E-learning course on Reviewing Assessment Reports of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)

Future Climate for Africa hosted a micro e-learning course on Expert and Government Review of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Reports. The objective of the course was to increase the involvement of African experts and governments in the review process for the IPCC 6th Assessment Report (including Special Reports) with a view to enhancing both the scientific quality and policy relevance of the IPCC reports for African stakeholders. The training was aimed at African experts and governments on physical climate science, climate impacts, adaptation, vulnerability and mitigation. The course was delivered by distinguished international experts with extensive past involvement in the IPCC.


The IPCC Assessment Reports are internationally regarded as authoritative sources of climate change knowledge. The periodic Assessment Reports are also highly influential: Not only do these reports play a central role in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, they also inform policy making on national and subnational levels, actions by local and international civil society, private sector investments, and news and popular press reporting.

A strict process for developing the assessments has ensured extensive international collaboration, transparency, academic rigour and policy relevance. The Fifth and latest Assessment Report involved 831 authors from over 70 countries.

However, participation from African authors and reviewers has been extremely low. For the 5th Assessment Report (AR5), out of approximately 8000 reviewers across Working Groups 1 – 3, only 92 (1.15%) were African. The big majority of African reviewers have been from South Africa, while many other African countries have not participated in review rounds at all.

To support increased participation of African reviewers, FCFA is hosting a micro e-learning course on Expert and Government Review for the IPCC Assessment Reports, targeted at African experts from academia, private and public sector and governments with relevant interest in climate change and its policy responses.

Course content

The micro e-learning course included:

  • How the IPCC and its review process works;
  • IPCC guidance to expert reviewers;
  • Judging draft texts, diagrams and figures;
  • Analysis of the validity of a statement by checking underlying literature sources;
  • The appropriate usage of grey and non-English literature.

Course Structure and Schedule

The course was conducted in English and consisted of three one-hour webinars, which were presented live on 5, 7 and 19 June 2018.

Webinar 1: How does the IPCC work?
Tuesday, 5 June 2018, 1-2 pm CEST / 11-12 am GMT
Presented by Dr Leo Meyer and Prof. Jean-Pascal van Ypersele

Watch the recording:

Webinar 1 presentation is available here.
The list of Q&As from Webinar 1 is available here.

Webinar 2: How to conduct an IPCC review
Thursday, 7 June 2018, 1-2 pm CEST / 11-12 am GMT
Presented by Dr Leo Meyer and Prof. Jean-Pascal van Ypersele

Watch the recording:

Webinar 2 presentation is available here.
The list of Q&As from Webinar 2 is available here.

Webinar 3: In-depth review analysis and further guidance
Tuesday, 19 June 2018, 1-2 pm CEST / 11-12 am GMT
Presented by Prof. Arthur Petersen and Prof. Yacob Mulugetta

Watch the recording:

Webinar 3 presentation is available here.
The list of Q&As from Webinar 3 is available here.

The course was held within the Expert Review period of the First Order Draft of the Special Report on Land and Climate Change (SRCCL), and the Government Review period of the Final Draft Summary for Policymakers of the Special Report on 1.50C (SR1.5). It focussed on applying course content to an actual review of either of these reports. However, the content of the course was also relevant to experts and governments interested in future reviewing any of the other Special, Working Group, or Synthesis reports of the IPCC.


The course was open to anyone interested in contributing to the quality and relevance of IPCC reports, either by being or becoming an Expert Reviewer or as a government official involved in the IPCC. There was no limit to the number of participants for the webinar sessions. 

Supporting documents

Guidance on how to register as an Expert Reviewer
Useful links for the e-learning course on reviewing IPCC reports

One-to-one feedback

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 Expert Review on the Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL) and the Government Review of the SPM of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees (SR1.5).

Registration for the one-to-one feedback has now closed. The number of reviewers have been limited to 26 individuals. Priority has been given to first–time reviewers with both African citizenship and affiliation, on a first come-first serve basis. All correspondence between the reviewers and the presenters will be kept confidential.

Course Presenters

Senior advisors

The following distinguished senior experts are members of the Advisory Committee to the course, together with the presenters: