Maldives, 2004Maldives, 2004 Honiara, Solomon Islands, by coutesy of Bill Witham, NZ MetServiceRadiosonde system improvement project in Honiara, Solomon Islands, 2007 (Photo: Bill Witham, New Zealand Met Service) Zambia, 2005Zambia, 2005 Armenia, 2006Armenia, 2006 Kiribati, 2007
(Photo: Pene Lefale, New Zealand Met Service) Maldives, 2004Climate Observation Training Workshop on the Maldives, 2004 Tanzania, 2004Climate data archive waiting for rescue and digitization in Tanzania, 2004 ArmeniaMeasurement site waiting for renovation in Armenia

The GCOS Cooperation Mechanism (GCM)

The GCM was established to identify and make the most effective use of resources available for improving climate observing systems in developing countries, particularly to enable them to collect, exchange, and utilize data on a continuing basis in pursuance of the UNFCCC. In recent years, several countries have provided funds and participated on the Donor Board. The GCOS Sponsors (WMO, IOC, UNEP, ICSU) are seeking additional countries and organizations to help address the considerable and growing demands for improved climate observing networks in developing countries.

"There is a notable lack of geographical balance in the data and literature on observed changes in natural and managed systems, with a marked scarcity from developing countries." IPCC, 2007

Why participate in the GCM?

How does the GCM work?

Participation in the mechanism is open to all donors that support, through financial or in-kind contributions, improvements in global observing systems for climate in developing countries. All donors are invited to be members of the GCM Donor Board, which is advised by the GCOS Steering Committee and scientific panels.

The Donor Board meets at least once a year, typically in association with a concurrent meeting, e.g., of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice. Donors may designate how they wish their funds to be used or donate funds to a common pool to be used on priority projects selected by the Donor Board. A Project Officer identifies, manages and oversees the individual GCM projects.

This mechanism provides independence from other intergovernmental processes, including those related to the UNFCCC, while assisting in achieving the objectives of the UNFCCC and GCOS. The GCM garantees fully open and transparent accounting of all in-kind and actual expenditures.

More about the GCM Board

Terms of Reference

"What is urgently needed is a commitment by nations to provide global coverage for the key variables, to halt and reverse the degradation of existing observing systems, and to exchange information more effectively… A positive response to this challenge would significantly advance the implementation of an effective observing system for climate and support the objectives of the UNFCCC." Report on the Adequacy of GCOS, 1998

Successful GCM implementation projects include:

Recent Projects

List of Project Candidates

"The Parties shall: Support international and intergovernmental efforts to strengthen systematic observation… particularly in developing countries…" From UNFCCC Article 5

Much remains to be done.

The GCOS Regional Action Plans for 10 developing regions of the world detail priority needs for improvements in atmospheric, oceanic, and terrestrial observing systems totaling more than US$ 200 million. Common needs include sustaining and improving operational observing networks; recovering historical data; and education, training, and capacity building.

Download GCM brochure