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36. Following considerations at CST4, COP 4 encouraged Parties to hold extensive consultations on ways of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the CST (decision 17/COP.4). Parties’ submissions, as well as consultations between regional groups, were introduced to COP 5 through document ICCD/COP(5)/3/Add.2. The document summarises Parties’ main concerns as: the competence of participants in the CST; the political nature of discussions, rather than a focus on scientific and technological issues; the lack of continuity of representatives to the CST; and inadequate time within the agenda of the CST to allow for in-depth analysis and debate of the issues. Through decision 17/COP.5, the COP adopted ways and means to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of CST including through, among others, giving the CST a role in the review of national reports, better integrate of the work of the CST into national and regional activities, and establishing a Group of Experts on combating desertification and mitigating the effects of droughts. 213

37. The Group of Experts (GoE) met for the first time in 2003 and reported to the CST. COP 6 adopted a framework of the two-year work plan for the GoE, requested the GoE to focus on issues emerging from the review of national subregional and regional programmes and provide advice, through the CST, to the Committee for the Review of Implementation of the Convention (CRIC) (decision 15/COP.6). With decision 15/COP.7, the COP requested the GoE to continue its priority activities, including developing a communication and information strategy, and a land degradation and poverty strategy, and requested the CST Bureau to review the functions and the work of the GoE. The COP, through decision 17/COP.8, took note of the final report of the GoE. COP-8 has not appointed a GoE. 213


38. COP 3 invited Parties to report to the Secretariat on the use that they have made of the roster of experts (decision 15/COP.3). COP 4 noted that little response had been received from Parties on the use they had made of the roster and repeated the call on Parties to submit such information (decision 15/COP.4). COP again repeated the call on Parties to submit information on the use of the roster (decision 15/COP.5). Cop 6 not only repeated the same call, but also asked the CST to utilize the roster through its Group of Experts (decision 14/COP.6). 213

39. With decision 3/COP.8, COP adopted the 10-year Strategic Plan and Framework to enhance the implementation of the Convention (2008-2018) (“The Strategy”). Operational objective 3 of the 10-year Strategic Plan anticipates CST becoming “a global authority on scientific and technical knowledge pertaining to desertification/land degradation and mitigation of the effects of drought”. Decision 3/COP.8 requests the Executive Secretary, in consultation with the COP Bureau and CST, to prepare a costed draft two-year work programme for the CST in line with The Strategy, taking a results-based management approach. 214

40. Decision 13/COP.8 decided that future ordinary sessions of the CST should be organized in a predominantly scientific and technical conference-style format in consultation with a lead institution/consortium, which is qualified in and has expertise in the relevant thematic topic selected by the COP, and should focus on one specific thematic topic determined by the COP. In this context, the UNCCD 1st Scientific Conference “Understanding Desertification and Land Degradation Trends” is organized by the Dryland Science for Development Consortium (DSD) with the assistance of the UNCCCD Secretariat and is convened, in support of UNCCD under the auspices of the CST, and will take place in Buenos-Aires, Argentina during the CST session of COP-9 (22-24 September 2009). The Conference’s main purpose will be to analyze and summarize leading scientific knowledge on the Conference topic, in ways that generate practical, actionable recommendations for deliberations by the UNCCD COP to more effectively combat desertification in affected States, regions and globally. The format of the Conference includes a pre-Conference consultation phase organized through three globally-constituted Working Groups which will develop analyses that reflect prevailing scientific consensus on three facets of the Conference’s topic, namely: (i) WG I. Integrated method for monitoring and assessment of land degradation processes and drivers (Land Quality Assessment); WG II. Monitoring and assessing land rehabilitation and sustainable land management (Sustainable Land Management Assessment); and WG III Monitoring and Assessment of Desertification and Land Degradation: Economic and Social Drivers and Knowledge Management. 214


41. In summary, the UNCCD Committee on Science and Technology has provided advice to the Convention’s bodies on scientific and technological matters, in particular through the in-depth consideration of priority issues chosen by the COP. It was assisted by the roster of experts and in particular the Group of Experts. The adoption of the 10-year Strategic Plan at COP 8 offered the opportunity to reshape the operations of the CST, by introducing new ways and means of working, including conference-style sessions held in consultation with an institution or consortium qualified in the field of the specific session topic, as it is the case of the upcoming Scientific Conference “Understanding Desertification and Land Degradation Trends” (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 22-24 September 2009). 214

A.5. Examples of the involvement of selected intergovernmental organizations in the science-policy interface 215



1. The following paragraphs are not meant to be an exhaustive review of the activities of these organizations and programmes with respect to the science-policy interface, but to give a number of examples of the roles that they play so as to provide context for the gap analysis. 215

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) 215


2. Article 1 of the FAO constitution states that the Organization shall promote and, where appropriate, recommend national and international action with respect to, inter alia, the conservation of natural resource and the adoption of improved methods of agriculture production. In carrying out this part of its mandate, the FAO concentrates its competence on living resources known to be of use to humanity, especially for food and agriculture. In this context, FAO considers biodiversity and ecosystem services as the sine qua non for food security and rural development, and addresses it through nutrition-associated biodiversity and the ecosystem approach at the technical and policy level. 215


3. FAO’s commitment to the fight against biodiversity loss has seen a steep increase in the last ten years as shown, for example, through the establishment of the Priority Areas for Inter-disciplinary Action (PAIA) on Integrated Management of Biological Diversity for Food and Agriculture. This is implemented by the Interdepartmental Working Group on Biological Diversity for Food and Agriculture (IDWG/BIOD), the main interdisciplinary analysis and coordination mechanism for issues related to biological diversity within the FAO. In addition, the FAO re-emphasised its commitment to fighting biodiversity loss in 2007 by creating the new Natural Resources Management and Environment Department (NRD); which leads on, among other issues, biodiversity for food and agriculture. NRD hosts the Secretariats of the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) and the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA). 215

4. FAO’s intergovernmental Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture has overseen the preparation by FAO of two global assessments on biodiversity for food and agriculture. Based on these assessments, the Commission developed policies, action plans, codes of conduct and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, all of which confirm the relevance and credibility of the scientific analysis and information for the development of effective policies for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity for food and agriculture at various levels. Currently the Commission’s Multi-year Programme of Work is overseeing global assessments of the state of the world’s plant, animal, forest and aquatic genetic resources which shall ultimately lead to the first integrated global assessment of The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture. 215

5. FAO biodiversity-related initiatives are carried out in partnership with a wide variety of institutions (e.g. CGIAR), Governments, biodiversity-related conventions, as well as other MEA processes. There is great and increasing cooperation and joint activities between FAO and the CBD, especially through the Programmes of Work on Agricultural Biodiversity and Forest Biodiversity. FAO is in a unique position to address the issue of biodiversity loss given its ability to make the link between biodiversity (genetic resources and their use in agriculture, fisheries and forestry) and trade facilitation. In addition, FAO has under its responsibility many biodiversity-related legally binding and non-binding instruments and initiatives, such as the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), the Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) and the Code of Conduct on Responsible Fisheries. The importance of FAO’s work on biodiversity and ecosystem services is finally reflected in its outstanding knowledge-management on biodiversity and related issues through a variety of widely used tools such as its Webpage on “Biological Diversity in Food and Agriculture” and the Web-based “FAO Knowledge Forum” as well as its flagship regular assessments including the State of the World of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) and the Global Forest Resources Assessment. 215

UNESCO – MAB Programme 215


6. The Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme was launched in the early 1970s with the aim of promoting interdisciplinary research and building capacity so as to improve the relationship of people with their environment globally. The MAB Programme, which actively promotes collaboration and cooperation between scientists, particularly at the regional level, grew from a knowledge and research project network into one that also encompasses field sites used for interdisciplinary research, observation and assessment. Meanwhile much of the focus of MAB activity remains with MAB National Committees and MAB Regional Networks. 215

254. The biosphere reserve concept was devised in 1974 and further revised in 1995 with the creation of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR). The WNBR provides opportunities to combine scientific knowledge and governance modalities to: (i) reduce biodiversity loss, (ii) improve livelihoods, and (iii) enhance social, economic and cultural conditions for environmental sustainability. The MAB Programme promotes sustainable development through the establishment of interdisciplinary learning laboratories using sites of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves for research on biodiversity and sustainability; improvement of ecological, biodiversity and biological resources management knowledge, and enhancement of capacities for socio-ecological research including eco-hydrology, to attain the MDGs and other internationally agreed development goals. 216

255. MAB’s current strategy is centred on fostering policies, technical capacity-building, research, networking, education and international cooperation in the fields of water, ecological and earth sciences for enhancing societal responses. WNBR serves as its vehicles for knowledge-sharing, research and monitoring, education and training, and participatory decision-making. The MAB Programme, including the WNBR, relies on related action plans for its implementation. The governing body of the MAB Programme adopted the latest plan – the Madrid Action Plan (MAP) – in Madrid in February 2008. The MAP is organized around three main areas: climate change; provision of ecosystem services; and globalization as main driver of change. 216


256. Much of the work of the MAB programme is focused on research that is of relevance for management, and on the sharing of that knowledge and experience. 216

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) – Biodiversity Programme 216



257. The UNDP has made Biodiversity for Development a prime focus of its Energy and Environment Practice. Through capacity development, knowledge management, policy advice and advocacy, UNDP helps more than 140 countries maintain and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystem services. Closely integrated activities, including its Biodiversity Global Programme, the Equator Initiative, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and the GEF Small Grants Programme, which enable UNDP to leverage change at the local, national, regional and global levels. The UNDP works to ensure that biodiversity considerations are integrated in processes designed to achieve the MDGs. At the same time, UNDP works to help the CBD, multilateral and bilateral organizations, NGOs, other civil society organizations, and the private sector incorporate the MDGs in their efforts. 216

258. UNDP's Biodiversity Global Programme assists developing countries and communities to influence national and global policies, benefit from knowledge on biodiversity, and advance their sustainable development and poverty reduction goals. Through this programme, the UNDP works to help integrate biodiversity, ecosystem services, protected areas and other CBD commitments into national policies and programmes, including in such key sectors as agriculture, forestry, fisheries and energy. These efforts address social, economic and policy frameworks such as the MDGs, Human Development Reports, Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, and National Sustainable Development Strategies. Specific activities include: empowering local communities and indigenous peoples to protect their traditional knowledge and ensure equitable access and sharing of benefits from biodiversity; and achieving synergies with other multilateral environmental agreements related to biodiversity and ecosystem services. The Programme works through strategic partnerships to provide cutting-edge knowledge on policies that work for people and biodiversity. 216


259. UNDP's Drylands Development Centre works with people to fight poverty in the dry areas of the world through the practice of sustainable land management. It focuses attention on the unique and valuable biodiversity in dryland ecosystems worldwide and promotes the sustainable use of this biodiversity through: policy action and advocacy, programming for biodiversity-friendly development at the country level, and knowledge sharing and outreach. 216

260. The Equator Initiative is a partnership that promotes greater recognition of the critical role of local communities in reducing poverty and conserving biodiversity. Launched in January 2002, the work undertaken by Equator Initiative partners champions and supports sustainable communities in the Earth's equatorial region. The Equator Initiative is a partnership of UNDP with BrasilConnects, Conservation International, the government of Canada, the government of Germany, the International Development Research Centre, IUCN – The World Conservation Union, The Nature Conservancy, Television Trust for the Environment, and the United Nations Foundation. 216

261. Since 1991, the UNDP, UNEP and the World Bank have worked with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to help developing countries fund projects and programmes that protect the global environment. GEF funding is particularly instrumental in mainstreaming biodiversity into other sectors. UNDP is working in 66 countries worldwide to ensure that the contribution of biodiversity and ecosystem services to food security, health, livelihoods and reduced vulnerability to natural disasters is factored into national planning for the achievement of development goals, including safeguards to protect these resources. 217


262. UNDP's Regional Bureaus and Country Offices undertake biodiversity projects that complement the programmes described above and respond to region and country-specific needs. UNDP has Country Offices in 166 countries in five global regions (Africa, Arab States, Asia & the Pacific, Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, and Latin America & the Caribbean). These offices usually lead work on the Common Country Assessments and preparation of UN Development Assistance Frameworks. 217

263. UNDP gets scientific advice and support through its wide biodiversity-related partnership initiatives. 217

United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) 217



264. The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) is an intergovernmental organisation established by the Stockholm Conference on Human Environment (1972). The Programme has its headquarters in Nairobi (Kenya) with a number of Divisions, regional programmes and collaborating centres, each with specialised expertise and located in different regions of the world. UNEP has contributed to global environmental governance by mobilizing scientific and technical knowledge to support international environmental agenda setting, often culminated in new policy instruments for sustainable development. 217

265. UNEP played an important role in the establishment of, and acts as a convener for, many scientific advisory groups including the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environment Protection (GESAMP), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and is currently directly involved in preparation of the Assessment of Assessments and proposals for a Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment. 217


266. UNEP also collaborates with a wide range of partners both inside and outside the UN system to provide information on natural resources and their contribution to sustainable development. UNEP participates actively in several global environmental assessments, including the Global International Waters Assessment, the Global Environment Monitoring System Freshwater Quality Programme and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development, and The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity. UNEP is also directly involved in the MA follow up. 217

267. UNEP also carries out global assessments and publishes authoritative reports on human-induced environmental changes, the flag-ship of which is the Global Environment Outlook (GEO). Global Environment Outlook (GEO) is a consultative, participatory, capacity building process for global environmental assessment and reporting on the state of the environment, trends and future outlooks. In its objective to facilitate the interaction between science and policy, GEO is both a process involving stakeholders from across the globe, as well as a product for environmental decision-making. This participatory and consultative process gives GEO assessments scientific credibility, policy relevance and authority. 217

268. In 2005, the UNEP Governing Council initiated a process to strengthen the scientific base of UNEP through the Science Initiative. The mandate of this initiative is to provide the world community with improved access to meaningful environmental data and information, and to help increase the capacity of governments to use environmental information for decision making and action planning for sustainable human development. 217

269. The UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre is specifically focused on ensuring the availability of information for policy setting and decision making with respect to biodiversity. UNEP-WCMC has been supporting international agreements for nearly 30 years, delivering services that range from managing the CITES Trade Database to managing the 2010 Biodiversity Indicators Partnership. 217

Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environmental Facility 217


270. The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) provides strategic scientific and technical advice to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) on its strategy and programmes. The Panel has six members who are internationally recognized experts advisers in the GEF's key areas of work (biodiversity, sustainable land management, international waters, climate change, persistent organic pollutants, and sustainable forest management for the period 2007-2009) who are appointed by the Executive Director of UNEP in consultation with the UNDP, the World Bank and the GEF Secretariat. The Panel members are together responsible for connecting the GEF to the most up to date, authoritative, and globally representative science, supported by a Secretariat based in UNEP's Regional Office for North America in Washington, D.C., and at UNEP’s Headquarters in Nairobi. 217

271. The Panel Members works with a community of experts which represents a network of expertise that the members of the Science Panel draws upon to advise the GEF. The Panel Members work within an active network of scientists supporting all focal areas and their interlinkages. The scientists in the network assist the Panel Members to cover the full range of expertise required to provide policy advice on science and technology to the GEF. 218

272. STAP's mandate, adopted by the GEF Council in June 2007 include to (i) provide objective, strategic scientific and technical advice on GEF policies, operational strategies, programs and on projects and programmatic approaches; (ii) maintain a database of institutions, networks and individual scientists to provide the necessary expertise and advice for the GEF; (iii) interacts in a complementary manner with other relevant scientific and technical bodies, particularly with the subsidiary bodies of the CBD, the UNFCCC, the UNCCD and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. The STAP also provides expert scientific advice to inter-agency task forces and bodies handling other GEF processes on request. 218


273. STAP’s objectives include: (i) To identify and provide strategic advice on scientific and technical priorities, the scientific and technical coherence of GEF operational programs and strategies, and on emerging issues and gaps relevant to the implementation of operational programs; (ii) To provide scientific and technical advice aimed at strengthening the scientific and technical quality and underpinnings of GEF projects; (iii) To enhance and improve the collaboration with other scientific and technical bodies, communities and private sector in areas of relevance to the GEF priorities; (iv) To advise on capacity building efforts in science and technology relevant for development and implementation of GEF projects; (v) To advise on targeted research relevant to GEF strategic priorities; and (vi) To advise on monitoring and evaluation indicators for focal areas and cross-cutting issues. 218

Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) 218



274. The Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) is a body established in 1969 to advise the UN system on the scientific aspects of marine environmental protection. Currently the Group is jointly sponsored by eight UN organizations with responsibilities relating to the marine environment as a mechanism for coordination and collaboration among them. These are: IMO, FAO, UNESCO-IOC, WMO, IAEA, UN, UNEP and UNIDO. 218

275. GESAMP’s mission is to provide authoritative, independent, interdisciplinary scientific advice to organizations and member Governments to support the protection and sustainable use of the marine environment. It’s primary mandate is to: (i) integrate and synthesize the results of regional and thematic assessments and scientific studies to support global assessments of the marine environment; (ii) provide scientific and technical guidance on the design and execution of marine environmental assessments; (iii) provide scientific reviews, analyses, and advice on specific topics relevant to the condition of the marine environment, its investigation, protection, and/or management. 218



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