Highlights and images for 31 January 2023

Bangkok, Thailand

Where day one was about process, day two was all about substance. Participants started to wrestle with the overarching question of “What will this panel look like?” Their mandate – to develop a “science-policy panel to contribute further to the sound management of chemicals and waste and to prevent pollution” – provides only some of the answers.

Want to dive deeper? Read the Earth Negotiations Bulletin daily report.

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Salome Margaret Molefe, South Africa


Syed Mujtaba Hussain, Pakistan

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Saudi Arabia poses a question

Participants at the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) debated the new panel’s objective, scope, and functions throughout the day. Some functions seem straightforward for a science-policy interface, such as information provision and dissemination. Others require more work. Countries shared views on the panel’s assessments, such as on whether they should be many or few, overarching or issue-specific. Some suggested a combination of various types of assessments.

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Camilla Alexander-White, The Royal Society of Chemistry


Victor Nwaoba Itumo, Nigeria

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Participants confer during the meeting

Horizon scanning and capacity-building functions were the focus of the day, particularly in the “deep dive” session. Both functions are relatively unique. The science-policy interfaces for climate change and biodiversity do not conduct horizon scans. Many noted that the dynamic nature of chemicals and wastes means new problems could emerge, requiring regular efforts to identify emerging issues. 

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Former Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Chair Bob Watson, University of East Anglia


A view of the room during the "deep dive" session on the panel's functions

Many existing science-policy panels have, over time, come to incorporate capacity-building activities. Here, discussions centered on making them an explicit function of the panel from the outset. This could enable local researchers from around the world to effectively participate in the work of the panel, which could help provide truly global assessments that all countries support and address North-South asymmetries to a certain extent.


A view of the room during the contact group on scope and functions


Contact Group Co-Chair Marine Collignon, France

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Contact Group Co-Chair David Kapindula, Zambia

Views on the objective and scope were more intertwined. There was a general desire to clearly articulate what the panel does, why, and who the panel aims to inform. But how to distill the panel’s complex tasks of providing policy-relevant expertise and bridging science and policy communities will continue to be the focus of discussion. 

All ENB photos are free to use with attribution. For this event, please use: Photo by IISD/ENB | Natalia Mroz

Written and edited by Jennifer Allan, Ph.D., Deborah Davenport, Ph.D., Moritz Petersmann, and Asterios Tsioumanis, Ph.D

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