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2. On the gap analysis of duties performed and factors that could be compromising their performance, ways to improve or modify relevant procedures, the evaluation recommended that: 207

3. On opportunities for efficiencies in the functioning of the scientific committees, the evaluation recommended that: 208

4. Responding to the recommendations, of the external valuation, COP 14 decided to conclude the review, Resolution 11.1 was modified, and a decision directed the Animals and Plants Committees to ‘evaluate the need to further review and revise the terms of reference [for the establishment of the Animals and Plants Committees] in Resolution Conf. 11.1 (Rev. CoP14) and as necessary revise the terms of reference for presentation at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties’. 208

5. In summary, CITES is unusual in having two (and for a long time having had three) scientific committees, which were established in the 1980s and remained largely unchanged (although they had been charged with additional tasks). The review process that has been initiated has addressed a number of areas in which the work of those committees, and the support for them, can be improved, and these are being addressed as resources allow. 208

6. The Scientific Council was established by the first COPmeeting in 1985 as foreseen in Article VIII of the Convention text. Over almost 30 years the Scientific Council has provided advice on scientific matters through identifying research and species conservation priorities to the Convention. All Parties are entitled to nominate a qualified expert, as a member of the Scientific Council, and an alternate entitled to participate in meetings of the Council when the regular Councillor cannot attend. Country members are appointed in their individual capacity as scientists and do not represent their Governments – a feature which aims to ensure the autonomy of the Scientific Council. In addition eight experts are appointed by the COP to contribute through offering specific expertise on taxa, geographic regions and threats. At present, the Council includes 93 members of whom 85 are Party-appointed, and eight appointed to cover the following areas: marine turtles; birds; aquatic mammals; fish; neo-tropical fauna; Asiatic fauna; African fauna; by-catch. 208

7. The functions of the Scientific Council are defined as: providing scientific advice to the COP, the Secretariat, and, if approved by the COP, to any body set up under the Convention or an Agreement or to any Party; recommending research and the coordination of research on migratory species, evaluating the results of such research in order to ascertain the conservation status of migratory species and reporting to the COP on such status and measures for its improvement; making recommendations to the COP as to the migratory species to be included in Appendices I and II, together with an indication of the range of such migratory species; making recommendations to the COP as to specific conservation and management measures to be included in Agreements on migratory species; and recommending to the COP solutions to problems relating to the scientific aspects of the implementation of the Convention, in particular with regard to the habitats of migratory species. The Council’s work programme is maintained intersessionally by nine working groups, five on taxonomic groups and four on threats, notably climate change, by-catch and wildlife diseases and sustainable use. 208

8. The COP frequently directs the Scientific Council to provide specific advice. For example, COP 3 requested the Council to provide recommendations and advice on a range of issues related to the conservation of Appendix I and II species, species to be added to the Appendices, and other issues (resolution 3.4). Through resolution 4.5, COP 4 directed the Scientific Council to provide further advice on Appendix species, existing Agreements and potential new ones and on small-scale pilot projects promoting the Convention’s implementation. Resolution 7.12 of the COP, on the background of the growing number of Parties and hence members to the Scientific Council, acknowledged the need for a review of the Scientific Council’s working practice ‘to optimise its productivity and capability to deal with the scientific and technical aspects of numerous issues relevant to the conservation and sustainable use of migratory species’ and instructed the Scientific Council to produce a strategy on its scientific and conservation work. The 12th meeting of the Scientific Council elaborated on a Strategic Implementation Plan of the Council in light of the emerging Strategic Plan for the Convention. It also considered the modus operandi of the Council, with a focus on how to better involve the councillors in the work of the Convention, in particular during intersessional periods. The 13th meeting of the Scientific Council adopted its Strategic Implementation Plan. The Plan outlines the contributions of the Scientific Council to the CMS Strategic Plan 2006-2011. The 13th meeting also discussed the resources and working practices of the Council and agreed to retain its current format. 209

9. The Scientific Council normally meets twice between COP sessions to offer scientific advice and identify research and conservation priorities; however, COP 9 decided that an extraordinary meeting of the Scientific Council would be convened in 2009. The meeting has been convened as “Planning Meeting of the Scientific Council of the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals” (Bonn, Germany, 13 June 2009). There, the Council addressed its own expertise through discussing a proposed questionnaire/survey (“Survey of the Expertise of Scientific Council Members”, the Small Grants Programmes, and the intersessional work of taxonomic and thematic working groups. 209

10. Within the framework of the work undertaken concerning the future shape of the CMS, the COP has instructed the ad hoc working group on the future shape of the CMS and the CMS family to take into account inter alia, “ possibilities and options for ensuring a sound science base of a growing CMS family and the resultant growing responsibilities for a higher number of species” (UNEP/CMS/Resolution 9.13). 209

11. Some of the Daughter Agreements under the CMS also have scientific advisory bodies, including the: Scientific Committee of Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic area (ACCOBAMS); the Advisory Committee of EUROBATS; the Advisory Committee of Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation and Management of Marine Turtles and their Habitats of the Indian Ocean and South-East Asia (IOSEA); and the Technical Committee of the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA). Furthermore, within these processes additional ad hoc working groups can be established, as in the case of EUROBATS’ Intersesssional Working Group on “Producing Guidelines on Bat Monitoring Methods to Assess Population Trends at Different Levels”. However, it would seem that no formal linkages have been established between the processes of these advisory bodies and the CMS Scientific Council. 209

12. In summary, the Scientific Council has provided advice on issues as outlined by Article VIII of the Convention. The challenges that have been recognised do not relate to the provision of advice on scientific matters per se but to the operations of the Council. With the growing number of countries acceding to the Convention, the membership of the Scientific Council is growing accordingly, which creates financial and logistical challenges to its functioning. The Council, as requested by the COP, has responded to this challenge with the adoption of a Strategic Implementation Plan that mirrors the Convention’s Strategic Plan and guides the work of the Council. 209

Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and its Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) 209

13. The Ramsar STRP was established by Resolution 5.5 as a subsidiary body of the Convention to provide scientific and technical guidance to the COP, the Standing Committee, and the Ramsar secretariat. Its individual members are elected by the Standing Committee, based upon nominations from the Parties, on the same regionally proportionate basis that is used for electing the Standing Committee itself, but they serve in their own capacities as experts in the scientific areas required by the STRP's Work Plan and not as representatives of their countries. In addition to the 12 individual STRP members, delegates from the five International Organization Partners -- BirdLife International, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Wetlands International, and WWF International -- represent their organizations as full members of the Panel. In addition, representatives of the 18 subsidiary bodies of other Multilateral Environment Agreements and non-governmental organizations and associations specified in Resolution X.9 are also invited to participate as permanent observers during each triennium, and representatives of other organizations are invited to participate in the work of the STRP as required by the nature of the tasks under study. 209

14. The Standing Committee originally requested the STRP to concentrate on three specific items: review of the criteria for identifying Wetlands of International Importance; definition of ecological character and change in ecological character in relation to Ramsar sites; and review of the application of the Montreux record (relating to listed wetlands under threat). COP resolution VI.7 requested the Standing Committee to define the principal tasks for the STRP in the coming year. Through resolution VII.2, the COP emphasized the need for establishing a close link between the STRP and the network of scientists and experts in each Contracting Party. The COP invited Contracting Parties to nominate STRP focal points, invited a number of organizations, including the International Organization Partners of the Convention, and bodies as observers to the STRP, and decided that the STRP membership should have the same regional structure as the Standing Committee. 210

15. COP resolution VIII.28 approved a revised modus operandi for the STRP. The modus operandi states that the COP shall establish the priorities for STRP work in the coming triennium and that the Standing Committee shall adopt the definitive list of STRP assignments for the triennium on the basis of the Convention work plan and resolutions adopted by the COP, and will provide additional guidance on priority tasks. The modus operandi identifies the Terms of Reference of the STRP and its members as follows: 210

16. Through resolution IX.11, the COP recognised the concern expressed by STRP about aspects of its operations, and its capacity and resourcing to deliver all of its required tasks. The COP consequently approved a revised modus operandi and established an STRP Oversight Committee, reporting to the Standing Committee, to deliver the responsibilities as defined by the revised modus operandi. The revised modus operandi identifies its key objective as “to establish ways and means of ensuring that the STRP mechanism delivers the best available scientific and technical advice to the Convention, in the most efficient and cost-effective manner, through the work of widely recognized wetland conservation and wise use experts and networks”. 210

17. In 2008, COP 10 adopted resolution X.9, which confirms the modus operandi of the STRP with some refinements. Resolution X.10 outlines the tasks and priorities of the STRP for 2009-2012 under the following headings: ongoing functions of the STRP; strategic scientific and technical implementation; general wise use of wetlands; wetland inventory, assessment, monitoring and reporting; wetlands and human health; wetlands and climate change; wetlands and water resources management; Wetlands of International Importance; wetland management – restoration, mitigation and compensation; communication, education, participation and awareness. Resolution X.10 also addresses how STRP members are selected, the directions allowing the STRP Oversight Committee valuable flexibility in identifying as members those best able to support work on the tasks set by COP. 210

18. The COP notes that “it has not been possible to progress some elements of STRP’s priority work in the 2006-2008 triennium and that full delivery of the Panel’s programme remains subject to resources” (resolution X.10). 210

19. In summary, the STRP has been confronted with issues of lack of capacity and resourcing. In response, the COP has established a modus operandi for the scientific body and detailed outlines of the tasks to be undertaken by the STRP. While the mechanisms of producing scientific and technical guidance for the COP as well the Standing Committee and the Secretariat work well, the workload of the STRP remains substantial and is likely to continue to provide enormous challenges, including financial ones. 211

World Heritage Conventions and its advisory institutions (IUCN, ICOMOS, ICCROM) 211

20. The World Heritage Convention does not have a scientific advisory body per se, but the Convention recognises and calls upon the competence and expertise of three advisory institutions, namely the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and IUCN, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. These organizations have been providing advice to the World Heritage Committee for more than 30 years. 211

21. The Operational Guidelines for the implementation of the Convention define the roles of these three organisations as advisory bodies to the Convention as being: to advise on the implementation of the Convention in the field of their expertise; to assist the Secretariat, in the preparation of the World Heritage Committee’s documentation, the agenda of its meetings and the implementation of the Committee’s decisions; to assist with the development and implementation of the Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List, the Global Training Strategy, Periodic Reporting, and the strengthening of the effective use of the World Heritage Fund; to monitor the state of conservation of World Heritage properties and review requests for International Assistance; and to, in the case of ICOMOS and IUCN, evaluate properties nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List and present evaluation reports to the Committee; and to attend meetings of the World Heritage Committee and the Bureau in an advisory capacity. In addition, the Operational Guidelines also highlights that the Committee may call on other international and non-governmental organizations to assist in the implementation of programmes and projects, and expert groups on specific issues related to the Convention are also established from time to time. 211

22. In summary, the World Heritage Convention does not have an established subsidiary advisory body, but calls upon the expertise of three organizations, namely the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and IUCN, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. 211

The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) 211

23. In 2007, the 2nd session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture agreed that the establishment of a permanent subsidiary body was premature. It was decided that ad hoc technical bodies with focused, specialized and outcome-oriented terms of reference offered the best approach for the time being. Furthermore, each Contracting Party’s delegate may be accompanied by experts and advisers (however with no voting rights) at the session of the Governing Body. 211

24. However it is worth also noting here the link between the Treaty and the FAO assessment on The State of the World’s Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture which is explicitly referenced in Article 17.3 of the Treaty, and which contributes to development and implementation of the Global Plan of Action that is referenced in Article 14. Also, to be noted the ongoing collaboration between the Treaty and the FAO on the development of the global information system on PGRFA. 211

25. In summary, even if the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) does not have a scientific body at present, it has direct access to assessments and information systems, it has direct access to assessments and information systems developed by FAO and the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. 211

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 211

26. Article 9 of the Convention establishes the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) “to provide the Conference of the Parties and, as appropriate, its other subsidiary bodies with timely information and advice on scientific and technological matters relating to the Convention…Under the guidance of the Conference of the Parties, and drawing upon existing competent international bodies, this body shall: 211

27. Relating to this, Article 5 of the Convention on research and systematic observations, says that Parties shall: 212

28. The COP, through decision 6/CP.1, noted that SBSTA “will be the link between the scientific, technical and technological assessments and the information provided by competent international bodies, and the policy oriented needs of the Conference of the Parties.” In annex I to the same decision, SBSTA was tasked with, inter alia, the provision of assessments of the state of scientific knowledge relating to climate change and its effects; summarizing scientific and other information provided by bodies such as the IPCC; preparing scientific assessments on the effects of measures taken in the implementation of the Convention; and providing advice on scientific programmes and on international cooperation in research and development related to climate change. 212

29. SBSTA plays an important role as the link between the scientific information provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) and other expert sources on the one hand, and the policy-oriented needs of the COP on the other. The IPPC is a very significant input to the work of UNFCCC, being relevant not only to the international process, but also in helping Parties formulate their national policies. The fact that an intergovernmental body is providing regular assessments and other support based on work of a substantial number of scientists is very helpful to the work of the UNFCCC, and in particular as the key reports are already endorsed by governments. In addition to receiving and drawing on the work of the IPCC, SBSTA also sometimes requesting specific information or reports from it. In addition to the IPCC, SBSTA can call on the work of other scientists and experts, and convene expert groups to address specific issues (such as has been done for REDD). 212

30. Research and systematic observation is a regular and separate item on the SBSTA agenda. For example at SBSTA 30 in 2009 the following issues were considered: emerging scientific findings; research planning activities, including those undertaken in response to key uncertainties and research needs identified by the IPCC or raised by Parties; research priorities, and gaps in the implementation of these priorities; research capacity-building activities, particularly in developing countries; regional climate change research networks; and relevant communication issues. This discussion was informed by information provided by a range of regional and international climate change research programmes and organizations provided in advance of the meeting. As a consequence of the discussion, SBSTA requested the secretariat to prepare a list of international and regional programmes and organizations active  in areas of research relevant to climate change, and to post this list on the UNFCCC website.  212

31. COP 10 requested SBSTA “to develop a structured five-year programme of work on the scientific, technical and socio-economic aspects of impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change, which would address the following issues: methodologies, data and modelling; vulnerability assessments; adaptation planning, measures and actions; and integration into sustainable development” in the context of its terms of reference (decision 1/CP.10). Through decision 2/CP.11 the COP 11 adopted this programme of work for SBSTA, the objective of which is to “assist all Parties, in particular developing countries, including the least developed countries and small island developing States, to improve their understanding and assessment of impacts, vulnerability and adaptation, and to make informed decisions on practical adaptation actions and measures to respond to climate change on a sound, scientific, technical and socioeconomic basis, taking into account current and future climate change and variability” (Annex to decision 2/CP.10). 212

32. In summary, SBSTA plays an essential role in providing scientific and technical advice to the COP and, essentially, to the Parties to the Convention, as stressed in various COP decisions and SBSTA reports. To fulfil this role, SBSTA addresses major issues of the Convention as tasked by the COP, and makes use of workshops and expert groups. SBSTA also provides the essential link between the IPCC – a body independent of the UNFCCC – and the COP, by making it available to the COP (and to other Convention bodies) and assessing the relevance and value to the Convention of the information. 213

UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and its Committee on Science and Technology (CST) 213

33. The Committee on Science and Technology (CST) was established by article 24 of the Convention as a subsidiary body of the COP to provide it “with information and advice on scientific and technological matters relating to combating desertification and mitigating the effects of drought”. The same article requested COP to establish a roster of independent experts with expertise and experience in the relevant fields and, as necessary, appoint ad hoc panels to provide it, through the CST, with information and advice on specific issues regarding the state of the art in fields of science and technology relevant to combating desertification and mitigating the effects of drought. 213

34. The terms of reference for the CST were adopted by COP 1 through decision 15/COP.1. They specify the mandate provided by Article 24 of the Convention in terms of advisory functions, data and information functions, research and review functions, functions related to technology, and evaluation functions. Decision 16/COP.1 decided that at each session the CST will address in depth a priority issue relating to the implementation of the Convention. 213

35. The following issues have been addressed in depth by CST: traditional knowledge (CST2); early-warning systems (CST3); the application of traditional knowledge, benchmarks and indicators and early warning systems to the monitoring and assessment of sustainable soil and water management in dryland areas (CST4); strategies for the communication of information and its use to generate best practices for combating desertification and mitigating the effects of drought (CST5); land degradation, vulnerability and rehabilitation: an integrated approach (CST6/7); and the effects of climatic variations and human activities on land degradation (CST8). CST 9 will address biophysical and socio-economic monitoring and assessment of desertification and land degradation, to support decision-making in land and water management. 213

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