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Strengthening of IPCC agreed at plenary session in Abu Dhabi

Decisions on Management, Communications to Implementing Ways of Handling Scientific Uncertainties Adopted by Governments

Outcomes Will Boost Quality, Transparency and Rigour Underpinning IPCC's Crucial Fifth Assessment Report

Abu Dhabi, 13 May 2011-A stronger governance structure and a set of forward-looking policies across a range of management issues were adopted today by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) at its 33rd Plenary Session in the United Arab Emirates.

The outcomes mark an important next step in the Panel's review process informed by the recommendations and suggestions of the InterAcademy Council (IAC).

The IAC is a consortium of national academies of science and research councils from around the globe which was requested by the UN Secretary-General and the Chair of the IPCC to assess the Panel's policies and procedures last year.

Rajendra Pachauri, the Chair of the IPCC, said:" I feel gratified that the process that the

UN Secretary-General and I initiated a little over a year ago requesting IAC to review the IPCC's processes and procedures has culminated in such a successful outcome. The

194 governments which constitute the IPCC have put in enormous efforts to analyze the challenges facing the Panel, study the recommendations carefully and come up with decisions that strengthen its work".

The adoption and implementation of many of the IAC's recommendations in Busan in 2010 and now here in Abu Dhabi underlines how those positive proposals are being translated into positive decisions and positive actions on many key issues".

Today governments representing the 194-nation member IPCC adopted guidance on a communications strategy and implemented recommendations on how best to handle so called 'grey' literature from non peer reviewed sources such as government and agency reports.

At the 33rd Plenary Session the Panel also agreed policy and protocols on how to handle scientific uncertainties and corrections of errors in reports while agreeing to establish an Executive Committee to strengthen the overall management structure.

A modern and forward-looking conflict of interest policy, aimed at maximizing transparency and assuring the credibility of IPCC products and assessments was also adopted.

The implementation of the policy along with other next steps will be taken to the Panel's 34th Session scheduled for November later this year.

Chris Field, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II, which deals with climate impacts, adaptation and development, said: "Strong procedures are the absolute bedrock foundation for high-quality scientific assessments. With the enhancements to the procedures approved in Abu Dhabi, we are building upon the IPCC's firm foundations in order to make the next Assessment Report, due out in 2013 and 2014, the highest quality IPCC report to date".

"The upgrades to the procedures on ensuring thorough reviews, explaining uncertainty and what constitutes relevant literature should deliver a Fifth Assessment that is clearer, more nuanced, and more relevant to the needs of the global community," he added.

The discussions and decisions at this week's meeting build upon the outcomes of the

32nd Plenary which took place in Busan, Republic of Korea in October, 2010 where four Task Groups were set up to evaluate how best to take forward the IAC's recommendations and suggestions.

Dr Pachauri added: "I would like to thank the Task Groups who have volunteered their time, energy and wisdom to take forward this important process of IPCC reform. Governments have made it clear that strengthening the IPCC is an imperative in a world where the science of climate change becomes ever more complex and the need to understand its likely impacts ever more urgent. That commitment was the cornerstone of their engagement this week," he added.

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Further Resources

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

IPCC Working Group III

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