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61. In summary, while the focus of the Joint Liaison Group of the Rio Conventions is not science and scientific advice, it has addressed a wide range of issues of relevance to the three conventions, including several relating to the coordination of scientific advice, such as collaboration among the scientific advisory bodies to the conventions, and cooperation in the development of advice, methodologies and tools. A number of joint documents have been drafted and have been taken up by convention bodies, and joint workshops have been organized. Issues for future collaboration have been identified and will be further considered by the relevant bodies of the three conventions and the Joint Liaison Group. 224

Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) 224

62. The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in its Resolution 2000/35 invited the heads of relevant UN, international and regional bodies to form a collaborative partnership on forest which has then been established as a voluntary arrangement in April 2001 and is chaired by FAO and serviced by the UNFF Secretariat. The CPF currently includes 14 international organizations and secretariats with substantial programmes on forests (CIFOR, FAO, ITTO, IUFRO, CBD, GEF, UNCCD, UNFF, UNFCCC, UNDP, UNEP, ICRAF, WB, IUCN) and aims at promoting the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forest and strengthen long term political commitment to this end. 224

63. CPF members share their experiences and build on them to produce new benefits for their respective constituencies. Increasingly CPF members work together in projects and mobilize resources supporting countries to achieve their forest related goals and supporting implementation of sustainable forest management. Joint initiatives and other collaboration activities are supported by voluntary contribution of the participating members. 224

64. Among the joint CPF initiatives, there is the "Global Forest Expert Panels" initiative to provide objective and independent scientific assessments of key issues in order to support more informed decision-making at the global level. The initiative is led and coordinated by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) and the assessments are carried out by thematic Global Forest Expert Panels uniting leading scientists from around the world. The first Global Forest Expert Panel - the “Expert Panel on Adaptation of Forests to Climate Change” - was established up in October 2007 to assess the state of knowledge regarding the impacts of climate change on forests, their implications for human wellbeing, and options for adaptation, as follow up to consultations with policy makers identified adaptation of forests to climate change as an issue of high concern. Other joint initiatives include the Global Forest Information Services (GFIS.net) and the Task Force on Streamlining Forest-related Reporting. 224

65. The CPF provides major inputs to UNFF and other important international forest dialogues, including the conventions on climate change (UNFCCC), biodiversity (CBD) and desertification (UNCCD). It produces joint statements and papers on key forest issues on the international agenda. 225

66. The CPF usually convenes to discuss strategic areas of coordination between CPF members and to work towards a better coherence vis-à-vis to counties, in conjunction with major events; to keep travel costs low and make efficient use of staff time. The Collaborative Partnership on Forests Framework, produced annually, represents the Partnership's work plan and its progress report. 225

67. In summary, the Collaborative Partnership on Forest (CPF) is a voluntary arrangement including 14 international organizations and secretariats with substantial programmes on forests, with the aim of promoting the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forest and strengthen long term political commitment to this end. Moves towards increased cooperation have been practical in nature, focusing on aligning the work of the member agencies and programmes. 225

Environmental Management Group (EMG) 225

68. Chaired by the Executive Director of UNEP and supported by a Secretariat provide by UNEP. the Environmental Management Group (EMG) is a United Nations (UN) System-wide coordination body whose membership consists of UN specialized agencies, programmes, economic commissions, funds and other UN bodies as well as UN/UNEP-administered and non-UN/UNEP-administered Secretariats of MEAs. The EMG has been establisged to further inter-agency cooperation in support of the implementation of the international environmental and human settlement agenda. It identifies issues on the agenda that warrant joint efforts, and finds ways of engaging its collective capacity in coherent management responses to those issues. 225

69. The Terms of Reference (ToRs) f the EMG were approved in 2000 by the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC), which has since been replaced by the Chief Executives Board on Coordination (CEB). It followed a process of consultation carried out through the ACC’s Inter-Agency Committee on Sustainable Development (IACSD) and UNEP’s Committee of Permanent Representatives in Nairobi. The TOR was presented in a report from the eighth special session of Governing Council of UNEP to the General Assembly (UNEP/GCSS.VII/8). Among its objectives spelled out in the ToRs, there are (i) “to identify, address and resolve collectively specific problems, issues and tasks on the environmental and human settlements agenda requiring enhanced inter-agency cooperation in a given time-frame through securing effective and collaborative involvement of the relevant United Nations system agencies, programmes and organs and of other potential partners, as appropriate”; and (ii) “to provide a forum for an early discussion and sharing of information on emerging problems and issues in the field of environment and human settlements geared at finding collectively the most effective coordinated approach to the solution of new tasks”. 225

70. Members are engaged in information exchange and stocktaking within an issue management approach to its activities; among issues tackled in the past, there are: Atmosphere/Air Pollution and Industrial Development, Environment Related Capacity Building, Harmonization of Reporting for Bio-diversity related Conventions; while issues currently under consideration by EMG encompass cooperation towards a climate neutral UN and sustainable procurement, sustainable land use, as well as support to the implementation of the 2010 biodiversity target and beyond. EMG facilitates the development of tools, training material and collective approaches to management and programming where needed. Ultimately efforts are geared towards promoting synergy and complementarity between activities and coherence in assisting member states in their efforts to address environmental change. 225

71. Specific issues are addressed through the establishment of Issue Management Groups (IMGs) whose mandates and time-frame are decided by the EMG members. As required the IMGs are steered by a lead agency which prepares background documents, organizes and chairs the meetings, and elaborates the report on the results of the group’s deliberations. The time-bound ad hoc IMGs cease to exist after completion of their tasks, and the EMG adopts the IMG's report upon completion of their tasks. Among currently IMG there are the one the “2010 biodiversity target and beyond” which has been formed to prepare and submit a UN system wide report that may help inform the formulation of future biodiversity targets by Governments. This report will include information provided by individual members on biodiversity aspects of their strategies, programmes, plans and initiatives relevant to the formulation of future biodiversity targets. 225

72. The EMG reports on its achievements and cooperation to the UNEP Governing Council and other intergovernmental bodies as needed. It also interacts with other Interagency Bodies especially the Chief Executives Board of Coordination (CEB) and its subsidiary bodies. 225

73. In summary, the Environment Management Group serves as a platform for bringing together all the diverse perspectives, expertise and strengths of the UN system in addressing specific issues in the field of environment and human settlements, thanks to its a broad membership including UN specialized agencies, programmes, economic commissions and organs of the United Nations and UN/UNEP-administered and non UN/UNEP-administered Secretariats of MEAs. A number of Reports are available on the work conducted by the EMG. However, the EMG is not focused on science and scientific advice, and addressed coordination across a wide range of issues. 225

UN Chief Executive Board (CEB) 226

74. The UN Chief Executives Board (CEB) furthers coordination and cooperation on a whole range of substantive and management issues facing United Nations system organizations. CEB brings together on a regular basis the executive heads of the organizations of the United Nations system, under the chairmanship of the Secretary General of the United Nations. In addition to its regular reviews of contemporary political issues and major concerns facing the UN system, on the basis of recommendations from bodies reporting to it, CEB approves policy statements on behalf of the UN system as a whole. CEB is the successor body to the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC). It furthers coordination and cooperation on a whole range of substantive and management issues facing UN system organizations. 226

75. CEB is supported by three High Level Committees, the division of responsibilities between the three bodies can be summarized as follows: 226

76. In summary, while these committees are not primarily concerned with science and scientific advice, they are concerned with coherence of approach within the UN system on a very broad range of issues, and can therefore be influential in promoting increased coordination on issues that come to their attention. 226

A.7. Examples of other organizations involved in the science policy interface and referred to in the text 227

ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) 227

295. The ASEAN Centre Biodiversity (ACB) is an intergovernmental regional centre that facilitates cooperation and coordination among ASEAN Member States, and with relevant national governments, regional and international organizations on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity in the ASEAN region. In 2005, ACB took over the mandate of the ASEAN Regional Centre for Biodiversity Conservation (ARCBC), which was a joint cooperation project of the ASEAN and European Commission. 227

296. To realise its vision, mission and mandate, the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (i) facilitates policy coordination and resolution of cross-country biodiversity conservation issues, (ii) serves as institutional information sharing framework, (iii) carries out proactive monitoring and assessing of biodiversity conservation status to identify critical issues and future trends, (iv) facilitates capacity-building services and technology transfer, including public awareness rising; and (v) undertakes resources mobilisation measures for biodiversity conservation in the region. 227

297. Joint research/initiatives and research under the thematic umbrella of Managing Biodiversity Information and Knowledge cover the broad topics on developing new biodiversity indicators and indices and linking these to a decision support system, regional analysis algorithms, cross analysis of biodiversity information with socio-economic parameters, establishing and strengthening transboundary biodiversity data centres and their reporting capabilities, harnessing traditional knowledge, and setting up communities of practice actively using knowledge management tools. 227


298. DIVERSITAS is a collaborative research programme set up to promote and catalyse knowledge about biodiversity including its origins, composition, ecosystem functioning, ecosystem services, maintenance and conservation. The programme is a partnership of inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations which are involved in biodiversity conservation. Through its established network of biodiversity science, DIVERSITAS aims to help maximize the impact of initiatives undertaken around the world. By establishing national committees and collaborating with other organizations, DIVERSITAS enlarges and strengthens scientific networks. In turn, this makes it easier to identify global research priorities, allocate facilities, facilitate knowledge transfer and support capacity building. 227

299. DIVERSITAS consists of 4 Core Projects: bioGENESIS, which looks at Developing new strategies and tools for discovering and navigating biodiversity; bioDISCOVERY, which is concerned with assessing current levels of biodiversity, developing the scientific basis for monitoring and observing; understanding and predicting changes; ecoSERVICES which looks at expanding biodiversity and ecosystem functioning science to larger scales and over a greater breadth of the biological hierarchy, at linking changes in ecosystem structure and functioning to changes in ecosystem services, and at assessing human response to change in ecosystem services; and bioSUSTAINABILITY, which is concerned with developing new knowledge to guide policy and decision making that support sustainable use of biodiversity. In addition DIVERSITAS has four ‘Cross-Cutting Networks’ these are: ecoHEALTH, the Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment, freshwaterBIODIVERSITY, agroBIODIVERSITY and Global Invasive Species programme. 227

300. The DIVERSITAS Science Plan highlights the need to synthesise existing scientific knowledge, identify gaps and emerging issues and promote new research initiatives while also examining the policy implications of biodiversity science. Ultimately, the goal is to provide government agencies and policy makers with the information required to make sound decisions on biodiversity issues. 227

European Environmental Agency (EEA) 227

301. The European Environment Agency (EEA) is an agency of the European Union. It was established in 1994 with the aim of ensuring that decision-makers and the general public are kept informed about the state and outlook of the environment in Europe. The EC Regulation No 401/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 details current tasks of the Agency. These include: collecting, processing, analysing environmental data to provide EC and its Member States with the objective information required for framing and implementing sound and effective environmental policies. 227

302. EEA work is structured under several programmes including: air and climate change; governance and networks; integrated environmental assessments; and natural systems and vulnerability. EEA has an independent Scientific Committee tasked to delivering opinion on the EEA work-programmes, and to provide advice on any scientific matter concerning the Agency's activity. EEA cooperates with the UN and its specialised agencies, and with other international activities such as the follow up to the MA, to incorporate European environmental information and experience into international environmental policies and processes. 228

303. The EEA both gathers and disseminates data and information through the European Environment Information and Observation Network (Eionet). Eionet is a collaborative network of the EEA and all member countries, connecting National Focal Points (NFPs) in the EU Member States and collaborating countries, European Topic Centres (ETCs), National Reference Centres (NRCs) and Commission’s experts. 228


304. The Group on Earth Observations is a voluntary partnership of governments and international organizations set up in response to demand for action to improve access to and use of Earth observation data following the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. GEO is co-ordinating efforts to build a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) on the basis of 10 year implementation plan agreed in 2005. GEOSS aims to provide a range of societal benefits based on use of Earth observation coupled with other data and information. These societal benefits are identified as: 228

305. The GEO Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO-BON) was set up by GEO, NASA and DIVERSITAS as part of GEOSS in 2007, to contribute to the collection, management, sharing, and analysis of data on the status and trends of the world’s biodiversity. GEO-BONs primary function is to facilitate data sharing between different actors, and the aim is that by bringing together the diverse, stand-alone observation instruments and systems now tracking trends in the world’s genetic resources, species and ecosystems, GEO BON will create a global platform for integrating biodiversity data with data on climate and other key variables. It will fill gaps in taxonomic and biological information and speed up the pace at which information is collected and disseminated. 228

306. As with GEOSS, the aim of GEO-BON is to ascertain the data requirements of user groups, review and prioritize research, facilitate interoperability among observation systems and databases, generate regularly updated assessments of global trends, design decision-support systems that integrate monitoring with modelling and forecasting, and make data and reports available to users. 228

Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network (IABIN) 228

307. IABIN is a forum for countries of the Americas to share, collect and use biodiversity information relevant to decision makers, focusing on conservation and natural resource management and education linked to natural resource management in the Americas region. The network is concerned with the creation and promotion of the necessary infrastructure to allow exchange of biodiversity information, including aspects such as training and capacity building, network development and the provision of tools and guidance. 228

308. IABIN has been endorsed by the heads of state of 34 countries in the Americas, and each of the countries has nominated a focal point. IABIN operates through a membership council called "IABIN Council." The Council is policy focused. It has the authority to make decisions and take action on behalf of IABIN. IABIN is currently substantially supported by the GEF working through the Organization of American States, although other organizations and governments have also contributed substantially. As well as the focus on building the infrastructure, the network is developing through several thematic approaches covering: pollinators, invasive alien species, and protected areas. 228

309. The network is currently developing an online platform to collate biodiversity information from diverse sources such as universities, museums and government organizations into one place. IABIN has no formalized membership beyond country membership, although members are expected to work together to collate and share information and to develop partnerships with existing organizations. 229

International Council for Science (ICSU) 229

310. Founded in 1931 to promote international scientific activity in the different branches of science and its application for the benefit of humanity, the International Council for Science (ICSU) is one of the oldest non-governmental organizations in the world. ICSU's strength and uniqueness lies in its dual membership, National Scientific Members and International Scientific Unions, whose wide spectrum of scientific expertise allows ICSU to address major, international, interdisciplinary issues which its Members could not handle alone. 229

311. ICSU seeks to accomplish its role in a number of ways. Over the years, it has addressed specific global issues through the creation of Interdisciplinary Bodies, and of Joint Initiatives in partnership with other organizations. Important programmes of the past include the International Geophysical Year (1957-58) and the International Biological Programme (1964-74). Major current programmes include the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme: A Study of Global Change (IGBP), the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), DIVERSITAS: An Integrated Programme of Biodiversity Science and the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP). 229

312. In order to strengthen international science for the benefit of society, ICSU mobilizes the knowledge and resources of the international science community to: 229

International Long Term Ecological Research (ILTER) Network 229

313. International Long Term Ecological Research describes itself as a ‘network of networks’ consisting of Scientists and organisations involved in long term site-based ecological research across the globe. 32 countries have established formal LTER programmes within their territories. ILTERs goals include fostering and creating collaborations and co-ordination amongst scientists involved in similar ecological research, improving comparability of long-term ecological datasets, delivering scientific information to policy-makers, scientists and the general public and educating a new generation of scientists in long-term ecological research. The long term focus allows the network to concentrate on assessing and resolving complex environmental issues in a wide variety of ecosystems around the world. 229

314. The ILTER Coordinating Committee consists of 32 individuals (one from each member country) and the Executive Committee consists of between 6 and 8 members. Most ILTER members are national or regional networks of scientists involved in long-term, site based ecological research. These networks have expertise in collecting, managing and analysing long-term environmental data and are responsible for the creation of a large number of unique long-term datasets. In total over 1800 individual scientists are involved, working at hundreds of different sites. 229

International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) 229

315. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature is a global network of governmental and non-governmental organisations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities. The IUCN is the world’s largest environmental network, with over 1,000 member organisations, over 1,000 professional staff and approximately 11,000 volunteer scientists based in 160 countries, it also has official observer status at the UN. IUCN’s policy and programme is set at members meetings that take place approximately every four years, and in between the organization is run by an elected council. 229

316. IUCN supports and carries out research on species, biodiversity and ecosystems, runs a large number of practical field projects around the world and carries out policy-making and advocacy work. This information is managed by a network of over 1,000 professional staff in 60 offices. IUCN’s work often focuses on the interaction between local communities and conservation issues. 229

317. IUCN produces, and is largely responsible for maintaining, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, a comprehensive list of species and sub-species, detailing their conservation status, taxonomic information and information on their distribution. This list is based on wide assessments of species status carried out in partnership and collaboration with a wide range of organizations and individuals, and in particular members of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. The Red List is commonly used by governmental and NGOs as the standard by which species’ threat levels are assessed and as such, is an important tool in biodiversity conservation at the species level. 230

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