CLIMATE CONFERENCE AGREES ON FRAMEWORK FOR CLIMATE SERVICES04/09/2009
Geneva, World Climate Conference-3 (WCC-3), which has brought together from 31 August to 4 September 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland, more than 2 000 climate scientists, sectoral experts and decision-makers today established a Global Framework for Climate Services "to strengthen production, availability, delivery and application of science-based climate prediction and services."
The Declaration establishing the Global Framework was adopted today at WCC-3 by high-level policy-makers from more than 150 countries, including Heads of State/Government of Ethiopia, Monaco, Mozambique, Slovenia, Tajikistan, the Vice-Presidents of Comores and the United Republic of Tanzania, the Premier of Niue, the Prime Ministers of Bangladesh, Cook Islands, the Vice-Premier of China, more than 80 Ministers and other Senior Government Officials. The adoption stood under the chairmanship of H.E. Mr Armando Emílio Guebuza, President of Mozambique, and H.E. Mr Moritz Leuenberger, Federal Councillor of the Swiss Confederation, host country of the Conference.
"Today is a landmark day for making climate services available to all people," said Mr Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization, which convened WCC-3 with partners. "But the work has really just begun, to establish a formalized system that ensures the availability of user-friendly products for all sectors to plan ahead in the face of changing climate conditions," Mr Jarraud said. "The work to implement the Global Framework goes beyond WCC-3 and beyond climate negotiations in Copenhagen this December. Society will need information tools to adapt as the climate will continue to be variable and to change notwithstanding steps taken to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases."
"World Climate Conference-3 is a natural bridge for connecting science to the climate negotiations for Copenhagen," said Mr Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, who spoke at the WCC-3 High-Level Segment opening after a visit to the polar ice rim north of the Norwegian island of Svalbard. "Scientific knowledge must be the basis for global climate policy, both for mitigation and adaptation to inevitable climate impacts. The Global Framework for Climate Services is an important step toward strengthening the application of climate science in local, regional, national and international decision-making."
"The Framework gives us an instrument to better adapt on actual climate change," said H.E. Mr Moritz Leuenberger, Federal Councillor, Head of Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications, and twofold former President of the Swiss Confederation. The Framework "builds a bridge between the science, climate experts and users around the world and within as many as possible users in several socio-economic sectors," said Mr Leuenberger, who co-chaired the WCC-3 High-level Segment opening.
"Climate change and variability are global phenomena which affect us all in different forms," said H.E. Mr Armando Emílio Guebuza, President of Mozambique and co-chair of the High-level Segment. "The heatwaves and the floods developed countries experience demonstrate that no single country is immune to these phenomena. More importantly, the very fact that climate change and variability interfere with the Millennium Development Goals should urge us all to act today because tomorrow may be too late."
"The Global Framework for Climate Services aims to enhance climate observations and monitoring, transform that information into sector-specific products and applications, and disseminate those products widely," said Mr Alexander Bedritsky, WMO President and Chair of the WCC-3 Expert Segment. The 1 500 scientists and sector experts who participated in the WCC-3 Expert Segment (31 August-2 September) supported the development of the proposed Global Framework and called for a strengthening of five essential elements:
The Global Climate Observing System and all its components, encouraging exchange and access to climate data;
The World Climate Research Programme, underpinned by adequate computing resources and increased interaction with other global climate research initiatives;
Climate services information systems taking advantage of existing national and international arrangements;
Climate user interface mechanisms focussed on building linkages and integrating information between the providers and users of climate services; and
Efficient and enduring capacity building through education, training and strengthened outreach and communication.
The Declaration requests the Secretary General of WMO to "convene within four months of the adoption of the Declaration an intergovernmental meeting of member states of the WMO to approve the terms of reference and to endorse the composition of a task force of high-level, independent advisors to be appointed by the Secretary-General of the WMO with due consideration to expertise, geographical and gender balance." Within 12 months of the task force being set up, it will, after wide consultation with governments, partner organizations and relevant stakeholders, prepare a report that will include next steps for developing and implementing the Framework. The WMO Secretary-General will then circulate the report to WMO Members for consideration at the WMO Congress in 2011 with a view toward the Framework's implementation.
Today's opening of the High-level Segment included a keynote address by Mr Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, co-winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He emphasized the scientific realities associated with a 2 degrees Celsius target. Only due to thermal expansion, sea-level rise is inevitable and will threaten millions of people in coastal areas and mega-deltas. In order to achieve the 2 degrees Celsius target, it is important that the global greenhouse gas emissions peak by 2015 and then sharply decline. He stressed the huge co-benefits of mitigation for health, agriculture, employment and energy security. "Given that the inertia in the system will result in climate change and its impacts, even if we reduced our emissions to zero today, the global community has to address the need for adaptation measures, particularly in the most vulnerable regions of the world", he said.
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