Preparations for STRP12 well advanced


Preparations for the 12th meeting of the Scientific & Technical review Panel (STRP12), 1-4 February 2005

As previously announced, the next full meeting of the STRP will be held from Tuesday 1 February to Friday 4 February 2005, at the Ramsar Secretariat offices in Gland, Switzerland.

After consultation with the Chair of the STRP, Max Finlayson, it has been agreed to provide an opportunity for Working Groups established by the Panel to meet, if they so wish, immediately prior to the STRP12 plenary sessions, on Monday 31 January 2005. This is designed to allow Working Groups to meet to review their draft materials and prepare for their presentation and discussion during the plenary sessions of the Panel later in the week.

This will be the last plenary meeting of the Panel in the 2003-2005 triennium, and its primary focus will need to be on finalizing those guidelines and other materials prepared by the STRP which will be considered by COP9 in November 2005. All such materials will need to be finalized during or very shortly after STRP12 so that they can be submitted to the Standing Committee when it meets in June 2005. For those materials which are in an advanced stage of preparation, it may also be possible to submit these for approval to the planned meeting of the Standing Committee's Subgroup on COP9 in Kampala in early March 2005.

Concerning the range of other detailed review and technical report materials being prepared by STRP Working Groups but which will not be considered by COP for adoption, the Panel should note that, as discussed during the STRP mid-term workshops in July 2004, it is not intended that these will be included in the papers for COP9 as Information Papers (as has been the practice for recent previous COPs). Instead, as and when these become finalized they will be circulated to the Panel for its approval and then issued as reports in a new "Ramsar Technical Report" series which is being established with the approval of the STRP Chair, Chair of Standing Committee, and Chair of the Standing Committee Subgroup on Finance. It is considered that this approach will have three benefits: first, it will permit more flexibility in the timing of completion of such supporting technical materials - in recognition that the Panel is currently seriously under-resourced and that preparation of such materials on a voluntary basis needs to allow for flexibility in when experts are able to contribute their volunteer time for finalizing such reports; second, issuing such reports as volumes in a technical report series will ensure their longer-term and wider accessibility to those needing to use them; and third, it will help to reduce the large volume of information documents at the COP which are not subject to consideration for approval by Contracting Parties.

-- Nick Davidson, Deputy Secretary General

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