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Knowledge & Diplomacy: Science Advice in the United Nations System APPENDIX IV: Draft Resolution on the Modus Operandi of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands Excerpts RECALLING the establishment by Resolution 5.5 of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP), made up of members with appropriate scientific and technical knowledge, appointed by the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP), but participating as individuals and not as representatives of their countries of origin; … THE CONFERENCE OF THE CONTRACTING PARTIES REAFFIRMS the critical importance to the Convention of the work and advice of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) in providing reliable guidance to the Conference of the Contracting Parties; APPROVES the revised modus operandi for the STRP as annexed to this Resolution, and DECIDES that the provisions in the Annex supersede those in the previous Resolutions on the STRP dealing with the same issues; RECOGNIZES the urgent need to ensure both that the Panel is provided with the necessary resources to undertake its work effectively and efficiently and that the Ramsar Bureau has sufficient capacity to support this work, and URGES Contracting Parties and others to afford the highest priority for securing continuity of such funding; … REVISES as follows the list of bodies and organizations invited to participate as observers in the meetings of the STRP during the 2003–2005 triennium, in addition to the International Organization Partners, and INVITES them to consider establishing close working cooperative arrangements with the STRP on matters of common interest: the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) the Scientific Council of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) the Committee on Science and Technology of the Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technical Advice of the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
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Knowledge & Diplomacy: Science Advice in the United Nations System the secretariats of the CBD, CMS, UNCCD, UNFCCC and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment the Society of Wetland Scientists [the International Association of Limnology] [the Global Wetlands Economics Network] the International Mire Conservation Group the International Peat Society the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), Columbia University, USA the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Ducks Unlimited (Canada, Mexico, and USA) The World Resources Institute (WRI) The Institute for Inland Water Management and Wastewater Treatment (RIZA) (The Netherlands) FURTHER EMPHASIZES the value of participation by STRP members in meetings of the COP and Standing Committee, and REQUESTS Contracting Parties, the Standing Committee, and the Ramsar Bureau all to do their utmost to secure any additional funding which might be necessary for this purpose; … REAFFIRMS that the membership of the STRP shall have the same regional structure as the Standing Committee, as established in Resolution VII. 1; and that the same proportional system that the Standing Committee will apply for determining its composition; and that, in order to attain equitable representation on the subsidiary bodies of the Convention, members of the STRP ought, as far as possible, to come from Contracting Parties different from those Parties elected to the Standing Committee; … ENDORSES the establishment of a post in the Bureau to assist the Deputy Secretary General in the day-to-day support of the work of the Panel and its Working Groups and the development of the STRP National Focal Points network.]
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Knowledge & Diplomacy: Science Advice in the United Nations System Modus operandi of the Convention’s Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) Establishing STRP tasks and priorities The Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP) shall have available to it a list of STRP assignments, derived by the Bureau from the draft Convention Work Plan for the next triennium and draft Resolutions submitted to the COP. The COP shall establish the priorities for STRP work in the coming triennium. The Standing Committee shall adopt the definitive list of STRP assignments for the triennium on the basis of the Convention Work Plan and Resolutions adopted by the COP, and will provide additional guidance on priority tasks. At its first meeting, the STRP shall agree on its work plan and identify which tasks it considers can be undertaken in the triennium with the available resources and which ones will require additional resources for their implementation. The Bureau shall circulate immediately by e-mail the work plan agreed by the STRP at its first meeting for comments by the Standing Committee and the STRP National Focal Points, with a deadline for inputs of three weeks, so as to ensure the maximum possible time for the STRP to undertake its work. Schedule and purpose of meetings, and process between meetings The STRP will meet twice in plenary during a triennium. The first meeting shall take place no later than six months after the COP, and the second meeting approximately nine months prior to the next COP. The first meeting of the STRP in each triennium shall: include an ‘induction and briefing session’ for all participants in order to ensure that they (particularly members appointed for the first time) are fully aware of their respective roles and responsibilities prior to making decisions on progressing the work requested oPanel. The briefing will emphasize the role of the Panel in relation to that of the COP, the Standing Committee (to which the STRP reports), and the Ramsar Bureau. establish the STRP work plan for the triennium, based on the tasks and priorities identified by the COP and Standing Committee, taking into account also issues arising from the Panel’s role in reviewing strategically current tools and guidance available to Parties, and new and emerging issues for the Convention; establish an expert Working Group for each substantive task in the STRP work plan, identify the members of each Working Group, and agree the modus operandi for each Working Group to undertake its tasks; identify additional experts to be invited to contribute to the work of each Working Group, either in the drafting of materials or in reviewing such materials. In so doing, the STRP
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Knowledge & Diplomacy: Science Advice in the United Nations System should give due consideration to the geographical and gender balance, and to the language abilities of the proposed experts; and identify key additional strategic issues for consideration by the STRP during the triennium, and establish a Working Group to progress these for reporting to the next COP. Thereafter, expert Working Groups shall develop and undertake their work largely through electronic communication, tele- and video-conferences, virtual forums and exchange networks. The Bureau shall assist in establishing such mechanisms as necessary. Each expert Working Group shall, as resources permit, meet in a workshop approximately nine months after the 1st STRP meeting, in order to review draft materials, amend their parts of the work plan as necessary, and agree the steps to be taken for timely completion of their tasks. Where the STRP determines that it requires the expertise of an invited expert to prepare draft materials for its review, resources permitting, the Bureau shall arrange as necessary for contracts to be let immediately after the period for comments on the STRP work plan is over. First draft materials prepared under these contracts will be available for review by the relevant STRP Working Group before any mid-term Working Group workshop. Should the dates for the next COP be set less than 3 calendar years (36 months) after the previous COP, the STRP Working Groups shall review their workloads and agreed deliverables, and advise the Standing Committee of any proposed changes to the Panel’s work plan. The second meeting of the Panel shall: receive reports from each of its expert Working Groups, including final draft guidelines and other materials; review and approve finalization of these materials for consideration by the Standing Committee and COP; identify any further work on each topic that it may consider is still needed, and make recommendations on this to the Standing Committee and COP; and review the recommendations of the Working Group on key strategic issues for the Convention, and prepare these for consideration by the Standing Committee and COP. The working language of the Panel shall be English. The ability of STRP members and invited experts to consult and use literature in other languages shall constitute an additional asset for their appointment. The roles and responsibilities of the Panel and its members The Terms of Reference of the STRP and its Members are to:
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Knowledge & Diplomacy: Science Advice in the United Nations System review the tasks and nature of the products requested of it by COP Resolutions and the Convention’s Work Plan; undertake strategic review of the current tools and guidance available to Parties and new and emerging issues for the Convention; determine and agree a mechanism for the delivery of each of these tasks, including the establishment of expert Working Groups as appropriate, advise on which tasks it does not have the expertise or capacity to progress, and receive the advice of the Standing Committee for this work plan; identify, for each task the Panel proposes to undertake, and with the advice of any Working Group on the topic, the best global expert(s) either from within or outside the Panel, to undertake drafting work, taking into account geographical and gender balance and language ability; identify, for each product in the work plan, and with the advice of any Working Group on the topic, additional experts to undertake review by correspondence of draft materials, as necessary; make expert review of the draft products in its work plan, taking into account the views expressed by additional experts in d) above, agree any amendments needed, and transmit these revised products for consideration by the Standing Committee; ensure, with the assistance of the Ramsar Bureau, that the work of the STRP contributes to and benefits from the work undertaken by similar subsidiary bodies of other multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). In undertaking their work, members of the STRP should, as set out in the ToR for STRP National Focal Points (NFPs), establish and maintain contact with the National Focal Points in their (sub) region, with an agreed allocation of Contracting Parties to each regional member, in order to ensure that the views and expertise of NFPs is available to the Panel.
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Knowledge & Diplomacy: Science Advice in the United Nations System In undertaking their work, International Organization Partner (IOP) members of the STRP should ensure that their networks, including their expert Specialist Groups, are consulted on the work of the Panel and that their views and expertise is available to the Panel. STRP members should, as resources permit, participate in meetings of the COP and Standing Committee. The role of STRP expert Working Groups and their Leads Terms of Reference for expert Working Groups established by the STRP are: Under the guidance of the Working Group Lead, to: prepare a work plan for the Working Group tasks as identified by COP Resolutions, including scoping the structure and contents of any guidelines and reports and proposing a mechanism and timeframe for their delivery; review draft materials prepared under this work plan, and advise on any necessary revisions, amendments or further work; and advise the Panel when the Working Group’s scientific and technical work on the guidelines and reports is complete, so that the materials can be recommended by the Panel to the Standing Committee for consideration. The role and responsibilities of a Working Group Lead are to oversee and guide the work of the expert Working Group so as to ensure timely review and delivery of its products, including through electronic networking and chairing of any Working Group workshop. In undertaking this role the Working Group Lead will work closely with the Chair or Vice-Chair so as to keep the Chair or Vice-Chair advised on progress. Appointment of Leads of Working Groups will be made by the Chair of the STRP with the assistance of the Bureau at the first meeting of the STRP in a triennium. A Working Group Lead need not necessarily be an STRP member, but could also come from an IOP or other observer organization or from among the invited experts. A Working Group Lead should have proven international expertise in the theme of the Working Group and, ideally, previous experience of the modus operandi of the Convention and its bodies and the nature of scientific and technical materials required by the Convention. Where a Working Group theme continues in the STRP work plan for more than one triennium, its Lead may, as appropriate, be appointed for a further term. Working Group Leads should be prepared to represent the Panel in contributing to the work of equivalent expert working groups established by other MEAs on similar topics. Working Group Leads should recognise and confirm the acceptance of such potential time commitments at the time of their appointment. …
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Knowledge & Diplomacy: Science Advice in the United Nations System The role of observer organizations The primary role of observer organizations is to bring technical and scientific review capacity on their topics of expertise to the review work of the Panel. However, given the lead technical prowess of such organizations, it may be appropriate that a member or members of their network take the lead in the role of an ‘invited expert’ to undertake drafting work for the Panel. STRP observer status shall be a consistent mechanism for engaging the involvement of all scientific and technical organizations with which the Convention develops formal collaborative agreements. The Panel may request that representatives of other relevant scientific and technical organizations be invited as observers to STRP, as it deems necessary, in order to increase the capacity of the Panel in specific subject areas on which it is requested to work. Each observer organization shall identify to the Chair of the STRP and the Bureau a named representative who will participate in the meetings and work of the Panel. An observer organization should be prepared to participate in all Panel meetings during a triennium and should send the same representative to these meetings, if possible. …
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