Mini e-course: How to review IPCC Assessment Reports – webinars and guidance for climate experts

Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) hosted a second round of the mini e-course on Expert and Government Review of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Reports. A first round was given for African experts in 2018. The objective of this course was to increase the involvement of expert reviewers from all developing countries (not only Africa) in IPCC reports, focusing on the first draft of the Working Group II report. The course was delivered by distinguished international experts with extensive past involvement in the IPCC.


The IPCC periodically assesses scientific literature on climate change and how to deal with it. Since 1990 it provides the main scientific background for climate change policies all over the world. The aim of the mini e-course was to enable first-time reviewers and early career climate experts, to understand how the IPCC works and how to influence its draft reports, by providing review comments on chapters (or sections, or just one paragraph or figure). This helps the authors to include more science and to increase the relevance for policy makers. Becoming an Expert Reviewer offers an opportunity to make one heard in the international community of climate experts. Names of all expert reviewers are published in the final report, giving them world-wide visibility.

It is particularly important that reviewers from developing countries with much regional and local knowledge bring their expertise into the IPCC assessments, in order to keep a balance of scientific input from all regions of the world. Therefore, the course was aimed at participants from developing countries, especially from the African, Latin American and SE Asian regions. The review period was from 18 October to 13 December 2019. Details were provided during the mini-course.

Course content

The mini e-course included:

1.  Webinar 1: How the IPCC and its review process works, including:

  • The role of the IPCC
  • Governance and structure,
  • IPCC products
  • What is an Assessment IPCC style
  • The assessment process including its reviews
  • Interactions of the IPCC with society and policy making

2. Webinar 2: How to review an IPCC draft report, including:

  • Review procedures
  • How to find your way in a draft IPCC report
  • Judging draft texts, diagrams and figures;
  • Analysis of the validity of a statement
  • The appropriate usage of grey and non-English scientific literature
  • Phrasing effective review comments
  • Practical hints and further guidance material

3. One-to-one feedback by the presenters to those participants who wished to receive personal feedback and guidance in phrasing their review comments on the Draft WG II IPCC reporton Impacts, Adaptation and vulnerability.

Although the course was linked in time to the Expert Review period of the First Order Draft of WGII report, the content of the course was relevant to experts interested in future reviewing any of the other assessment reports of the IPCC.

Course structure and schedule

The course was conducted in English. There were two 75 minute webinars, consisting of 60 minutes of live presentations and 15 minute questions and answers. Karen Morris of SouthSouthNorth was the moderator. The webinars were recorded and made available on the FCFA YouTube channel, enabling anyone to follow these webinars in one’s own time. The webinar recordings have been subtitled into Spanish and French.

Webinar 1: How does the IPCC work?
Tuesday, 15 October 2019, 14:30-15:45 CEST/SAST (Central European Summer Time/South African Standard Time).

Presented by Dr Leo Meyer and Prof Jean-Pascal van Ypersele.

Download the English presentation HERE

Download the French presentation HERE

Download the Spanish presentation HERE

Download the webinar Q&A’s HERE

Watch the video without subtitles below:


Watch the video with FRENCH subtitles below:


Watch the video with SPANISH subtitles below:

Webinar 2: How to conduct an IPCC review
Tuesday, 22 October 2019, 14:30 – 15:45 CES/SAST.

Presented by Prof Arthur Petersen and Dr Leo Meyer

Download the English presentation HERE

Download the French presentation HERE

Download the Spanish presentation HERE

Download the webinar Q&A’s HERE

Watch the video without subtitles, below:


Watch the video with FRENCH subtitles below:


Watch the video with SPANISH subtitles below:


One-to-One feedback on draft review comments.
Course attendees were provided an opportunity to obtain feedback and guidance from the presenters, on a one-to-one basis by email exchange, on preparing their review comments on the First Order Draft of WGII report.

Registration for the one-to-one feedback part was open from 23 October until 8 November 2019. The number of participants for this part was limited to 30 individuals. Priority was given to first–time reviewers on a first come, first served basis. All correspondence between the participants and the presenters has been kept fully confidential.


The course was open to anyone from a developing country with an interest in contributing to the quality and relevance of IPCC reports, either by being or becoming an Expert Reviewer of the IPCC reports. We particularly encouraged women climate experts and early career scientists to join. There was a limit of 500 participants for each of the webinar sessions, and registration was on a first come, first served basis.

Cost and IT requirements

The course was offered free of charge. Supporting materials were provided digitally and shared online. Participants needed a sufficiently fast and steady internet connection to view a standard webinar (minimal 1.5 Mbps upload/download).

Questions relating to the course can be forwarded to:

UN CC:Learn affiliation

The webinars have received a UN CC:Learn affiliation badge and are now also available on the UN CC:Learn e-learning platform. The affiliation programme is a mechanism through which The One UN Climate Change Learning Partnership (UN CC:Learn) highlights high-quality resources on climate change developed by other recognized institutions, with the aim to complement its e-learning offer and contribute to the promotion of global climate literacy. UN CC:Learn is a partnership of more than 30 multilateral organizations supporting countries to design and implement systematic and results-oriented climate change learning. The Secretariat for UN CC:Learn is hosted by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). Funding for UN CC:Learn is provided by the Swiss Government and UN partners.

Useful Links