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INFORMAL GROUP ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

The Group continued its consideration of the Informal paper on the terms of reference of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST), the roster of independent experts and ad hoc panels.

Functions: There were a number of conflicting proposals regarding sections on evaluation of networks and institutions, research and review activities, technology transfer, and evaluation and exchange of information. It was finally suggested that all these paragraphs could be merged into one section called "Evaluation".

Operations of the CST: There were suggestions to delete a sentence on the CST's own research agenda, a sentence on when the CST should hold meetings and the paragraph recommending that the CST should make full use of communication technology. However, concerns were raised that developing countries that do not have access to e-mail could be excluded. There seemed to be general agreement that the section on operations of the CST is too descriptive and that it should be incorporated in the introduction or in other relevant parts of the document.

Structure and Membership: The section proposes a Committee that is multidisciplinary. It should be open to all Parties and have only one government representative. A Party can designate more than one expert. The Committee should reflect various expertise, including qualified scientists and members of affected groups including women, ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples.

Many of the proposals in this section were not acceptable to most delegates. There was general agreement that the CST should be limited and drawn from representatives of the Parties to the CCD and be multidisciplinary. Experts can be designated by governments.

Some delegates suggested the inclusion of sectoral groups such as women, regional and international organizations as well as NGOs. There seemed to be consensus on the need for a Bureau for the CST. There were divergent views on the question of regional representation.

Consensus was reached that different interest groups should provide proposals that can be negotiated at the next INCD. The Secretariat will prepare a document covering: the revised texts of the sections discussed during this session; proposals from the interest groups on this section; and sections of the CRP document not covered during this session.

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