Informal discussions continued on the draft report of the clearing-house mechanism (UNEP/CBD/IC/2/WG.1/CRP.1) Developing countries stressed the need to strengthen national capacities and establish focal points. Provisions for obtaining financial and technical support as consortium or joint ventures was debated on. Some countries expressed their concern about the implications of brokerage roles. It was agreed that a final report with amendments be prepared for further discussion.
SUBSIDIARY BODY ON SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVICE (UNEP/CBD/IC/2/19).
The Chair referred to Article 25 of the Convention regarding the establishing of a subsidiary body to provide the COP with timely advice relating to the implementation of CBD. The following issues were discussed:
FUNCTIONS OF THE BODY: Many countries expressed satisfaction with the document prepared by the Interim Secretariat. UK stated that as per Article 25, the functions of the body are to be determined upon the request of the COP. Norway, supported by others, wanted a prioritization of the tasks of the subsidiary body. New Zealand, Japan, Brazil, Spain and India preferred that the body should provide scientific and technical advice and not deal with finance or policy matters. Brazil wanted the body to facilitate the transfer of technology. Canada suggested that members of the body, on behalf of the COP, should advise the GEF on the application of policy related to the CBD, and that GEF members could also serve in an ex-offico capacity to the body. This was cautioned against by India and Brazil who stated that as the restructured GEF is still an interim financial mechanism pending a COP decision, such an interchange would be premature.
MULTIDISCIPLINARY CHARACTER: Many countries wanted to ensure the multidisciplinary nature of the body as referred to in Article 25 of the CBD. The Chair asked a small group to recommend to the Group a profile of these disciplines.
PERIODICITY OF MEETINGS: India, supported by Malawi, and others wanted the body to meet on an annual basis. Canada and Australia wanted to give the body enough time to prepare reports for the COP and stated that more meetings might be required in the initial phase.
FINANCING/BUDGET: Australia and Sweden, supported by others, stated that funding for the body will need to be reflected in the budget for the Convention.
STRUCTURE OF THE BODY: India, supported by Norway, Brazil and others wanted the body to be open to all contracting parties of the CBD as cited in Article 25 (1). Malawi supported by others, proposed a two tier system, the first tier being an open-ended subsidiary body and the second tier being regional level groups. Canada and Australia called for a small, regionally balanced steering body that would meet more frequently than the larger open-ended group composing the subsidiary body. In addition, Australia stated that a sub-structure with regional representation and expert panels would be useful and also requested that the report of the Intergovernmental Meeting of Scientific Experts in Mexico (UNEP/CBD/IC/2/11) be referred to the subsidiary body as a basis for part of its work. India and Colombia raised the issue of biotechnology and biosafety as related to the work of the body. The US, supported by Japan, suggested a structure that would look at a matrix of ecosystems -- boreal, temperate, tropical and marine. Kenya supported by others, stated that the rules of procedure adopted by the COP should be adopted by subsidiary bodies unless the COP decides otherwise.
The Chair concluded the session by stating that the various recommendations would be noted in a draft report to be prepared by the Interim Secretariat. He concluded by stating that the group working on a profile of the multidiscplines to be included in the subsidiary body, would report on its findings tomorrow.
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