Procedures for the Preparation, Review, Acceptance, Adoption, Approval, and Publication of IPCC Reports
ASSESSMENT REPORTS, SYNTHESIS REPORTS, SPECIAL REPORTS AND METHODOLOGY GUIDELINES
Introduction to Review Process
The review process generally takes place in three stages: expert review of IPCC Reports, government/expert review of IPCC Reports, and government review of the Summaries for Policymakers and/or the Synthesis Report. Working Group Co-chairs should aim to avoid (or at least minimize) the overlap of government review periods for different IPCC Reports and with Sessions of the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change and its subsidiary bodies.
Expert review should normally be eight weeks, but not less than six weeks, except to the extent decided by the Panel. Government and government/expert reviews should not be less than eight weeks, except to the extent decided by the Panel.
All written expert, and government review comments will be made available to reviewers on request during the review process and will be retained in an open archive in a location determined by the IPCC Secretariat on completion of the Report for a period of at least five years.
Reports Accepted by Working Groups
Reports presented for acceptance at Sessions of the Working Groups are the full scientific, technical and socio-economic Assessment Reports of the Working Groups, Special Reports and Methodology Guidelines, such as the IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories or the IPCC Technical Guidelines for Assessing Climate Change Impacts and Adaptations.
The subject matter of these Reports shall conform to the terms of reference of the relevant Working Groups and to the work plan approved by the Panel.
Reports to be accepted by the Working Groups will undergo expert and government/expert reviews. The purpose of these reviews is to ensure that the Reports present a comprehensive, objective, and balanced view of the areas they cover. While the large volume and technical detail of this material places practical limitations upon the extent to which changes to these Reports will normally be made at Sessions of Working
Groups, “acceptance” signifies the view of the Working Group that this purpose has been achieved. The content of the authored chapters is the responsibility of the Lead Authors, subject to Working Group acceptance.
Changes (other than grammatical or minor editorial changes) made after acceptance by the Working Group shall be those necessary to ensure consistency with the Summary for Policymakers. These changes shall be identified by the Lead Authors in writing and made available to the Panel at the time it is asked to accept the Summary for Policymakers.
Reports accepted by Working Groups should be formally and prominently described on the front and other introductory covers as:
“A report accepted by Working Group X of the IPCC but not approved in detail.”
It is essential that Working Group work programmes allow enough time in their schedules, according to procedures, for a full review by experts and governments and for the Working Group’s acceptance. The Working Group Co-Chairs are responsible for implementing the work programme and ensuring that proper review of the material occurs in a timely manner.
To ensure proper preparation and review, the following steps should be undertaken:
Compilation of lists of Coordinating Lead Authors, Lead Authors, Contributing Authors, Expert Reviewers, Review Editors and Government Focal Points.
Selection of Lead Authors.
Preparation of draft Report.
First review (by experts).
Second review (by governments and experts).
Preparation of final draft Report.
Acceptance of Report at a Session of the Working Group(s).
Compilation of Lists of Coordinating Lead Authors, Lead Authors, Contributing Authors, Expert Reviewers, Review Editors and Government Focal Points
At the request of Working Group Co-Chairs through their respective Working Group Bureau and the IPCC Secretariat, governments, and participating organizations and the Working Group Bureaus should identify appropriate experts for each area in the Report who can act as potential Coordinating Lead Authors, Lead Authors, Contributing Authors, expert reviewers or Review Editors. To facilitate the identification of experts and later review by governments, governments should also designate their respective
Focal Points. IPCC Bureau Members should contribute where necessary to identifying appropriate Coordinating Lead Authors, Lead Authors, Contributing Authors, expert reviewers, and Review Editors in cooperation with the Government Focal Points within their region to ensure an appropriate representation of experts from developing and developed countries and countries with economies in transition. These should be assembled into lists available to all IPCC Members and maintained by the IPCC Secretariat. The tasks and responsibilities of Coordinating Lead Authors, Lead Authors, Contributing Authors, expert reviewers, Review Editors and government Focal Points are outlined in Annex 1.
Selection of Lead Authors
Coordinating Lead Authors and Lead Authors are selected by the relevant Working Group Bureau, under general guidance and review provided by the Session of the Working Group, from those experts cited in the lists provided by governments and participating organizations, and other experts as appropriate, known through their publications and works. The composition of the group of Coordinating Lead Authors and Lead Authors for a section or chapter of a Report shall reflect the need to aim for a range of views, expertise and geographical representation (ensuring appropriate representation of experts from developing and developed countries and countries with economies in transition). There should be at least one and normally two or more from developing countries. The Coordinating Lead Authors and Lead Authors selected by the Working Group Bureau may enlist other experts as Contributing Authors to assist with the work.
At the earliest opportunity, the IPCC Secretariat should inform all governments and participating organisations who the Coordinating Lead Authors and Lead Authors are for different chapters and indicate the general content area that the person will contribute to the chapter.
Preparation of Draft Report
Preparation of the first draft of a Report should be undertaken by Coordinating Lead Authors and Lead Authors. Experts who wish to contribute material for consideration in the first draft should submit it directly to the Lead Authors. Contributions should be supported as far as possible with references from the peer-reviewed and internationally available literature, and with copies of any unpublished material cited. Clear indications of how to access the latter should be included in the contributions. For material available in electronic format only, a hard copy should be archived and the location where such material may be accessed should be cited.
Lead Authors will work on the basis of these contributions, the peer-reviewed and internationally-available literature, including manuscripts that can be made available for IPCC review and selected non-peer review literature according to Annex 2 and IPCC Supporting Material (see section 6). Material which is not published but which is available to experts and reviewers may be included provided that its inclusion is fully justified in the context of the IPCC assessment process (see Annex 2).
In preparing the first draft, and at subsequent stages of revision after review, Lead Authors should clearly identify disparate views for which there is significant scientific or technical support, together with the relevant arguments. Technical summaries provided by the Working Groups will be prepared under the leadership of the Working Group Bureaus.
Three principles governing the review should be borne in mind. First, the best possible scientific and technical advice should be included so that the IPCC Reports represent the latest scientific, technical and socio-economic findings and are as comprehensive as possible.
Secondly, a wide circulation process, ensuring representation of independent experts (i.e. experts not involved in the preparation of that particular chapter) from developing and developed countries and countries with economies in transition should aim to involve as many experts as possible in the IPCC process. Thirdly, the review process should be objective, open and transparent.
To help ensure that Reports provide a balanced and complete assessment of current information, the Bureau of each Working Group should normally select two Review Editors per chapter (including the executive summaries) and per technical summary of each Report.
Review Editors should normally consist of a member of the Working Group Bureau and an independent expert based on the lists provided by governments and participating organizations. Review Editors should not be involved in the preparation or review of material for which they are an editor. In selecting Review Editors, the Bureaus should select from developed and developing countries and from countries with economies in transition, and should aim for a balanced representation of scientific, technical, and socio-economic views.
First Review (by Experts)
First draft Reports should be circulated by Working Group Co-Chairs for review by experts selected by the Working Group Bureaus and, in addition, those on the lists provided by governments and participating organizations, noting the need to aim for a range of views, expertise, and geographical representation. The review circulation should include:
Experts who have significant expertise and/or publications in particular areas covered by the Report.
Experts nominated by governments as Coordinating Lead Authors, Lead Authors, contributing authors or expert reviewers as included in lists maintained by the IPCC Secretariat.
Expert reviewers nominated by appropriate organizations.
The first draft Reports should be sent to Government Focal Points, for information, along with a list of those to whom the Report has been sent for review in that country.
The Working Group Co-Chairs should make available to reviewers on request during the review process specific material referenced in the document being reviewed, which is not available in the international published literature.
Expert reviewers should provide the comments to the appropriate Lead Authors through the relevant Working Group Co-Chairs with a copy, if required, to their Government Focal Point.
Coordinating Lead Authors, in consultation with the Review Editors and in coordination with the respective Working Group Co-Chairs and the IPCC Secretariat, are encouraged to supplement the draft revision process by organizing a wider meeting with principal Contributing Authors and expert reviewers, if time and funding permit, in order to pay special attention to particular points of assessment or areas of major differences.
Second Review (by Governments and Experts)
A revised draft should be distributed by the appropriate Working Groups or through the IPCC Secretariat to governments through the designated Government Focal Points, and to all the coordinating lead authors, lead authors and contributing authors and expert reviewers.
Governments should send one integrated set of comments for each Report to the appropriate Working Group through their Government Focal Points.
Non-government reviewers should send their further comments to the appropriate Working Group Co-Chairs with a copy to their appropriate Government Focal Point.
Preparation of Final Draft Report
Preparation of a final draft Report taking into account government and expert comments for submission to a Session of a Working Group for acceptance should be undertaken by Coordinating Lead Authors and Lead Authors in consultation with the Review Editors. If necessary, and timing and funding permitting, a wider meeting with principal Contributing Authors and expert and government reviewers is encouraged in order to pay special attention to particular points of assessment or areas of major differences. It is important that Reports describe different (possibly controversial) scientific, technical, and socio-economic views on a subject, particularly if they are relevant to the policy debate.
The final draft should credit all Coordinating Lead Authors, Lead Authors, Contributing Authors, reviewers and Review Editors by name and affiliation (at the end of the Report).
Approval and Acceptance of Summaries for Policymakers
Summary sections of Reports approved by the Working Groups and accepted by the Panel will principally be the Summaries for Policymakers, prepared by the respective Working Groups of their full scientific, technical and socio-economic assessments, and Summaries for Policymakers of Special Reports prepared by the Working Groups. The Summaries for Policy Makers should be subject to simultaneous review by both experts and governments and to a final line by line approval by a Session of the Working Group. Responsibility for preparing first drafts and revised drafts of Summaries for Policymakers, lies with the respective Working Group Co-Chairs. The Summaries for Policymakers should be prepared concurrently with the preparation of the main Reports.
Approval of the Summary for Policymakers at the Session of the Working Group, signifies that it is consistent with the factual material contained in the full scientific, technical and socio-economic assessment or Special Report accepted by the Working Group. Coordinating lead authors may be asked to provide technical assistance in ensuring that consistency has been achieved. These Summaries for Policymakers should be formally and prominently described as:
“A Report of [Working Group X of] the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”
For a Summary for Policymakers approved by a Working Group to be endorsed as an IPCC Report, it must be accepted at a Session of the Panel. Because the Working Group approval process is open to all governments, Working Group approval of a Summary for Policymakers means that the Panel cannot change it. However, it is necessary for the Panel to review the Report at a Session, note any substantial disagreements, (in accordance with Principle 10 of the Principles Governing IPCC Work) and formally accept it.
Reports Approved and/or Adopted by the Panel
Reports approved and/or adopted by the Panel will be the Synthesis Report of the Assessment Reports and other Reports as decided by the Panel whereby Section 4.3 applies mutatis mutandis.
The Synthesis Report
The Synthesis Report will synthesize and integrate materials contained within the Assessment Reports and Special Reports and should be written in a non-technical style suitable for policymakers and address a broad range of policy-relevant but policy-neutral questions approved by the Panel. The Synthesis Report is composed of two sections as follows: (a) a Summary for Policymakers and (b) a longer report. The IPCC Chair will
lead a writing team whose composition is agreed by the Bureau, noting the need to aim for a range of views, expertise and geographical representation.
An approval and adoption procedure will allow Sessions of the Panel to approve the SPM line by line and to ensure that the SPM and the longer report of the Synthesis Report are consistent, and the Synthesis Report is consistent with the underlying Assessment Reports and Special Reports from which the information has been synthesised and integrated. This approach will take 5–7 working days of a Session of the Panel.
Step 1: The longer report (30–50 pages) and the SPM (5–10 pages) of the Synthesis Report are prepared by the writing team.
Step 2: The longer report and the SPM of the Synthesis Report undergo simultaneous expert/government review.
Step 3: The longer report and the SPM of the Synthesis Report are then revised by Lead Authors, with the assistance of the Review Editors.
Step 4: The revised drafts of the longer report and the SPM of the Synthesis Report are submitted to Governments and participating organizations eight weeks before the Session of the Panel.
Step 5: The longer report and the SPM of the Synthesis Report are both tabled for discussion in the Session of the Panel:
The Session of the Panel will first provisionally approve the SPM line by line.
The Session of the Panel will review and adopt the longer report of the Synthesis Report, section by section, i.e. roughly one page or less at a time.
The review and adoption process for the longer report of the Synthesis Report should be accomplished in the following manner:
When changes in the longer report of the Synthesis Report are required either to conform it to the SPM or to ensure consistency with the underlying Assessment Reports, the Panel and authors will note where changes are required in the longer report of the Synthesis Report to ensure consistency in tone and content. The authors of the longer report of the Synthesis Report will then make changes in the longer report of the Synthesis Report. Those Bureau members who are not authors will act as Review Editors to ensure that these documents are consistent and follow the directions of the Session of the Panel
The longer report of the Synthesis Report is then brought back to the Session of the Panel for the review and adoption of the revised sections, section by section. If inconsistencies are still identified by the Panel, the longer report of the Synthesis Report is further refined by the Authors with the Assistance of the Review Editors
for review and adoption by the Panel. This process is conducted section by section, not line by line.
The final text of the longer report of the Synthesis Report will be adopted and the SPM approved by the Session of the Panel. The Report consisting of the longer report and the SPM of the Synthesis Report is an IPCC. Report and should be formally and prominently described as: “A Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”