Report, Strategy, planning and review

Review of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP)

This report provides strategic directions for the future development of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), reviews its scientific achievements and impact since 2009, and assesses the appropriateness and effectiveness of the governance, operational structure, management and resourcing of WCRP.


The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) was established in 1980 to facilitate the analysis and prediction of Earth system variability and change for use in an increasing range of practical applications of direct relevance, benefit and value to society.

Since then the WCRP has played a pivotal role in international climate science by initiating and coordinating major collaborative activities which could not have been delivered without the kind of international cooperation that WCRP facilitates.

This review was instigated in 2017 by WCRP’s three sponsors – the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the International Council for Science (ICSU), and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO. The review aimed to assess the effectiveness of WCRP in delivering its mandate, how well it works in partnership with other organizations, and to advise on the future structure, governance and resourcing of the programme.

This report was prepared by the ICSU-WMO-IOC Review Panel, comprising Julia Slingo (Chair), Sergey Gulev, Fumiko Kasuga, Mark New, Neville Smith, Alan Thorpe and Steven Zebiak.

The report looks at WCRP’s structure and governance in the current context, considering the effectiveness of its operations and relationship with key partners, as well as its contributions to major international policy processes. Finally, the report looks ahead to the future of WCRP and makes a number of recommendations for WCRP to fulfil its mission in the context of 21st century challenges.

You will find download links for the full Report and Executive Summary below.

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