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240. The institutional arrangements established to ensure the implementation of the strategy foresees: 193

a) a MA Follow-up Implementation Group that represents all partner organizations interested in the strategy and coordinates the implementation of the strategy and joint programming of related initiatives; 193

b) an Executive Committee, comprising a subset of the MA Follow-up Implementation Group, revising ongoing activities and promoting coordination; 193

c) a MA Follow-up Advisory Group that advises on strategic directions on the MA Follow-up activities, links and engages with a range of stakeholders and ensures the scientific, technical and policy leadership and credibility of the initiative; 193

d) thematic working Groups, formed as needed to facilitate the exchange of information and lessons learned, and ensure coordination at the working level; and 193

e) a MA Follow-up Global Secretariat, hosted by UNEP in collaboration with UNDP to support the various groups mentioned above. 193

241. So far the following has been achieved: 193

a) the MA Follow-up Global Secretariat is established and based at UNEP/DEPI; 193

b) a Working Group on Sub-Global Assessments, with a secretariat based at UNU/IAS, was established to coordinate and provide a clearing house for the network of 34 completed and ongoing Sub-Global Assessments (SGAs) and, other new emerging SGAs, with a total of 12 joining the network so far; 193

c) a multidisciplinary group of experts to identify key gaps in knowledge and data, to design a research agenda, and to influence the priorities of research funding agencies has been established and has delivered a report on Research and Monitoring Priorities Based on the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment; 193

d) an ecosystem assessment manual has been developed to provide practical guidance for undertaking integrated ecosystem assessments and will be published towards the end of 2009; 193

e) tools such as those that are able to map ecosystem services have been developed; 193

f) new assessment programmes have been initiated such as the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation Programme (ESPA) and Reefs at Risk + 10; and 193

g) a number of outreach activities have been carried out, such as workshops, media releases, documentaries and websites to support the uptake of the key findings from the MA into policy. 193

242. The COP of the CBD also viewed the use and impact of the SGAs in the MA. Further lessons learned specific to SGAs were identified. Main lessons learned are: 193

a) Geographic coverage of the SGAs was uneven: The basic bottom-up approach taken in developing SGAs resulted in wide and varied assessments driven by user-demand, but did not provide a comprehensive global coverage of ecosystem types and geographical areas. Further more such an approach did not allow for effective comparisons across SGA. 193

b) Lack of capacity: Many SGA practitioners lacked capacity in aspects in the assessment methods (e.g. responses and scenarios) and tools (economic valuation) to be able to carry out a comprehensive SGAs. 193

c) Engagement of policy makers: SGAs were catalyzed and led by individuals or organizations (research and NGOs) and policy makers were not fully engaged as stakeholders, resulting in many SGAs having little or no impact on policy-making at the relevant scales. 194

243. The following activities are underway to support the completed, ongoing and new SGAs and address the lessons learned from the original set of SGAs: 194

a) New SGAs are being encouraged in under represented regions such as West Africa through initiatives such as the Poverty and Environment Initiative; 194

b) A network of assessment practitioners has been established and is growing with the inclusion of new SGA members; 194

c) Annual SGA meetings are held to allow for the exchange of experiences and lessons learned between SGA practitioners; and 194

d) Capacity building workshops are planned for 2009, which will utilize the ecosystem assessment manual and build the capacity of practitioners already carrying out assessments and practitioners wishing to begin an assessment. 194

A.2. The Assessment of Assessments and the Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the state of the Marine Environment 195

1. In 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg recommended the establishment of a Regular Process under the United Nations for the global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment, including socio-economic aspects. This was endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) later in 2002 (Resolution 57/141). 195

244. In 2005, the UN General Assembly launched the “Assessment of Assessments” (AoA) as a preparatory stage towards the establishment of the “Regular Process.” Resolution 60/30 called for the establishment of an Ad Hoc Steering Group to oversee the execution of the AoA and a Group of Experts to undertake the actual work. It invited UNEP and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO to serve as lead agencies for the process, to provide secretariat services and to coordinate the work. 195

245. The AoA is a review of the global marine assessment landscape for the purposes of determining possible options and a framework for a Regular Process. Its final report provides, along with the Summary for Decision Makers, a thorough review of existing marine and coastal environmental assessments, at global and regional levels, includes a critical analysis of the assessments with a view to identify best practises, thematic and geographic gaps, capacity-building needs, and establishes a framework and options (with rough budgets) for the Regular Process. 195

246. The AoA concluded that although assessment capacity is strong in many regions, there is a clear need for continued efforts to develop greater expertise and infrastructure around the globe in the technical aspects of marine assessment. In addition, five major areas that need immediate, concerted and ongoing attention are: 195

a) ensuring that assessment processes are well designed and clearly link assessment processes and policy-makers, conducted to the highest standards, and fully documented by the responsible institutions; 195

b) improving data accessibility and interoperability so that assessments can be extended and scaled up or down within and across regions; 195

c) increasing the consistency of selection and use of indicators and reference points to guide the interpretation of status and trends; 195

d) developing integrated ecosystem assessments that can inform on the state of systems rather than just individual sectors or ecosystem components and which include social and economic aspects, 195

e) strengthening the mandates of institutions to undertake fully integrated assessments; and 195

f) strengthening capacity for response assessments that are linked directly to the findings of state, pressure and impact assessments. 195

247. Accordingly, the fundamental building blocks of the first cycle of the proposed Global Reporting and Assessment of the Marine Environment (GRAME) (2010-2014) include: 195

a) build capacity at both individual and institutional levels based on identified priorities; 195

b) improve knowledge and methods of analysis; 195

c) enhance networking among assessment processes, international monitoring and research programs and associated institutions and individuals; 195

d) create communications tools and strategies for reaching different target audiences. 195

248. The AoA/GRAME process is currently in a very advanced and critical phase, with an Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole 31 August - 4 September 2009. The ad hoc Working Group of the whole is to consider best practices and institutional options (see para 14 above) for the Regular Process and recommend a path forward to meet the commitment Resolution 54/141. The ad hoc Working Group plans to submit its proposals to the UN General Assembly in October 2009, for inclusion in the annual Oceans Resolution of UNGA. 195

A.3. Increasing coherence within the UN and environmental governance 196

1. Recognising missed opportunities for synergy, and the potential for duplication of effort, a number of intergovernmental processes and reviews within the UN system have been addressing ways and means to increase coherence both within the UN and its activities, and within the governance landscape. Given that many of these activities need to be informed by science these discussions and related actions are relevant to this gap analysis. 196

2. In 2001 the UN Secretary-General established the Environment Management Group as a UN system-wide coordination body on environment and human settlement.  Its membership consists of the specialized agencies, programmes and organs of the United Nations including the MEA secretariats. While the EMG is neither a scientific body nor a decision making body it is in a position to facilitate and promote greater cooperation, including on science-policy issues. 196

249. The UN is also seeking greater coherence in its activities at the national level, through the development and implementation of UN Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAF) which help to focus the activities of UN agencies, programmes and organs at the national level, and the Delivering as One pilot projects which are testing more coordinated approaches. While these plans and activities relate to nationally defined priorities, increased coherence in action inevitably requires increased coherence in the use of science in decision making. 196

250. In paragraph 169 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome, Governments agreed to explore the possibility of a more coherent institutional framework for environmental activities in the UN system by improving the key areas of concern including: enhanced coordination; improved policy advice and guidance; and strengthened scientific knowledge, assessment and cooperation. All these issues are directly relevant to steps to improve the science-policy interface. 196

251. The Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity Building adopted in 2004 aims to strengthen the capacity of Governments of developing countries and countries with economies in transition, at all levels, to inter alia develop national capacity for using science in decision-making with respect to environmental management. 196

252. Finally in order to support many of these activities there has been a recognition of the need to strengthen the scientific base of UNEP so that it is better placed to provide support at both national and international levels. 196

253. Discussion on increasing coherence in both the UN system and international environmental governance is likely to continue for some time, and its final outcome cannot be predicted. However it can be assumed that emphasis will remain on the need for greater coherence, that improvements in the ways in which science can be used to support decision making will continue to be recognised as a key issue, and that improvements in delivery and use of such information now will be important for whatever governance landscape exists in the future. 196

A.4. Summary table on the scientific advisory bodies and processes of the Rio conventions 197

Summary table on the scientific advisory bodies and processes of the global biodiversity-related conventions 200

Summary descriptions of the scientific advisory bodies and processes for the global biodiversity-related conventions and Rio conventions 205

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and its Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) 205

1. Article 25 of the Convention establishes SBSTTA “to provide the Conference of the Parties and, as appropriate, its other subsidiary bodies with timely advice relating to the implementation of the Convention” and anticipates that the body will be multidisciplinary, and “shall comprise government representatives competent in the relevant field of expertise”. The following tasks: (a) Provide scientific and technical assessments of the status of biological diversity; (b) Prepare scientific and technical assessments of the effects of types of measures taken in accordance with the provisions of this Convention; c) Identify innovative, efficient and state-of-the-art technologies and know-how relating to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and advise on the ways and means of promoting development and/or transferring such technologies; (d) Provide advice on scientific programmes and international cooperation in research and development related to conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity; and (e) Respond to scientific, technical, technological and methodological questions that the Conference of the Parties and its subsidiary bodies may put to the body. 205

2. COP 5 recognized the need to improve the quality of scientific, technical and technological advice provided to the COP and to undertake sound scientific and technical assessments on issues critical for the implementation of the Convention. The COP requested SBSTTA to continue to improve the way it conducts its work, and asked SBSTTA to identify and develop methods for undertaking or participating in scientific assessments, to undertake a limited number of pilot scientific assessment projects, and to identify and regularly update assessment priorities and information needs (decision V/20). In response, SBSTTA 6 and SBSTTA 9 addressed assessments, and SBSTTA 8 considered a draft strategic plan for the subsidiary body. 205

3. COP 7 tasked the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Review of Implementation of the Convention (WGRI) with a review of the impacts and effectiveness of existing processes under the Convention, including SBSTTA (decision VII/30). Following the 1st meeting of WGRI, COP 8 endorsed a consolidated modus operandi for SBSTTA. The consolidated modus operandi identifies strategic ways and means of improving the quality of scientific, technical and technological advice of SBSTTA as follows (decision VIII/10): 205

Improving the scientific, technical and technological inputs into SBSTTA meetings by, inter alia: (a) Strengthening relationships with the scientific and technical community through: (i) providing material about the work of the Subsidiary Body in a format that is accessible and relevant to the scientific and technical community; (ii) Actively disseminating the results of the work of the Subsidiary Body through scientific literature, both as reporting items and scientific papers, as reviewed and approved by the Conference of the Parties; (iii) Participating in, and contributing to, the scientific and technical components of other biodiversity-related processes; (iv) Using other bodies as a bridge between the Subsidiary Body and the scientific and technical community in relation to work programmes; (v) Engaging the scientific community in scientific assessments. 205

Improving the scientific, technical and technological debate during SBSTTA meetings by, inter alia: (a) Raising delegates’ awareness about, and encouraging informal debate on, key issues through the provision of scientific and technical publications, keynote speakers, poster sessions, round-table debates and other side events during meetings of the Subsidiary Body; (b) Identifying other opportunities to prepare delegates, particularly those with limited experience, for the discussions on scientific and technical matters; (c) Dedicating sufficient time to the consideration of results of scientific and technical assessments.  205

4. COP 8 also discussed the handling of new and emerging issues, and in decision VIII/10 added to the list of functions that SBSTTA carries out “identify new and emerging issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity”. 205

5. The modus operandi of SBSTTA allows for the establishment of a relatively limited number of Ad Hoc Expert Groups (AHTEGs) on specific issues identified by the COP to ‘provide scientific and technical advice and assessments. The establishment of AHTEGs is guided by the following: 205

a) AHTEGs should “draw on the existing knowledge and competence available within, and liaise with as appropriate, international, regional and national organizations, including non-governmental organizations and the scientific community, as well as indigenous and local community organizations and the private sector”; 206

b) SBSTTA is requested, whenever it convenes AHTEGs “to provide oversight to ensure that terms of reference clearly indicate their mandate, duration of operation, expected outcomes and reporting requirements, and that their mandates are limited to the provision of scientific and technical advice and assessments”; 206

c) Parties are asked to nominate experts for AHTEG meetings, and in doing so are requested “to give priority to the nomination of appropriate scientific and technical experts”, from these nominations, the Executive Secretary, in consultation with the SBSTTA Bureau, selects up to fifteen “scientific and technical experts from the nominations submitted by Parties” for each AHTEG and can also invite a limited number of experts; and 206

d) The reports produced by the AHTEG should, as a general rule, “be submitted for peer review” (which is particularly important as the number of participants is capped). 206

6. To date AHTEGs have reviewed and reported on a wide range of issues based on terms of reference usually prepared by SBSTTA and agreed by COP. These issues are as follows: inland water biodiversity, marine and coastal protected areas; mariculture; forest biodiversity; biodiversity of dry and sub-humid lands; genetic use restriction technologies; biological diversity and climate change; in-depth review of the implementation of the programme of work on forest biodiversity; mountain biodiversity; integrated marine and coastal area management; protected areas; technology transfer and scientific and technical cooperation; gaps and inconsistencies in the international regulatory frameworks in relation to invasive alien species; indicators for assessing progress towards the 2010 target; and island biodiversity. Based on SBSTTA recommendations, the COP has frequently welcomed and made extensive use of AHTEG reports. 206

7. Each in depth review of an issue by SBSTTA is informed by a document prepared by the Secretariat summarising the status and trends in biodiversity, and providing an overview of the drivers and the impact of measures taken. Even when no AHTEG has taken place, these documents are based on consultations, and undergo review by key experts. 206

8. The original modus operandi of SBSTTA included the compilation of rosters of experts in the relevant fields of the Convention, with the following purpose: “The experts on the rosters are invited to make available, upon request of the Executive Secretary, Parties or other countries and relevant bodies, their specific expertise in order to contribute to the further development of the scientific, technical and technological issues of the work programme of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Such requests could entail, inter alia, peer reviews, questionnaires, clarifications or examinations of scientific, technological and technical issues, specific contributions to the compilation of documents, participation in global and regional workshops and assisting in connecting the Convention-process to international, regional and national scientific, technical and technological processes” (decision IV/16). However, through decision VIII/10, the COP decided to discontinue the use of the roster of experts. 206

9. In summary, the Convention has taken up the challenge of improving the quality of scientific, technical and technological advice provided to the COP, and of undertaking sound scientific and technical assessments on issues critical for the implementation of the Convention. There have been several suggestions for improving the workings and operations of SBSTTA, including the endorsement of a consolidated modus operandi. SBSTTA and COP have drawn extensively on the reports of AHTEGs, which comprise experts nominated by Parties and selected by the Executive Secretary in cooperation with the SBSTTA Bureau. The use of a roster of experts in relevant fields of the Convention was discontinued in favour of the more flexible mechanism of Party nominations of experts for AHTEG meetings and other purposes. 206

10. However, despite all efforts, in the closing session of SBSTTA 13 in 2008, concerns were expressed at the failure to make significant progress, and one Party expressed “disappointment that despite the scientific and technical advice mandate of SBSTTA, there had been very little focus on scientific and technical issues during the thirteenth meeting” and that “SBSTTA must refocus its work to deal with scientific, technical and technological issues in order to fulfil its mandate” (report of SBSTTA 13, document UNEP/CBD/COP/9/3). 206

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and its Plants and Animals Committees 207

11. CITES has two scientific committees, the Animals Committee and the Plants Committee. The membership of the Animals and Plants Committees consist of: i) a person chosen by each of the North American and Ocean geographic regions; ii) two persons chosen by each of the African, Asian, Central and South American and the Caribbean, and Europen regions; and iii) a specialist on zoological nomenclature (Animals Committee) and a specialist on botanical nomenclature (Plants Committee) appointed by the Conference of the Parties who would be ex-officio and non-voting; 207

12. The Plants and the Animals Committee were established through resolution Conf. 6.1. Both committees were subsequently re-established; the latest resolution in this regard is resolution Conf. 11.1 (Rev. CoP14), which agreed the terms of reference for both committees that they should carry out the following with respect to wildlife trade: 207

a) provide scientific advice and guidance to the COP and other Convention bodies and processes; 207

b) deal with nomenclatural issues; 207

c) assist the Secretariat with respect to identification issues; 207

d) cooperate with the Secretariat in assisting Scientific Authorities; 207

e) develop regional directories of experts in CITES-listed species; 207

f) identify and assess taxa included in Appendix II which may be significantly affected by trade 207

g) assess information on species where there is evidence of a change in the volume of trade; 207

h) undertake a periodic review of animal or plant species included in the CITES Appendices; 207

i) make available advice on management techniques and procedures for States requesting it; 207

j) draft resolutions on scientific matters for consideration by COP; 207

k) perform any other functions at the request of the COP or Standing Committee; and 207

l) report to the COP and, if so requested, the Standing Committee, on the activities undertaken. 207

13. Document SC54 Inf. 4 and SC54 Inf.5, describe the evolution of the terms of reference of the committees and of the duties and responsibilities of the committee members, together with the results achieved, resources and support available to the committees and a comparison with practices in other biodiversity related multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). 207

14. There have been several moves to merge the two Committees (CoP12, CoP14), but Parties have always been strongly opposed to this. CoP13 adopted a process to review the Scientific Committees. COP 13 directed the Standing Committee to determine a process for the review of the scientific committees and to proceed with the review. The Standing Committee established an External Evaluation Working Group to undertake the review. The External Evaluation Working Group recognised that the scientific committees were achieving a generally high level of performance in the high-priority tasks assigned to them and often with very limited resources or a reliance on voluntary effort. They made the following recommendations to the Standing Committee for the Review of the Scientific Committees (CoP14 Doc 12): 207

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