR on cities during the AR7 cycle; and a 50% reduction in the budget allocated to this workshop.

Belgium introduced a textual amendment clarifying that the support for travel would come from not only the IPCC trust fund but other sources as well.

Nigeria hoped the workshop’s outcomes would be relevant to governments and Norway asked that the outcomes be disseminated to a broad audience. C40 expressed its support for this workshop and the engagement of the IPCC on matters related to cities.

The Panel adopted the decision with the amendments introduced.

Final Decision: In its decision (IPCC-XLIV/CRP. 3), the Panel approved the proposal for an international conference on climate change and cities, as contained in Annex 1. The annex notes the specific aims of the conference are to, inter alia: take stock of scientific literature, data and other sources of knowledge on cities and climate change since AR5 and build ongoing work as part of the AR6 cycle; identify key gaps with the aim of stimulating new research to be assessed by an AR7 SR on climate change and cities; and develop novel assessment frameworks that take into account the systemic linkage, synergies and trade-offs between urban systems and climate change.

EXPERT MEETING ON MITIGATION, SUSTAINABILITY AND CLIMATE STABILIZATION SCENARIOS: This item (IPCC-XLIV/Doc. 7) was taken up on Tuesday and the decision was adopted Thursday.

On Tuesday, WG-III Co-Chair Skea presented the item, noting that the proposal for this expert meeting builds on a Norwegian proposal and the subsequent IPCC-43 decision to properly address these issues in the AR6. He said the expert meeting is intended to address two main goals: establish better linkages between high-level climate stabilization goals and scenarios, and the practical steps needed in the short- and medium-term to make these goals possible; and to anchor climate responses in the context of development needs and sustainability.

Many participants expressed support for the meeting and thanked Norway for offering to host it. They also supported holding the expert meeting as soon as possible in 2017 to allow for its outcome to be input to the 1.5°C SR and the other AR6 reports.

Belgium, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, WGIII Vice-Chair Pichs-Madruga and others highlighted the importance of integration of scientists from the other WGs in this work and, with Saudi Arabia and Egypt, stressed the need to avoid a mitigation-centric approach. Australia drew attention to policy scientists while Hungary called for including bottom-up literature and alternative approaches.

The US suggested considering co-sponsoring the expert meeting with relevant institutions to defray costs.

Mali, Egypt and others highlighted the need to ensure participation of developing countries.

WGIII Co-Chair Skea assured the Panel that a key aim of the expert meeting is precisely to advance the integration among the WGs that will be needed for future work, in particular the 1.5°C SR and other reports in the AR6 cycle.

The Panel agreed to the proposal as presented and to hold the expert meeting in late March 2017.

Final Decision: In the decision (IPCC-XLIV/CRP. 11), the Panel decides to adopt the proposal for the expert meeting as contained in its annex. The annex notes: the aims of the expert meeting are to develop dialogue between different research communities and to stimulate interdisciplinary research activity that can lead to literature for the AR6’s assessment; that the expert meeting will engage with experts and stakeholders concerned with mitigation; and the offer by Norway to host the meeting.


This item (IPCC-XLIV/Doc. 8) was first taken up on Tuesday and a decision was adopted on Thursday.

On Tuesday, TGICA Co-Chair Timothy Carter introduced a draft decision that includes: the creation of an ad hoc task force to design a strategic plan and revised mandate and terms of reference for the transformation of TGICA functions; the mandate for TGICA to continue its activities until the revised mandate and terms of reference are approved by the Panel; and a request to the IPCC Secretary to explore the possibility of resourcing the administrative support needs of TGICA during the interim period.

The US made textual edits to allow for, among others, the possibility of UNEP to contribute additional staff to defray costs. Many supported this amendment. Canada offered to support the cost of administrative support equal to half of a full time equivalent.

Mali enquired about the composition of the task force and, with many developing countries, highlighted the importance of continuing TGICA’s activities. Germany proposed appointing task force Co-Chairs at this meeting.

Switzerland lamented that the TGICA had been “exogenous” to the functioning of the IPCC WGs and, opposed by many participants, including some WG Co-Chairs, proposed that the WG Co-Chairs also chair the task force instead of WG Vice-Chairs for better integration.

IPCC Chair Lee noted consensus on the draft decision, with amendments made by the US, and asked the TGICA Co-Chairs and delegates to meet informally to discuss the composition of the task force.

On Thursday, WGIII Vice-Chair Reisinger reported back from the informal meeting of the Ad Hoc task force. He noted broad representation and interest at the meeting, including by the WG Vice-Chairs. He said the participants considered appointment of Co-Chairs for the Ad Hoc task force and said they decided to recommend WG-I Vice-Chair Edvin Aldrian and WG-II Vice-Chair Fischlin as Co-Chairs. He highlighted the open-ended nature of the task force and said others were welcome to join. 

The Panel adopted the draft decision.

Final Decision: In this decision (IPCC-XLIV/CRP.8), the Panel decides to establish an Ad Hoc Task Force to design a strategic plan, revised mandate and terms of reference for the transformation of TGICA functions to serve the needs of the IPCC during and beyond the AR6. The Panel requests TGICA to continue its activities until a revised mandate and terms of reference are approved by the Panel no later than at IPCC-46. The Panel requests the IPCC Secretary to consult with partner organizations on ways of providing administrative support to TGICA during the interim period.


COMMUNICATIONS AND SCOPING PROCESSES: This item (IPCC-XLIV/Doc. 5) was first discussed Wednesday. A small group met informally to revise the decision, which was adopted Thursday.

On Wednesday, Jonathan Lynn, IPCC Secretariat, presented a draft decision that indicates initiatives related to communications that may be undertaken prior to scoping meetings.

The US and Japan asked about the budgetary implications of these activities, with the US suggesting deleting reference to co-sponsored workshops for this reason. Switzerland noted that the activities suggested in the draft decision should be an indicative, non-exhaustive list

While supporting the idea of enhancing engagement, several countries expressed concern regarding the involvement of stakeholders in pre-scoping activities. The US expressed concern that engaging stakeholders could lead to prioritizing some stakeholders over others, which he said should be avoided. Germany and Botswana observed that countries with resources would be better able to undertake stakeholder consultations, which could lead to imbalances in the process. Japan underscored that the scoping process should be free from bias and avoid conflict of interest, with Belgium underlining the need to be balanced and treat all stakeholders equally. Brazil observed that virtual meetings could enable wider participation. Brazil and Belgium underlined the intergovernmental nature of the Panel.

The Marshall Islands, Zambia, and Botswana underscored the need for support to national focal points in developing countries in order to undertake scoping activities to ensure the necessary involvement of experts. South Africa, supported by India and Indonesia, called for the provision of resources to facilitate the involvement of scientists and experts from developing countries in scoping events. With Belgium, she called for efforts to engage young researchers.

IPCC Chair Lee suggested a small group, including the US, Brazil, the UK, Germany, Zambia and other interested members, to meet with IPCC Vice-Chair Sokona to revise the draft decision.

On Thursday, Lynn introduced the draft decision, noting the text had been edited to avoid being too prescriptive and highlighted the key role of the WG Bureaus in consulting with governments.

The Panel adopted the draft decision.

Final Decision: In its decision (IPCC-XLIV/CRP.9), the IPCC decided that when preparing for scoping meetings, the relevant WG Bureaus consider: circulating a pre-scoping questionnaire to observer organizations to identify issues and questions; work with national focal points and observers to identify actors that can contribute to the scoping process; and undertake pre-scoping activities in a transparent way.

REVIEW OF THE IPCC COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY: This item (IPCC-XLIV/Doc. 6) was introduced on Wednesday and a decision was adopted Thursday.

On Wednesday, Jonathan Lynn, IPCC Secretariat, noted that the review brings the communications strategy in line with current practice and that there are no budgetary implications to the proposal. He highlighted key changes, including, inter alia, reference to: outreach and accessibility to a non-specialist audience; the value of some derivative products; the fact that the IPCC Secretary may sometimes present IPCC findings; training or workshops to help promote clear writing for author teams; and social media.

India, Nigeria, Tanzania and others stressed the importance of accessibility and outreach. India also welcomed the reference to social media and changes to technology, while the Netherlands suggested enhanced use of infographics.

South Africa recommended gathering feedback from authors and others on the AR5 experience.

Noting that many IPCC brochures are still only in English, Madagascar, supported by Comoros, highlighted difficulties with the translation of IPCC material into the UN languages.

Belgium, supported by Switzerland, France, and Germany, said that it should be elected members of the Panel who speak on the content of IPCC findings, and that this should be somehow clarified when addressing the role of the IPCC Secretary.

Marshall Islands, with Comoros, noted the need for experts within their regions to disseminate IPCC findings, and suggested the possibility to train experts for outreach purposes.

Norway, supported by Switzerland, called for a single website or platform for all WGs and the TFI for outreach and communication purposes, as opposed to the current four different websites. He also suggested exploring development of mobile platforms.

Germany and Saudi Arabia said that outreach must use the exact language approved and agreed by the Panel. Germany also called for discussing external sources of funding under donor policy and questioned the need for workshops and training on clear writing for authors given financial constraints and suggested instead preparing guidance notes.

Saudi Arabia stressed the need to avoid situations in which scientists speak in their own capacity but appear to be speaking for the IPCC, underscoring that if the IPCC did not agree on some statement, even if it is found in the underlying report, it should not be communicated as a finding of the IPCC.

The CRP was further revised to take account of these comments and presented to the plenary on Thursday.

On Thursday, Lynn introduced a draft decision on this item (IPCC-XLIV/CRP. 7). He said the comments received had been reflected in the text, including: language clarity and accessibility; translation; and people speaking on approved products in an official capacity. On the suggestion to provide a more detailed text, he said the communication implementation plan has the necessary level of detail. He further noted that the communications strategy considers a broad audience, beyond policy makers.

The Panel adopted the draft decision contained in the document.

Final Decision: In this decision (IPCC-XLIV/CRP.7), the Panel: adopts the update of the IPCC Communications Strategy as contained in its annex; requests the ExComm to update the Implementation Plan in line with the amendments; requests the ExComm to consider the set of procedures to allow the IPCC to make rapid responses to urgent enquiries; and requests the ExComm to keep the implementation plan under review.


This item (IPCC-XLIV/Doc. 10) was first taken up on Wednesday and the decision was adopted Thursday after some revisions.

On Wednesday, IPCC Vice-Chair and Science Board Chair Ko Barrett noted that the Science Board of the IPCC Scholarship Fund and the Secretariat had conducted a review of the scholarship programme, which, inter alia, found: that 13 of 24 students awarded the scholarship had not graduated; internal review procedures to monitor progress were insufficient; and fundraising would demand human resources not available with the IPCC Secretariat. She then provided an overview of three options: scaling up the programme to correct identified deficiencies; request the Science Board to identify potential partnerships for the use of IPCC Scholarship Programme funds; and mandate the Science Board to assess alternative options to enhance capacity-building activities in developing countries.

The Bahamas, with Lebanon, said Ph.D. students could be encouraged to work on topics relevant to the work of the IPCC such as the impacts of 1.5°C increase in warming.

Nigeria proposed providing short-term training to young meteorologists while the Bahamas suggested providing support at the postdoctoral level.

The US said the funds could be used to support developing country needs identified in relation to TGICA and, with the Netherlands, to support participation of developing country experts and authors.

South Africa noted to the need for greater transparency in the operation of the scholarship programme. A number of countries noted the need for regional balance in the selection of students for the scholarship awards pointing to the limited participation by Caribbean and other small island developing states. Mali identified challenges for French-speaking students to participate in the scholarship programme.

A few countries said the recipients of the scholarships should be better integrated in the work of the IPCC beginning with the scoping meetings of the AR6 reports.

On the progress made by the scholarship recipients, a number of countries said Ph.D. studies require longer durations than the two years supported by the grants and that degree completions by award recipients could materialize in due time.

Belgium said the existing challenges of the IPCC Scholarship Programme did not warrant disposing of the programme entirely and urged exploring options to improve deficiencies of the programme.

On the board of trustees of the IPCC Scholarship Fund, some participants urged re-constituting the board immediately, noting that nominations are past due, while others said nominations should be made only after there is clarity on the future work of the scholarship programme.

The Panel decided to mandate the Science Board to re-examine the options and to generate specific suggestions in light of the comments received with further consultations, including partner institutions, for decision at IPCC-45. This decision was adopted on Thursday.

Final Decision: In its decision (IPCC-XLIV/CRP5), the Panel requests the Science Board to consider options for the future of the IPCC Scholarship Programme in light of the findings of the review of this programme and to submit proposals for consideration by the Panel at IPCC-45.


On Thursday, the Secretariat introduced the document (IPCC-XLIV/INF. 3), noted the lack of clear guidance on the participation of Bureau members in intersessional meetings, and said the document captures the existing practice.

Switzerland, with Germany, said participation of all Bureau members is important and urged avoiding a situation that would “discriminate” against the participation by some members.

TFI Co-Chair Calvo Buendía said the prevailing practice was of verbal consultations with Bureau members to obtain expressions of interest to attend intersessional meetings. WGIII Vice Chair Pichs-Madruga highlighted the flexible nature of current practices. Germany asked a revised document be issued with corrections that accurately depict existing practice.

Noting the high degree of collaboration across Bureaus needed in the AR6 cycle, WGIII Co-Chair Skea said clear identification of number of trips for all meetings would help for planning purposes,

A few countries, opposed by the US, proposed postponing discussion on this item to the future. The US said this issue should be discussed in the FiTT.

IPCC Chair Lee proposed, and the Panel decided, that discussions on this issue take place in the FiTT and asked the Secretariat to take note of comments made and include them in the report of the meeting.


On Thursday, the IPCC took up three issues: a report of a co-sponsored workshop; the scoping process and strategic planning for AR6; and the IPCC’s link with the global stocktake under the UNFCCC.

The Secretariat introduced the outcome of the co-sponsored workshop “Integrated research on climate risk and sustainable solutions across IPCC working groups: Lessons learnt from the AR5 to support the AR6” (IPCC-XLIV/INF. 8). He said IPCC funds supported 24 experts from developing countries and countries with economies in transition and that detailed recommendations will be available before the AR6 scoping meeting.

Future Earth underlined that one of their priorities is to contribute to the IPCC and they are currently mobilizing research and organizing the scientific community to contribute to AR6 and the SRs.

The Panel then took note of the document.

The scoping process and strategic planning for AR6 was first raised on Wednesday and subsequently discussed on Thursday. On Wednesday, in response to several queries about the scoping process, IPCC Chair Lee responded that the general scoping process for AR6 will be the same as AR5. He outlined that the IPCC Secretary would send a questionnaire to governments, and that, based on this input, the IPCC Chair would issue a vision paper that would then be sent out for further comments. He said the vision paper and the two rounds of input from governments would then be submitted as inputs to the scoping meeting. He noted that the questionnaire is new to the AR6.

Several countries called for specifying the steps for the scoping process in the strategic plan. The UK and Luxembourg suggested a longer timeline for responses to the questionnaire. The UK further suggested considering the scope of the synthesis report at the outset.

The US proposed, with support from Switzerland, that the pre-scoping questionnaire be approved by the relevant WG Bureaus. The UK and Luxembourg supported changes to the questionnaire, with the UK suggesting that a new questionnaire supersede the one already sent out. Germany noted that there is uncertainty on how to use the questionnaire as an input to the scoping process.

Several members, including Germany, called for learning from lessons of the AR5 process, with Tanzania and Mali citing experiences where some issues, such as food security and drought, relevant to the African region were not adequately addressed.

IPCC Chair Lee suggested convening a small group on the scoping process that would be comprised of the WG and TFI Co-Chairs and the Secretariat to clarify the scoping process and present this understanding to the Panel.

On Thursday, IPCC Chair Lee reiterated the process to solicit input from governments, and confirmed that the process is for all of AR6: the synthesis report, the crosscutting issues and the working group reports. He noted that governments should not feel restricted by the questionnaire and can include additional comments and documents. He stated that the Chair’s vision paper will be prepared by the IPCC Vice-Chairs and WG Co-Chairs, and will be available by the end of February.

Several countries expressed support for the process, including that the vision paper will include the Vice-Chairs and WG Co-Chairs and scope the synthesis report early on. Many said that the 14 November 2016 deadline for the questionnaire should be extended. The UK, supported by others, asked for the process and timelines for the scoping process to be written and circulated to national focal points.

On the strategic plan, Germany, the UK, the US, Tanzania and others underlined that the two SRs, one on oceans and cryosphere, and the other on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and GHG fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems should not be approved in parallel at the same meeting. IPCC Chair Lee said the IPCC ExComm would take these concerns on board.

On the UNFCCC process, France highlighted the commitment of the IPCC to consider links with the global stocktake under the UNFCCC and underlined the importance of a close alignment between the production of IPCC reports and the global stocktake.

The IPCC Secretariat said the modalities of the global stocktake have not yet been elaborated by the UNFCCC. He further noted that aligning the IPCC cycles with the global stocktake would require a review of the rules of procedure for IPCC products. Brazil noted the need to consider the time frames of the nationally determined contributions (NDCs), and observed that the UNFCCC still has to consider the issue of common timeframes. The Netherlands said a ten-year cycle could be considered with intermediate products every five years, or as needed.

The Secretariat said he anticipated making proposals on this issue next year when the rules of procedure are reviewed.


IPCC Chair Lee invited offers from member states to host the next session. Costa Rica expressed interest in hosting the session and said administrative arrangements needed to be worked out.

Mexico also said it was willing to host the next session and she said she would discuss the issue with Costa Rica.


On Thursday afternoon, UNEP said the legal arrangements for the library facility are in its final stages with signature by the IPCC pending and hoped that the facility would enable developing country experts to access peer-reviewed literature.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) noted two upcoming meetings that he said could be useful inputs to the IPCC reports: an expert meeting on climate, food security, and land use in January 2017, and expert meeting on carbon, organized by the FAO, the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS) of the Global Soil Partnership, the Science-Policy Interface (SPI) of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and WMO.

In closing, IPCC Chair Lee reviewed the decisions taken by the Panel at this session and said they were important steps forward for the AR6. He said policy makers have acted decisively and the onus was now on the Panel to deliver the scientific work.

IPCC Chair Lee gaveled the meeting to a close at 5:42 pm. 



The 44th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change convened in Bangkok, Thailand, at an auspicious time for international action on climate change. In early October, it became clear that enough countries would formally ratify the Paris Agreement to allow it to enter into force on 4 November 2016. At the same time, 190 countries agreed, under the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), to offset emissions from international air travel. And then, two days before the opening of the IPCC meeting, the Montreal Protocol announced adoption of the Kigali Amendment, which includes a timetable for a global phase-out of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), powerful greenhouse gases. In all, in the course of two weeks, countries found common ground on matters that had been discussed for years—if not decades.

Although no such milestones were expected in Bangkok, this positive streak seems to have had an impact as the Panel worked in a constructive mood on a lengthy and substantive agenda. By the end of the meeting, the outline for two important reports—one on limiting global warming to 1.5ºC and the other on a refinement to the 2006 National GHG Inventory Guidelines—were approved, along with an Expert Meeting on Mitigation, Sustainability and Climate Stabilization Scenarios, and a Workshop on Climate Change and Cities. In addition, the Panel agreed to amendments to the declaration form on conflict of interest and took decisions on the future of the Task Group on Data and Scenario Support for Impact and Climate Analysis (TGICA), the IPCC Scholarship Programme, the communications strategy and various other matters in preparation for work to deliver AR6, as well as the budget to make it all happen.

This brief analysis takes a look at the key issues addressed by IPCC-44 in the context of its overall work and international climate change policy. It focuses mainly on the special reports and work ahead as the IPCC braces itself for delivery of its various AR6 products in time to inform UNFCCC discussions.


The meeting in Bangkok was the second session under the IPCC’s sixth assessment cycle, and the Panel hit the ground running: the session considered the results of two scoping meetings held in August to draft outlines of a Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, and a Refinement to the 2006 National GHG Inventory Guidelines.

The preparation of the Special Report on 1.5ºC responds to a request from UNFCCC parties who, under the Paris Agreement, agreed “to pursue efforts to limit global temperature rise to 1.5ºC.” This global warming target of 1.5°C came about towards the end of the UNFCCC negotiations in Paris in 2015 to address the concerns about lack of ambition held by many vulnerable countries, allied with developed countries in the so-called “High Ambition Coalition.” Although it is still considered an aspirational goal by many, keeping the rise in temperature to 1.5ºC is seen as critical for these nations, as the impacts at what is considered the accepted goal of 2ºC stand to be already too serious for many of them as well as for some ecosystems, in particular coral reefs and the Arctic.

Put simply, most accounts agree that at the current emissions rate, in five years we will have emitted the net amount of CO2 that would allow a good chance of limiting warming to 1.5ºC. After those five years, every ton emitted would have to be somehow removed. The technologies to remove this atmospheric carbon permanently and sustainably are unclear and untested at the necessary scale.

As was noted repeatedly during the meeting, the 1.5ºC Special Report could become one of the most high-profile IPCC products. And yet it is still unclear whether there is sufficient literature on the subject. Addressing this question will need very high levels of integration, not only of top-down models with bottom-up studies, but of natural and social science and across various disciplines. Authors have to meet the strict criteria that back IPCC assessments and, in the words of the US delegate, “a few reports do not an assessment make.”

There are also myriad methodological challenges to the assessment—not only regarding the sufficiency of literature, but also questions of baselines, indicators, different analytical approaches, assumptions, and particularly uncertainties. At the same time findings will have to be expressed in simple, easily accessible, and non-technical ways. Given the difficulty of the question and the many assumptions that will have to be made to answer it, the report will require a lot of fine print, which goes against the ideal in a report for policymakers expected to be easily comprehended by a large and varied audience.

At this meeting, the Panel agreed to place greater focus on the chapter on impacts as called for by small island states and others, and to consolidate the section on mitigation and adaptation options. What is clear is that the Special Report will be highly scrutinized. Many stressed that it is therefore very important for the IPCC to get it right and present a robust product.

While most attention was paid to the 1.5ºC Special Report given its political nature, the more technical report taken up in Bangkok, the 2019 Refinement to the 2006 National GHG Inventory Guidelines, is also significant. This report consists of a revision of specific sections of the Inventory Guidelines, in the form of either an update, an elaboration, or new guidance. The revisions, with concomitant possible changes to emission factors used by countries to calculate their total emissions, can have serious implications when it comes to countries’ GHG accounting. And although the exact nature of reporting after the Paris Agreement is still to be negotiated, the political bearing of the guidelines is bound to increase.

In Bangkok, Brazil already expressed concern about revisions to the chapter on wetlands given the import of flooded lands in calculating its emissions, for example. While this is something that the scientists will have to sort out, there stand to be differences in opinions and approaches. Yet providing a common methodology to calculate and report national GHG emissions and removals is one of the key roles of the IPCC—without which concerted global action on climate change would be much more difficult.


Past IPCC assessments have helped us understand what has to be done (i.e., generally speaking, drastically reduce emissions and move to net negative emissions by 2080). The question now is how to do it. As IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee has repeatedly said, whereas in the fifth assessment report climate change impacts and responses were considered through a risk frame, the AR6 is taking a solution-based approach.

Indeed, what policy makers and the public will be most interested in when considering the 1.5°C Special Report is whether it is feasible to get the job done—that is, what policies and actions can be employed, quickly and effectively enough, if we are to reach the goal negotiated in Paris. This feasibility will have to be analyzed not only in physical and technical terms, but also in economic, social and political terms. In attempting to answer this, the IPCC is treading in areas where empirical evidence is scant, and historical experience is nil. If the solutions are not realistic, the solution-based approach will have to make this clear. The unwelcome news that the IPCC may have to deliver could be tricky to present, yet critical if we are to understand and act upon the challenge we are faced with.

It is important to remember that the Special Report will be complemented by the AR6 report, expected to be finalized in the first half of 2022. The nomination for authors to the AR6 begins in November 2016. Meanwhile, literature to be assessed in the 1.5ºC Special Report will need to be submitted for publication by October 2017 and accepted by April 2018 in order to be included in the review.

The Special Report on 1.5ºC is then due for delivery in September 2018, in time to inform the UNFCCC’s “facilitative dialogue” scheduled that year, and will provide a preview for how subsequent IPCC reports may inform the global stocktake—the process set up to assess progress towards meeting the long-term goals set out under the Paris Agreement.

The UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement have been affected by what some call a reality-gap. Many will look to the IPCC to bridge the gap by at least clearly stating, in so far as possible, the feasibility of the targets declared, exposing what these targets entail and the implications—both of action and of inaction.


IPCC Outreach Event: The IPCC will present its finding and research with a focus on Viet Nam. dates: 24-25 October 2016  location: Hanoi, Viet Nam  contact: IPCC Secretariat  phone: +41-22-730-8208/54/84  fax: +41-22-730-8025/13  email: www:

51st Meeting of the GEF Council: The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council meets twice a year to approve new projects with global environmental benefits in the GEF’s focal areas of biodiversity, climate change mitigation, chemicals and waste, international waters, land degradation, and sustainable forest management; and in the GEF’s integrated approach programs on sustainable cities, taking deforestation out of commodity chains, and sustainability and resilience for food security in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Council also provides guidance to the GEF Secretariat and Agencies. The 25-27 October GEF Council meeting will be preceded on 24 October by a consultation with civil society organizations (CSOs) at the same location. On 27 October the Council will convene as the 21st meeting of the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) also at the same location.  dates: 24-27 October 2016  location: Washington D.C., US  contact: GEF Secretariat  phone: +1-202-473-0508  fax: +1-202-522-3240  email: www:

UNFCCC COP 22: During COP 22 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), parties will meet to, inter alia, address entry into force the Paris Agreement among other issues.  dates: 7-18 November 2016  location: Marrakesh,Morocco  contact: UNFCCC Secretariat  phone: +49-228 815-1000  fax: +49-228-815-1999  email: www:

Scoping of the IPCC Special Report on “Climate Change and Oceans and the Cryosphere:” During this meeting, members will discuss the outline of the special report.  dates: 6-9 December 2016  location: Monte Carlo, Monaco  contact: IPCC Secretariat  phone: +41-22-730-8208/54/84  fax: +41-22-730-8025/13  email: www:

TFI - 14th Editorial Board Meeting for the IPCC Emission Factor Database: The TFI will convene on this issue in Indonesia.  dates: 13-16 December 2016  location: Bali, Indonesia  contact: IPCC Secretariat  phone: +41-22-730-8208/54/84  fax: +41-22-730-8025/13  email: www:

TFI - 13th Expert Meeting on Data (Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use Sector) for the IPCC Emission Factor Database (EFDB) / 14th Expert Meeting on Data (Waste Sector) for the IPCC Emission Factor Database (EFDB): The TFI will meet on these issues in Indonesia.  dates: 14-15 December 2016.  location: Bali, Indonesia  contact: IPCC Secretariat  phone: +41-22-730-8208/54/84  fax: +41-22-730-8025/13  email: www:

Expert Meeting on Climate Change, Land Use and Food Security: This meeting will be co-hosted by the IPCC and the FAO. dates: 23-25 January 2017  location: Rome, Italy  contact: Climate and Environment division (NRC)  phone: +39-6-570 52714  email: www:

Expert Meeting on Mitigation, Sustainability and Climate Stabilization Scenarios: The aims of the expert meeting include developing a dialogue between different research communities, stimulating interdisciplinary research activity that can lead to literature for the AR6’s assessment, and engaging with experts and stakeholders concerned with mitigation. dates: late March 2017  location: Norway  contact: IPCC Secretariat  phone: +41-22-730-8208/54/84  fax: +41-22-730-8025/13  email: www:

International Symposium on Soil Organic Carbon: This workshop is co-organized by FAO, the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS) of the Global Soil Partnership, the Science-Policy Interface (SPI) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the WMO. dates: 4-6 April 2017  location: Rome, Italy  contact: Ronald Vargas, Global Soils Partnership  phone:  email: www:

45th Session of the IPCC: The IPCC will meet to discuss, inter alia, AR6 products, the methodology reports to refine the 2006 IPCC Guidelines on National GHG Inventories, and the SR on Global Warming of 1.5°C.   dates: 3-9 April 2017 (TBC) location: TBC  contact: IPCC Secretariat  phone: +41-22-730-8208/54/84  fax: +41-22-730-8025/13  email: www:

For additional meetings, see