Convention on Biological Diversity
The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) is the scientific advisory body that reports to the Conference of the Parties (COP). Its functions, as outlined in Article 25 of the Convention, and further elaborated by the COP, include:
- providing assessments of the status of biological diversity;
- preparing assessments of the effects of measures taken in accordance with the provisions of the Convention;
- identifying innovative, efficient and state-of-the-art technologies and know-how relating to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, and ways and means of promoting development and/or transferring such technologies;
- identifying new and emerging biodiversity issues;
- providing advice on scientific programmes and international cooperation in research and development related to biological diversity; and
- responding to questions from the COP and its subsidiary bodies.
The SBSTTA operates under a consolidated modus operandi set out in Annex III of decision VIII/10. At present, it meets twice between each COP and prepares a detailed set of recommendations for consideration by the COP.
The SBSTTA may convene ad hoc technical expert groups (AHTEGs) under the guidance of the COP. The SBSTTA provides oversight to ensure that terms of reference for AHTEGs clearly indicate their mandate, duration of operation, expected outcomes and reporting requirements, and that their mandates are limited to the provision of scientific and technical advice and assessments. The AHTEGs are composed of experts competent in the relevant field of expertise. Reports produced by AHTEGs are submitted to Parties and relevant organizations for peer review.
SBSTTA focal points act as liaisons with the Secretariat on behalf of their Parties with regard to scientific, technical and technological matters related to the Convention and, in doing so, they may undertake the following tasks:
- developing linkages and facilitating information exchange between the SBSTTA and relevant regional and national agencies and experts;
- responding to requests from the COP and the Secretariat;
- communicating and collaborating with other countries' SBSTTA focal points; and
- collaborating with other national-level focal points for the CBD, and focal points from other biodiversity-related conventions, to facilitate implementation of the Convention at the national level.
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