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Report of the Steering Group on Climate Change (SGCC)

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posted on 2009-01-01, 00:00 authored by ICESICES
The ICES Steering Group on Climate Change (SGCC) met at the ICES Headquarters, Copenhagen, Denmark, on 3 June 2009. This is a high level group created by Council decision at the Council’s 2007 Annual Meeting, recognizing the strategic importance of ICES in being pro-active in marine scientific research related with climate change. SGCC presented a work-plan to the Council, which was also discussed and adopted by the SGCC kick-off meeting in June 2008.Update on the new ICES Science structure. The SGCC is a basic element for the visi-bility of ICES activities in climate change and it aspires to be the coordinating body on climate change within ICES. Among other decisions, SCICOM have proposed to rename the SGCC as Working Group on Climate Change, and put the SGCC under the authority of the Steering Group on Ecosystem Functions (SGEF). There was over-all strong concern among SGCC members that climate issues would be hidden under the new structure, which came as a surprise to the group, as one of the driving forces for the structure in the Council had been the need to raise the profile and visibility of climate change with the science structure. SGCC felt that Climate Change would have been an excellent candidate for a crosscutting programme and this opportunity is now diluted in the new structure. Concern was also raised that the capacity and authority of SGCC to recommend Terms of Reference (ToRs) for other ICES Expert Groups would be reduced. SGCC was created by the Council as a group with certain autonomy and competences, and the membership is made by the Chairs of many other expert groups (which respond to the cross-cutting nature of climate change and also crystallised the group as a high level group). Now, if converted into a standard EG, the group would not be able to coordinate and influence in others and it will also lose the autonomy needed to act with the desired dynamism. Also, the point was made that the Steering Group on Climate Change had been created for a three-year term with a view to prepare ICES to make a programme on climate change, and therefore the message from SCICOM was received with surprise and disappoint-ment. The entire SGCC think that SCICOM should reconsider its decision and create an independent and crosscutting programme on Climate Change.

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