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September 08, 2009

Third World Climate Conference Ends with Call from Experts for a Strengthened Global Framework
    by Robert Kropp

Participants in the Expert Segment of the Conference conclude that current climate services capabilities are insufficient, and major new and strengthened research efforts are necessary. -- On September 4, the World Climate Conference completed its third session, which focused on integrating climate prediction and information science with adaptive strategies for industry sectors that contribute to sustainable socio-economic development. The first two WCC conferences, held in 1979 and 1990, sought to provide scientific bases for the development of comprehensive climate services.

In a Conference Statement issued at the close of the Conference, the 200 speakers and 1,500 participants in the Expert Segment described the purpose of their meetings as engaging in "a wide cross-section of climate scientists, expert providers of climate information and the users of climate information and services in a wide-ranging discussion on the essential elements of a new Global Framework for Climate Services."

In the Conference Statement, the participants described the conclusions at which they arrived. Capabilities currently in place to provide effective climate services fall far short of present and future needs, particularly in developing countries, and there is an urgent need for closer partnerships between providers and users of climate services. And while great scientific progress has been made over the last 30 years, the necessity for major new and strengthened research efforts remains.

The participants concluded with recommendations to strengthen the essential elements of a global framework for climate services. These elements include such organizations as the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP).

The participants also recommended that climate services information systems use existing climate service arrangements, including sector-oriented information, to deliver products that support adaptation activities. Information for providers and users of climate services should be integrated via interface systems, and capacity building should be strengthened through education, training, outreach, and communication.

The participants concluded with a statement of support for the development of the proposed Global Framework for Climate Services, the goal of which is "the development and provision of relevant science-based climate information and prediction for climate risk management and adaptation to climate variability and change, throughout the world."

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