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276. The Group is also mandated to provide regular overviews of the marine environmental monitoring, assessment and related activities of UN agencies, and advise on how these activities might be improved and better integrated and coordinated, and to identify new and emerging issues regarding the degradation of the marine environment that are of relevance to Governments and Sponsoring Organizations. 218

277. GESAMP is managed through an Executive Committee consisting of a representative of each Sponsoring Organization (i.e. Technical Secretary) and the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of GESAMP. A lead organization, currently IMO, hosts an Administrative Secretariat which is responsible for general administration on behalf of all the Sponsoring Organizations. The functions of the Executive Committee include planning and approving the work plan, selecting members of GESAMP from a pool of experts, and adopting terms of reference for its working groups. 218

278. Following an independent, in-depth review of GESAMP in 2001, the Group underwent an extensive revitalization process which is still underway. Key actions include: (i) increasing the number of experts from developing countries participating in GESAMP activities; (ii) extending and consolidating GESAMP's networks at the regional and global level; and (iii) supporting GESAMP's participation the UNGA Regular Process. 218

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 219


279. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the leading body for the assessment of climate change, established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The initial task for the IPCC as outlined in the UN General Assembly Resolution 43/53 of 6 December 1988 was to prepare a comprehensive review and recommendations with respect to the state of knowledge of the science of climate change; social and economic impact of climate change, possible response strategies and elements for inclusion in a possible future international convention on climate. 219


280. IPCC’s work involves both peer review by experts, and review by governments. Thus the review process generally takes place in three stages and results in a full synthesis report with summary for policymakers. Along with the Assessment Reports, the IPCC has produced several Special Reports on various topics of growing interest, and many other papers and contributions to the advancements of the climate change science. It also prepared methodologies and guidelines to be used by Parties under the UNFCCC for preparing their national greenhouse gas inventories. 219

281. IPCC Working Group I assesses the physical scientific aspects of the climate system and climate change; Working Group II assesses the vulnerability of socio-economic and natural systems to climate change, negative and positive consequences of climate change, and options for adapting to it; and Working Group III assesses options for mitigating climate change through limiting or preventing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing activities that remove them from the atmosphere. IPCC also established the Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (TFI) was established by the to oversee the IPCC National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Programme (IPCC-NGGIP), and the Task Group on Data and Scenario Support for Impacts and Climate Analysis (TGICA) was established to facilitate co-operation between the climate modelling and climate impacts assessment communities. 219

282. The IPCC is essentially a scientific body. It reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information published worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change, and thousands of scientists from all over the world contribute to its work. Review is an essential part of the IPCC process, to ensure an objective and complete assessment of current information. The participation of the scientific community in the work of the IPCC has been growing greatly, both in terms of authors and contributors involved in the writing and the reviewing of the reports and of geographic distribution and topics covered by the reports. 219


283. However, particularly important is the endorsement of certain IPCC reports by governments, who thereby acknowledge the authority of their scientific content. This means that their contents can be communicated to other intergovernmental bodies as already agreed. The scientific evidence brought up by the first IPCC Assessment Report in 1990 unveiled the importance of climate change as a topic deserving a political platform among countries to tackle its consequences. It therefore played a significant role in leading to the creation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 219

284. The IPCC is an intergovernmental body open to all member countries of UN and WMO. Governments are involved in the IPCC work as they can participate in the review process and in the IPCC plenary sessions, where main decisions about the IPCC work programme are taken and reports are accepted, adopted and approved. It is funded by regular contributions from its parent organizations WMO and UNEP, the UNFCCC and voluntary contributions by its member countries. WMO also hosts the IPCC Secretariat and WMO and UNEP provide one staff member each for the IPCC Secretariat. 219

International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) 219



285. The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) was found in 1902 with a mission to facilitate scientific understanding of natural resources in the North Atlantic. Its founding instruments were renewed in 1964, and re-endorsed in 2002 at 100th anniversary of its establishment. By 2006 the ICES convention was adhered to by all 20 States on the North Atlantic coast. 219

286. The ICES Convention strongly commits all Parties to supply necessary data and scientists to conduct the work to achieve the objectives of the convention which include (i) to promote and encourage research and investigations for the study of the sea particularly those related to the living resources, and (ii) to publish or otherwise disseminate the results of research and investigations carried out under its auspices or to encourage its publication. 219


287. The ICES Advisory Programme is shaped to advise on the sustainable use of living marine resources and protection of the marine environment. Based on national data and scientific expertise from all ICES countries, and scrutinized by internal and external peer review and stakeholder involvement, the ICES advice guarantees the highest possible level of excellence, independence and objectivity. This scientific advice is provided to processes ranging from implementation of the OSPAR Convention to agreement on EC fisheries policy. 219

288. As an intergovernmental body, ICES network relies almost exclusively on the availability of member states to supply it data and scientific capacity. Its annual work programme is approved at the Annual Statutory Meetings of the ICES Council. Two high representatives (Delegates) of each member state contribute to the decisions and take the responsibility that their national institutes will carry out the work which was defined by Council. 220

289. The ICES Science Programme is committed to (i) understanding how marine ecosystems function, (ii) understanding and quantifying human impacts on marine ecosystems, and (ii) evaluating options for sustainable marine-related industries, especially fishing and mariculture. ICES coordinates science and provides advice on a wide range of issues of a short- to medium-term nature through over a hundred Expert Groups. This requires undertaking diverse activities – from coordinating research to enhancing understanding of population and ecosystem processes, through monitoring programmes, assessments, and their methodologies; to strategies, decision support tools, and implementation. 220

290. Structurally ICES is organized into a "science area" (overseen by a Science Committee), an "advisory area" under Advisory Committees (including the Advisory Committee for Fishery Management, the Advisory Committee of Ecosystems and Advisory Committee of Marine Environment), and a professional secretariat which serves the Council and the ICES Scientific Network. The network consists of approximately 1600 marine scientists in 200 Institutions in Member States and Affiliate Countries organized in over 100 Expert Groups, 8 Science Committees, and three Advisory Committees. 220

Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) 220


291.    The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) is an international organisation that is working to make the world's biodiversity data accessible anywhere in the world. Its members include countries and international organisations who have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that they will share biodiversity data and contribute to the development of increasingly effective mechanisms for making those data available via the Internet. 220

292. GBIF is unique in that it is not a physical infrastructure, but a distributed and digital one that builds on the collective efforts and contributions of thousands of scientists in hundreds of institutes in many countries around the world, providing the tools and guidance that help them make that data available, and the online tools to help others use it. 220

293. GBIF facilitates the work of a number of different governmental and non-governmental organizations, universities and scientists around the world, organizes a number of symposia and workshops, and sponsors an annual science symposium with a different focus every year. The 2009 science symposium will look at biodiversity and climate change and the role that datasets can play in understanding the effects of climate change on biodiversity and identifying mitigation options. 220

294. The intention of the strategic plan is that during the current five year period (2008-11), GBIF will become much more useful to its users by greatly improving the GBIF Data Portal system and the underlying web services, focusing in a major way on Participant Nodes and user communities, and emphasizing the improvement and description of data quality. In extending its work with user communities GBIF is increasing its collaboration with a wide range of organizations in order to explore the value of the data available, and to seek to combine it with other data meaningfully. 220

A.6. Examples of coordination mechanisms and their components relevant to the science-policy interface 221


Biodiversity Liaison Group 221

1. The Biodiversity Liaison Group (BLG) was established following decision VII/26 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which called for the establishment of a liaison group to enhance coherence and cooperation in the implementation of the biodiversity-related conventions. The group initially consisted of the heads of the secretariats of the CBD, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and World Heritage Convention. In 2006, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) joined the group. 221

42. Following an informal first meeting in June 2004, the second meeting of the BLG was held in October 2004. The BLG decided to limit the number of issues it would deal with, in order to ensure focus and progress in implementation. Two priority issues were agreed: the 2010 biodiversity target, and the proposed Global Partnership on Biodiversity. The focus would be on individual contributions to both issues, and what could be strategically done together towards achieving the 2010 target, monitoring and measuring progress in its implementation and reporting. 221

43. At the third meeting in May 2005, the BLG agreed that the 2010 biodiversity target “can provide a unifying focus for cooperation among all relevant Conventions and organizations”. It was further recognised that “the Framework of goals and targets to evaluate progress towards the 2010 target (adopted by CBD Decision VII/30) can be applied mutatis mutandis to all five conventions”. The group agreed that “it would be useful for each Convention, as appropriate, to adopt indicators that are consistent with the Framework of goals and targets adopted by the CBD. This would help to promote coherence among the conventions in policy and implementation and would, for example, foster greater efficiency in reporting”. It was also agreed to prepare a joint paper on options for enhanced cooperation among the five biodiversity-related conventions, which would be made available to upcoming meetings of the participating MEAs. 221


44. The fourth meeting of the BLG, which took place in October 2005, discussed a comparison of the mode of work of the scientific bodies of the five conventions undertaken by CITES. It was agreed that such a review could help to identify possible ways to strengthen communication among the scientific bodies of the conventions. In this regard, the BLG also considered that an informal meeting of the Chairs of their respective scientific bodies would be of great benefit, noting that “of particular interest will be to compare how the scientific bodies define their role and how they find the right balance between science and politics”. In addition, the value of harmonizing taxonomic standards and usage of scientific names among the conventions was identified. 221

45. At its fifth meeting in September 2006, the 2010 biodiversity target was further discussed, in addition to the Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines on Sustainable Use of Biodiversity as adopted by the CBD. The meeting welcomed the decision by the GEF Council to approve the 2010 Biodiversity Indicators Partnership (2010 BIP), recognising that the project would deliver information relevant to all conventions by disaggregating data according to the components of biodiversity on which the conventions focus. The meeting discussed specific expectations from each partner vis-à-vis the 2010 BIP, and their contributions to the process, and it was agreed that BLG members should inform the project about their needs. It was also agreed to include the 2010 BIP as a standing item on the agenda of future BLG meetings, and to invite UNEP-WCMC to report on progress. In addition, the meeting agreed to organise a meeting of chairs of the scientific and technical bodies or advisory bodies of the biodiversity-related conventions together with representatives of the secretariats and UNEP. 221


46. Following on from the meeting of the Chairs of the Scientific Advisory Bodies of Biodiversity-related Conventions (see below), the BLG, at its sixth meeting in May 2008, addressed, among others, the harmonization of nomenclature and taxonomy. CITES and CMS were reported to be working towards harmonizing their nomenclature and taxonomy, work which would be finalised in 2009. The meeting also discussed the forthcoming third edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook, to be published by the CBD in 2010. It was stated that BLG input was desirable to develop a feeling of ‘ownership’ of the process and products. By contributing to the work on indicators, for example by disaggregating species-related information to allow specific statements about migratory species or endangered species in trade, BLG members were already part of the process. The meeting also discussed the 2010 BIP and decided that the individual MEAs should pursue establishing their specific indicators in full harmonization with the CBD framework on targets and indicators and the 2010 BIP and should also engage in the process of designing a post-2010 target. 221

47. In summary, while the primary focus of the Biodiversity Liaison Group is not science, it has addressed a small number of items related to the use of science by the biodiversity-related conventions, such as the 2010 biodiversity target and the related 2010 biodiversity indicators, and the use of standardised species nomenclature and taxonomy. It has discussed possible ways for all participating MEAs to contribute to related activities, for example the publication of the Global Biodiversity Outlook. It has therefore provided some of the impetus for ensuring a more coordinated approach to issues where there are strong scientific interests. 222

Meetings of the Chairs of the Scientific Advisory Bodies of Biodiversity-related Conventions 222


48. The first meeting of the Chairs of the Scientific Advisory Bodies of Biodiversity-related Conventions took place in July 2007. In addition to representatives of CBD, CITES, CMS, Ramsar Convention and World Heritage Convention, the meeting was attended by representatives of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention), IUCN, UNFCCC, UNEP, the GEF Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel, and WWF International. 222

49. The participants agreed that the meeting had provided a useful forum for initiating discussion on areas of cooperation and collaboration on the scientific issues of the various convention processes and their translation into policy, and expressed the hope that the discussions might foster similar approaches and considerations at the national level. While they recognised that the conventions’ scientific advisory bodies have different mandates with regard to the issues on which they provide advice to their governing bodies, ranging from strict response to requests by their governing bodies to flexible ways of response both in terms of timing of delivery and identification of emerging issues, participants agreed that it may be possible to benefit from the guidance provided by other conventions’ bodies on emerging issues. 222

50. The meeting also agreed on practical cooperation on the issues of climate change and biodiversity and on the 2010 biodiversity target, including work on a framework beyond 2010. In addition, the group concluded the following: 222

51. The second meeting of the Chairs of the Scientific Advisory Bodies of Biodiversity-related Conventions was held in May 2008, and was also attended by the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and UNCCD. The meeting considered processes and approaches of the Conventions’ scientific bodies on providing scientific advice, in particular in the following areas. 222


52. In summary, the two meetings of the Chairs of the Scientific Advisory Bodies of Biodiversity-related Conventions can be seen as complementary to those of the Biodiversity Liaison Group, from which they have been mandated, although they are attended by more institutions than the BLG. They have identified a small number of issues where the biodiversity-related conventions could cooperate in improving the scientific advice to their bodies and to Parties, including mapping the guidance developed by the individual conventions and coordination in the requests for scientific advice on various topics. The third meeting is expected to take place immediately before the IPBES Meeting in Nairobi in October 2009. 223

Joint Liaison Group of the Rio Conventions 223



53. The Joint Liaison Group (JLG) of the CBD, UNFCCC and UNCCD was established in 2001 as an informal forum for exchanging information, exploring opportunities for synergistic activities and increasing coordination. The JLG comprises the officers of the conventions’ scientific subsidiary bodies, the Executive Secretaries, and members of the secretariats. The JLG has met nine times, but as reports of the first three meetings and the sixth meeting are not available online, this brief review focuses on the fifth, seventh and eight meetings of the JLG . 223

54. At the fifth meeting in January 2004, the JLG discussed cooperation on a range of issues, including adaptation, capacity-building and technology transfer; joint activities on information, education and awareness, and research and systematic observation. It was agreed to hold a joint workshop forests and forest ecosystems and to develop a paper on options for enhanced collaboration. 223


55. The paper on options for enhanced collaboration, which was made available to the governing bodies of all three conventions, lists examples of collaboration between the conventions, including the following relevant to the coordination of scientific advice: two workshops to examine synergy among the Rio Conventions, organized by the UNFCCC in collaboration with CBD and UNCCD; the joint programme of work on the biodiversity of dry and sub-humid lands between CBD and UNCCD; and the joint workshop on promoting synergy among the Rio Conventions through forests and forest ecosystems organized by UNCCD in collaboration with CBD and UNFCCC. Among the options for enhanced cooperation identified by the paper, the following are particularly relevant for collaboration on and coordination of scientific advice: collaboration among the scientific advisory bodies to the conventions; and cooperation in the development of advice, methodologies and tools. Cooperation in research and monitoring/systematic observation, for example on the global earth observation system of systems (GEOSS) is mentioned specifically. 223

56. The seventh meeting of the JLG, held in June 2007, noted that the document on options for enhanced cooperation had been welcomed by Parties to all three conventions. The meeting identified some areas for future collaboration, including reducing deforestation, and adaptation to climate change. It was agreed to draft an information note on the links between forests, climate change, desertification and biodiversity; as well as an information note on adaptation activities, plans and programmes adopted within the framework of each convention; and to further analyze a list of activities at the level of the secretariats. The latter list includes the facilitation of joint meetings between the chairs of the scientific bodies of the conventions. 223


57. The eight meeting of the JLG was held in September 2007. The meeting considered progress in the drafting of joint information notes on forests and on adaptation. As to the list of activities at the level of secretariats, the meeting agreed to categorize these activities in terms of activities that are already on-going, activities that the secretariats could start implementing in the short term, and activities that need further consideration. 224

58. The work of the JLG has been welcomed by the COPs of the participating conventions. For example, the COP of the UNFCCC, in decision 13/CP.8, supported the mandate of the JLG and requested SBSTA to continue and enhance cooperation with the scientific subsidiary bodies of both CBD and UNCCD. 224

59. CBD COP decision IX/16 provides an example of the way the Conventions have taken up outputs of the JLG. The decision notes with appreciation various outputs of the JLG, including the lists of activities at the level of secretariats, and requested the Executive Secretary to implement relevant activities and to continue discussions within the JLG on other activities. In the same decision, the COP requested “the Executive Secretary, as far as possible in collaboration with the secretariats of the other two Rio conventions, to compile and synthesize information on interactions between acidification, climate change and multiple nutrient-loading as possible threats to biodiversity during the in-depth reviews of the programmes of work on inland water and marine and coastal biodiversity.” 224

60. Another example of collaboration is the work of the AHTEG on biodiversity and climate change, which the CBD has convened with the purpose of of providing biodiversity-relevant information to UNFCCC through the provision of scientific and technical advice and assessment on the integration of the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity into climate change mitigation and adaptation activities. 224



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