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

The first Intersessional meeting on the Operations of the Convention (ISOC-1) opened Monday morning. Following several opening statements and adoption of the agenda, delegates began their review of the operations of the Convention and the programme of work. They continued this discussion in a contact group during the evening.

ISOC-1 Opening Plenary
Làslo Miklós (Slovakia), President of COP-4, opened the session. He highlighted COP-4 concerns regarding measures to improve the CBD's operation.
Hamdallah Zedan, Acting Executive Secretary of the CBD (center), noted that the Convention will only achieve its goals through effective management and organization.
Jorge Illueca, UNEP, on behalf of the UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer, wished participants a successful meeting.
Cristiàn Samper (Colombia), Chair of SBSTTA-5, highlighted improvements made during SBSTTA-4, including: a more focused agenda and proposal to hold two SBSTTA meetings between each COP; three presentations by leading scientists to introduce topics; and the establishment of staggered Bureau members' terms to facilitate continuity.
CANADA supported incremental rather than radical change of Convention operations.
GERMANY, on behalf of the EU, noted the importance of agenda setting, reporting and notification, and he suggested holding annual SBSTTA's and bi-annual COP's. He expressed preference for making the CBD's existing structures work better than fundamentally changing them, such as through a new subsidiary body.
The PHILIPPINES stressed the need for full cooperation by all participants in a transparent manner, especially regarding capacity-building, financial and budgetary issues.
ETHIOPIA, on behalf of the African Group, said the CBD should work closely with other multilateral agreements, including Ramsar and CITES, to gain from their experience and to avoid duplication.
INDIA supported yearly SBSTTA meetings and bi-annual COPs. He also supported establishing a limited number of specific expert panels, which they said should be transparent and have equitable geographic representation.
TONGA stressed the need to incorporate regional processes and meetings prior to COPs and SBSTTAs.

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