(Photo: Pene Lefale, New Zealand Met Service) Climate Observation Training Workshop on the Maldives, 2004 Climate data archive waiting for rescue and digitization in Tanzania, 2004 Measurement 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?
- The GCM is an effective and proven way to address national, regional, and global needs for climate observations and to direct funds to the highest priority needs;
- The GCM addresses the G8 Gleneagles Plan of Action commitment to support the climate observing needs of developing countries;
- The GCM directly contributes to fulfilling the repeated calls of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC to provide financial and technical support to developing countries to improve their climate observing systems;
- Improving networks in developing countries also contributes to developed country needs for improved global networks.
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.
"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:
- New upper air systems: Armenia, Galapagos Islands, Maldives, Namibia, Peru, Philippines, Tanzania, Zimbabwe
- Hydrogen generators: Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Galapagos Islands, Kenya, Mauritius, Nairobi, Niger, Senegal, Seychelles
- Technical support projects: Caribbean, Southern Africa
- Technical workshops: Argentina, Morrocco, Namibia
"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.