The ninth session of EC-PHORS, ten years after its first meeting in Ottawa, took place in the context of the upcoming WMO Governance Reform. Dr Sue Barrell (Australia), retiring co-Chair of the Panel, recalled that EC-PHORS has been one of the real successes of WMO, and that one should build on that success to bring high quality outcome to Polar and High Mountain activities.

So the well attended meeting focussed on framing the Polar and High Mountain (P&HM) activities for the next WMO Financial Period (2020-2023), addressing how and where to position the Panel and its cross-cutting bodies, the Global Cryosphere Watch (GCW) and the Polar Space Task Group (PSTG), within the new structure of WMO. Accordingly, the usual break-out groups, different from usual, discussed issues related to (a) Services, in particular Regional Climate Centres, (b) the pre-operational phase of GCW, and (c) high mountain activities, this in view of the upcoming High Mountain Summit in Fall 2019. In addition the Panel emphasised the fact that dealing with P&HM regions requires an Earth system approach that is also part of the WMO Governance Reform.

Partnership is an important topic within EC-PHORS. Both IASC and the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR) presented their organizations to the Panel, thereby alluding to the IASC-SCAR Memorandum of Understanding with WMO as well as a re-formulation of the Letter of Agreement between IASC, SCAR, and the International Association of Cryospheric Sciences (IACS). Both the MoU and the LoA should lead to a more effective and prominent participation of these three scientific organizations in WMO P&HM activities. On the other hand, the Arctic Council observer WMO was more than once encouraged to engage more actively in, for example, the Sustaining Arctic Observation Network (SAON).

The main outcome of the Panel session are three draft Resolutions to be submitted to the 18th World Meteorological Congress:

  • Draft Resolution 6.1(4)/1 (Cg-18) - Key directions of the polar and high-mountain agenda for the next WMO financial period (2020–2023)
  • Draft Resolution 6.1(4)/2 (Cg-18) - Antarctic Observing Network
  • Draft Resolution 6.1(4)/3 (Cg-18) - Pre-operational Phase of the Global Cryosphere Watch (GCW) well as a draft Resolution concerning EC-PHORS to be submitted to the 71st Session of the WMO Executive Council.


This meeting report was submitted by Charles Fierz, who represented IASC at this meeting. If you are interested in representing IASC at upcoming meetings related to Arctic science, please reach out to the IASC Secretariat.