Review of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Review Committee Statement of Task



1. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced on 10 March 2010 that the InterAcademy Council is requested by the United Nations to undertake an independent review of the processes and procedures of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IAC Co-Chairs have subsequently received official letters, with a Terms of Reference, from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and IPCC Chair Pachauri requesting IAC to review the IPCC.

1.1 The InterAcademy Council is requested to conduct an independent review of the IPCC processes and the procedures by which it prepares its assessments of climate change. IAC is asked to establish a Committee of experts from relevant fields to conduct the review and to present recommendations on possible revisions of IPCC processes and procedures. In particular the IAC Committee of experts is asked to recommend measures and actions to strengthen the IPCC’s processes and procedures so as to be better able to respond to future challenges and ensure the ongoing quality of its reports

1.2 Under terms of agreement with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a substantive progress report from IAC is requested by 30 August 2010 in order for IAC recommendations to be available for the October 2010 meeting of IPCC to launch the 5th IPCC Assessment process. A final published report is requested by 30 October 2010.


2. A Review Committee is appointed by the IAC Co-Chairs to undertake a review of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IAC Review Committee will take into account the following IPCC official documents: “Principles Governing IPCC Work”, including their Appendices: Appendix A “Procedures for the preparation, review, acceptance, adoption, approval and publication of the IPCC reports” and its Annexes (hereinafter referred to as “IPCC Procedures”), Appendix B “Financial Procedures for the IPCC”, and Appendix C “Rules of Procedures for the Election of the IPCC Bureau and Any Task Force Bureau”. The Review Committee is requested to perform the following tasks:

2.1. Review the IPCC procedures for preparing assessment reports including, but not restricted to:

    1. Data quality assurance and data quality control;
    2. Guidelines for the types of literature appropriate for inclusion in IPCC assessments, with special attention to the use of non peer-reviewed literature; 
    3. Procedures for expert and governmental review of IPCC materials;
    4. Handling of the full range of scientific views; and
    5. Procedures for correcting errors identified after approval, adoption and acceptance of a report.

2.2. Analyze the overall IPCC process, including the management and administrative functions within IPCC, and the role of UNEP and WMO, the United Nations system and other relevant stakeholders, with a view to strengthen and improve the efficiency of the assessment work and effectively ensure the consistent application of the IPCC Procedures.

2.3. Analyze appropriate communication strategies and the interaction of IPCC with the media to ensure that the public is kept apprised of its work.

2.4. Prepare a report on the outcome of the activities referred to above, including:

    1. Methodology of the report preparation and measures taken to ensure high quality of the report findings;
    2. Recommendations for amendments to the IPCC procedures;
    3. Recommendations concerning strengthening the IPCC process, institutions and management functions; 
    4. Any other related recommendations; and
    5. Outline of a plan for the implementation of recommendations.



3. The IAC Review of IPCC is anticipated to achieve the following results and outcomes:

    1. A review report prepared in time for the 32nd Session of the IPCC in October 2010 and for consideration by the Secretary General of the United Nations, the Executive Director of UNEP and the Secretary General of WMO including the review findings and recommendations;
    2. Regional and disciplinary balance of the IPCC assessment work improved;
    3. Scientific credibility and policy relevance of the IPCC products, the IPCC process, institutions and management functions strengthened;
    4. Scientists and experts, media and the general public have improved access to outcomes of the IPCC work.



4. Ending date for implementation of the IAC activities:

30 August 2010:               Submittal to UN of Final Report