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COP 4 Decision IV/16
Retired sections: paragraphs 1 to 4, 10, 16, 17, 19 to 21.

Institutional matters and the programme of work

The Conference of the Parties,

Recognizing the urgency of the effective and full implementation of the Convention,

Aware of the difficulties experienced in the operations of the Convention and in achieving its full and effective implementation,

Recalling the primacy of the role of the Conference of the Parties as provided for in Article 23, paragraph 4, of the Convention,

Conscious of the need to achieve the full participation of Parties in the implementation of the Convention and emphasising the need for open and transparent preparations for the Conference of the Parties,

Underscoring the need for the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice to focus on scientific, technical and technological aspects of the Convention in accordance with its Article 25,

1. Decides that the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties will take place in the second quarter of 2000 for a period of two weeks;

2. Decides also to hold an open-ended meeting to consider possible arrangements to improve preparations for and conduct of the meetings of the Conference of the Parties, taking into account proposals made at the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, including a preparatory discussion of the item on access to genetic resources on the agenda of the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties. This meeting will be of three days duration and is to be held in conjunction with one of the meetings planned for 1999;

3. Requests the Executive Secretary to analyse for the meeting described in paragraph 2 of the present decision the development and experience of other conventions and agreements and their potential relevance to the work of the Convention;

4. Decides to consider at its fifth meeting the results of the meeting described in paragraph 2 of the present decision and the experience gained from the changes in the functioning of the Convention included in the present decision, with a view to taking a decision on the need for further measures to improve preparations for and conduct of meetings of the Conference of Parties;

5. Requests the Executive Secretary, subject to necessary voluntary contributions, to organize regional/subregional meetings to consider ways and means of implementing the Convention and the decisions of the Conference of the Parties;

6. Requests the Executive Secretary when preparing the provisional annotated agenda to clearly indicate whether matters are for information or for consideration and when preparing the supporting documentation to include suggestion of elements for draft decisions as appropriate;

7. Invites Parties to forward any proposed decisions to the Executive Secretary in sufficient time to enable him/her to circulate those draft decisions to all Parties at least three weeks before the commencement of meetings of the Conference of the Parties;

8. Requests the Executive Secretary to distribute the provisional annotated agenda for ordinary meetings of the Conference of the Parties as well as the principal documents for the meeting, in the official languages of the United Nations, as early as possible and in reasonable time for any regional preparatory meetings organized by the Executive Secretary and, in any event, preferably six months before the opening of its ordinary meetings;

9. Invites Parties to notify the Executive Secretary of any additional items they wish to add to the provisional agenda at least six weeks before the opening of the meeting;

10. Requests the Executive Secretary to prepare, in time for the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties, a handbook that relates the decisions of the Conference of the Parties, and other material relevant to the operation of the Convention, as well as to the text of the Convention;

11. Adopts the modus operandi of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice as set out in annex I to the present decision;

12. Decides that the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice shall hold two meetings, each of five days duration, before next ordinary meeting of the Conference of the Parties;

13. Decides that, while the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice should consider the financial implications of its proposals, its recommendations will only include advice to the Conference of the Parties regarding financial matters, including guidance to the financial mechanism, when the Conference of the Parties has so requested;

14. Decides also that in future requests to the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, the Conference of the Parties will make clear whether it expects to receive information for noting, recommendations for approval, or advice for decisions by the Conference of Parties, and that, likewise, the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, when submitting recommendations to the Conference of the Parties, should indicate clearly whether it expects the Conference of the Parties to note, approve or decide on the matter in question;

15. Requests its Bureau to liaise on a regular basis with the bureaux of its subsidiary bodies, in particular the Bureau of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, and, to this end, requests the Executive Secretary to organize wherever possible back-to-back meetings of the bureaux of the Conference of the Parties and the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice;

16. Adopts the programme of work for the period from the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties until the seventh meeting of the Conference as contained in annex II to the present decision;

17. Recognizes that it may be necessary for the Executive Secretary, with the guidance of the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties, to adjust further the servicing of the programme of work in light of the resources available to the Secretariat;

18. Decides to review the programme of work at each ordinary meeting of the Conference, in the light of developments in the implementation of the Convention;

19. Requests the Executive Secretary to prepare the provisional agenda of the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties in agreement with the President within the framework of the programme of work contained in annex II to the present decision;

20. Requests the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice and other subsidiary bodies to prepare proposals for their programmes of work based on the priorities set out in annex II to the present decision, with a view to streamlining and focusing the agendas of their meetings;

21. Requests the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, taking into account its proposals for the programme of work developed under paragraph 16 of the present decision, to advise the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the terms of reference for the ad hoc technical expert groups on thematic areas. The terms of reference should take into account the need, inter alia, to provide a peer­reviewed scientific and technical assessment of the status and trends of, and impacts on, biological diversity, including the effectiveness of the types of measures for conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.


Annex I

MODUS OPERANDI OF THE SUBSIDIARY BODY ON SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVICE

I. Functions

1. The functions of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice are those contained in Article 25 of the Convention. Accordingly, the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice will fulfil its mandate under the authority of, and in accordance with, guidance laid down by the Conference of the Parties, and upon its request.

2. Pursuant to Article 25, paragraph 3, of the Convention, the functions, terms of reference, organization and operation of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice may be further elaborated, for approval by the Conference of the Parties.

II. Rules of procedure

3. The rules of procedure for meetings of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity shall apply, in accordance with rule 26, paragraph 5, mutatis mutandis, to the proceedings of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice. Therefore, rule 18, on credentials, will not apply.

4. In accordance with rule 52, the official and working languages of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice will be those of the United Nations Organization. The proceedings of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice will be carried out in the working languages of the Conference of the Parties.

5. In order to facilitate continuity in the work of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice and taking into account the technical and scientific character of the input of the Subsidiary Body, the terms of office of members of its Bureau will be two years. At each meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice one of the two regional representatives shall be elected in order to achieve staggered terms of office. The members of the Bureau of the Subsidiary Body will take office at the end of the meeting at which they are elected.

6. The Chairman of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, elected at an ordinary meeting of the Conference of the Parties, shall take office from the end of the next ordinary meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice and remain in office until his/her successor takes office. As a general rule the chairmanship of the Subsidiary Body shall rotate among United Nations regional groups. Candidates for the Chair of the Subsidiary Body should be recognized experts, qualified in the field of biological diversity and experienced in the process of the Convention and the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice.

III. Frequency and timing of meetings of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice

7. The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice shall meet at intervals to be determined by the Conference of the Parties and sufficiently in advance of each regular meeting of the Conference of the Parties, for a duration to be determined by the Conference of the Parties which should not normally exceed five days. The number and length of the meetings and activities of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice and its organs should be reflected in the budget adopted by the Conference of the Parties or other sources of extra budgetary funding.

IV. Documentation

8. The documentation prepared for meetings will be distributed three months before the meeting in the working languages of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, will be concrete, focused draft technical reports and will include proposed conclusions and recommendations for consideration of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice.

9. To facilitate the preparation of documentation, and in order to avoid duplication of efforts and ensure the use of available scientific, technical and technological competence available within international and regional organizations, including non-governmental organizations and scientific unions and societies, qualified in fields relating to conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, the Executive Secretary may establish, in consultation with the Chairman and the other members of the Bureau of the Subsidiary Body, liaison groups, as appropriate. Such liaison groups will depend on the resources available.

V. Organization of work during the meetings

10. Each meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice will propose to the Conference of the Parties, in light of the programme of work for the Conference of the Parties and the Subsidiary Body, a particular theme as the focus of work for the following meeting of the Subsidiary Body.

11. Two open-ended sessional working groups of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice could be established and operate simultaneously during meetings of the Subsidiary Body. They shall be established on the basis of well-defined terms of reference, and will be open to all Parties and observers. The financial implications of these arrangements should be reflected in the budget of the Convention.

VI. Ad hoc technical expert group meetings

12. A limited number of ad hoc technical expert groups on specific priority issues on the programme of work of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice may be established, as required, for a limited duration. The establishment of such ad hoc technical expert groups would be guided by the following elements:

(a) The ad hoc technical expert groups should draw on the existing knowledge and competence available within, and liaise with, international, regional and national organizations, including non-governmental organizations and the scientific community in fields relevant to this Convention;

(b) The Executive Secretary will nominate scientific and technical experts drawn from the roster for the ad hoc technical experts groups in consultation with the Bureau of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice. The ad hoc technical expert groups shall be composed of no more than fifteen experts competent in the relevant field of expertise, with due regard to geographical representation and to the special conditions of least-developed countries and small island developing States;

(c) The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice will recommend the exact duration and specific terms of reference, when establishing such expert groups for the approval of the Conference of the Parties;

(d) Expert groups will be encouraged to use innovative means of communication and to minimize the need for face-to-face meetings;

(e) The ad hoc technical expert groups may also convene meetings parallel to the proceedings of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice;

(f) Reports produced by the ad hoc technical expert groups should, as a general rule be submitted for peer review;

(g) All efforts will be made to provide adequate voluntary financial assistance for the participation of experts in the expert groups from developing countries and countries with economies in transition Parties; and

(h) The number of ad hoc technical expert groups active each year will be limited to the minimum necessary and will depend on the amount of resources designated to the Subsidiary Body by the Conference of the Parties in its budget or on the availability of extra-budgetary resources.

VII. Contribution of non-governmental organizations

13. The scientific and technical contribution of non-governmental organizations to the fulfilment of the mandate of the Subsidiary Body will be strongly encouraged in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention and the rules of procedure for meetings of the Conference of the Parties.

VIII. Cooperation with other relevant bodies

14. The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice shall cooperate with other relevant international, regional and national organizations, under the guidance of the Convention of the Parties, thus building upon the vast experience and knowledge available.

15. In this context, the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice emphasizes the importance of research to further increase available knowledge and reduce uncertainties, and recommends that the Conference of the Parties consider this issue in relation to the financial resources required for the effective implementation of the Convention.

IX. Regional and subregional preparatory meetings

16. Regional and subregional meetings for the preparation of regular meetings of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice may be organized as appropriate for specific items. The possibility of combining such meetings with other scientific regional meetings, in order to make maximum use of available resources, should be considered. The convening of such regional and subregional meetings will be subject to the availability of voluntary financial contributions.

17. The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice should, in the fulfilment of its mandate, draw upon the contributions of the existing regional and subregional intergovernmental organizations or initiatives.

X. Focal points

18. A list of focal points and focal persons to the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice shall be established and regularly updated by the Executive Secretary, on the basis of information provided by Parties and other relevant regional, subregional and intergovernmental organizations.

XI. Roster of experts

19. Rosters of experts in the relevant fields of the Convention will be compiled by the Executive Secretary on the basis of input from Parties and, as appropriate, from other countries and relevant bodies. The rosters will be administered by the Executive Secretary in an efficient, effective and transparent manner. The Executive Secretary together with the national focal points and relevant bodies, will regularly update the rosters of experts, including the information on each expert. The information on the rosters will be made accessible through the clearing­house mechanism, save to the extent that an expert objects to information concerning him/her being released.

20. The Executive Secretary as well as the ad hoc technical expert groups and liaison groups referred to above, should make full use of such rosters of experts, inter alia, through the type of consultations as described in paragraph 21 below. The Executive Secretary will inform Parties, at least one month prior to the convening of a meeting of experts, of the details of the meeting and of the experts invited.

21. The experts on the rosters are invited to make available, upon request of the Executive Secretary, Parties or other countries and relevant bodies, their specific expertise in order to contribute to the further development of the scientific, technical and technological issues of the work programme of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Such requests could entail, inter alia, peer reviews, questionnaires, clarifications or examinations of scientific, technological and technical issues, specific contributions to the compilation of documents, participation in global and regional workshops and assisting in connecting the Convention-process to international, regional and national scientific, technical and technological processes.


Annex II

THE PROGRAMME OF WORK

Meeting of the Conference of the Parties

Items for in-depth consideration

Fifth

Dryland, mediterranean, arid, semi­arid, grassland and savannah ecosystems

Sustainable use, including tourism

Access to genetic resources

Sixth

Forest ecosystems

Alien species

Benefit-sharing

Seventh

Mountain ecosystems

Protected areas

Transfer of technology and technology cooperation

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme