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Fourth Meeting of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific, Technical, and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-4)
21-25 June 1999
Intersessional Meeting on the Operations of the Convention
28-30 June 1999 - Montréal, Canada

During morning and afternoon Plenary sessions, SBSTTA-4 delegates adopted their agenda, heard reports on recent meetings and discussed: cooperation with other bodies; progress on thematic areas; ad hoc expert groups; and the SBSTTA programme of work.

SBSTTA-4 Chair Zakri A. Hamid (Malaysia) said collaboration with the scientific community remains piecemeal and suggested considering establishing a structured mechanism, similar to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to better draw upon scientific research, assessments and organizations. He urged delegates to draft specific and targeted recommendations that delimit policy options, timetables, products, actions and follow-up, and identify relevant actors.
Paul Chabeda (UNEP) stressed the importance UNEP attaches to providing guidance and the most up-to-date and best available scientific knowledge to the CBD. He also noted that UNEP gives SBSTTA high priority and stressed the importance of linkages with other international environmental conventions.
Hamdallah Zedan, Acting Executive Secretary of CBD, said the national reports have raised many complicated issues, which will make SBSTTA-4 a challenge. He emphasized the importance of issues like benefit sharing and biosafety, and informed delegates that preparations for the resumed ExCOP on Biosafety have continued since last February. The President of the ExCOP and the President of COP-4 will attend the Intersessional meeting on the Operations of the Convention (ISOC-1).
The 14th GLOBAL BIODIVERSITY FORUM met from 18-20 June, 1999 in Montreal, Canada. Kerry Ten Kate (Royal Botanical Gardens), on behalf of the GBF, recommended using economic arguments to illustrate the need to integrate biodiversity into decision-making and capacity-building for biodiversity economists. Participants of the Forum also called for practical, clear indicators.
Bill Phillips, Deputy Secretary-General of the RAMSAR CONVENTION Secretariat highlighted the excellent partnership with the CBD and reported on the outcome of Ramsar COP-7, held from 10-18 May 1999 in San José, Costa Rica. He also presented a Progress Report on Implementation of the Joint Work Plan between the Wetlands Convention and the CBD. He invited the SBSTTA Chair to be a permanent observer on Ramsar's Scientific and Technical Review Panel and proposed that their joint work plan be further harmonized, especially on invasive species, impact assessments and incentives.
Rajeb Boulharouf, on behalf of the CONVENTION TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION, said the CCD and CBD Secretariats should undertake complementary work, and highlighted several programmes for cooperation based on the MOU between them.
Hamid, Zedan and Chabeda listening to reports on meetings and organizations during the Opening Plenary

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