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Cablegate: The Global Framework for Climate Services


DE RUEHGV #0080/01 0280816
R 280813Z JAN 10



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: The Global Framework for Climate Services

1. SUMMARY: The WMO hosted an intergovernmental meeting in Geneva
on January 11-12, 2010, to approve the terms of reference and
endorse the composition of a task force of high-level, independent
advisors who will conduct consultations and make recommendations on
the components of a Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS).
The terms of reference that were adopted direct the task force to
produce, within 12 months, a vision of the Global Framework for
Climate Services that will "define the roles, responsibilities, and
capabilities of the elements within the GFCS and clearly illustrate
how it will assist the integration of climate information and
services into national planning, policy and programmes." The task
force will be composed of sixteen members providing relevant
expertise and regional and gender balance. The intergovernmental
meeting also decided that governments and relevant organizations
may submit their views on the GFCS by April 15 for consideration by
the task force. END SUMMARY.

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2. The U.S. delegation to the meeting included the Deputy
Assistant Secretary for Environment and Sustainable Development,
the Deputy Director of the Climate Program Office at NOAA; and the
EST Officer at the US Geneva Mission. The delegation achieved its
goals of 1) reaching agreement on concise terms of reference that
gives direction to but does not overly prescribe the outcome from
the task force, 2) endorsing the composition of the task force
without protracted debate, and 3) ensuring that relevant
organizations and governments could submit their views on the GFCS
for consideration by the task force.

3. Background: The US mission hosted a lunch on Monday before our
meetings began that enabled us to talk with other governmental
representatives with similar ideas for the task force, including
Barbados, Indonesia, Canada, Chile, Slovenia and Norway. Canada
and Indonesia were eventually asked to chair the drafting group
during the meeting to elaborate the terms of reference, so the
preparations beforehand were instrumental in creating a solid
understanding of USG goals and strategy.

4. The intergovernmental meeting opened at 3 pm on January 11th
and was chaired by Alexander Bedritsky, current President of WMO,
who did a superb job presiding over the plenary and the Committee
of the Whole and getting the drafting group set up. Right at the
start, the US raised procedural issues with the text. The WMO had
sent out an official text, translated into the six UN languages on
6 Jan, but also had held consultations with a sub-set of countries
in Geneva who had drafted text that was heavily slanted to
developing country concerns and overly-prescriptive of the task
force's expected outcomes. This text had been neither widely
circulated nor translated into all official languages before the
meeting began, so the USDEL requested that member states begin
negotiations on the official text. Despite widespread support for
this idea, a small group of developing countries insisted upon
working from the revised text. After hours of procedural
wrangling, consensus was reached to use as a starting point a
streamlined text distributed to all WMO members in December 2009.
A drafting group was constituted and drafting continued until 11:50

5. The group reconvened on Tuesday and worked all day to draft the
terms of reference for the task force. The US Delegation, with
support from many developed and developing countries alike, pushed
for simple instructions that gave the task force a mandate to
consult broadly with uses and providers of climate information and
services. We successfully resisted efforts by a handful of
developing countries (including India, Bangladesh, Egypt, Bolivia,
Venezuela, Iran and Nigeria) to hamstring the task force with
instructions slanted heavily in the direction of developing
countries' ideological mantra, which included principles such as
recognition of the "common but differentiated responsibility" of
developed and developing countries, other links to the UNFCCC and
Kyoto Protocol, limits to data sharing, and requirements for
financial and technological assistance. At about 8pm, terms of
reference finally were adopted. These were consistent with U.S.
interests, incorporating some benign principles such as the need
for broad consultation and the important role of governments, but
none of the more problematic references.

6. When the plenary was reconvened, Nigeria and Egypt, supported
by others in their group, initially refused to agree to terms of
reference that did not have principles clearly elaborated. In a
mini-replay of Copenhagen, we nearly ended up at 10 p.m. on Tuesday
only able to "take note" of the work of the intergovernmental
meeting or, worse, to reconvene at a later date to complete the
work. The situation was salvaged when Mauritius, as head of the
African Group, asked for a break and brokered a deal with the two
aforementioned countries to accept a suggestion from Chairman
Bedtrisky to allow a section of the terms of reference to be

titled: General Principles and Scope of Work. Thereafter, the task
force composition was endorsed quickly, as was a suggestion from
Chairman Bedritsky to note the input from India, Bangladesh and
others in the meeting report, and a request from the US that any
additional input from other countries and relevant organizations be
solicited and considered by the task force. Any such submissions
are due by 15 April 2010.

7. Next steps: USG should plan to submit views on the substance of
the GFCS by April 15.

8. Comment: This meeting, the WCC-3 itself, and the WMO
Extraordinary session of the WMO EC Working group on Climate and
Related Weather, Water and Environmental Matters in October, have
helped establish a strong and supportive working relationship
between the US and most other WMO members on climate issues. The
US worked closely with Permanent Representatives (and their
designates) from Germany, France and almost all of the major
developed countries, as well as with Caribbean and other island
countries and, perhaps most notably, African states. This working
relationship will no doubt help with climate issues addressed under
the WMO in the future and specifically for work on the GFCS that
will continue at the WMO Congress and beyond. End Comment.

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