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AHTEG on Risk Assessment and Risk Management: 2014-2016 Intersessional Period

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Opening of the discussion [#6490]
Dear AHTEG members,

It is a pleasure and an honor for me, as Chair of the AHTEG, to open this discussion which marks the beginning of our activities for this intersessional period.

In accordance with the tentative calendar of activities, which I sent to you on 26 January and also available at https://bch.cbd.int/onlineconferences/calendar_ra.shtml, the first of these activities will take place online so that progress can be made in preparation for our face-to-face meeting later this year.

Before we embark on our specific task at hand, let me please recall the methodology established within our mandate as per decision BS-VII/12:

--- Excerpt from the annex to decision BS-VII/12---

              1. Taking into account the results of the testing process, established in decision BS-VI/12, the Guidance on Risk Assessment of LMOs shall be revised and improved in accordance with the following mechanism:
            (a) After the seventh meeting of the COP-MOP, the Secretariat will group the original comments provided through the testing of the Guidance. The grouping will be done in the form of a matrix based on the following categories: statements that do not trigger changes; editorial and translational changes; suggestions for changes without a specified location in the Guidance; and suggestions for changes to specific sections of the Guidance (sorted by line numbers);
            (b) The AHTEG shall review the grouping of comments done by the Secretariat and work on the suggestions for changes;
            (c) The AHTEG shall streamline the comments by identifying which suggestions may be taken on board and providing justification for those suggestions that may not be taken on board. The AHTEG will also provide concrete text proposals for the suggestions to be taken on board with a justification where the original suggestion was modified;
            (d) The Open-ended Online Forum and the AHTEG shall subsequently review all comments and suggestions with a view to having an improved version of the Guidance for consideration by the COP-MOP at its eighth meeting.
              2. While revising and improving the Guidance, an attempt should be made to take into account the topics prioritized by the AHTEG, on the basis of the needs indicated by the Parties with a view to moving towards operational objectives 1.3 and 1.4 of the Strategic Plan and its outcomes, for the development of further guidance.
------

Following the request in (a) above, the Secretariat grouped the comments provided through the testing into five categories:

     A - Comments that do not trigger changes (i.e. comments related to the testing process as such);
     B - Overall evaluation of the Guidance;
     C - Suggestions for editorial and translational changes;
     D - Suggestions for substantive changes without a specified location in the Guidance;
     E - Suggestions for substantive changes to specific sections of the Guidance (ordered by line numbers).

The grouped comments are available for download as an Excel file in the webpage hosting this discussion at http://bch.cbd.int/onlineconferences/ahteg_ra.shtml.
During the next two weeks, we will focus on the first part of sub-paragraph (b) above to review the grouping of comments done by the Secretariat. In doing so, I would like to invite you to consider the following:

     -> Are the comments grouped in the best possible manner or can the grouping be improved?

     -> To avoid overlaps, would it be helpful to further group the comments without specific location in the Guidance according to their subject matter, e.g. human health, field trials vs. commercial releases, etc?

     -> Would any additional categorization be needed?

I would also like to invite you to share your views on how to implement, in practice, the next steps of our calendar of activities, for example:

     -> How to deal with the comments under “Overall evaluation of the Guidance” (category B) as they do not provide clear suggestions on how to improve the Guidance?

     -> Some of the comments in categories D and E are very specific and easy to implement, while others are more complex and/or with multiple components. Should all comments be dealt with at the same time or should they be dealt with in a particular order, e.g. easy first / complex first?

Last but not least, you will notice that many comments call for the addition of concrete examples and/or case-studies of how countries deal with certain issues. As such, you are also encouraged to look closely at such comments and provide some of the concrete examples that are being asked for.

In summary, the aim of this exercise is to focus on the general aspects of the grouping of comments done by the Secretariat and on a practical way forward rather than checking if each individual comment was placed under the right category, which will be done by the sub-Group during upcoming activities.

Let me once again stress that I am looking forward to a fruitful and lively exchange of views among AHTEG members in our expanded format. I am confident that also our new members will engage in our discussions right from the start so that we can really do an excellent group exercise which ensures the necessary progress. The upcoming discussion among us is crucial to pave the way for the subsequent steps which will be an iterative process by the sub-group, the AHTEG as a whole and the open-ended online forum. The floor is open for your feedback!

Thank you and best wishes,
Helmut

----

***Note by the Secretariat:***

To reply to this message directly from your email, please use the link below (indicated as “To reply to this post by email, please send your message to xxxxxxx(at)ocs.cbd.int”) rather than using the “reply” button of your email software. Alternatively, you may also reply to this message by going to the page of the discussion at http://bch.cbd.int/onlineconferences/ahteg_ra.shtml.
posted on 2015-02-16 00:54 UTC by Mr. Helmut Gaugitsch, Austria
This is a reply to 6490 RE: Opening of the discussion [#6492]
Dear Helmut, Dear colleagues,

First I would like to express my appreciations to Helmut for his acceptance to chairing the on-line discussion of the AHTEG on RA and guiding us with a very clear message of our task and useful questions for discussion for this intersessional period.
I would also thank the Secretariat for the excellent work to grouping the comments to the Guidance provided during the testing, which will help our discussion to be constructive and efficient.

As my general comments I am of the opinion that the grouping suggested by the Secretariat is a very good attempt done to categorizing the comments from general to specific one.
I am also of view that we may wish to use more detailed grouping which will facilitate our discussion and work on the improvement of the Guidance. I would find helpful to additional grouping the comments under C, D and E according to the structure of the Guidance and its chapters as Overarching issues, Planning phase and Conducting the risk assessment and also specific steps of RA.  Where it is possible, (ex. under C) we can use supplementary to sub-grouping them according to subject matter, e.g. human health, field trials, commercial releases etc.

Many of comments under C and D are very specific, others are general or complex. To make easier our future critical discussion, it would be useful to prioritize them as from easy firs to complex or revise them according to subject.

All the best,

Angela
MD
posted on 2015-02-18 09:25 UTC by Angela Lozan
This is a reply to 6492 RE: Opening of the discussion [#6493]
Dear Angela,

I thank you very much for "breaking the ice" in this important round of online discussion of the expanded AHTEG. Thank you also for a very constructive and positive message with some clear suggestions, this is very motivating. I am looking forward to additional comments and input by other AHTEG members and kindly invite you to make use of the possibility to share your ideas.

Thank you and best wishes

Helmut
posted on 2015-02-18 15:46 UTC by Mr. Helmut Gaugitsch, Austria
This is a reply to 6493 RE: Opening of the discussion [#6495]
Dear colleagues,

it is close to the end of the first week of our online discussion and while waiting for another "ice-breaker" I just would like to motivate you again to post your feedback to my guiding questions and your ideas very soon.

Our online discussion can only be a real discussion if you make your contributions soon, so that there are a few remaining days during which colleagues can respond and we all can be a bit more interactie. In the past quite often colleagues have posted their ideas only on the last day(s) of the online discussion, in most cases during a weekend. This makes any interaction more difficult, even impossible. I think our challenging tasks require to a large extent an interactive approach and some real discussion.

So please, make use of the upcoming second week of our discussion for that purpose. Our online discussion will close on 1 March.

I thank you very much in advance for considering my suggestion and hopefully reacting to it and I wish you all a very nice and relaxing weekend.

Best wishes
Helmut
posted on 2015-02-20 17:01 UTC by Mr. Helmut Gaugitsch, Austria
This is a reply to 6495 RE: Opening of the discussion [#6498]
Dear colleagues,
First of all I would like to say many thanks to the Secretariat for the hard work in grouping of a wealth of information received from the Countries and to Dr. Helmut Gaugitsch for the questions formulation for this round of discussion .
I would like to contribute the discussion and make some comments to the questions proposed.

- Are the comments grouped in the best possible manner or can the grouping be improved?
Yes, it seems to me that the grouping is done in the best possible way.

- To avoid overlaps, would it be helpful to further group the comments without specific location in the Guidance according to their subject matter, e.g. human health, field trials vs. commercial releases, etc?
Understanding that the hard duty would be imposed on the Secritariat, I agree that it would be very helpful to do such grouping and will help to avoid confusions in a later stage.

- How to deal with the comments under “Overall evaluation of the Guidance” (category B) as they do not provide clear suggestions on how to improve the Guidance?
The testing process indicated the Guidance is needful for many countries participated in it, on the other hand very many suggestions on its improvement were given and it was emphasized by the Parties about the necessity of the Guidance improvement. So it seems to me that the issue of most importance now to concentrate on the direct practical suggestions on the Guidance improvement bearing in mind overall evaluation.
- Some of the comments in categories D and E are very specific and easy to implement, while others are more complex and/or with multiple components. Should all comments be dealt with at the same time or should they be dealt with in a particular order, e.g. easy first / complex first?
Our previous on-line discussions, face-to-face meetings, some national and international seminars, as well as the results of the testing revealed that the functional Guidance is necessary even now. That`s why I consider that the way «complex first» would be appropriate to make a progress for Guidance improvement.

- Last but not least, you will notice that many comments call for the addition of concrete examples and/or case-studies of how countries deal with certain issues. As such, you are also encouraged to look closely at such comments and provide some of the concrete examples that are being asked for.
I think that to cover this requirement there is a need to make some rounds of particular on-line discussions on this very important issue in which we could trying to compile all the proposals that were made in number of on-line discussions rounds during the last year devoted what kind of illustrative material is important for Guidance, mechanisms of the information insert, alignment of the Guidance and Training Manual, etc. It seems to me that it would be very helpful to remind this information and trying to apply it to the comments proposed during the Guidance Testing by the Parties.

With my best wishes, Galina.
(edited on 2015-02-23 14:22 UTC by Galina Mozgova)
posted on 2015-02-23 14:11 UTC by Dr. Galina Mozgova, Belarus
This is a reply to 6490 RE: Opening of the discussion [#6501]
Dear Helmut, Secretariat and all "AHTEGos":

Sorry for not replying sooner, I have had a quite a busy start in 2015!!!!!!! I have been looking at the grouping for a while, and have been trying to think of ways forward on handling them……..quite a task! I will just try answering Helmut´s Q´s to start:

-> Are the comments grouped in the best possible manner or can the grouping be improved?

A and B categories give us an idea on "the overall sense" of the practicality and usefulness of the guidance in relation to each of its sections, while categories D and E deal more specifically with particular aspects and sometimes in particular sections.
A second grouping level would be trying to put together "similar" comments (i.e. pertaining commonality between the ideas brought up front), although I realize this could take some additional effort.
The sections I would suggest to start with would be with the "roadmap" and the "general" comments, with categories A and B, to get a flavor of what has been said.
It might also be useful to include the comments that belong to a certain section of the guidance (category E) right at the spot (tagged to the text´s directly) to be able to look at them in context, as well as among them (all other E comments made).

     -> To avoid overlaps, would it be helpful to further group the comments without specific location in the Guidance according to their subject matter, e.g. human health, field trials vs. commercial releases, etc?

Yes, it would.

     -> Would any additional categorization be needed?

As I stated above, it might be useful to further categorize according to similarities found among comments made.

I would also like to invite you to share your views on how to implement, in practice, the next steps of our calendar of activities, for example:

     -> How to deal with the comments under “Overall evaluation of the Guidance” (category B) as they do not provide clear suggestions on how to improve the Guidance?

These should be analyzed in some way because they give us a sense of "intention" of what was meant to be said in general in relation with the document that was put into practice.

     -> Some of the comments in categories D and E are very specific and easy to implement, while others are more complex and/or with multiple components. Should all comments be dealt with at the same time or should they be dealt with in a particular order, e.g. easy first / complex first?
I would suggest dealing with the most difficult first because these might change the outcome implying the easier one´s might not even be taken on board at the end. On the other hand, trying with the easier one´s might make the others less complex at the end……..Not sure which road to take!

Last but not least, you will notice that many comments call for the addition of concrete examples and/or case-studies of how countries deal with certain issues. As such, you are also encouraged to look closely at such comments and provide some of the concrete examples that are being asked for.
I´ll keep this in the back of my mind while reviewing the comments on the different sections.

Well, I hope I was not too confusing with my answers.
I will intervene again once more members get involved in the discussions!
For now, I guess it´s time for a rest! Good night!
Un abrazo!
Fran
posted on 2015-02-24 04:28 UTC by Ms. Francisca Acevedo, Mexico
This is a reply to 6501 RE: Opening of the discussion [#6503]
Dear Secretariat, dear Helmut, dear AHTEG colleagues,
Thank you Secretariat for all the work you have done so far. Amazing as always!
Thank you Helmut for your encouraging words - they make all work a pleasure.
Thank you Angela, Galina and Francisca for your good and helpful comments.

Here some of my thoughts - in answers to Helmut's questions.

-> Are the comments grouped in the best possible manner or can the grouping be improved?

-> To avoid overlaps, would it be helpful to further group the comments without specific location in the Guidance according to their subject matter, e.g. human health, field trials vs. commercial releases, etc?

-> Would any additional categorization be needed?

COMMENT: "I do think that the grouping is already like this very useful. But I think some additional grouping could be useful – but this for sure means more work! As has been stated by others, it could be useful to have grouping for both “similar comments” and “similar subject”. Or at least try to do this kind of grouping where it is feasible.
I would start with the Roadmap and General comments."

I would also like to invite you to share your views on how to implement, in practice, the next steps of our calendar of activities, for example:

-> How to deal with the comments under “Overall evaluation of the Guidance” (category B) as they do not provide clear suggestions on how to improve the Guidance?

COMMENT: "There is no easy answer to this. But as stated by others group B has to/should be analysed in some way. I think it would be important to understand in a nutshell what the message in these comments is. Can they be grouped? Are they very contradicting? Are they at all constructive? Can we find some concrete suggestions in them? Logically group B should be linked – at least to an extent - to the more specific groups D and E.

One concrete possibility to move forward is to try to answer these comments as one would answer a comment in an interview or during a lecture. For this purpose more specific grouping would be helpful. This is (both grouping based on the “flair” of the comment and answering) of course very tedious but I think that some kind of analysis/answering has to be done/is expected from us."

-> Some of the comments in categories D and E are very specific and easy to implement, while others are more complex and/or with multiple components. Should all comments be dealt with at the same time or should they be dealt with in a particular order, e.g. easy first / complex first?

COMMENT: "Here again I think that subject matter –based grouping could be useful. This could help when looking at both D and E, and finding possible similarities in these groups. As suggested by Francisca, tagging group E into the text would be useful.
Easy vs difficult – I would maybe start with the easy ones (to get a feeling of progress) but I for sure do not have a very firm preference. Also here grouping based on the subject could be useful.

In summary: I think that an effort could be made to group the comments based on similarities (group B) and subject matter (D and E). Also tagging E could be useful. This grouping could be quite general. Because of course the very specific subject issues and comparison of specific comments is work for later."

Last but not least, you will notice that many comments call for the addition of concrete examples and/or case-studies of how countries deal with certain issues. As such, you are also encouraged to look closely at such comments and provide some of the concrete examples that are being asked for.

COMMENT: "I will also keep this in mind. And provide comments when possible at a later phase of our work."

I hope this was helpful. Looking forward to further comments and suggestions.

All the best to everybody - the "back of the winter" is breaking here in Finland and we finally have some days of sunshine and blue skyes.

Marja
posted on 2015-02-24 16:09 UTC by Marja Ruohonen-Lehto
This is a reply to 6503 RE: Opening of the discussion [#6504]
Dear Colleagues

I’d like to join to the words of Angela, Galina and Marja in thanking and congratulating the Secretariat for the valuable and intensive work done in grouping the comments.

I think that the grouping is fine. I would like to give my opinion about the categories assigned for some comments and also answer the questions asked by the Chair in this forum.

All comments under the category “A” are informative about the testing process performed by each country and institutions, so in my opinion those comments are not connected with the improvement process. It should be noted that this category comprises the informative comments of the testing processes and therefore it does not trigger any further work. In my opinion, only the categories “B”, “C”, “D” and “E” are relevant for the future work of improvement of the Roadmap and the different sections of the Guidance.

In regard to the category B in the Roadmap, there are already some comments that probably trigger important improvements. The comment ID75, ID150, ID166 (and ID470 similar comments) and ID 387, in my opinion, bring suggestions about relevant issues of the Guidance, for e.g. the use of problem formulation methodology, the extensive list of point to consider and the lack of link between them and how to select and deal with the information that is relevant for the risk assessment, the need of examples. I consider that these comments should be revised for inclusion under D.

As it can be read in the text transcript of the comment ID295, there are suggestions referring to a specific position in the Guidance that can trigger improvements, this comment could be moved to category E. And some part of the comment ID437 should be under C because it address to some editorial and translational suggestions.

In regard to B in the Staked section, in my opinion the comment ID11, ID12, ID15 should be revised for be included under D.

In regard to B in Abiotic section, the comment ID9 and ID38 should be taken into consideration for D.

In regard to LM Mosquitoes section, the comment ID4 should be under A, because it seems to be related to the testing process.

I believe that there are relevant comments under C, D and E in the sections LM Mosquitoes and LM Tree, however, some comments under B show the difficulties of some countries to perform testing with actual cases, resulting in the difficulty of identification of possible improvements.

In regard to avoid overlaps, I consider that it would be helpful to further group the comments without specific location in the Guidance according to their subject matter, e.g. human health, field trials vs. commercial releases, etc

Of course these are my humble opinions after reading all the comments, but it is needless to say that I am open to discuss them if I understood wrong the meaning or the goal of some comments.

In regard to the next steps of our calendar of activities, and particularly on to how to deal with the comment under B, I think that the more general comments either with positive or negative impression should be let to sink in, and the work for improvement of the Guidance should focus on comments with a clear and constructive justification of the overall evaluation of the Guidance. New two subcategories of these comments in ¨general¨ and ¨constructive¨ would be useful.
About if we will deal first with easy or complex comments of the category E, I think that some of the complex ones are related with some comments under D. So these could be regrouped together and also by subject matter to better deal with them.

Thanks for the opportunity to comment in this round of discussion.
Best regards,
Patricia Gadaleta
posted on 2015-02-24 18:13 UTC by Dr. Patricia Gadaleta, Argentina
This is a reply to 6490 RE: Opening of the discussion [#6508]
First of all, I would like to express my deepest appreciation to the secretariat for its hard work. I also thank the Chair for his timely guiding questions.

> -> Are the comments grouped in the best possible manner or can the grouping be improved?

I think the overall grouping is reasonable, although some comments, especially those categorized in B, would find their better positions as suggested by Patricia.

> -> To avoid overlaps, would it be helpful to further group the comments without specific location in the Guidance according to their subject matter, e.g. human health, field trials vs. commercial releases, etc.?

It would be helpful to further group the comments without specific location in the Guidance according to their subject matter.

For the ease of future discussion and for avoiding some kind of prejudice, I also suggest to rearrange comments in category E in the order of appearance of the text on which each comment was made (i.e., irrespective of the commenting party).

> -> Would any additional categorization be needed?

I don't think any additional categorization is needed.

> -> How to deal with the comments under gOverall evaluation of the Guidanceh (category B) as they do not provide clear suggestions on how to improve the Guidance?

Some comments in category B could be further grouped according to relevant subject matter as will be done for the comments in category D. Also, some comments in category B could be revised (splitted, duplicated, etc.) to be included in other categories (e.g. in category D).

> -> Some of the comments in categories D and E are very specific and easy to implement, while others are more complex and/or with multiple components. Should all comments be dealt with at the same time or should they be dealt with in a particular order, e.g. easy first / complex first?

As for the priority, I would suggest to take comments on the Roadmap first, and comments on other sections of the Guidance next.

Last but not least, for a full transparency of the improvement process, I would suggest to disclose revised matrices, maybe after the first round of revision by the sub-group and the AHTEG, for a round of discussion by Online Forum. I suggest this because many parties and non-parties, including my colleagues in Japan, are very much interested in the process, in addition to the result; how their comments are treated, how and why their comments are taken on board or not, etc. I understand that this would add a burden to the already tight schedule, but would avoid unnecessary confusion or dispute in later stages of discussion. I am sure that keeping full transparency is "eventually the fastest" possible way to break some of the deadlocks that were encountered in the negotiation in the last two COP-MOP meetings.

Nobuyuki
posted on 2015-02-25 02:34 UTC by Mr. Nobuyuki Fujita, Japan
This is a reply to 6508 RE: Opening of the discussion [#6509]
Dear Secretariat, Helmet and AHTEG members,
Firstly, I would like to join others in thanking the Secretariat for grouping the submissions – this work involved the organisation of a vast amount of information!  I have provided a summary of my Roadmap analysis so far, in the interests of interactive discussion in the remaining four days.

1) Are the comments grouped in the best possible manner or can the grouping be improved?
Yes, I think the submissions were grouped into the five categories, A-E, very well.

2) To avoid overlaps, would it be helpful to further group the comments without specific location in the Guidance according to their subject matter, e.g. human health, field trials vs. commercial releases, etc?
Yes, I think this would be helpful. My review of category D comments revealed several common subject matters/themes;
- Comments related to Guidance risk assessment structure, and the need to tailor risk assessment to intended use of LMO (i.e. field trials, commercial release with or without controls etc.
- Comments related to separating relevant/scientific/Protocol consistent information requests from interesting/policy-based information requests; and the need to provide explanation/reasons for information requests
- Requests for Guidance to describe how risk assessors might obtain required information from experts
- Comments related to contextualising potential LMO risk against i.e. non-LMO comparator, baseline
- Comments related to lack of references for points-to-consider (if no references then delete), the need for more case study examples, and need for explanation of some terms/concepts – i.e. gene flow , protection goals etc.
- Requests for Guidance to link risk assessment with risk management, risk communication, public involvement
- Comments related to consideration of potential risks and benefits
- Requests for more information related to potential human health effects
- Concern about the tone of the Guidance, i.e. Guidance assumes risk, potential benefits of LMOs underemphasized, prescriptive, includes policy-based statements

3) Would any additional categorization be needed?
Category F - comments related to concerns about inconsistency with the Protocol (in particular Article 15 and Annex III)

4) How to deal with the comments under “Overall evaluation of the Guidance” (category B) as they do not provide clear suggestions on how to improve the Guidance?
I suggest grouping category B comments further based on commonality, and then prioritising. My review of category B comments revealed five common subject matters/themes;
- Improve the risk assessment structure
- Include evaluation of context/baseline during the ‘problem formulation’ process
- Describe intended audience
- Need to separate relevant/scientific/Protocol consistent information requests from interesting/policy-based information requests; and need to provide explanation/reasons for information requests
- Address issues concerning tone of Guidance – too academic, the outcome of an event may be associated with risk, not the event itself (i.e. gene flow), too general, premise/principle of Guidance inconsistent with the Protocol, prescriptive tone etc.

5) Some of the comments in categories D and E are very specific and easy to implement, while others are more complex and/or with multiple components. Should all comments be dealt with at the same time or should they be dealt with in a particular order, e.g. easy first / complex first?
I propose the most complex comments be dealt with first.
posted on 2015-02-25 10:02 UTC by Stacy Scott
This is a reply to 6490 RE: Opening of the discussion [#6517]
Dear Helmut, Secretariat and AHTEGers

I wish to also express my gratitude to the Chair and Secretariat for the hard work organizing the comments and us in this forum.

There seems to be very little disagreement between those who have posted so far, and where there might be some few firm feelings one way or other.

My intervention then is to agree with the suggestion first made by Angela that comments be linked to the structure of the Guidance, and where possible and appropriate further categorized by topic such as human health, field trials etc. as supported by Galina and Stacey. However, I think that categories A-E are sufficient. Francisca and Marja’s suggestion to start with the Roadmap and category A & B comments seems logical.

I like Patricia’s emphasis on comments that are useful to our task of improving the Guidance for use in risk assessment and risk management.

This is a grand start to our work and I look forward to other comments.
Jack
posted on 2015-02-26 22:29 UTC by Mr. Jack Heinemann, University of Canterbury
This is a reply to 6508 RE: Opening of the discussion [#6519]
Dear AHTEG members,

Thank you very much for your participation over the last couple of days. We have only had seven postings so far but still some very valuable comments.

Among the interventions up to now, there is agreement that the grouping into 5 categories was well done and that comments in all categories must be considered and reflected upon. There also seems to be an emerging agreement that it would be helpful if further grouping could be done within each category based on common subject matters. Some interventions already suggested how some of these sub-categories could look like and that is very helpful, thank you. There is also the recognition of the need for a closer look whether each comment has been placed in the most appropriate category, e.g. category B, and that will indeed be the focus of the sub-group in its upcoming task. On the other hand, the views are less uniform when it comes to what type of comment could be addressed first, e.g. which section of the Guidance, which category of comments, and easy versus complex comments.

I kindly invite those who have not yet done so to post your views soon as the discussion will close on 1 March at 1:00 am GMT, which corresponds to the night of Sunday to Monday to most of us. After the discussion is closed I will summarize the views and will propose a way forward on that basis.

I look forward to further interventions and once again thank you all for the spirit of cooperation and constructive debate which you have shown during the beginning of our activities as an expanded AHTEG.

Best wishes
Helmut
AHTEG Chair
posted on 2015-02-27 07:24 UTC by Mr. Helmut Gaugitsch, Austria
This is a reply to 6490 RE: Opening of the discussion [#6520]
POSTED ON BEHALF OF JANNE BOHNHORST

-----

Dear secretariat, Helmut, all

First of all, I am impressed by the work that  has been done by the secretariat. I am also impressed by all the knowledge and engagement that these comments reveal. It gives me inspiration to contribute to this work.

Please find my first RESPONSEes to each question below.

1) Are the comments grouped in the best possible manner or can the grouping be improved?
To avoid overlaps, would it be helpful to further group the comments without specific location in the Guidance according to their subject matter, e.g. human health, field trials vs. commercial releases, etc?

Would any additional categorization be needed?

RESPONSE: Yes, I think this looks like a very sensible way of grouping the comments. In addition, I support previous comments to do some subgrouping according to both complexity and issue if possible.


2) How to deal with the comments under “Overall evaluation of the Guidance” (category B) as they do not provide clear suggestions on how to improve the Guidance?

RESPONSE: In general, I think that it would be best to start discussing, and hopefully decide on the future (relevant and to be addressed in the document, to be dealt with later, not to  include, etc) for each of the overall and general comments.


3) Some of the comments in categories D and E are very specific and easy to implement, while others are more complex and/or with multiple components. Should all comments be dealt with at the same time or should they be dealt with in a particular order, e.g. easy first / complex first?

RESPONSE: I would prefer to start with the complex comments and finally deal with the more technical issues. This is manly because by starting with the technical comments, we might end up dealing with comments that in the end will be irrelevant. However, as already mentioned by others,  it is important of have the feeling of progress, and to avoid  stopping the progress by only discussing difficult issues. Another issue is that by leaving the easy comments to the end, it can be difficult to identify where and if they still are relevant. I think the idea of including some of the easy comments directly in the text, could possibly give us a felling of progress and avoid "loosing" the comments.


4) Last but not least, you will notice that many comments call for the addition of concrete examples and/or case-studies of how countries deal with certain issues. As such, you are also encouraged to look closely at such comments and provide some of the concrete examples that are being asked for.


RESPONSE: Bearing in mind it is easy to ask for new groups, but would it be possible and  helpful to isolate those comments asking for concrete examples in a separate group? Not deleting the comment from the group they are today, but as an additional group.


5) In summary, the aim of this exercise is to focus on the general aspects of the grouping of comments done by the Secretariat and on a practical way forward rather than checking if each individual comment was placed under the right category, which will be done by the sub-Group during upcoming activities.

RESPONSE: As mentioned above, I would prefer to start with the more complex and overall comments, and try to identify the most important comments, and possibly sort out comments that is out of scope, of less relevance or could be dealt with separate from the guidance.

I would also like to comment on the suggestion on transparency, witch is very important but most be done in a sensible way. I think, without knowing how this has been in previous meetings, that by involving others in details on a premature step could cause unnecessary frustration and discussions. However, if we as the first step, inform on our progress and plans in at a general level  it could be a very effective  way of avoiding  new issues, difficulties coming up at a very late in the process.


Reading trough me text, I realize it appears as I discussing with myself. Of which is probably exactly what I am doing. Anyway, I leave it like this and hopefully it is not to confusing.

I am looking forward to the next steps.

Have a nice day,
Regards Janne Bohnhorst
posted on 2015-02-27 12:59 UTC by Ms. Manoela Miranda, UNEP/SCBD
This is a reply to 6490 RE: Opening of the discussion [#6527]
POSTED ON BEHALF OF JOSPHAT MUCHIRI

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Dear Helmut.

I take the opportunity to thank the secretariat for the initial grouping of comments from different countries and blocks. It is indeed very comprehensive and comments very diverse.

Specific comments

1. Looking at the comments, I fail to differentiate between A and B as it seems these are general comments that do not trigger changes. My view is that these two should be combined so that we only have 4 groups, A,B,C and D

2. The grouping on 'General Comment section' excel page  should be deleted and consolidated into A and B above

3. Countries/blocks that have made similar comments on an item or specific clause to be grouped together.

3. The latest Guidance documents to be circulated to all members for reference.

4. Guidance document for mosquitoes perhaps to be expanded to cover Arthopods  (if it is within the scope of AHTEG mandate)

5. It is not clear if countries that requested for case studies were specific on which case studies to be annexed

6. An observation is that comments from some continents especially Africa are limited hence the need for pro-active approach to get as much diverse comments from across the globe in the next phase of online discussion.

Thank you

Josphat
posted on 2015-03-02 16:30 UTC by Ms. Manoela Miranda, UNEP/SCBD
This is a reply to 6490 RE: Opening of the discussion [#6528]
POSTED ON BEHALF OF RUTH RUPREHT

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Dear colleagues,

First of all I would like to thank the Secretariat for the hard work they have done and all of you for a warm welcome for us, newbies. Many thanks also to Dr. Helmut Gaugitsch , who have taken this difficult task to lead the AHTEG and started this discussion with a package of questions. I’m looking at the grouped results and I’m trying to catch up with you.

I believe grouping was done well and I’m also in favour for further grouping of the comments without specific location.

I would suggest dealing with the straightforward comments first and maybe we’ll achieve clearer view that would help us to understand better the most difficult comments.

Best wishes
Ruth
posted on 2015-03-02 16:32 UTC by Ms. Manoela Miranda, UNEP/SCBD