The Group continued to discuss UNEP/CBD/IC/2/WG.1/ L.1/Add.1. on the selection of a competent international organization to carry out the functions of the Secretariat. There were lengthy discussions on paragraph 6 on the Swedish proposal that the Secretariat be established jointly by a consortium of agencies namely, UNEP, FAO, UNESCO, UNDP and DPCSD. Canada, supported by France, presented another option that one organization be chosen with other agencies possibly participating and being represented in the Secretariat. The relative merits and demerits of "might" , "should", and "may be considered" were debated at some length. Canada supported by the US recommended the deletion of "and being represented" in its proposal which was accepted. Debate on Paragraph 7 revolved around whether or not there was consensus on the proposition made by one representative to discuss the process by which the COP might evaluate and select the organization(s) that will carry out the functions of the Secretariat. The US proposal to begin with "The working group did not follow up on the proposal by one representative...," was adopted. Paragraph 8 on the choice of organization for the Secretariat, without prejudging its location, was accepted. Paragraph 9 on the pros and cons of co-location was accepted. Paragraph 10 on the Committee recommending a periodical review of the performance of the Secretariat by the COP was also discussed. Australia and India pointed out the inconsistency between the review of the Secretariat and the review of an organization. It was agreed to let the COP choose other alternatives, including another organization, if necessary. Paragraph 11 on the functioning of the Interim Secretariat until the first COP, and some time beyond that, was accepted with one minor change.
SUBSIDIARY BODY ON SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVICE (SBSTTA)
The Group started the third paragraph-by-paragraph reading of document UNEP/CBD/IC/2/WG.I/CRP.3. A recurrent problem was whether all the inputs, including the contentious ones, should be reflected, as the Report will also be forwarded to the COP. Only the first eight paragraphs were discussed and adopted. Paragraph 1, calling for the SBSTTA to provide the COP and its subsidiary bodies with scientific, technical and technological advice, was adopted. Paragraph 2 notes that the success of the COP will depend largely on the advice and competence of the SBSTTA. As such, the SBSTTA should be an agenda item for the first meeting of the COP. Paragraph 3 outlines the Group's organization of work on this subject as follows: functions of the SBSTTA; guidelines for its operation; and the multidisciplinary nature of the Body.
FUNCTIONS OF THE SUBSIDIARY BODY: In paragraph 4 the Committee recognizes the comprehensiveness of the Interim Secretariat's note on the functions of the SBSTTA. However, it is necessary for the COP to identify initially the priorities for the SBSTTA and to review periodically its performance. Paragraph 5 provides for the SBSTTA to draw its future work from the report of the Mexico meeting, UNEP/CBD/IC/2/11, and on the Agenda of the Scientific and Technological Research, UNEP/CBD/IC/2/Inf.2. The Group recommends that the latter document should be annexed to the former, and that both documents should be forwarded to the COP. The Committee should submit a set of priority tasks of the SBSTTA to the COP, consisting of sub-paragraph (a), (c) and (d) of the Convention.
After a 45-minute debate, the Group amended Paragraph 6 to recommend that the SBSTTA should provide scientific and technical advice, including policy issues related to scientific and technical programmes and international cooperation in research and development, but not other policy issues. Furthermore, it should have no direct relationship to the financial mechanism of the Convention. Paragraph 7 calls for the SBSTTA to respond to, but not anticipate, the needs of the COP and, under the guidance of the COP, to identify emerging issues.
GUIDELINES FOR ITS OPERATION: Pursuant to protracted debate and severe facilitation by the Chair, agreement on several issues in Paragraph 8 was reached. Sub-paragraph (a) calls for the COP rules of procedure to be adapted to suit the SBSTTA. Sub-paragraph (b) recommends the possibility of an annual, possibly back-to-back meeting with that of the COP, or a meeting well in advance of the COP to allow the SBSTTA to prepare and circulate its report. After 20 interventions, the chapeau of subparagraph (c) now reads: "It was recommended that the SBSTTA is to be composed of government representatives and open to participation by all Parties, in accordance with Article 25 of the Convention. Some representatives expressed concern over the size of the body since it might compromise the effectiveness of its work. The following options were explored as possible suggestions for structuring the SBSTTA to facilitate its work..."
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