Colombia hosted the 25th session of IAI’s Conference of the Parties (CoP 25) in Bogota from 12 to 16 June 2017. Representatives from twelve IAI member countries attended the meeting that was presided by Colombian focal point Dr. Omar Franco Torres, Director of the Instituto de Hidrología, Meteorología y Estudios Ambientales (IDEAM). The Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development Hon. Gilberto Murillo welcomed all participants and highlighted the importance of the work of IAI in the transfer of scientific knowledge to support decision-making on the potential effects of climate change.
A joint Science-Policy Workshop was held with CoP delegates, the members of IAI’s Scientific and Science-Policy Committees as well as representatives from IAI Associated Institutions CIESIN and FAPESP, and observer organizations such as the Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt, the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), Future Earth, Belmont Forum, the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the Centro Internacional para la Investigación del Fenómeno de El Niño (CIIFEN).
Discussions during the Science-Policy Workshop centered on the enhancement of the science-policy interface, the possible role of indigenous peoples and local communities, and a greater integration of national global change policy frameworks within a regional context. Member States and observers emphasized the need to reach out to non-parties in an effort to ensure full regional representation. Participants also addressed the need to develop strategies on open science and data, communication and identified an urgent need to attract alternative funding sources.
The IAI meetings coincided with the launch of Colombia’s Third National Communication on Climate Change to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The study presents climate change scenarios by department for 2011-2100, thus providing fundamental information for decision-makers in relation with water management and other climate change related problems. Former Minister of the Environment of Peru, Dr. Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, host of IAI’s CoP 23 in Lima, Peru in 2015 and now Climate and Energy Leader at WWF International, who was present at the launch of the Colombian National Communication, visited the IAI meetings and gave a brief speech.
One of the strengths of the IAI is the excellence of the science it supports. The research projects of multinational and multi- and transdisciplinary nature, with regional and local approaches, produce outcomes that are useful to various stakeholders in the Americas and other regions facing similar global change related problems.
Capacity building programs led by the IAI are closely linked to its science initiatives. Training new generations of scientists, government officials, and stakeholders in the private sector in the understanding that global change is a crosscutting issue in all human activities and in sharing information, views and needs, is crucial to maximize the achievements, knowledge and expertise generated by the many successful IAI initiatives and projects.
The IAI Directorate looks forward to the next 25 years working with Member Country representatives, Advisory Committees, Observer Organizations and other stakeholders to use and share data and information to decision makers in different sectors and levels.
The success of the IAI CoP 25 and Advisory Committee meetings would not have been possible without the professionalism and warmth of colleagues from IAI’s focal point organization in Colombia, IDEAM.