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--> Appendix A Message from the 1997 Conference on the World Climate Research Programme to the Third Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Well over 300 members of the climate research and policy communities present at the Conference on the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) (Geneva, Switzerland, 26–28 August, 1997) agreed that comprehensive observations of the climate system are critical, and noted with concern the decline in conventional observation networks in some regions. This is a serious threat to continuing progress in climate research, and to detection of climate change and attribution of its causes. Without action to reverse this decline and develop the Global Climate Observation System, the ability to characterize climate change and variations over the next 25 years will be even less than during the past quarter century. (emphasis added) In some regions, for example, drought-prone parts of Africa, climate change detection, prediction of seasonal and long-term variations and reliable assessment of climate impacts could become impossible. Recognizing the obligations of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change under Article 4.1 (g) and (h) (Commitments) and Article 5 (Research and Systematic Observations), we strongly urge that, at the coming session of the Conference of Parties, arrangements be put in place to ensure funding and support for the essential observation networks of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) and its oceanographic and terrestrial counterparts, and for research involving data interpretation and analysis, as well as for retrieval and preservation of historical data in electronic form. Without such support, future assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which draw heavily on WCRP research and on the observational data sets, will be significantly compromised.