Summary report, 24–27 February 2015
41st Session of the IPCC (IPCC-41)
The 41st session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-41) met from 24-27 February 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya. IPCC-41 had on its agenda the future work of the IPCC, including consideration of the recommendations by the Task Group on the Future Work of the IPCC, and a decision on size, structure and composition of the IPCC Bureau and any Task Force Bureau. IPCC-41 also addressed: procedural matters related to the designation of an acting chair; communication and outreach activities, including a proposal by Norway to convene an expert meeting; implementation of the IPCC Conflict of Interest Policy; and matters related to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and other international bodies. Approximately 200 people were in attendance.
Prior to the opening of the session, IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri submitted a letter of resignation to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. IPCC Vice-Chair Ismail El Gizouli was appointed as Acting Chair of the IPCC.
The Panel adopted a set of decisions on the future work of the IPCC, including on: IPCC products, their timing and their usability; IPCC structure; respective roles of the IPCC Secretariat and the IPCC Technical Support Units; options for the selection of and support to Coordinating Lead Authors and Lead Authors; and improving the writing and review process. The decisions also address involvement of developing countries, including additional measures to attract qualified experts from developing countries and enhance and facilitate their engagement with the IPCC.
Additionally, the Panel decided to hold an expert meeting on communications and outreach, as proposed by Norway, and a workshop on regional climate projections and their use in impacts and risk analysis studies. The Panel agreed that IPCC-42 would be held in Dubrovnik, Croatia, from 5-8 October 2015.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE IPCC
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 the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts, and options for adaptation and mitigation. The IPCC 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 neutral with respect to policy, but not prescriptive.
The IPCC has three Working Groups (WGs): Working Group I (WGI) addresses the physical science basis of the climate system and climate change; Working Group II (WGII) addresses the vulnerability of socio-economic and natural systems to climate change, impacts of climate change and adaptation options; and Working Group III (WGIII) addresses options for limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and mitigating climate change. Until IPCC-41, each WG has had two Co-Chairs and six Vice-Chairs, except WGIII, which, for the fifth assessment cycle, 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 Greenhouse Gas Inventories (TFI) to oversee the IPCC National GHG Inventories Programme, which aims to: develop and refine an internationally-agreed methodology and software for the calculation and reporting of national GHG emissions and removals; and encourage the use of this methodology 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, and the preparation of an IPCC assessment report. The Bureau’s role is to assist 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 31 members: the IPCC Chair and Vice-Chairs, the WG Co-Chairs and Vice-Chairs, and the TFI Co-Chairs. 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, WGs and TFI Co-Chairs, and advisory members, including the Head of the Secretariat 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 (ARs), 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; and the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) in 2007. Currently, the ARs are structured into three parts, one for each WG. Each part is comprised of a Summary for Policymakers (SPM), a Technical Summary and an underlying assessment report. All sections of the reports 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. The ARs also include a Synthesis Report (SYR), highlighting the most relevant aspects of the three WG reports, and an SPM of the SYR, which is 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 (2011); and Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (2011). Technical papers have also been prepared on Climate Change and Water (2008), among others.
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 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.
IPCC-28: During this session (9-10 April 2008, Budapest, Hungary), the IPCC agreed to prepare the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) and to retain the current structure of its WGs. In order to enable significant use of new scenarios in AR5, the Panel requested the IPCC Bureau to ensure delivery of the WGI report by early 2013 and completion of the other WG reports and the SYR as early as possible in 2014.
IPCC-29: This session (31 August - 4 September 2008, Geneva, Switzerland) commemorated the IPCC’s 20th anniversary. The Panel elected the new IPCC Bureau, and reelected Rajendra Pachauri (India) as Chair. The Panel also continued discussions on the future of the IPCC and agreed to create a scholarship fund for young climate change scientists from developing countries with the funds from the Nobel Peace Prize.
IPCC-30: During this session (21-23 April 2009, Antalya, Turkey), the Panel focused mainly on the near-term future of the IPCC and provided guidance for an AR5 scoping meeting, which was held in Venice, Italy, from 13-17 July 2009.
IPCC-31: This session (26-29 October 2009, Bali, Indonesia) focused on approving the proposed AR5 chapter outlines that had been developed by participants at a scoping meeting. The Panel also considered progress on implementing decisions taken at IPCC-30 regarding the involvement of scientists from developing countries and countries with economies in transition, use of electronic technologies, and the longer-term future of the IPCC.
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 Pachauri 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 Policy (COI), and governance and management. The Panel also accepted a revised outline for the AR5 SYR.
IPCC-33: The 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. The Panel also considered progress on AR5.
IPCC-34: This meeting (18-19 November 2011, Kampala, Uganda) adopted the revised Procedures for the Preparation, Review, Acceptance, Adoption, Approval and Publication of IPCC Reports, as well as the Implementation Procedures and 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 titled “Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis.” The Panel then met to approve the WGI SPM and also accepted the underlying report, including the Technical Summary and annexes.
IPCC-37: During this session (14-17 October 2013, Batumi, Georgia), the Panel considered and adopted two methodology reports: the 2013 Supplement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National GHG Inventories: Wetlands; and the 2013 Revised Supplementary Methods and Good Practice Guidance Arising from the Kyoto Protocol. 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 titled “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, future work of the IPCC and COI. The first meeting of the Task Group on the Future Work of the IPCC (TGF) was held on 6 April.
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. On 1 November, the Panel approved the SYR’s SPM line by line, and adopted the longer SYR section by section.
On Tuesday, 24 February, a welcoming ceremony was held prior to the opening of IPCC-41. Highlighting the IPCC’s role in getting the world to act on climate change, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner stressed the links between the post-2015 development agenda and responses to climate change. In considering the IPCC’s future role, he urged the IPCC to retain its focus on its core mandate, and to ensure that its work remains relevant and applicable for all decision makers.
Pointing to the upcoming 17th WMO Congress in May, Jeremiah Lengoasa, Deputy Secretary-General, WMO, identified relevant topics of interest for the IPCC, including: decisions regarding the World Climate Programme’s activities; the continued search for regional-scale knowledge; and a research, monitoring and governance framework for geoengineering. He commended the IPCC on its engagement with diverse audiences, including those participating in negotiations under the UNFCCC, and called for making the IPCC findings accessible and relevant.
Judi W. Wakhungu, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, emphasized the AR5’s role in informing the world about the reality of climate change and pointed to institutional arrangements undertaken by Kenya to address climate change, including approval of a climate change action plan. Noting that the IPCC provides essential information on development and risk management, she called for the IPCC to ensure accessibility of effective information in understandable formats for the benefit of the most vulnerable.
IPCC Secretary Renate Christ then announced that the Bureau would convene to discuss procedural issues.
Following the Bureau meeting, IPCC Vice-Chair Ismail El Gizouli, Sudan, formally opened IPCC-41, noting that the Bureau had met after receiving a copy of a letter of resignation from Rajendra Pachauri as IPCC Chair. El Gizouli explained that the Bureau had agreed to appoint him to serve as Acting IPCC Chair. IPCC Secretary Renate Christ then read Pachauri’s resignation letter, which was addressed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Acting Chair El Gizouli thanked former IPCC Chair Pachauri for his leadership over the last 13 years. He encouraged all to engage in open and constructive dialogue during this week, and called for building on lessons learned during the AR5 process, in particular finding ways to increase the participation of developing country scientists.
WMO Deputy Secretary-General Lengoasa expressed appreciation to Pachauri and the manner in which he had carried out his responsibilities as IPCC Chair. He also thanked IPCC Secretary Christ for her service to the IPCC, noting that this would be her last plenary meeting.
Addressing the plenary via video, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres highlighted three transformative changes: a growing appreciation of the cumulative challenge of climate change; mass mobilization by governments, the private sector’s awareness of climate risk and growing civil society concern; and increasing vulnerability. On the IPCC’s future work, she recommended: using IPCC outputs in the assessment of the long-term goal of 2°C; further understanding climate impacts and empowering vulnerable populations with knowledge; and communicating with decision makers, including leaders of cities, investors and the general public. She also proposed complementing the SPMs with a “summary for the citizens of the world.”
IPCC Secretary Christ addressed the plenary, thanking everyone with whom she had worked over the years given that this was her last meeting. She noted the IPCC’s development as a model for providing information to policymakers. She highlighted developments in communications and outreach, Secretariat capacity and organizational procedures, but noted a continuing need to broaden governments’ voluntary contribution base for the IPCC. She said the IPCC should consider: scope and timing of IPCC products, particularly for the UNFCCC; cross-WG cooperation at an early stage; enhanced dialogue across a wider range of disciplines, such as social sciences and philosophy; innovative ideas for putting the ever-increasing amount of literature to use while maintaining the robustness and rigor of the IPCC process; and ways to facilitate and enhance involvement of authors from, and governments of, developing countries.
The panel then adopted the agenda (IPCC-XLI/Doc.1, Rev.1; and IPCC-XLI/Doc.1 Add. 1).
APPROVAL OF THE DRAFT REPORT OF THE 40TH SESSION
IPCC Secretary Christ introduced the draft report of IPCC-40 (IPCC-XLI/Doc. 2, Rev.1), noting amendments requested by Germany on the budget and progress report. In response to a question by the US, the Secretariat explained that the contingency budget for expert meetings taking place in 2015 was meant for any relevant decisions taken at this session. The Panel adopted the draft report without further amendment.
IPCC PROGRAMME AND BUDGET
Secretary Christ presented the programme and budget (IPCC-XLI/Doc. 11), which included: the draft statement of income and expenditure; revisions to the approved budget for the year 2015 as required; and any other matters. A Financial Task Team (FiTT), co-chaired by Nicolas Bériot (France) and Amjad Abdulla (Maldives), was established and asked to report back to the plenary at the end of the meeting. The FiTT met a number of times throughout the week.
On Friday afternoon, FiTT Co-Chair Bériot introduced the outcome of the work of the FiTT (IPCC-XLI/Doc.11). FiTT Co-Chair Abdulla highlighted, among others: an indicative budget for 2017; the declining numbers of contributors to the IPCC budget; and a new color-coded system for ease of use of budget documents. The Panel agreed to this outcome.
ADMISSION OF OBSERVER ORGANIZATIONS
IPCC Secretary Christ introduced this agenda item (IPCC-XLI/Doc.7), with the Panel agreeing to admit three new observer organizations: Action Jeunesse pour le Développement (Republic of Congo); Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute (Australia); and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University (US).
FUTURE WORK OF THE IPCC
On Tuesday afternoon, Acting Chair El Gizouli introduced the agenda item on future work of the IPCC. He proposed addressing together sub-items on: consideration of the recommendations by the TGF (IPCC-XLI/Doc. 4); and size, structure and composition of the IPCC Bureau and any Task Force Bureau (TFB) (IPCC-XLI/Doc.15); and the questionnaire about the organization of the IPCC nomination and review process – report by the Secretariat (IPCC-XLI/Doc.3).
Secretary Christ then presented the sub-agenda items, noting that the TGF had converted its options report into a set of recommendations with a variety of possible options, and highlighting the need to take decisions on the size and structure of the IPCC Bureau and amendment of election rules in advance of IPCC-42.
Bruce Hewitson, Co-Chair of the Task Group on Data and Scenario Support for Impact and Climate Analysis (TGICA), addressed the future of the TGICA and the IPCC Data Distribution Centre (DDC). He supported strengthening TGICA and upgrading the DDC, noting advantages, such as: improved cross-WG knowledge exchange; authoritative reference for archived materials; and a new nomination process that matches needs, such as involvement in TGICA activities beyond meetings. He also recommended appointing a full time TGICA programme support professional to coordinate activities across TGICA, the DDC, the Secretariat and the WGs. He recommended an upgraded DDC with additional activities, including: generation of content for a less technical and resource-limited audience; greater support for data-users; creation of a dataset index; and archiving increased data volumes according to DDC standards. He also noted that this would require an increase in resources for an upgraded DDC.
Switzerland asked that proposals for strengthening TGICA and the DDC be discussed as integral to the decision on all elements related to the IPCC’s future.
CONSIDERATION OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS BY THE TGF: Throughout the week, the Panel discussed recommendations forwarded by the TGF, addressing: IPCC products, their timing and their usability; IPCC structure; administrative matters and respective roles of the IPCC Secretariat and IPCC TSU; selection of and support to Coordinating Lead Authors (CLAs), Lead Authors (LAs) and Review Editors and improving the writing and review process; and additional measures suitable to attract additional qualified experts from developing countries and enhance and facilitate their engagement with the IPCC.
On Tuesday afternoon, Acting Chair El Gizouli opened discussion on the recommendations by the TGF (IPCC-XLI/Doc. 4), submitted by TGF Co-Chairs Helen Plume (New Zealand) and Taha Zatari (Saudi Arabia).
IPCC Product Types and their Timing: On preparation of comprehensive ARs, the Panel agreed to a paragraph on continuing to prepare ARs every 5-7 years. However, there was much discussion on three supplementary options on preparation of: SRs during an assessment cycle; rapid updates to supplement an AR; and regional reports to supplement an AR.
On SRs, Norway, supported by Belgium, Brazil, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and South Africa, proposed that identification of SRs should begin as early as possible and, as feasible, be done in the context of all deliverables of the cycle.
Norway, the UK, South Africa, Slovenia and others supported the concept of rapid updates, particularly in order to meet the UNFCCC’s needs, although others, including Brazil, the US and Mali, expressed concerns, including on how to carry them out credibly and accurately, the frequency of availability of new information, review procedures and the additional workload for authors. WGI Co-Chair Thomas Stocker, supported by China, South Africa and Belgium, noted that the term “rapid” was not clear.
On preparing regional reports, many parties supported a stronger regional focus. Pakistan, supported by Brazil, suggested addressing this together with SRs. The Netherlands, supported by Brazil, recommended developing an online database and methodology to provide flexible and comparable regional information and climate models. WGI Co-Chair Stocker, supported by Belgium, questioned the definition of “region,” and noted that any new IPCC product must maintain the IPCC elements of scoping, review and final approval. IPCC Secretary Christ noted two existing procedures for preparing regional reports, either as dedicated SRs on regions or as technical reports based on a completed AR. The Russian Federation, supported by Germany, lamented the increase in the IPCC workload that would be required for regional reports.
After numerous suggestions on consolidating the text on SRs and regional aspects, the Secretariat and the TGF presented revised text on Wednesday morning, specifying that the identification of SRs, including those with a focus on regional information and priorities, should be made as early as possible and in the context of all deliverables of the cycle, and that any new requests, particularly from the UNFCCC, will be dealt with consistent with the Decision Framework for SRs, Methodology Reports, and Technical Papers.
Brazil, South Africa, Nicaragua, Mexico and the Maldives stressed the need for additional language, including on: the inclusion of local communities and indigenous peoples; and evidence gathering, such as from workshops, on highly vulnerable areas that do not have peer-reviewed literature, but this was not accepted.
Chile and Tanzania noted that the proposed paragraph on regional aspects had come about due to gaps in the AR5 WGII report and preferred strengthening regional aspects of the AR.
Acting Chair El Gizouli noted that concerns regarding rapid updates were covered by the sentence on consistency with the Decision Framework. The consolidated text was adopted without amendment, and the previous paragraph on spacing of assessments was amended to highlight regional aspects of ARs.
On proposed provisions on scoping of cross-cutting issues at an early stage and on the increasing importance of cross-WG cooperation, and with regard to a reference to the SPMs and the SYR as the main products of the IPCC, WGII Co-Chair Chris Field stressed the need to emphasize all IPCC products. Supporting this, the US cautioned against creating a hierarchy regarding the importance of products, while Saudi Arabia stressed that the SPMs and the SYR are the main products.
Following some discussion, proposals were put forward: suggesting that the scoping of the SPMs and SYR, as well as cross-cutting issues, should begin at an early stage; emphasizing the importance of enhanced cross-WG cooperation; and requesting that the new Bureau pay particular attention to this, taking into consideration lessons learned in previous assessments.
Germany, supported by Egypt, favored scoping of SPMs rather than the full report, noting it would enable a more focused and decreased workload. WGI Co-Chair Stocker, supported by Sweden and Norway, noted that the SPMs have never been scoped since they are integral parts of the full ARs, and proposed scoping of SYRs, as well any cross-cutting issues. WGII Co-Chair Field clarified that cross-cutting issues should be considered, not necessarily scoped, at an early stage. After further discussion, delegates agreed to provisions on scoping of SYRs and giving attention to cross-cutting issues at an early stage, and on the increasing importance of enhanced cross-WG cooperation.
The Panel then discussed two alternative proposals regarding the timing of WG reports: releasing the AR within one year, with staggered release of the WG reports over a few months; or longer staggering between the WG reports to allow for information presented by one WG to be adequately reflected by the other WGs and the SYR. New Zealand supported releasing the reports within one year with some flexibility, noting that a staggered approach might mean a gap of several years between reports. Belgium suggested that a staggered approach would enable the IPCC to capture the attention of the media for a longer period of time. The US also preferred a staggered approach, noting the challenges of conducting concurrent reviews of WG reports. Also favoring a staggered approach, the Maldives highlighted its capacity constraints to comment on reports within one year.
WGIII Co-Chair Ottmar Edenhofer said the choice of the AR timeline should depend on whether procedures are in place to integrate the results across all WGs and recommended a compact timeline if so. WGI Co-Chair Stocker suggested a flexible approach that would allow information in the WG reports to be reflected in the SYR in a timely manner.
Acting Chair El Gizouli introduced reformulated text combining the two options, calling for all parts of an AR to be released within about one year, with staggering between the reports to allow for information presented by one WG to be adequately reflected by the other WGs and the SYR.
Supporting this text, Germany noted he would be open to changing the sequence of the WG reports, with El Gizouli responding that the sequencing would be decided during the scoping meeting.
China preferred extending the timeline to 18 months, while Slovenia favored keeping the timeline under 18 months. The EU noted that a more compact timeline would add value, saying that the change made in the scenarios for AR5 would probably not be repeated for the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6).
The text was adopted with amendments stating that the WG reports would be released within 12-18 months.
Participants then addressed a provision related to developing specific methodology reports or good practice guidance reports to enable and assist countries and regions in preparing regional and/or national scientific assessments. Discussion centered on whether the IPCC “will” or “may” “develop” or “further consider whether to develop” such reports.
Noting that the text was unclear and that such a decision could be taken at any point in the future, the UK, opposed by Germany, the Netherlands, Ecuador and others, suggested deleting the paragraph. Members generally agreed it was important to acknowledge the need for methodology reports or good practice guidance reports, while not being too prescriptive.
After further discussion on precise language, the Panel agreed to a proposal by Belgium, with slight amendments, stating that the IPCC “will consider developing methodology reports or good practice guidance reports, for example, to facilitate the preparation of regional and/or national scientific assessments.”
On further exploring ways to enhance collaboration with other relevant international organizations and assessment bodies, including producing reports in partnership with those bodies, Japan sought to include regional and international research organizations or networks in a list of possible partners, given that some of these organizations support capacity building of scientists in various regions. A call by India and the Maldives to include national bodies was ultimately not accepted.
WGI Co-Chair Stocker and others proposed text expanding the list of organizations to include other international organizations and research bodies providing relevant information to IPCC assessments. The UK and Peru preferred reference to “scientific” rather than “research” organizations, which was ultimately accepted.
The Netherlands sought reassurance that jointly produced reports are fully compliant with IPCC rules and procedures. Secretary Christ listed examples of IPCC cooperation with other organizations, all of which, she said, had complied with IPCC rules and procedures.
Following agreement to delete reference to collaboration on Technical Papers, Saudi Arabia, with Brazil, the Maldives and Tanzania, also suggested deleting language “specifying production of reports” in partnership with other bodies, including a list of such bodies. Switzerland, supported by Dominica, Tanzania, the US, Saudi Arabia and the Maldives, opposed specifying the nature of the collaboration, noting it was too limiting. This deletion was accepted. The final text states that the IPCC will further explore ways to enhance collaboration with other relevant international organizations and scientific bodies.
Final Outcome: Regarding IPCC product types and their timing, the Panel decided to: continue to prepare comprehensive ARs every 5-7 years, including regional aspects, supplemented by SRs; take into account the work of the UNFCCC in determining its future reports and their timing; and release all parts of an AR within 12-18 months.
The Panel also decided to: conduct scoping of SYRs at an early stage; enhance cross-WG cooperation; continue to prepare Methodology Reports on National GHG Inventories and other methodology reports or good practice guidance reports; and explore options to foster cooperation with relevant international and scientific organizations.
The Panel further decided to consider requests from the UNFCCC according to the Decision Framework for Special Reports, Methodology Reports and Technical Papers.
Further Enhancing the Usability of IPCC Reports: On engagement of communication specialists for SPMs, many countries noted the need to involve specialists in all IPCC products rather than just SPMs. The US, supported by Norway, called for engaging specialists throughout the drafting period. Others noted the need to further consider the roles and qualifications of specialists to be engaged. Canada, supported by the US, noted the need to involve both communications specialists as well as scientific writers.
Citing the example of WGI’s use of a scientific writer in the report’s Frequently Asked Questions section and for SPM headline statements, WGI Co-Chair Stocker highlighted the role that specialists can play. However, supported by WGII Co-Chair Field, he noted the need for authors to maintain ownership of IPCC products.
Acting Chair El Gizouli introduced an amended text stating that the IPCC would further consider how science writers and communications specialists could assist during the drafting period in enhancing the usability and readability of IPCC products.
Egypt, expressing concern with this new text, introduced alternative language, emphasizing the need to conform to IPCC procedures and to seek assistance from relevant experts throughout the drafting period.
Norway, supported by the Netherlands, called for a clear decision on the engagement of communications specialists at IPCC-41. Saudi Arabia objected, noting that the matter continued to be under discussion and supported language reflecting this.
Canada, supported by the UK, proposed new text highlighting the need to be more direct and proposed taking a decision at this session. Brazil opposed the draft decision as amended by Canada and called for consideration of WGI Co-Chair Stocker’s proposal, which: eliminated the focus only on the SPM; and called for seeking advice from various specialists to enhance the readability of IPCC products. This proposal was accepted.
On how to better reflect non-English language literature in IPCC reports, the TGF text suggested the Panel adopt a recommendation to the Bureau to consider the following measures: (1) establish or use existing regional committees or networks to improve access to non-English language literature; (2) approach authors of such literature to provide expert opinions or specific inputs on particular topics; and (3) identify relevant literature published in languages other than English, in particular from developing countries. Regarding the latter, the text also suggested that a UN-based language service could assist in translating such documents, and authors of such literature could be approached to provide expert opinions or specific inputs on relevant topics.
On the first point, WGI Co-Chair Stocker noted the valuable function of IPCC focal points and Bureau members in identifying non-English language literature. The US, Japan and Canada preferred using existing committees and networks to improve access to non-English language literature rather than establishing new ones, while the Republic of Korea opposed limiting such committees to those currently in existence.
On the second point, WGII Co-Chair Field suggested approaching such authors to become expert reviewers, contributing authors and chapter scientists, which was agreed.
On the third point, the US, with Germany, Canada and Switzerland, opposed by Egypt, objected to a full translation of the literature assisted by a UN-based language service, questioning the necessity and the cost of such translations. Brazil and others opposed reference to authors of such literature being approached to provide expert opinion or specific inputs on relevant topics.
TGF Co-Chair Plume recalled that this was only a recommendation to the Bureau to consider, that all decisions would be made in the context of resource availability, and that these views had come out strongly in the TGF.
The Panel then agreed on revised text, which recommends that the Bureau: use regional committees or networks, IPCC focal points and WG Vice-Chairs to improve access to non-English language literature; approach authors of such literature to serve as expert reviewers, contributing authors and chapter scientists; and identify literature published in languages other than English, in particular from developing countries, which a UN-based language service could assist in translating.
Final Outcome: On increasing the usability of IPCC reports, the Panel decided to: request the IPCC Secretariat to facilitate and enhance the use of digital technology for exchange and distribution of information; and request advice of specialists as needed to increase the readability of IPCC products.
On enhancing the assessment of non-English language literature in the IPCC, the Panel requested the Bureau to: improve access to non-English literature; identify scientific literature in other languages in collaboration with governments and international organizations; and encourage authors of relevant non-English literature to engage with the IPCC process.
IPCC Structure: On Wednesday afternoon, regarding a draft paragraph on the structure, composition and size of the Bureau and TFB, Acting Chair El Gizouli noted two options of retaining or amending the status quo, and referred to a 2012 IPCC decision on a 31-member Bureau. He specified the regional distribution of Bureau members as five from Africa, five from Asia, four from South America, four from North and Central America and the Caribbean, four from the South-West Pacific and eight from Europe. He noted that each region is represented in the ExComm and as Co-Chairs or Vice-Chairs of all three WGs.
Saudi Arabia, supported by India, the Republic of Korea, the Maldives and China, proposed increasing the number of Asian Bureau members from five to seven.
Egypt, supported by Algeria, proposed to increase the number of African representatives in the Bureau from five to seven.
Acting Chair El Gizouli cautioned that if the Bureau size increased from 31 to the proposed 35, the allocation of the new members across the WGs would need to be considered.
Peru stressed that regional distribution for the IPCC Bureau is based on WMO rules and asked to put the issue on hold until a future session. Secretary Christ responded that under IPCC rules, Bureau size and structure must be reviewed at least one session prior to an election session. Peru, supported by Brazil and Canada, expressed support for maintaining the current structure. Ethiopia noted that the WMO’s Executive Committee has 37 members and called for adhering to this. Secretary Christ stressed that the IPCC uses WMO regions to divide up the world, but does not follow WMO distribution in the allocation of seats.
Croatia cautioned that if any region gets a new seat it will have a domino effect, and questioned the affordability and effectiveness of a larger Bureau. Canada objected to the “self-serving nature” of certain countries’ proposals and their own regions’ support for those proposals. Egypt expressed discomfort with some delegations stating that its proposal was self-serving, which would suggest such proposals had no merit or reasoning to support them.
Madagascar noted the discrepancy in the numbers of representatives on the Bureau from each region vis-à-vis the number of countries in each region, noting that Europe has 52 countries and eight representatives, while Africa has 54 countries and only five representatives. Secretary Christ noted that representation is based on a minimum of four representatives for each region, to provide for representation in all WGs and the ExComm, and then on the number of countries in each region and the diversity of the region. The Maldives noted that Asia contains the majority of the global population and is the most complex and diverse region. Saudi Arabia also noted Asia’s different interests, climates, vulnerabilities and levels of development. The Russian Federation proposed increasing the number of representatives from each region by one or otherwise keeping the Bureau’s size as is.
Acting Chair El Gizouli proposed establishing an informal group. Canada, supported by France, proposed that Asia and Africa clarify why they are asking for increased Bureau representation prior to the informal group meeting. France noted that IPCC work and approval sessions are very unbalanced, but that Bureau representation has nothing to do this. After further discussion, it was agreed that an open-ended informal group would convene, co-facilitated by IPCC Vice-Chairs Hoesung Lee and Jean Pascal van Ypersele. The informal group met on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.
Reporting back to plenary on Friday morning on the informal group’s discussions on how best to represent regions in the Bureau, Co-Facilitators Lee and van Ypersele said that the group had agreed to add two positions from Africa and one position from Asia, on the condition that the Panel review the allocation of Bureau regions in the future.
Voicing discomfort with the procedures, Nicaragua said that the Bureau could have added one more member from his region. The Netherlands expressed serious concern with the lack of rationale on the size of the Bureau and asked to have his serious reservations recorded in the meeting report.
The Panel then agreed to increase the size of the Bureau to 34 members, and to allocate the additional members by adding one WG Vice-Chair to each of the WGs, resulting in seven Vice-Chairs for WGI and WGIII instead of six, and eight for WGII instead of seven.
After further discussion, the Panel also agreed to initiate a review of approaches to determine the size and composition of the future Bureau at IPCC-43.
The Panel agreed to amend Annex B of Appendix C of the Principles Governing IPCC Work to reflect the changes in the size, structure and composition of the Bureau.
The Netherlands, opposed by the Central African Republic, speaking for the African region, Madagascar, Mali, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, called for adding language reflecting that this would not prevent a possible decrease in Bureau size in the future. As an alternative, the Netherlands suggested reopening the preamble to the decision to state that “the IPCC strives to work efficiently and to reduce costs as far as possible.” Some members opposed reopening agreed language, and neither proposal was accepted.
On the TGICA mandate and implementation, South Africa supported retaining the TGICA mandate while strengthening implementation. Switzerland highlighted the need to revisit and strengthen the mandate in conjunction with the role of the DDC. Germany and others proposed revisiting this issue at IPCC-43 on the basis of an updated TGICA vision paper that takes into account the views of governments, experts and observers.
The US, Canada and Belgium expressed concern regarding duplication of TGICA’s functions, such as with the WMO’s Global Framework for Climate Services, and recommended also discussing this issue further.
South Africa, supported by Tanzania, asked that language on strengthening implementation of TGICA be included in the text. Switzerland, Germany, Japan and others objected to this inclusion, noting it was premature to add such language before a decision was reached on the TGICA’s mandate. South Africa and Tanzania supported the need to strengthen implementation before discussing mandate. TGICA Co-Chair Timothy Carter noted that the option of strengthening TGICA was included in its vision paper.
To foster dialogue between TGICA and its data users, Canada, supported by several other countries, proposed organizing an expert meeting prior to IPCC-43. Brazil proposed that such an expert meeting maintain an open format, noting that a workshop may be more appropriate.
Following informal consultations, WGI Co-Chair Stocker introduced compromise language reflecting that the Panel will revisit the TGICA’s mandate and requesting the Secretariat to update the vision paper based on: consultations with the TGICA Co-Chairs; the views of scientists, the IPCC Bureau, governments and observer organizations; and recommendations from a meeting of experts organized by the Secretariat. South Africa asked to include language on revisiting TGICA’s mandate at IPCC-43. The compromise text was adopted as amended.
Final Outcome: On IPCC structure, the final text reads that the Panel decides to, inter alia:
• increase the size of the IPCC Bureau to 34 members by increasing the representation of Region I (Africa) from 5 to 7, and Region II (Asia) from 5 to 6, distribute these additional positions equally among the WGs, and initiate a review of approaches to determine the size and composition of the future Bureau at IPCC-43;
• retain the current structure and mandate of the three WGs and of the TFI; and
• revisit the mandate of the TGICA at IPCC-43 and request the Secretariat, in consultation with the TGICA Co-Chairs, to update the TGICA vision paper for IPCC-43.
Administrative Matters and Respective Roles of the IPCC Secretariat and IPCC TSUs:Much discussion ensued regarding TSU functions. Germany and the US objected to establishing additional TSUs, with Germany stating that this would depend on funding organizations and host countries. They preferred maintaining the TSU functions as decided by IPCC-35. South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Venezuela, Mali, Brazil and others disagreed, and stressed the need to maintain reference to additional TSUs, noting that many developing countries favor the establishment of TSUs in developing countries.
Responding to a query by Germany and the US, Acting Chair El Gizouli and Secretary Christ explained that establishing additional TSUs was a common IPCC practice, and recalled the establishment of TSUs for the AR5 SYR and for the LULUCF SR.
Participants also struggled with wording on the function of the TSUs, with many countries generally preferring to keep the reference to the functions as open as possible, while the WG Co-Chairs and others favored specific references and expressed concern with operational difficulties related to multiple TSUs for the same WG.
After much discussion and informal consultations, the text was revised to reflect that: the Panel may decide, as required, to establish TSUs to support IPCC product preparation and activities during the AR6 cycle; TSUs provide scientific, technical and operational support to the respective IPCC WGs and the TFI; TSUs may be formed to support the preparation of an SYR or any other task force or group constituted by the Panel; and TSU functions will remain as decided by IPCC-35. This revised text was then accepted.
Regarding a paragraph stating that further clarification of the respective roles and responsibilities between the Secretariat and TSUs and among TSUs is required to enhance efficiency and remove redundancies and overlaps, and that this will be laid down in memoranda of understanding (MoUs), the US emphasized the need for flexibility and suggested that such clarification of the roles “can” enhance efficiency rather than “is required to,” which was agreed. The US, with Japan, Germany and Norway, but opposed by Saudi Arabia, called for deleting reference to MoUs. Germany, supported by WGII Co-Chair Field, supported clarifying the roles but opposed prescribing this through an MoU, with several delegations noting potential legal implications with an MoU.
Japan said the Secretariat should not oversee TSU activities and recruitment of TSU staff. Secretary Christ clarified that the paragraph was based on past experiences of duplication of efforts between the TSUs and the Secretariat.
The WMO underlined the Panel’s interest in being informed on arrangements. Switzerland said someone must be in charge of TSU/Secretariat arrangements. Acting Chair El Gizouli and Secretary Christ noted that this responsibility exceeds the ExComm’s mandate, as the ExComm is primarily engaged in strengthening and facilitating implementation of the IPCC programme of work, and strengthening coordination between the WGs and task forces (TFs).
The US, supported by Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Japan, Germany and Belgium, proposed alternative language encouraging the Secretariat and the TSUs to engage in dialogue on respective roles and responsibilities and to periodically report on this matter to the Panel. Brazil preferred more emphatically “requesting” the Secretariat and others to explore options for arrangements to enhance the clarification of roles. Japan noted that the content of any arrangement could be discussed when TSU host countries are decided at IPCC-42.
The UK, supported by Norway, cautioned that the US language might be perceived as indicating disagreement between various IPCC bodies, and suggested that the Panel be “kept informed about working arrangements between the IPCC Secretariat and TSUs, and among TSUs.” Brazil supported the UK’s proposal, with the inclusion of a request for periodic reporting to the Panel.
After further discussions, Australia proposed language requesting the IPCC Secretariat and the TSUs to periodically report to the Panel on the collaboration, roles and responsibilities in the preparation of the AR6. TFI Co-Chair Thelma Krug suggested this language could imply only WG TSUs, and supported referencing the sixth assessment cycle rather than the AR6. With this and another minor amendment, the text was accepted.
On recruitment of professional staff by TSU hosts, Acting Chair El Gizouli introduced two options: recruitment of staff internationally with the aim of regional representation, particularly from developing countries, and engagement of the IPCC Chair and the Secretariat in recruitment, performance appraisal and contract extension; and selection of TSU staff consistent with the host country or institution’s procedures.
Mali, supported by many developing countries, stressed enhancement of staff recruitment, particularly from developing countries. Egypt, supporting Mali, proposed language calling for diversity and broadened representation in the TSUs.
Japan, supported by Germany, New Zealand and the US, cautioned that the involvement of the IPCC Chair and Secretariat would introduce complications in staff recruitment and management processes, and called for transparency on recruitment.
Switzerland, supported by the US, asked that the recruitment processes conform to the rules and legal frameworks of host countries and institutions.
WGII Co-Chair Field proposed adding a chapeau to the text on encouraging a respectful workplace and diverse, collaborative, and inclusive policies and practices. After additional amendments, the text was incorporated into the decision and not as a chapeau.
The option on recruitment of staff internationally with regional diversity and engagement of the IPCC Chair and the Secretariat in recruitment, performance appraisal and contract extension was adopted as amended, to maintain consistency with applicable rules and legal frameworks and to engage both WG Co-Chairs on the decisions.
On hosting TSUs, three options were presented in the TGF recommendations: (1) the TSU would be hosted and managed by the country of the developed country WG/TF Co-Chair; (2) the TSU can be comprised of both developing and developed country institutions and managed jointly by the two Co-Chairs of a WG/TF, financing possibly “sourced from several countries [and the IPCC Trust Fund] and be managed and coordinated by the institutions involved [and][or] the IPCC Secretariat”; and (3), based on the model of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), a TSU can be established based on offers received from governments, with the TSUs reporting to either the IPCC Secretary and/or the WG/TF Co-Chairs or the IPCC Chair in the case of the SYR TSU. The second option also referred to the possible establishment of a task group comprised of experts in finance and administration from UNEP and WMO, and possibly others, to provide guidance and assistance to countries considering establishing a TSU and offering joint arrangements.
Many developing countries, including Egypt, South Africa, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, Iran, Algeria, Brazil, India, Syria, Madagascar, Malaysia, the Maldives, El Salvador, Chile and Malawi, spoke strongly in favor of the second option, noting that the current arrangement does not allow for equal footing for both Co-Chairs. They favored the opportunity for TSUs to be jointly managed by developing countries, with diverse funding sources. Brazil called for maintaining reference to the IPCC Trust Fund regarding funding for this option.
Norway, Japan, the Republic of Korea and others agreed on the merits of the second option, but, with TFI Co-Chair Taka Hiraishi, questioned its feasibility, given the need for a clear and sustainable decision on arrangements to be in place before IPCC-42.
Querying where financing would come from for the second option, whereby the TSU could be comprised of both developing and developed country institutions, the US, with Canada and others, preferred the first option, with the TSU hosted and managed by the country of the developed country WG/TF Co-Chair. Citing transparency of the TSU as the broader concern, the US suggested support for developing country Co-Chairs could be enhanced in other ways, including with support from Ph.D. students. Canada called for further specifying that WG TSU candidates can only be nominated if they have adequate resources.
Citing its experience with AR5 WGI, China pointed to improvements already made in the support received by developing country Co-Chairs from the TSU, called for a continuation of the progress made so far, and stressed the importance of stable funding.
WGI Co-Chair Stocker and WGIII Co-Chair Edenhofer also recalled productive collaboration among WG Co-Chairs, cited concerns regarding operational complications with more than one TSU per WG/TF, and suggested exploring other means for enhancing support for developing country Co-Chairs.
WGIII Co-Chair Youba Sokona said the primary issue is to ensure that all WG Co-Chairs are functional and integrated as a team, and suggested dedicated full-time scientists and administrative assistants for developing country Co-Chairs.
Canada, South Africa and China, opposed by Japan and the Republic of Korea, suggested deleting the option based on IPBES, stating that IPBES is untested as a model.
WGI Co-Chair Stocker then presented a compromise proposal, whereby: the TSU is hosted by one or jointly by both countries of the Co-Chairs; if only one country hosts the TSU, then the Panel encourages assistance to the other Co-Chair, with a strong link between the Co-Chair and the WG/TF TSU; a TSU can be managed jointly by the two Co-Chairs of a WG/TF, or by the IPCC Chair as in the case of the SYR TSU; and financing could be sourced from several countries.
Participants welcomed the proposal. Egypt, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Madagascar and others called for something stronger than “encourages” assistance, and participants agreed to “requests.” There was also some discussion on whether sources of financing should be clearer, but participants agreed not to be prescriptive.
Following additional edits for clarification, the compromise text was agreed, as slightly amended.
Final Outcome: With respect to administrative matters and respective roles of the IPCC Secretariat and TSUs, the Panel decided:
• that the administrative arrangements for and the functions of the IPCC Secretariat remain as agreed in the MoU between WMO and UNEP in establishing the IPCC;
• that it may decide to establish TSUs to support the preparation of IPCC products and activities during the AR6 cycle, and TSUs may be formed to support the preparation of a SYR or any other TF or group constituted by the Panel;
• to request the IPCC Secretariat and TSUs to report periodically to the Panel on their collaboration, roles and responsibilities during the AR6 cycle;
• to request the Secretariat and all TSUs to command a respectful workplace, promote diversity, fairness, collaboration and inclusiveness, and recruit professional staff internationally, in particular from developing countries, with selection, performance appraisal and contract extension done jointly by both relevant Co-Chairs; and
• the TSU is hosted by one or jointly by both countries of the WG or TF Co-Chairs, and if only one country hosts the TSU, the Panel requests assistance to the other Co-Chair, and a TSU can be managed jointly by the two Co-Chairs of a WG/TF, or by the IPCC Chair for the SYR TSU, with the possibility of financing from several sources.
Options for the Selection of and Support to CLAs and LAs and Improving the Writing and Review Process: On selection of and support to CLAs and LAs, participants discussed three draft alternative options for a subparagraph on nomination of CLAs and LAs.
A paragraph on exploring the possibility of providing financial assistance to CLAs and/or LAs to identify specific needs and financial implications for the IPCC Trust Fund engendered much discussion. The US, supported by Germany and Switzerland, opposed any financial incentives, arguing that this would change the IPCC’s character, although the US supported exploring how more comprehensive support could be provided. Switzerland suggested broadening the reference to simply exploring, as appropriate, possible approaches for allowing extended participation.
Argentina suggested incentives for authors in both developing and developed countries. WGI Co-Chair Stocker, supported by Norway, noted that some countries have provided different forms of assistance and suggested exploring ways to provide financial “or operational assistance,” in recognition of the burden of a comprehensive assessment. Japan objected, arguing that scientific capacity-building activities are not within the IPCC’s mandate.
Discussion coalesced around two alternative proposals: IPCC Vice-Chair van Ypersele proposed that the IPCC “explore the possibility of providing adequate support and access to scientific literature to CLAs and LAs who need it to do their IPCC work,” while WGI Co-Chair Stocker, supported by Norway, proposed to encourage IPCC members “to explore ways of enhancing the assistance to CLAs and LAs in recognition of the increasing burden of a comprehensive assessment.”
Switzerland and New Zealand, opposed by Egypt, cautioned that “support” and “assistance” generally imply financial support or assistance. The US suggested specifying adequate “technical and administrative” support, with Dominica adding “financial” to that list. Egypt preferred to retain a reference to “adequate support.”
Tanzania, with Egypt, supported IPCC Vice-Chair van Ypersele’s wording and requested qualifying CLAs and LAs with those “particularly in developing countries.” Van Ypersele noted that authors in developed countries also sometimes have difficulties, although Egypt, supported by South Africa and Saudi Arabia, noted that this phrase would not limit assistance only to developing countries. The Netherlands suggested changing the term to “low-income” countries but Peru responded that no “low-income” category exists in IPCC procedures.
The US, supported by Tanzania, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia, suggested combining the two proposals into a one referring to the IPCC exploring ways to provide enhanced technical and administrative support, including access to scientific literature, particularly to developing country CLAs and LAs, in recognition of the increasing burden of a comprehensive assessment. Following informal consultations, Egypt proposed qualifying financial assistance to developing country CLAs and LAs for those “who require it.” The Netherlands said it could accept this proposal, and the US compromise language was agreed with this amendment.
Final Outcome: With respect to the selection of and support to CLAs, LAs and Review Editors and improving the writing and review process, the decision text states that the Panel decides that: it will further consider broadening the nomination process, keeping in mind the implications for the intergovernmental nature of the IPCC and funding; the enhanced use of research assistants or chapter scientists is encouraged to support the task of CLAs and LAs; and it will explore ways to provide enhanced technical and administrative support, including access to scientific literature for CLAs and LAs who require it, in particular from developing countries, in recognition of the increasing burden of a comprehensive assessment.
Additional Measures to Attract Qualified Experts from Developing Countries and Enhance and Facilitate their Engagement with the IPCC: Germany recommended clarifying that these were additional measures that could be explored, and cautioned against entering into too much detail in the recommendations.
Saudi Arabia highlighted that not taking a decision on increasing developing country participation would be “failing the mandate” from IPCC-37, and called for addressing this issue before the new assessment cycle gets underway.
The Panel discussed a recommendation on giving more responsibility to Co-Chairs and other Bureau members to engage developing countries in TSUs, author teams, and as reviewers, and amending the terms of reference of the Bureau as required. Noting that the language on amending the rules governing Bureau composition could be controversial, TGF Co-Chair Plume proposed deleting that reference, but maintaining language on further encouraging the Bureau members and Co-Chairs to engage developing countries in TSUs, author teams and as review editors.
WGII Co-Chair Field proposed language suggesting a focus not just on recruitment but also on participation of authors throughout the assessment cycle. These proposals, with other minor amendments, were accepted.
On increasing the number of expert meetings and workshops in developing countries to enhance IPCC visibility, the Panel generally agreed on the need to increase the participation of developing countries in meetings to build capacity, engage with a wider range of stakeholders and increase visibility.
The US, supported by the EU, Norway and others, suggested increasing the proportion of meetings in developing countries. The Netherlands supported using IPCC meetings to spread knowledge about climate change, while being cognizant about the carbon footprint associated with more meetings in developing countries. Secretary Christ cited a lack of evidence of clear differences in carbon footprint in the Secretariat’s analysis on the location of IPCC meetings.
WGI Co-Chair Stocker, supported by others, suggested broadening “meetings” to include all IPCC “activities.” Switzerland proposed new language that highlighted the need to increase IPCC activities in developing countries. The text was adopted as amended.
Final Outcome: The Panel further agreed that a number of additional measures would be suitable to attract additional qualified experts from developing countries and would enhance and facilitate their engagement with the IPCC, including:
• further encouraging Co-Chairs and other Bureau members to engage experts from developing countries in TSUs, author teams and as reviewers;
• increasing the number of IPCC activities in developing countries;
• arranging briefings and training sessions for government representatives, such as before IPCC sessions; and
• providing experts with information about the IPCC process and how they can participate in IPCC work, in the context of communication and outreach activities.
Options for Support and Training of (Young) Scientists, while Reaffirming that Training and Capacity Building is Outside the IPCC’s Mandate: Peru noted the various options in this section were simply a compilation of proposals and did not need to be discussed in detail or negotiated to conclusion, as they were beyond the IPCC’s mandate. Germany proposed including this section in the report of the meeting and not as a decision. TGF Co-Chair Plume and others suggested working on the chapeau’s wording and leaving the various options as is. The Panel agreed to: modify the language to read that training and capacity building is “beyond” the IPCC’s mandate, rather than “outside”; and include this section in the report of the meeting, rather than in the decision, along with the various options.
On Friday morning, Secretary Christ presented a chapeau for the whole decision text on the future of the IPCC, which states that the Panel has reviewed its future work and taken a series of decisions to guide the work under the next assessment cycle. The chapeau also states that in implementing these decisions, budgetary implications and minimizing the carbon footprint of IPCC activities shall be taken into account. The text was approved as presented.
DECISION ON SIZE, STRUCTURE AND COMPOSITION OF THE IPCC BUREAU AND ANY TASK FORCE BUREAU: On Friday morning, as a result of informal consultations on regional representation in the Bureau, as described above under the discussion on IPCC structure, the Panel agreed to increase the size of the Bureau to 34 members, and to allocate the additional members by adding one WG Vice-Chair to each of the WGs.
Secretary Christ noted that a decision also needed to be taken on the duration of the Bureau’s term, and introduced text proposing that the term of the new Bureau would begin in October 2015 and end with the completion of AR6 in the second half of 2022.
Noting the decision taken to maintain a 5-7 year cycle for the AR6, Canada, supported by Germany, the US, Norway and Ethiopia, opposed specifying an end date and suggested that the term of the Bureau not be longer than seven years.
Switzerland, with Belgium and Egypt, supported the Secretariat’s proposal of a specific end date, noting that governments want clarity on issues that have budgetary implications. Mali cautioned against preempting the length of the cycle.
China suggested a textual amendment that indicates that the AR6 is expected to end by the second half of 2022. This proposal was supported by Switzerland. The final outcome on this, with the suggested amendments, including an indicative timeframe for the AR6 cycle, was adopted to reflect that the term shall be the length of the AR, and last until a year after the session at which the final product of the AR6 has been accepted, which is expected to end in the second half of 2022 at the latest.
REPORT OF THE EXPERT MEETING ON POTENTIAL STUDIES OF THE IPCC PROCESS – RECOMMENDED PRINCIPLES TO GUIDE IPCC’S ENGAGEMENT: The Secretariat introduced this agenda item (IPCC-XLI/Doc. 9, Rev.1; IPCC-XLI/INF. 4). WGIII Co-Chair Sokona, Chair of the expert meeting, reported on the meeting, which took place from 28-29 January 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland, and provided an overview of the outcomes. The Panel then approved the recommendations forwarded from the expert meeting. Brazil read a statement for inclusion in the report of IPCC-41, welcoming the recommendations and, inter alia: noting that any process should consider equal opportunities for social scientists from developing countries; cautioning against constraining developing country participation; emphasizing confidentiality as key for any researcher studying the IPCC; and supporting a continuation of discussions on this issue.
ANY OTHER MATTERS: Secretary Christ introduced this agenda item and presented the document on lessons learned on how to handle approval sessions (IPCC-XLI/Doc.6). She said the document addresses: timely access to pre- and in-session documents; increasing understanding by the various WGs of each other’s products; scheduling of approval sessions; and more funding for developing country participants to attend approval sessions. No comments were made on this agenda item.
WGI Co-Chair Stocker presented a proposal to convene an IPCC workshop on regional climate projections and their use in impacts and risk analysis studies (IPCC-XLI/Doc.13), noting that it should be held prior to the scoping of the AR6 as its outcomes will be crucial to inform that process. He suggested that: the meeting should be held during the window of mid-August to mid-September, for approximately 3.5 to 4 days; 40 journeys could be funded from the IPCC Trust Fund for participants from developing countries and countries with economies in transition; and said the WGI TSU would offer support for the workshop.
Brazil welcomed the proposal for this workshop, offering to host it at the headquarters of the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research and make available the necessary infrastructure. He also said that if hosting the workshop, Brazil would organize outreach events for secondary school children and climate change experts at large, to convey WGI and WGII findings. The Netherlands also offered to host the workshop.
Madagascar supported convening the workshop, and noted the importance of such work at the regional level. WGII Co-Chair Field welcomed the opportunity to enhance the engagement of communities that are vulnerable and at risk, expressed confidence that a compelling workshop could be organized to address these issues, and said the workshop must address risk and vulnerability.
The Panel agreed: to organize a workshop on regional climate change projections and their use in impacts and risk analysis studies; and to finance the attendance of 40 participants from developing countries and economies in transition from the contingency budget line for WG meetings.
Following consultations between the Netherlands and Brazil, the Netherlands reported that Brazil would host the meeting, with major contributions from the Netherlands. TFI Co-Chair Krug thanked the Netherlands for agreeing to jointly organize the workshop in Brazil.
Monaco then presented its proposal for an IPCC special report on oceans (IPCC-XLI/INF.3), noting the multiple beneficiaries of such a report, including the UNFCCC, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. He said, inter alia, that such a report would send a strong signal regarding the importance of oceans, require the cooperation of all three WGs, and should address regional aspects. Algeria proposed a special report on the link between climate change and desertification.
Madagascar, Chad, Egypt, Mali, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Spain, the Philippines, Kuwait and others supported both proposals.
On a special report on desertification, Peru highlighted synergies with the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and scope for collaboration. India called for an integrated special report on oceans and desertification, highlighting their linkages. Malawi recommended addressing tropical cyclones and extreme weather events in the oceans report.
Japan suggested narrowing down the topic for the proposed SR on oceans and noted specific themes that could be pursued, such as ocean acidification and sea-level rise. She also highlighted studies on oceans already underway through institutions, such as UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education and the World Climate Research Programme.
Many members, including Canada, Republic of Korea, Norway, Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, the US and others suggested further consideration of these proposals in light of the AR6 scoping process. Belgium called for an expert meeting to consider these issues.
Norway, supported by Sweden, proposed inviting proposals from governments on additional themes for SRs.
The Panel decided to solicit views of governments on potential themes for SRs and, following input from the WG Co-Chairs, to further discuss this issue at IPCC-43.
COMMUNICATION AND OUTREACH ACTIVITIES
Jonathan Lynn, Head of Communications and Media Relations, IPCC Secretariat, presented highlights from a progress report on past and planned communications activities (IPCC-XLI/Doc. 20). He indicated that the IPCC’s longstanding effort to build relations with the media had paid off, and thanked UNEP and WMO for their support in this endeavor. He also noted a very ambitious IPCC outreach programme for 2015, which was spearheaded by the former IPCC Chair, but will now rely on the AR5’s authors to carry out. He described a workshop held in Nairobi, Kenya, just prior to the convening of IPCC-41 for students and scientists as an example of ongoing outreach activities.
Norway proposed that an expert meeting be held, with broad participation from developed and developing countries, to share national experiences from AR5 communications and outreach in order to strengthen such activities in AR6. He said the meeting should include the IPCC Secretariat, TSUs, experts and focal points, and suggested covering travel expenses for a number of developing country representatives from the IPCC Trust Fund. He also noted Norway’s willingness to host the meeting at its own expense.
Numerous countries expressed support for the proposal, with debate centering on timing and funding. Several delegates queried whether such an expert meeting should involve the new Bureau after its election at IPCC-42 or take place sooner, before AR5 authors leave the IPCC process. France noted the intense activity on climate policy and communications expected during the second half of 2015.
Switzerland requested that the proposal emphasize “transmission of the content of the work of the IPCC” rather than “communications,” in order to bring in the right participants. The Secretariat noted that others outside the IPCC, such as representatives from academia and the media, might also make useful contributions.
Four options for the decision were presented; two referring to 2015 and two referring to 2016. Additionally, two of the options focused on funding from the Trust Fund, while the other two referred to extraordinary funding for travel for developing country representatives. The Secretariat noted that existing resources could fund travel on a small scale but at the expense of existing outreach activities. He favored extra resources in order to engender a stronger event.
Final Outcome: The agreed option calls for a meeting of experts, focal points and other IPCC representatives in 2016, to share their experiences, best practices, and lessons learned from communications and outreach around AR5, and prepare a report for IPCC-43. It also requests that the budget be amended to authorize 20 journeys.
REPORT ON THE ACTIVITIES OF THE IPCC EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
IPCC Deputy Secretary Carlos Martin-Novella presented a report on activities of the ExComm. No comments were made.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE IPCC COI POLICY
IPCC Vice-Chair Lee, Chair of the COI Committee, updated the plenary on implementation of the IPCC COI Policy, which, he said, is critical for the integrity of the IPCC. He said COI Committee members have done their best to carry out the mandate of the COI policy. No comments were made.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE IPCC ERROR PROTOCOL
IPCC Secretary Christ introduced the agenda item (IPCC-XLI/Doc.12; IPCC-XLI/Doc.17) on implementation of the IPCC Error Protocol, describing a number of ways that pre- and post-publication errata could be reflected online. The ExComm will further consider this issue and report back to IPCC-42.
PROGRESS REPORT ON THE TFI: TFI Co-Chair Krug presented highlights from the TFI progress report, including: the publication of the English versions, in 2014, of the Wetlands Supplement and the KP Supplement; the imminent undertaking of a technical assessment of IPCC Inventory Guidelines to assess the development of science and data availability; an aim to conduct technical assessments on cross-sectoral issues, including user-friendliness of inventory tools, to contribute to capacity development; and continuing efforts to promote TFI activities and products at various international meetings and workshops.
There were no comments and the report was accepted as presented.
IPCC SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMME: IPCC Secretary Christ presented a progress report on the scholarship programme (IPCC-XLI/Doc.18). She noted that students from the first two rounds had made “very good progress” and said the third round was underway with engagement by the Programme’s Scientific and Technical Committee and AR5 authors. She noted that Prince Albert II of the Monaco Foundation and the Cuomo Foundation would continue to provide funding for the third round.
Noting that the Panel needed to appoint a new Board of Trustees, Christ said that the IPCC Science Board would propose candidates to the Panel for election at IPCC-42. She also suggested changing the composition to include a representative of the IPCC Chair and a Vice-Chair from each WG to better distribute the workload.
Acting Chair El Gizouli encouraged members to inform the Secretariat about their ability to serve on the Board.
PREPARATIONS FOR EXPERT MEETINGS MANDATED BY THE PANEL: Regarding an upcoming Expert Meeting on Climate Change, Food and Agriculture (IPCC-XLI/Doc.23), WGII Co-Chair Field said the meeting was on track as scheduled for 27-29 May 2015 in Dublin, Ireland, and that the expert meeting outcome would inform the Panel on its future products.
Brazil asked for the inclusion of negative impacts of response measures, noting that emission reductions from the food sector cannot come at the cost of food production. He called for reframing food demand projections to include adaptation and impacts in addition to mitigation and called for a regional perspective that recognizes the diversity of food systems.
Argentina, with Mali and Nicaragua, called for a greater emphasis on adaptation. Cuba and the Dominican Republic called for consideration of the special circumstances of small island developing states and their vulnerable food systems.
Germany, supported by the UK and New Zealand, called for greater attention to mitigation strategies.
On the “food-water-energy-climate” workshop sub-theme, Saudi Arabia, opposed by the UK, asked for the energy reference to be removed, noting that energy had already been discussed in other IPCC products. Upon further discussion, Saudi Arabia supported consideration of bioenergy. Ecuador, Dominican Republic and Cuba called for greater participation by developing countries in the organization of the expert meeting.
WGII Co-Chair Field said a revised outline would be produced based on the discussions.
Regarding the joint expert meeting on scenarios (IPCC-XLI/Doc.16), WGIII Co-Chair Edenhofer reported on preparations underway. The meeting will: discuss the use of scenarios in AR5 to explore ways to achieve a more integrated assessment of mitigation, adaptation and climate impacts, and the possible role of scenarios in future IPCC products; and take stock of discussions on new socio-economic scenarios. He reported that the meeting will be held from 18-20 May 2015, in Laxenburg, Austria.
OTHER PROGRESS REPORTS: Acting Chair El Gizouli invited updates from the WG Co-Chairs.
WGI Co-Chair Stocker highlighted: WGI’s involvement in the production of the SYR; preparation of a report on lessons learned with the World Climate Research Programme; outreach activities, including at the 2014 UN Climate Summit; and participation in the Structured Expert Dialogue (SED) under the UNFCCC (IPCC-XLI/Doc.14).
WGII Co-Chair Field discussed: the release of printed versions of the WGII report; planning of the Expert Meeting on Climate Change, Food and Agriculture; and outreach activities, including translation of chapter executive summaries into various languages (IPCC-XLI/Doc.21).
WGIII Co-Chair Ramón Pichs-Madruga highlighted key activities of WGIII, including: publication and distribution of the AR5 WGIII report; WGIII TSU support to the SYR; outreach activities that included the SED and implementation of the IPCC communications strategy; and hosting the mitigation2014.org website (IPCC-XLI/Doc.19).
MATTERS RELATED TO THE UNFCCC AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL BODIES
Secretary Christ reported that numerous events on the IPCC have taken place at UNFCCC-related meetings, and noted WG representation at the SED in Geneva. She also noted interaction with IPBES and an agreement to intensify the dialogue between the two bodies, including an invitation to experts from IPBES to participate in a workshop to formulate a basis for identifying future synergies, and ongoing activities between the IPCC and WMO.
Florian Vladu, UNFCCC Secretariat, expressed his appreciation to the IPCC presiding officer, and to the Secretariat for the valuable contributions made at the UNFCCC climate conferences at Bonn, Lima and Geneva, including through the SED. He informed participants on outcomes relevant to the IPCC from recent UNFCCC meetings, and highlighted that the UNFCCC’s submission to IPCC-41, a letter from the UNFCCC Secretariat (IPCC-XLI/Doc.22), notes references to the IPCC from the UNFCCC process, including acknowledgements regarding IPCC products, requests for future work and indications of where its findings have been used in the negotiating process. He also noted a UNFCCC request for the IPCC to participate in the next research dialogue on climate and desertification at the 42nd session of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA-42). He also mentioned that discussions took place in Lima on synchronizing the UNFCCC and IPCC cycles, and noted that the negotiating text produced in Geneva currently contains several references of relevance to the IPCC.
WGII Co-Chair Field proposed posting a statement of “core values” on the IPCC website, to highlight the IPCC’s commitment to gender equality, respect and fairness, in order to put its values on record as other organizations have done and in light of the difficult period the IPCC has just come through. He asked that the Secretariat draft such a text.
Croatia noted that the IPCC is mature enough to reflect more transparency and confidence in its practices, and, to that end, called for it to allow any member to attend Bureau meetings, as is done in the WMO Executive Council. He noted that no non-Bureau member should have a voice there unless they are acting as an advisor to a Bureau member, and that this transparency would not apply to in camera Bureau sessions on specific issues, but said that opening Bureau meetings in this way would increase ownership of the matters taken up.
On Wednesday morning, a new agenda item on procedural matters was introduced. IPCC Vice-Chair Lee chaired the Panel during these discussions.
Masa Nagai, Deputy Director, UNEP’s Division of Environmental Law and Conventions, presented a proposed decision on the issue, prepared by the IPCC Bureau with WMO and UNEP legal counsel. The Bureau recommended that the IPCC: (1) temporarily suspend application of the first sentence of rule 11 of the IPCC Rules of Procedure, which states that, if the IPCC Chair resigns, a new IPCC Chair shall be elected at the next session to serve the remainder of the term of office of the departing IPCC Chair; and (2) decide that the Acting Chair, designated at the current session, shall continue to serve in that capacity until a new IPCC Chair is elected at its 42nd session in October 2015 for the term of the AR6.
There was some discussion on precise wording and procedures, and the Russian Federation requested time to consult with his capital. Following this, the Panel agreed to the decision, including its precondition to temporarily suspend the first sentence in rule 11 of the IPCC rules of procedure.
On Friday afternoon, IPCC Vice-Chair van Ypersele chaired a discussion initiated by South Africa on the decision taken under this agenda item.
South Africa asked to have its reservation on the decision on this agenda item recorded, saying that the Panel had suspended a rule of procedure in the absence of a rule specifying a procedure for doing so and, therefore, the first statement of the decision, that the Panel was suspending the Rules of Procedure, has no legal basis and creates a precedent in which an intergovernmental body can suspend any rule without any legal basis for doing so. He opined that the intent of the decision could have been achieved without setting such a dangerous precedent. He announced that South Africa would not bind itself to such a decision within the IPCC or any other intergovernmental body and called for the Panel to urgently address its rules for suspension at IPCC-42 under a new agenda item on procedures for suspension.
Secretary Christ noted South Africa’s request and confirmed that the Secretariat would initiate preparatory work with its legal advisors to address the matter. Ireland countered that in his view the Panel had acted appropriately given the recent unusual set of circumstances. He noted that this highlighted weaknesses in Rule 11 and called for addressing this at a future meeting, adding that the Secretariat and legal team should review all rules of procedure to prevent a similar situation from happening in the future.
Switzerland proposed an amendment to the rules to give the prerogative of designating an acting chair to the IPCC rather than to the Bureau, and asked for guidance on the procedure for this. Secretary Christ responded that under Rule 38 any proposed amendments to the Rules of Procedure must be communicated to the Secretariat at least eight weeks before the session, to be put into the documentation to be communicated to members. She also expressed support for Ireland’s proposal to critically review the Rules of Procedure and suggested that the agenda item proposed by South Africa could be broadened to cover that.
Saudi Arabia objected to opening discussion on the Rules of Procedure at the IPCC as a result of this one special case and opined that the Rules of Procedure had been followed successfully.
The US, supporting Ireland, noted that the IPCC is a unique organization with unique election rules, so it is not possible to foresee every circumstance that may occur. He agreed with Saudi Arabia that the decision in this case appeared appropriate, but supported Ireland on the desirability of a comprehensive review of all Rules of Procedure. He expressed confidence in the IPCC’s continuing efforts to improve its practices to maintain its high level of integrity.
TIME AND PLACE OF THE NEXT SESSION
Secretary Christ announced that IPCC-42 would take place from 5-8 October 2015 in Dubrovnik, Croatia, followed by a meeting of the newly elected Bureau on 9 October.
CLOSURE OF THE SESSION
In closing, Acting Chair El Gizouli thanked Secretary Christ for all her hard work. Saudi Arabia said that Christ’s experience and knowledge were truly valuable, and wished her the best. Christ thanked the Acting Chair and all those she had worked with over the years, as well as the UNEP Executive Director for his valuable advice at the beginning of the session. Acting Chair El Gizouli closed IPCC-41 at 5:57 pm.
A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF IPCC-41
The first IPCC session after the adoption of an Assessment Report is usually far less taxing, straightforward and relatively uneventful. Yet as IPCC-41 was about to get underway, the Panel received news of the resignation of IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri. The official start of the session was postponed for two hours to allow for the IPCC Bureau to meet in order to determine how best to address the situation.
In the end, however, work proceeded as planned and IPCC-41 concluded on time. The Panel went over the recommendations prepared by the Task Group on the Future of the IPCC and took a series of decisions, laying the foundation for its work for the next seven years. While these decisions do not represent a radical departure from past practice, the Panel did insert a degree of flexibility and openness to the AR6 process in taking some of the decisions.
The fact that the meeting did not get bogged down on procedural matters, despite the extraordinary circumstances of Pachauri’s resignation, illustrates the IPCC’s strength and resilience as an organization, and its ability to remain focused on and committed to the issues at hand. What follows is a short analysis of IPCC-41, focusing on the key outcomes and decisions taken in Nairobi and what they might mean for the future once a new Bureau is elected and scoping sessions begin.
STOCKTAKING AND MOVING FORWARD
Seven years ago, when the IPCC went through its last stocktaking exercise and made the necessary decisions to undertake the AR5, the IPCC was in a very different place. The Panel had been awarded the Nobel Peace prize just four months earlier, and the infamous mistakes in the AR4 were yet to be discovered. The IPCC was at a high point, and as one participant put it then, “there is nowhere for the IPCC to go but down.”
Sure enough, however, shortly after questions arose over the accuracy of its reports and its impartiality toward climate policy, a thorough review process of its rules, policies and procedures, undertaken by the InterAcademy Council (IAC) ensued, resulting in a recommendation to fundamentally reform its management structure. It took the IPCC almost two years to complete the process of addressing the IAC recommendations, but in the end, the IPCC emerged stronger and more credible for it.
In many ways, the discussions in Nairobi focused on similar issues as in Budapest in April 2008, with both taking place following the completion of major Assessment Reports: the need for increased frequency of IPCC updates to meet the expanding demand for information; improved participation of developing country scientists; an enhanced regional focus; and even the necessity of communications and outreach.
Today, however, addressing these issues has become a matter of urgency. Improving accessibility of reports and increasing the involvement of developing countries in all aspects of the IPCC is deemed critical to its relevance. As the user base of IPCC reports has increased and expanded, with decision makers at many levels now having to address climate change, calls for more user-friendly products have been constant and widespread. These have brought suggestions for rapid updates and more flexible responses to the needs of policymakers, more focused regional information, and more engagement on the part of communication specialists.
A MORE ACCESSIBLE AND RESPONSIVE IPCC
Discussions on the AR6 assessment cycle began one and a half years ago, when the Task Group on the Future of the IPCC was first set up. In Nairobi, the Panel took up the group’s recommendations and while future scoping meetings will elaborate the AR6 products in detail, the Panel made foundational decisions.
The Panel decided to maintain the comprehensive assessment reports as the primary products of each cycle, with a number of participants explaining that “this what the IPCC does best.” With climate impacts already being felt, many have been asserting that a 5-7 year cycle is too long to enable decision makers to respond in a timely manner, with the science changing at a rapid enough pace to warrant frequent reports. Others have also argued that such rapid updates are necessary to better inform policy decisions under the UNFCCC.
Many countries called for regional reports as stand-alone IPCC products, highlighting the need for more accessible and region-specific information. Despite the fact that a decision on this was not accepted, the decision does include regional aspects within the ARs and the possibly of further addressing these issues through SRs. Delegates remarked that the richness of regional aspects is likely to increase in the AR6 as the Panel also decided to encourage greater use of non-English literature by increasing its accessibility and greater engagement by authors of such literature in the IPCC.
A big concern for the IPCC has been communicating its findings, in an accessible manner, not just to policymakers, but to society at large. More user-friendly products, particularly through the engagement of communications specialists, including graphic designers, at an early stage and throughout the AR6 drafting period will only help lead to a more responsive and accessible IPCC, thus, making the IPCC findings more compelling and easier for policymakers and others to understand.
INCREASING PARTICIPATION OF DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
As one of the key themes of the discussion on the future of the IPCC, increasing participation of developing countries was a prominent and recurring part of almost every decision. This stemmed from the fact that, while progress has been made since the First Assessment Report, only 36% of the AR5 writing team members were from developing countries and countries with economies in transition. Still fresh in the minds of many participants was the deletion of a map during discussions on the WGII SPM, since it showed few impacts in Africa because of a lack of peer reviewed sources and insufficient data.
The IPCC has a number of avenues through which it can increase the participation of scientists from developing countries in the preparation of the reports. Of these, the one that generated the most discussion at IPCC-41 was the question of TSUs, which provide the respective Working Groups and Task Forces with the scientific, technical and organizational support needed to prepare the report and, as such, manage most of the information developed in the assessment cycles. TSUs, therefore, play a critical role in report preparation and are an exceptional capacity-building source. Yet their functions and relations with the Panel are not clearly defined.
Until now, the TSUs have been based in the country of the developed country Co-Chair, usually in the institution or university to which the Co-Chair is affiliated. Developing countries have been arguing for some time that this has, in practice, meant a tilt in balance, with the two Co-Chairs not on equal footing. To begin to address this problem, in Nairobi the Panel decided that TSUs can be jointly hosted and managed, with the door open to funding sources. Overall, this decision was a welcome compromise to a question that many thought intractable in the previous discussions as it depended largely on issues of funding.
The decision on Bureau size, structure and composition provided another opportunity to increase developing country participation, with the addition of two African members and one Asian member. Other decisions meant to improve the involvement of developing countries included exploring ways to provide enhanced support and access to scientific literature for Coordinating Lead Authors and Lead Authors, and increasing the number of IPCC activities in developing countries. While there is still much to be done to improve developing country participation and, in particular, address data gaps in regional coverage, many expressed confidence that the decisions taken at IPCC-41 provide a good basis for further work.
THE END OF ONE ERA IS THE BEGINNING OF ANOTHER
While the decisions arrived at in Nairobi do not stray far from the status quo, there was consolation in the fact that the IPCC did request further consideration of many of these issues by the Bureau and Panel itself.
The IPCC’s openness to consider some of these issues in the future, not precluding what could come up and how it will respond, reflects a trust in its own policies and procedures, largely as a result of the changes enacted following the IAC review.
In fact, the most important changes and decisions on the sixth assessment cycle are still to come, and when they do, it may not be so easy to keep things flexible and open, as concrete choices will have to be made as “meat is put on the bones” during the AR6 scoping meetings. Moreover, a new Chair and a whole new Bureau will be elected at the next meeting; and a new IPCC Secretary is due to be appointed when Secretary Renate Christ retires in May.
There is also work for governments to do at home, supporting the efforts of scientists and their institutions and helping them engage with the IPCC. Only in this way will there be greater involvement and knowledge from and about developing countries.
Once the new Bureau is in place and the IPCC begins the AR6 process in earnest, the lessons learned from the AR5 cycle with regard to the types of products that are the most useful to policymakers, and the necessity of engaging more scientists from developing countries, should begin to be applied.
As the IPCC has proven, and as Acting Chair Ismail El Gizouli said in the closing press conference, “the IPCC is a case where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction: The third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction will be hosted by the Government of Japan and organized by the UN Office for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR). Participants are expected to agree on a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction. dates: 14-18 March 2015 location: Sendai, Japan contact: Ms. Elena Dokhlik, UNISDR phone: +41-22-91-78861 fax: +41-22-73-39531 email: email@example.com www: http://www.wcdrr.org/
Ninth Meeting of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board: The GCF Board will convene its ninth meeting to continue its work operationalizing the Fund. In addition, the Board’s committee meetings and panels will take place on 23 March 2015. dates: 24-26 March 2015 location: Songdo, Republic of Korea contact: GCF Secretariat phone: +82-32-458-6059 fax: +82-32-458-6094 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www: http://news.gcfund.org/
IPCC Expert Meeting on Scenarios: This meeting will: discuss the use of scenarios in AR5 to explore ways to achieve a more integrated assessment of mitigation, adaptation and climate impacts, and the possible role of scenarios in future IPCC products; and take stock of discussions on new socio-economic scenarios. dates: 18-20 May 2015 location: Laxenburg, Austria contact: IPCC Secretariat phone: +41-22-730-8208/54/84 fax: +41-22-730-8025/13 email: IPCC-Sec@wmo.int www: http://www.ipcc.ch
Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) High-Level Assembly: The CCAC High-Level Assembly will evaluate CCAC’s progress, provide input on the direction of CCAC’s future work and learn about the latest policy and scientific developments related to short-lived climate pollutants. dates: 19 May 2015 location: Geneva, Switzerland contact: CCAC Secretariat phone: +33-1-44-37-14-50 fax: +33-1-44-37-14-74 email: email@example.com www: http://www.ccacoalition.org/
17th Session of the WMO Congress: The 17th session of the WMO Congress will discuss, inter alia, the WMO strategic plan for 2016-2019, the post-2015 development agenda, aeronautical meteorology, disaster risk reduction and gender mainstreaming. dates: 25 May - 12 June 2015 location: Geneva, Switzerland contact: WMO Secretariat phone: +41-22-7308111 fax: +41-22-7308181 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www: https://sites.google.com/a/wmo.int/cg-17/
IPCC Expert Meeting on Climate Change, Food and Agriculture: At IPCC-40, the Panel decided to organize an Expert Meeting on Climate Change, Food and Agriculture during 2015 with the mandate to consider existing IPCC information on this matter and to recommend to the Panel possible further action, including the options of producing a Technical Paper or a Special Report, or to address the matter otherwise in the forthcoming assessment cycle. dates: 27-29 May 2015 location: Dublin, Ireland contact: IPCC Secretariat phone: +41-22-730-8208/54/84 fax: +41-22-730-8025/13 email: IPCC-Sec@wmo.int www: http://www.ipcc.ch
42nd Sessions of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies: The 42nd sessions of the Subsidiary Bodies to the UNFCCC and the ninth part of the second session of the ADP (ADP 2-9) will take place in June 2015. dates: 1-11 June 2015 location: Bonn, Germany contact: UNFCCC Secretariat phone: +49-228-815-1000 fax: +49-228-815-1999 email: email@example.com www: http://www.unfccc.int
High-level Event on Climate Change: The President of the UN General Assembly will convene this high-level event, with the aim of giving momentum and adding impetus to efforts to reach a global agreement in 2015 under the UNFCCC. date: 29 June 2015 location: UN Headquarters, New York contact: Office of the President of the UN General Assembly www: http://www.un.org/pga/calendar/
Our Common Future under Climate Change: Organized by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), International Council for Science and Future Earth, in collaboration with a partnership of French organizations, this science-focused conference will examine the latest research around climate change. The event will touch upon: the state of knowledge on climate change; responding to climate change challenges; and collective action and transformative solutions. dates: 7-10 July 2015 location: Paris, France contact: Conference Secretariat email: firstname.lastname@example.org www: http://www.commonfuture-paris2015.org/
ADP 3: The third session of the ADP is expected to convene in late August. dates: 31 August - 4 September 2015 location: Bonn, Germany contact: UNFCCC Secretariat phone: +49-228-815-1000 fax: +49-228- 815-1999 email: email@example.com www: http://www.unfccc.int
CCAC Working Group Meeting: The CCAC Working Group will continue its work in guiding CCAC’s cooperative actions. dates: 2-3 September 2015 location: TBA contact: CCAC Secretariat phone: +33-1-44-37-14-50 fax: +33-1-44- 37-14-74 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www: http://www.ccacoalition.org/
IPCC-42: IPCC-42 is expected to elect a new Chair and Bureau. dates: 5-8 October 2015 location: Dubrovnik, Croatia contact: IPCC Secretariat phone: +41-22-730-8208/54/84 fax: +41-22-730-8025/13 email: IPCC-Sec@wmo.int www: http://www.ipcc.ch
ADP 4: The fourth session of the ADP is expected to convene in October 2015. dates: 19-23 October 2015 location: Bonn, Germany contact: UNFCCC Secretariat phone: +49-228-815-1000 fax: +49-228-815-1999 email: email@example.com www: http://www.unfccc.int
UNFCCC COP 21: The 21st session of the COP to the UNFCCC and associated meetings will take place in Paris. dates: 30 November – 11 December 2015 location: Paris, France contact: UNFCCC Secretariat phone: +49-228-815-1000 fax: +49-228-815-1999 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www: http://www.unfccc.int
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