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During consideration of the organization of scientific and technological cooperation (A/AC.241/57), most issues that had resulted in controversy at earlier sessions of the INCD were resolved relatively quickly. Delegates generally agreed throughout the document to include language that called for a multidisciplinary approach, appropriate gender balance, and broad and equitable geographical representation.

TERMS OF REFERENCE OF THE COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (CST): The earlier extensive debate on the advisory functions of the CST and whether the CST should “assess”, as suggested by the G-77 and China, or “monitor,” as preferred by the UK, was resolved by calling on the CST to “collect information, analyze, assess and report developments in science and technology.”

On the issue of the composition of the Bureau of the CST in paragraph 6, as well as in Rules 22 and 31 in the rules of procedure, delegates agreed that there was no need to specify the number of Bureau members for the CST at this point. However, Spain later raised the issue, related to Rules 22 and 31 of the rules of procedure, that “Annex” affected country Parties should have adequate representation on the Bureau. He insisted that such language be included in brackets.

THE ROSTER OF EXPERTS AND AD HOC PANELS: Although INCD-9 provided the first opportunity to negotiate this text, it was adopted with only a few amendments. A question on the nature of the experts led to the clarification that “independent experts” would act in their personal capacity, express their independent scientific views and that the roster consists of independent experts, in contrast to the government-appointed members of the CST.

A contentious issue was the nomination of experts to be included on the roster. The G-77 and China expressed concern that experts could be “nominated irrespective of their nationality” and suggested deletion of this phrase, while the UK and others argued that governments could nominate experts from countries other than their own. After extensive debate, the language was deleted because it was understood that experts from any country could be nominated.

On the issue of whether CST representatives could also be listed on the roster, the G-77 and China expressed concern that some countries would not have enough experts for both the CST and the roster. The UK objected, emphasizing the need to make a distinction between the government-appointed experts on the CST and the independent experts on the roster. Delegates agreed to delete the paragraph that stated that CST representatives could not be listed on the roster as well.

FUTURE WORK PROGRAMME: The Group also considered the future work programme of the CST. Delegates agreed to propose that the Secretariat should compile the views of delegations and agencies and draft a report on the work programme of similar UN bodies, their work related to desertification and suggestions for collaboration, all of which would be submitted to INCD-10. Delegates noted that the CST work programme shall follow that of the COP, and that it should include the implementation of Article 25 in the Convention, regarding networking of institutions, agencies and bodies.

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