The Chair, Takao Shibata, conducted an open-ended informal meeting on the basis of an Informal paper on the terms of reference of the CST, the roster of independent experts and ad hoc panels, circulated in the afternoon. The discussion dealt with the general terms of reference and functions of the CST. It was agreed to change the first heading from "General terms of reference" to "Introduction". The first three paragraphs propose that the CST shall: provide information and advice to the COP; make provisions for surveys and evaluations to make recommendations to the COP; and provide advice on research priorities for regions and sub-regions. This text seemed generally acceptable. The fourth proposal provides for advice on measures that should be taken by Governments to combat desertification. It was suggested that it be deleted or amended.
The second heading, "Functions" should be changed to "Objectives". Its first paragraph proposes that the basic function of the CST is to respond to requests made by the COP for scientific information needed to implement the Convention. The content seemed acceptable. There was disagreement on deleting the second sentence reading, "It should not attempt to provide answers to localized problems." Delegates debated the paragraph directing the CST to maintain a watching brief on developments in science and technology, on its own initiative, to advise the COP. The Chair concluded that disagreements could be solved. There were also divergent views regarding the proposal that the advisory work of the CST should facilitate the inclusion of local knowledge in the decision-making process of the COP.