What is the Global Framework for Climate Services and what will it accomplish?

The GFCS is a global partnership of governments and organizations that produce and use climate information and services. It seeks to enable researchers and the producers and users of information to join forces to improve the quality and quantity of climate services worldwide, particularly in developing countries.

The GFCS seeks to build on continued improvements in climate forecasts and climate change scenarios to expand access to the best available climate data and information. Policymakers, planners, investors and vulnerable communities need climate information in user-friendly formats so that they can prepare for expected trends and changes. They need good-quality data from national and international databases on temperature, rainfall, wind, soil moisture and ocean conditions. They also need long-term historical averages of these parameters as well as maps, risk and vulnerability analyses, assessments, and long-term projections and scenarios.

Depending on the user’s needs, these data and information products may be combined with non-climate data, such as agricultural production, health trends, population distributions in high-risk areas, road and infrastructure maps for the delivery of goods, and other socio-economic variables. The aim is to support efforts to prepare for new climate conditions and adapt to their impact on water supplies, health risks, extreme events, farm productivity, infrastructure placement, and so forth.

Expanding the production, distribution and use of relevant and up-to-date climate information can best be achieved by pooling expertise and resources through international cooperation. UN agencies, regional institutions, national governments and researchers will work together through the GFCS to disseminate data, information, services and best practices. This collaboration will build greater capacity in countries for managing the risks and opportunities of climate variability and change and for adapting to climate change.

The GFCS implementation plan, to be considered by the First Session of the Intergovernmental Board on Climate Services (IBCS-1) will guide development of the information resources that are so urgently needed for building climate resilience and preparing adaptation plans. According to the draft plan, over the next two years GFCS will carry out a series of priority projects that will create partnerships and build trust with users. It will identify the demand for climate services and ensure that this demand is met through access to scientific information. It will start with the four priority sectors of health, water, food security and agriculture, and disaster risk reduction. Within six years, GFCS aims to have facilitated access to improved climate services around the world; within 10 years, services will have been provided to all climate-sensitive sectors.

The results will be an effective global partnership for identifying and meeting user needs for climate information; the effective application of climate observations, socio-economic data, models and predictions to solving national, regional and global problems; a system for transforming data into information products and services to inform decision making; and increased capacity around the world for producing and using climate services.