The Plenary convened a meeting on Thursday morning, 5 September, to discuss agenda items relating to organization and procedure.
MODUS OPPERANDI: The CHAIR introduced Agenda Item 4, modus operandi (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/2/16). With regard to the frequency and timing of meetings, CANADA and SWITZERLAND called for more time between COP meetings; and a large number of countries called for earlier SBSTTA meetings, but cautioned against setting dates that conflict with other meetings. Most countries favored the five-day schedule for SBSTTA meetings, but EQUATORIAL GUINEA and the PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF LAOS called for extensions. Numerous countries urged the Secretariat to distribute the documents earlier. COLOMBIA, FRANCE, C�TE DIVOIRE, MONACO, MEXICO, EQUATORIAL GUINEA and COSTA RICA called for documents in Spanish and/or French. CHINA suggested on-line dissemination of documents.
GERMANY, the UK and MALAYSIA called for thematic approaches to future meetings. FRANCE spoke against permanent agenda items, and several countries called for priority setting. GERMANY, INDIA, the UK and SAMOA recommended the Secretariats attendance at meetings of other processes. The UK and COLOMBIA recommended increasing the scientific content of the SBSTTA and leaving the political issues to the COP. GERMANY, MALAYSIA, SAMOA, SWITZERLAND, INDONESIA and SOUTH KOREA favored Bureau elections at the end of SBSTTA meetings. SAMOA, SWITZERLAND, INDONESIA, JAPAN, C�TE DIVOIRE and NEW ZEALAND supported two-year terms.
CANADA and NEW ZEALAND called for Bureau meetings with the Executive Secretary after COP meetings. Many countries favored intersessional work, although INDIA did not. 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 and COLOMBIA stressed the need for transparency. With regard to expert work, GERMANY proposed informal electronic networks and clearing-house mechanism collaboration with other organizations.
MALAYSIA, SAMOA, COLOMBIA, the MARSHALL ISLANDS, the UK and SWITZERLAND opposed proliferation of ad hoc panels. COLOMBIA, NORWAY, C�TE DIVOIRE 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 to create 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 documents and called for representation from indigenous peoples on expert groups.
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 the SBSTTA to draw on the expertise of IGOs, NGOs, related international institutional processes and social scientists, and to focus attention on the social, political and cultural dimensions of the ultimate causes of biodiversity loss. PERU suggested technical panels to augment SBSTTAs capacity. 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.
MEDIUM-TERM WORK PROGRAMME: The Plenary 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 issue to highlight under next years thematic focus on terrestrial biodiversity. 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 the COPs decisions.
PROVISIONAL AGENDA FOR SBSTTA-3: The Plenary also considered the draft provisional agenda for SBSTTA-3 (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/2/18). INDIA suggested setting priorities and COLOMBIA asked for balance on the SBSTTA-3 agenda to include all CBD objectives. The Chair agreed to attend the upcoming COP Bureau meeting.
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