. Agenda item 4: Modus operandi of the subsidiary body on scientific, technical and technological advice
Agenda Item 4: Modus operandi of the Subsidiaru Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advise
Recalling the relevant provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity, in particular Article 25, and the principles contained in the preamble of the Convention;
Recalling also decision II/1 of the Conference of the Parties and particularly paragraph 3 thereof which requested the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) to keep under review its modus operandi with a view to improving its functioning on the basis of experience gained;
Taking into account the experience gained so far in the operation of the SBSTTA
The second meeting of the SBSTTA, held in Montreal from 2-6 September 1996:
1. Recommends that the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties, to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 4 to 15 November 1996, adopt the revised elements of the modus operandi of SBSTTA contained in Annex I hereto; and
2. Invites the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties to consider the further conclusions of the second meeting of SBSTTA with regard to its modus operandi contained in Annex II hereto.
Annex 1 of Recommendation II/11
MODUS OPERANDI OF THE SUBSIDIARY BODY ON SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVICE
1. The functions of the SBSTTA are those contained in Article 25 of the Convention. Accordingly, the SBSTTA 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, the functions, terms of reference, organization and operation of the SBSTTA 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 SBSTTA. Therefore, rule 18 on credentials will not apply.
4. In accordance with rule 52, the official and working languages of the SBSTTA will be those of the United Nations Organization. The proceedings of the SBSTTA will be carried out in the working languages of the Conference of the Parties.
5. In order to facilitate continuity in the work of SBSTTA and taking into account the technical and scientific character of the input of SBSTTA, the terms of office of members of the Bureau of SBSTTA will be two years. At each meeting of the SBSTTA one of the two regional representatives shall be elected in order to achieve staggered terms of office. The members of the Bureau of SBSTTA will take office at the end of the meeting at which they are elected.
6. The Chairman of the SBSTTA, elected at an ordinary meeting of the Conference of the Parties, shall take office from the beginning of the next ordinary meeting of the SBSTTA and remain in office until the beginning of the following meeting of the SBSTTA.
III. Frequency and timing of the SBSTTA
7. The SBSTTA shall meet annually 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 SBSTTA and its organs should be reflected in the budget adopted by the Conference of the Parties or other sources of extra-budgetary funding.
8. The documentation prepared for meetings will be distributed six weeks before the meeting in the working languages of the SBSTTA, will be concrete, focused draft technical reports and will include proposed conclusions and recommendations for consideration of the SBSTTA.
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 SBSTTA, 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 SBSTTA will propose to the Conference of the Parties, in light of the programme of work for the Conference of the Parties and the SBSTTA, a particular theme as the focus of work for the following meeting of the SBSTTA.
11. Two open-ended sessional working groups of the SBSTTA could be established and operate simultaneously during meetings of the SBSTTA. 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 SBSTTA 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 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 SBSTTA 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 SBSTTA;
(f) 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
(g) The number of ad hoc technical expert groups active each year will be limited to a maximum of three and will depend on the amount of resources designated to the SBSTTA 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 SBSTTA 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 SBSTTA 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 SBSTTA 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 SBSTTA 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 SBSTTA 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 SBSTTA shall be established and regularly updated by the Secretariat, on the basis of information provided by Parties and other relevant regional, subregional and intergovernmental organizations.
XI. Roster of experts
19. A roster of experts, in the relevant fields of the Convention, will be compiled by the Secretariat on the basis of input from all Parties and, as appropriate, from other countries and relevant bodies. The roster of experts will be regularly updated and will be made accessible through the clearing house mechanism.
20. The ad hoc technical expert groups and liaison groups referred to above as well as the Secretariat should make full use of such a roster of experts, inter alia, through scientific peer review processes.
Annex 2 of Recommendation II/11
FURTHER CONCLUSIONS ON THE WORK OF THE SUBSIDIARY BODY ON SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVICE
In addition to the recommendation on the modus operandi of the SBSTTA contained in Annex I to Recommendation II/11, the SBSTTA draws to the attention of the Conference of the Parties the following broader concerns regarding the modus operandi of the SBSTTA which the Conference of the Parties may wish to consider:
1. While the SBSTTA has adopted, and the Conference of the Parties has endorsed, a modus operandi for the SBSTTA, the key challenge for the SBSTTA is to manage its workload effectively. This requires the prioritization of issues to be dealt with by the SBSTTA, linked to priorities identified by the Conference of the Parties. The Conference of the Parties may wish to consider criteria for establishing priorities of the SBSTTA, such as avoiding duplication of efforts of other bodies, the urgency of issues and the costs of measures required. Effective management of the workload of the SBSTTA also requires that adequate resources are made available for the SBSTTA to carry out its work.
2. The Conference of the Parties may wish to consider whether in order to increase its effectiveness, the SBSTTA should adopt a thematic approach to its work programme, as suggested in paragraph 10 of Annex I to Recommendation II/11.
3. In order for the SBSTTA to fulfil its tasks, some delegations felt that intersessional work is likely to be necessary. Where possible, intersessional work should be coordinated with relevant activities being undertaken by other international conventions and institutions. Unnecessary duplication should be avoided. Cross-representation between the SBSTTA and the meetings of other bodies may be useful and the Secretariat should be represented at such meetings.
4. However, some concern was expressed by delegations to the SBSTTA about the possible proliferation of intersessional activities of the SBSTTA, particularly with regard to the capacity of developing country Parties to participate fully and effectively in these activities, and the need to maintain transparency in intercessional activities.
5. In order for the SBSTTA to manage its workload effectively and to assist coordination of work, it may be useful to establish a global calendar of all relevant work being undertaken by the different bodies of the United Nations and by other international conventions and institutions in the medium term (1997-2000). Such a calendar could be regularly updated by the Secretariat.
6. The SBSTTA noted the need for the Conference of the Parties to consider satisfactory transitional arrangements for the implementation of paragraph 5 of Annex I to the present recommendation.
7. Concern was expressed by several delegations that the proceedings of the SBSTTA are conducted only in the working languages of the Conference of the Parties. These delegations felt that this made adequate preparation for, and participation in, meetings of the SBSTTA difficult for delegations who worked in the other official languages, and therefore the latter should be included as working languages of the SBSTTA.
8. It was suggested that the Secretariat should prepare an information document for the Conference of the Parties on:
(a) The implications, including financial implications, of adding to the working languages of the SBSTTA;
(b) The preferred languages of the Parties.