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PLENARY

The CHAIR introduced Agenda Item 4, modus operandi, (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/2/16). On frequency and timing of meetings, CANADA and SWITZERLAND called for more time between COP meetings; a large number of countries called for earlier SBSTTA meetings but cautioned against setting dates that conflict with other meetings. Most countries favored the 5-day schedule of SBSTTA meetings, but EQUATORIAL GUINEA and the PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF LAOS called for extensions. Numerous countries urged earlier document distribution. COLOMBIA, FRANCE, COTE D’ IVOIRE, MONACO, MEXICO, EQUATORIAL GUINEA and COSTA RICA called for documents in Spanish and/or French. CHINA suggested on-line dissemination.

GERMANY, the UK and MALAYSIA called for thematic approaches for future meetings. FRANCE spoke against permanent agenda items, several countries called for priority setting. GERMANY, INDIA, the UK and SAMOA recommended the Secretariat’s attendance at other processes’ meetings. The UK and COLOMBIA called for increasing the scientific content of SBSTTA and leaving political issues to COP. GERMANY, MALAYSIA, SAMOA, SWITZERLAND, INDONESIA and SOUTH KOREA favored Bureau elections at the end of SBSTTA meetings. SAMOA, SWITZERLAND, INDONESIA, JAPAN, COTE D’IVOIRE and NEW ZEALAND supported two-year terms.

CANADA and NEW ZEALAND called for Bureau meetings with the Executive Secretary after COP meetings. Intersessional work was favored by many countries, but opposed by INDIA. MALAYSIA objected to the concept of a SBSTTA “seal of approval” for research initiatives. NEW ZEALAND and the US supported holding scientific and technical panels at SBSTTA meetings. Several countries called for careful selection of experts, COLOMBIA called for transparency. On expert work, GERMANY proposed informal electronic networks and CHM collaboration with other organizations.

MALAYSIA, SAMOA, COLOMBIA, the MARSHALL ISLANDS, the UK and SWITZERLAND opposed proliferation of ad hoc panels. COLOMBIA, NORWAY, COTE D’ IVOIRE and JAPAN supported informal, open-ended liaison groups. Guidelines and terms of reference for liaison groups were requested. SAMOA asked for financial assistance for attendance, and balanced representation. The MARSHALL ISLANDS suggested that nominations of experts by Parties include NGO experts. Several delegations opposed the NETHERLANDS’ proposals to limit expert panels to 10 members and to rule out regional meetings. COLOMBIA, the MARSHALL ISLANDS, NEW ZEALAND, PAPUA NEW GUINEA, and SAMOA supported regional workshops. COLOMBIA opposed recommendations on “centres of excellence”. FRANCE expressed concern about the expense involved in the proliferation of new groups and ruled out a special committee to liaise with other institutions. NEW ZEALAND cautioned that a requirement for early translation and circulation of documentation could interfere with the quality of the preparation of sessions and called for representation from indigenous peoples on expert groups. The CHAIR invited the Secretariat to prepare a revised text on the modus operandi and convened a Friends of the Chair group to resolve conflicting proposals.

The US suggested involving scientific societies in a peer review of documents. MALAWI drew attention to difficulties created by the recent relocation of the Secretariat in Montreal. AUSTRALIA and SWITZERLAND proposed the creation of a global calendar of relevant institutional meetings. NGOs invited SBSTTA to draw on the expertise of IGOs, NGOs, related international institutional processes and social scientists, and drew attention to the social, political and cultural dimensions of the ultimate causes of biodiversity loss. PERU suggested technical panels to augment SBSTTA’s capacity .

The meeting then considered the medium term work programme (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/2/17). Many delegations called for a focused programme driven by the COP. CANADA, MALAWI and COLOMBIA suggested inland water ecosystems as the terrestrial biodiversity theme. INDONESIA and SWEDEN suggested forests. AUSTRIA asked for clarification on priorities. It was proposed that the SBSTTA and COP Bureaus communicate closely to prioritize work. The UK requested flexibility in responding to COP decisions.

The meeting also considered the draft provisional agenda for SBSTTA-3 (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/2/18). INDIA suggested priorities and COLOMBIA asked for balance on the SBSTTA-3 agenda to include all CBD objectives. The Chair agreed to briefly attend the upcoming COP Bureau meeting.

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