office of the Summit Follow-up - OAS

 

PERMANENT COUNCIL OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON INTER-AMERICAN SUMMITS MANAGEMENT

OEA/Ser.G  CE/GCI-29/95
3 November 1995
Original: English

REPORT OF THE INTER-AMERICAN INSTITUTE FOR GLOBAL CHANGE RESEARCH (IAI) TO THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON INTER-AMERICAN SUMMITS MANAGEMENT

 

INTER-AMERICAN INSTITUTE FOR GLOBAL CHANGE RESEARCH (IAI)

SECRETARIAT

c/o National Science Foundation, Room 1070,
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22230
Tel: 703-306-1517
Fax: 703-306-0091

November 2, 1995

Dr. Richard Bernal
Chair, Permanent Council
Organization of American States
17th Street and Constitution Avenue
Room 24
Washington, D.C. 20006

Dear Dr. Bernal:

On behalf of Dr. Robert W. Corell, Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI) Director pro tempore, it is my pleasure to submit to you the IAI's first report of its activities which contribute to the implementation of the Plan of Action of the Summit of the Americas. As IAI Program Director, I wish to emphasize the IAI's commitment to the implementation of the Summit initiatives related to global change, and to offer to the OAS the IAI's assistance in achieving the stated initiatives.

If you have any questions regarding this report or require further information, please feel free to contact me by phone at (703) 306-1515, by fax at (703) 306-0091, or by e-mail at pfilmer(@)nsf.gov.

Sincerely,

Paul E. Filmer
IAI Program Director


Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research, IAI
Report on the Implementation of Initiatives from the
Summit of the Americas
Plan of Action

Introduction

The IAI was established in May 1992 in Montevideo, Uruguay when eleven countries of the hemisphere signed the Agreement to Establish the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research. Since then, sixteen countries have signed the Agreement and committed themselves to furthering the scientific and institutional development of the IAI. Their success is evident in the IAI's accomplishments which include the election of its first Director, the establishment of the IAI Directorate in Sao José dos Campos, S.P., Brazil, and two calls for scientific proposals (US$ 3 million allocated), and nine program specific workshops, including the Workshop on Global Change Research in the Americas. This last workshop had 200 participants, both scientists and directors of institutions and funding agencies, and was convened for three days in Belém, Brazil in August 1995.

One of the IAI's objectives, established by the IAI Agreement, is to promote regional cooperation for interdisciplinary research on global change in areas such as earth, ocean, and atmospheric sciences as well as the social sciences. To achieve the above, IAI funded scientific research is to focus on global change impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity, socio-economic issues, and technological level and economies of nations of the region. The IAI has a role in the implementation of the Summit of the Americas initiatives related to global change. Specifically, the IAI has and may contribute to efforts that are outlined in the Summit of the Americas Plan of Action for Cooperation in Science and Technology (Point 14), and sustainable development through Partnership for Biodiversity (Point 22).

IAI Progress in Implementing Initiatives from the Summit of the Americas Plan of Action

The IAI has contributed to the implementation of initiatives set forth in Point 14., Cooperation in Science and Technology. The IAI, established on the principle of regional cooperation, has brought together sixteen nations of the hemisphere in order to establish a research network composed of research institutions and centers from member nations which will collaborate to advance global change research.

An example of an IAI initiative are the IAI Start-Up Grants. The Start-Up Grants will increase the number of organizations participating in and contributing to the IAI network, facilitate preliminary studies and other activities related to the development of proposals by organizations which would otherwise be unable to participate in the IAI due to limited budgets, and aid the IAI in assessing the existing research programs and potential research activities in the IAI region. The United States has made a contribution of US$ 2 million to support these planning activities.

Another contributing initiative is the IAI Initial Science Program (ISP), which is an ongoing initiative to support scientific programs and activities in research, training and education, data and information collection, climate modeling, and workshops. These are near-term activities that are being advanced until the IAI Conference of the Parties (CoP) establishes its first set of approved IAI Programs. The IAI has obligated a further US$ 2 million to fund ISP proposals that will augment existing scientific research programs or add a new dimension to a program. The ISP proposals are being judged for their scientific excellence, technological merit, multi-institutional collaboration, contribution to the IAI Research Network of institutions and centers, access to research sites, training and education, and data collection. There are two rounds for submission of proposals. It is expected that the first round of proposals will be awarded in January 1996.

The IAI also has sought to increase cooperation among scientists of the hemisphere by bringing together 200 individuals - scientists, directors of research institutions and funding agencies - who conduct and/or fund research related to global change, for three days in a Workshop on Global Change Research in the Americas which was held in Belém, Brazil from August 28-30, 1995. The objectives of the workshop were to promote and advance opportunities for cooperation among countries of the hemisphere at the decision making and budget allocation levels in order to maximize the efficient use of resources, to identify the most important on-going projects related to global change and the IAI science agenda, and to foster institutional commitment from the major global change research centers in the Americas.

The participants attended, according to their area of expertise, one of the seven working group sessions and met to establish the priorities within the seven areas of the IAI science agenda: Tropical Ecosystems and Biogeochemical Cycles; Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity; El Niño and Interannual Climate Variability; Ocean/Atmosphere/Land Interactions in the Inter-tropical Americas; Comparative Studies of Oceanic, Coastal and Estuarine Processes in the Temperate Zones, Comparative Studies of Temperate Terrestrial Ecosystems; and High Latitude Processes. The working groups also addressed the IAI cross-cutting issues (human dimensions, training and education, data collection, modeling, etc.) for each IAI research theme. Each working group prepared a summary of the group's suggestions for research priorities for the IAI. In addition, there were working groups which addressed the socio-economic impacts of global change research, data sets and remote sensing, training and education, research institutions, and funding agencies. The report of the recommendations of the working groups will be published in December 1995.

Point 22, Partnership for Biodiversity, is an area in which the IAI may contribute and link to Point 14 for increasing cooperation in science and technology. One of the IAI's research themes is the impacts of climate change on biodiversity. As discussed above, the IAI is addressing the priority areas of all seven of its research themes. In addition, the IAI is providing support to training and education activities that are initiated by other international organizations such as Global Change and Terrestrial Ecology (GCTE), Global Analysis, Integration and Modelling (GAIM), and Past Global Changes (PAGES), all with interest in the area of biodiversity.

Capacity building is an element of both Points 14 and 22, and the IAI is contributing to this by conducting a Training and Education Survey in Earth Systems Science in order to determine the needs of the hemisphere as well as the areas in which countries can contribute to training and education activities of the IAI. Currently, the IAI is sponsoring a Global Climate Modeling Workshop for 22 Latin American scientists. This workshop will use the super computing facilities at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colorado, USA. The IAI has also been awarded US$ 3 million by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for training in the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) software and additional activities for capacity building in global change research in the Americas. Two introductory training workshops have been held, and GIS equipment is being purchased for up to 15 countries.

Additional Plans to Follow Up on the Summit Action Items

The IAI has demonstrated its commitment to contributing to the Summit Plan of Action initiatives and is planning to continue its present programs as well as increasing its collaborative efforts. Both the IAI Initial Science Program and IAI Start-Up Grants will continue into 1997, training and education activities will be expanded, the national membership of the IAI will be increased, and the IAI will continue to work with other international organizations to assist in implementing the initiatives of the Summit Plan of Action.

A significant example of IAI collaborative efforts is the inherently strong link between the agenda of the IAI and that of the International Research Institute for Climate Prediction (IRI). Both institutes are committed to advancing research related to El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and inter annual climate variability. The IAI wishes to collaborate with the IRI programs in order to maximize the scientific knowledge and resources devoted to ENSO and inter annual climate variability research. Both institutions recognize the necessity of working together in the same spirit that has been established in the Summit Plan of Action.


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