The Chair next referred to Article 25 and Resolution 2 of the Nairobi Final Act that call for a meeting of scientists to advise the ICCBD up to the first meeting of the COP. Norway suggested that the body should quickly be established and should be of manageable size, but open to all Governments. Belgium, on behalf of the EC, referred to paragraph 2(b) of the Nairobi Final Act that calls for the establishment of an interim scientific and technical advisory committee (ISTAC) of Government experts to assist in the preparation of draft guidelines. Belgium proposed establishing a restricted group with representatives of the five regional groups to make recommendations regarding the ISTAC. Sweden stated that ISTAC's job under Resolution 2(b) is to establish an agenda and arrangements among Governments. Thus, the body should report to this Working Group.
Some of the opponents of the creation of an ISTAC were concerned about the terms of reference and composition of the body. Nigeria agrees with the need for the ISTAC, but maintains that membership should reflect geographical balance and the body should be provided with clear terms of reference. Australia noted that a number of scientific issues need to be worked out during the intersessional period to enable the COP to deal with substantive issues. The Chair stated that this Committee will set the terms of reference for ISTAC if they decide to create such a body. Brazil and India raised questions regarding the need for such a body just one year before the first COP.
Costa Rica, the US, and Norway referred to the need to establish ISTAC with high calibre scientists and technologists. The Bahamas recommended including resource economists and others beyond strict scientific and technical experts on the advisory body. The World Conservation Monitoring Centre reminded the delegates of the urgent need to address biodiversity loss, and referred to the need for scientific and technical information, traditional knowledge and experience from indigenous and local communities and NGOs. Mexico called for the creation of ISTAC as an open-ended body.
The Chair established a small committee to resolve the question of whether to create ISTAC, and if so, to discuss its composition and terms of reference. This group included India, Nigeria, Malawi, Costa Rica, UK, Indonesia, Bolivia, and Brazil. [Return to start of article]