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

(Annex III of decision VIII/10)

A. Functions

1. The functions of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice are those contained in Article 25 of the Convention and the decisions of the Conference of the Parties (see appendix A for a list of functions of the Subsidiary Body). 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.

B. Operating principles

3. The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, in carrying out its functions, shall support the implementation of the multi-year programme of work of the Conference of the Parties and the Strategic Plan of the Convention, in a manner consistent with other internationally agreed goals relevant to the objectives of the Convention.

4. The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice shall endeavor to constantly improve the quality of its scientific, technical and technological advice by improving scientific, technical and technological input into, debate at, and work of, meetings of the Subsidiary Body. Strategic ways and means of improving the advice of the Subsidiary Body are included in Appendix B.

C. Rules of procedure

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

6. 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.

7. The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, within the available budgetary resources for matters related to its mandate, may make requests to the Executive Secretary and utilize the clearing-house mechanism, and other appropriate means, to assist in the preparation of its meetings.

8. The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice may make recommendations that include options or alternatives.

9. 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 meetings. 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.

10. The Chairperson 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.

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

11. The meetings of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice should take place as necessary 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.

E. Documentation

12. 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.

13. To assist with the peer review of documentation, the Executive Secretary may establish, in consultation with the Chairperson and the other members of the Bureau of the Subsidiary Body, a liaison group comprising a balanced range of experts qualified in fields relating to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, and including scientific institutions and societies, as appropriate. Such liaison groups, and the way in which they interact, will depend on the resources available.

14. In preparing documentation for meetings, the Executive Secretary will establish work plans, timetables, resource requirements, and collaborators and contributors, and follow a transparent process for contributions, comments and feedback at various stages of document preparation. Technical reports prepared for the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice will be peer-reviewed as appropriate.

F. Organization of work during the meetings

15. 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.

16. 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.

G. Scientific and Technical Assessments

17. Scientific and technical assessments initiated by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice shall be regionally balanced, carried out in an objective and authoritative manner, according to the terms of reference that clearly establish the mandate, duration of operation and expected outcomes, and undertaken according to the process outlined in appendix C below.

H. Ad hoc technical expert group meetings

18. A limited number of ad hoc technical expert groups on specific priority issues on the programme of work of the Conference of the Parties may be established under the guidance of the Conference of the Parties, as required, for a limited duration, to provide scientific and technical advice and assessments. 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 as appropriate, international, regional and national organizations, including non-governmental organizations and the scientific community, as well as indigenous and local community organizations and the private sector, in fields relevant to this Convention;

(b) The Executive Secretary, in consultation with the Bureau of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, will select scientific and technical experts from the nominations submitted by Parties for each ad hoc technical expert group. The ad hoc technical expert groups shall be composed of no more than fifteen experts nominated by Parties competent in the relevant field of expertise, with due regard to geographical representation, gender balance and to the special conditions of developing countries, in particular the least-developed and small island developing States, and countries with economies in transition, as well as a limited number of experts from relevant organizations, depending on the subject matter. The number of experts from organizations shall not exceed the number of experts nominated by Parties;

(c) The number of ad hoc technical expert groups active each year will be limited to the minimum necessary. In the establishment of such groups, Parties shall take into consideration the availability of extra-budgetary resources as determined by the Conference of the Parties;

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

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

(f) All efforts will be made to provide adequate voluntary financial assistance for the participation of experts, in the ad hoc technical expert groups, from developing countries and countries with economies in transition Parties.

I. Contribution of non-governmental organizations

19. 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.

J. Cooperation with other relevant bodies

20. The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice shall cooperate with other relevant international, regional and national organizations, under the guidance of the Conference of the Parties, thus building upon the vast experience and knowledge available. To facilitate such cooperation, the Bureau of the Subsidiary Body may hold meetings with equivalent bodies of other relevant biodiversity-related conventions, institutions and processes. In addition, the Chair of the Subsidiary Body, or other member of the Bureau authorized by the Chair, may represent the Subsidiary Body at meetings of the scientific bodies of such groups.

K. Regional and subregional preparatory meetings

21. 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.

22. 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.

L. Focal points

23. 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.

24. Although the specific responsibilities of focal points to the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice will be determined by Parties, such focal points act as liaisons with the Secretariat on behalf of their Parties with regard to scientific, technical and technological matters related to the Convention and, in doing so, they may undertake the following tasks:

(a) Developing linkages, and facilitating information exchange, between the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice and relevant regional and national agencies and experts;

(b) Responding to requests for input from the Conference of the Parties and the Secretariat related to scientific, technical and technological issues;

(c) Communicating and collaborating with focal points for the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice in other countries to improve the effectiveness of the Subsidiary Body and to facilitate implementation of the Convention;

(d) Collaborating with other national-level focal points for the Convention on Biological Diversity and focal points from other biodiversity-related conventions to facilitate implementation of the Convention at the national level.

Appendix A

FUNCTIONS OF THE SUBSIDIARY BODY ON SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVICE

The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice was established to provide the Conference of the Parties and, as appropriate, its other subsidiary bodies with timely advice relating to the implementation of the Convention. Its specific functions are to:

(a) Provide scientific and technical assessments of the status of biological diversity;

(b) Prepare scientific and technical assessments of the effects of types of measures taken in accordance with the provisions of this Convention;

(c) Identify innovative, efficient and state-of-the-art technologies and know-how relating to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and advise on the ways and means of promoting development and/or transferring such technologies;

(d) Identify new and emerging issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity;

(e) Provide advice on scientific programmes and international cooperation in research and development related to conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity;

(f) Respond to scientific, technical, technological and methodological questions that the Conference of the Parties and its subsidiary bodies may put to the body.

Appendix B

STRATEGIC WAYS AND MEANS OF IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVICE OF THE SUBSIDIARY BODY ON SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVICE

1. Improving the scientific, technical and technological inputs into SBSTTA meetings by, inter alia:

(a)Strengthening relationships with the scientific and technical community through:

(i) Providing material about the work of the Subsidiary Body in a format that is accessible and relevant to the scientific and technical community;

(ii) Actively disseminating the results of the work of the Subsidiary Body through scientific literature, both as reporting items and scientific papers, as reviewed and approved by the Conference of the Parties;

(iii) Participating in, and contributing to, the scientific and technical components of other biodiversity-related processes;

(iv) Using other bodies as a bridge between the Subsidiary Body and the scientific and technical community in relation to work programmes;

(v) Engaging the scientific community in scientific assessments.

2. Improving the scientific, technical and technological debate during SBSTTA meetings by, inter alia:

(a) Raising delegates' awareness about, and encouraging informal debate on, key issues through the provision of scientific and technical publications, keynote speakers, poster sessions, round-table debates and other side events during meetings of the Subsidiary Body;

(b) Identifying other opportunities to prepare delegates, particularly those with limited experience, for the discussions on scientific and technical matters;

(c) Dedicating sufficient time to the consideration of results of scientific and technical assessments.

Appendix C

PROCESS FOR THE CONDUCT OF SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL ASSESSMENTS INITIATED BY THE SUBSIDIARY BODY ON SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVICE

Assessment steps Modalities/activities
Recognition of assessment need/mandate
  1. Mandate given by the Conference of the Parties;
  2. Needs identified:
    • Through the review of programmes of work, e.g., for forest biodiversity, and biodiversity and climate change;
    • After an initial assessment, e.g., for invasive alien species; or
    • During implementation of programmes of work, e.g., for rapid assessment methods.
Preparation of background document or note by the Executive Secretary Provide notice of intention to undertake assessment:
  1. Invitation given to scientific community to submit evidence
Background documents or detailed outlines drafted by the Executive Secretary with or without assistance from:
  1. Consultant/collaborating organization; and/or
  2. Expert meeting.
Consideration by an AHTEG1 established by the Conference of the Parties
  1. Review of background document or Note by the Executive Secretary;
  2. Identification of gaps; and
  3. Revision of background document taking into account additional published information.
Peer-review Peer-review, if applicable, by:
  1. Selected reviewers;
  2. A wider audience including Parties, other Governments, SBSTTA focal points, experts nominated by Parties, organizations and indigenous and local communities and/or other conventions and their focal points.
Consideration by SBSTTA
  1. Development of conclusions on assessment;
  2. Recommendation to the Conference of the Parties.
Use and application of results (including consideration by the Conference of the Parties) and identification of gaps to be addressed in future
  1. Utilization of the revised document to develop elements and activities for the relevant programmes of work, and follow-up activities and submission of draft decision for consideration by the Conference of the Parties;
  2. Decision by the Conference of the Parties;
  3. Publication of assessment reports in the CBD Technical Series;
  4. Use in other publications, e.g., Millennium Ecosystem Assessment report;
  5. Active dissemination of results to scientific community.
  6. Use by Governments and others;
  7. Identification of additional information needs, including the need for new assessments.

Annex IV

OPTIONS FOR FACILITATING EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION AND VIEWS ON THE ITEMS ON THE AGENDA OF THE SUBSIDIARY BODY ON SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVICE

Pursuant to recommendation 1/2 of the Working Group on Review of Implementation, the Executive Secretary, in consultation with the SBSTTA Bureau, has explored options for facilitating the exchange of information and views on SBSTTA agenda items in the table below. These options have been defined with a view to facilitating the formal discussion of agenda items at SBSTTA meetings and should be considered bearing in mind the time constraints during meetings of the Subsidiary Body.

Option Commentary
Keynote speakers
  • Keynote speakers may be asked to speak during the opening of SBSTTA meetings. Experience under the Convention suggests that keynote speakers can usefully set a constructive tone for a meeting either by providing an inspirational or provocative speech; however targeted introductory presentations facilitate the exchange of information and views on specific issues more effectively.
  • Selected keynote speakers may be from outside the Convention or from amongst delegates; however, in addition to being knowledgeable about the subject of discussion, they must also be animated and interesting speakers.
Introductory presentations
  • Introductory presentations are often used to introduce specific issues in Plenary or in the working groups at SBSTTA. They may be given by Secretariat staff, delegates, or guests. They can be very effective in terms of raising awareness about and outlining key issues for delegates, especially technical or complex issues; however they do not provide an opportunity for in-depth discussion of issues.
Presentations in meetings of regional groups
  • Experts could be invited by regional groups to their meetings held during SBSTTA to give brief presentations and catalyze discussion within regions on key issues being addressed at SBSTTA meetings. Prior to SBSTTA meetings, regional groups could determine for which agenda items presentations might be useful and invite the relevant experts to their respective meetings.
Informal workshops
  • Informal intra- and/or inter-sessional workshops on key agenda items could be held to enable delegates to exchange views on issues without the constraints of a formal negotiating process. Workshops would be held in response to an identified need from SBSTTA and would likely consist of presentations (from Secretariat staff, delegates, or guests) and discussion and could help to raise and resolve challenging issues in a less formal setting. Outcomes of the workshops could be in the form of a chair’s text. It would not need to be agreed upon, but it could be referred to during the formal debate.
  • Intra-sessional workshops could be held in working groups prior to the formal negotiation of a particular agenda item, while inter-sessional workshops could be held just prior to SBSTTA meetings. In the case of intra-sessional workshops, participation would be guaranteed.
  • Inter-sessional workshops could be held a few weeks prior to, or back-to-back with, SBSTTA meetings. They could also be held simultaneous to other biodiversity-related meetings (e.g., Ramsar COP, UNCCD COP etc.).

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1 / The cost of a meeting of experts (including 12 experts from developing countries and countries with economies in transition) varies between US$ 40,000 and US$ 60,000 depending on the venue and participation of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity when meetings are held outside of Montreal.

Additional elements to the consolidated modus operandi

(Section II of decision IX/29)

Recalling the consolidated modus operandi of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice adopted by the Conference of the Parties in decision VIII/10,

6. Requests the Executive Secretary to facilitate increased information exchange between the Bureaus of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific Technical and Technological Advice and the Conference of the Parties by inter alia inviting the Chair of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific Technical and Technological Advice to attend relevant meetings of the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties;

7. Calls upon Parties to actively participate in the peer-review process for documentation related to the Subsidiary Body on Scientific Technical and Technological Advice prepared by the Executive Secretary and to include where appropriate experts qualified in the fields relating to the items on the agenda of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific Technical and Technological Advice on their delegations;

New and emerging issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity

Recalling that, according 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 by the Conference of the Parties,

Also recalling that in accordance with decision VIII/10, annex III, paragraph 1, 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,

Further recalling that in accordance with VIII/10, annex III, paragraph 5, that the rules of procedure for meetings of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity shall apply, mutatis mutandis, in accordance with rule 26, paragraph 5, to the proceedings of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice,

Underlining the need to reduce the number of agenda items for consideration by the Subsidiary Body at each meeting in order to improve the effectiveness of its proceedings (VIII/10, annex III, para. 14),

Also recalling that in accordance with decision VIII/10, annex III, appendix A, paragraph (d), one of the specific functions of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice is to identify new and emerging issues related to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity,

Emphasizing that the present decision is without prejudice to the rules of procedure and to the modus operandi contained in annex III to decision VIII/10,

8. Requests the Executive Secretary to notify Parties and relevant organizations after each meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the latest date by which proposals submitted for new and emerging issues based on the information requested in paragraph 10 below and the criteria listed in paragraph 11 will still be included into the compilation mentioned below;

9. Also requests the Executive Secretary to compile the submissions in the form in which they are received and notify Parties and relevant organizations of the opportunity to contribute relevant information and views related to the proposals taking into account the criteria listed in paragraph 12 below;

10. Further requests the Executive Secretary to prepare a document compiling the original submissions and the information and views received for consideration by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice;

11. Decides that proposals for emerging issues should, where possible, be accompanied with information on:

(a) Why the issue needs urgent attention by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (including how it impacts biodiversity);

(b) How it affects the attainment of the objectives of the Convention (citing relevant articles);

(c) Thematic programmes of work and/or cross-cutting issues that could contribute to the resolution of the issue;

(d) Work already under way by relevant organizations addressing the issue; and

(e) Credible sources of information, preferably from peer-reviewed articles;

12. Further decides that the following criteria should be used for identifying new and emerging issues related to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity:

(a) Relevance of the issue to the implementation of the objectives of the Convention and its existing programmes of work;

(b) New evidence of unexpected and significant impacts on biodiversity;

(c) Urgency of addressing the issue/imminence of the risk caused by the issue to the effective implementation of the Convention as well as the magnitude of actual and potential impact on biodiversity;

(d) Actual geographic coverage and potential spread, including rate of spread, of the identified issue relating to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity;

(e) Evidence of the absence or limited availability of tools to limit or mitigate the negative impacts of the identified issue on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity;

(f) Magnitude of actual and potential impact of the identified issue on human well-being;

(g) Magnitude of actual and potential impact of the identified issue on productive sectors and economic well-being as related to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity;

13. Requests the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice to review and discuss the proposals and, as appropriate, identify new and emerging issues and elaborate a scientific and technical analysis with options for action for consideration and to submit this analysis to the Conference of the Parties for its consideration;

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme