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

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Summary and way forward [#6540]
Dear AHTEG members,

Once again I would like to thank you for your active participation and valuable contributions during our first round of discussion during this intersessional period and since the expansion of the AHTEG.

The purpose of this discussion was to evaluate and review the grouping of comments provided through the testing of the Guidance which was performed by the Secretariat. The discussion focused on procedure, rather than on the substance per se, with a view to providing feedback and general comments on the grouping of comments, as well as on how to implement, in practice, the next steps of the process.

The comments were grouped by the Secretariat into 5 categories, as follows:

     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).

As mentioned in my interim summary of 27 February 2015, there is general agreement that the grouping suggested by the Secretariat is a very good categorization of the comments provided through the testing of the Guidance, and that all comments must be looked at during the revision of the Guidance.

There is also agreement among you that comments without specific location in the Guidance (categories B and D) could be further grouped into sub-categories based on similarities and subject matter. In this regard, an intervention made by Stacy Scott on 25 February provides a very good starting point as it delineates some of these sub-categories.

Moreover, with regard to the comments under category E, it was asked that the comments be rearranged in the order in which they appear in the text of the Guidance, rather than by authorship, and some interventions called for the “tagging” of those comments directly on the text of the Guidance.

With regard to comments requesting the provision of real-life examples, some interventions requested that these comments be highlighted or duplicated as a separate group for ease of identification.

The interventions were less uniform with regard 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. Nevertheless, there was a significant number of interventions that suggested focusing on the Roadmap first, followed by the other sections of the Guidance and, for each of these sections, starting with the "general" comments, under categories A and B, to get a flavor of the proposals for improvements and how they relate to more specific comments under categories D and E.

A few interventions also emphasized the need for a closer look whether each comment has been placed in the most appropriate category, particularly those in category B.

Some interventions also referred to more general issues, such as (i) the need to bear in mind the overall positive evaluation of the Guidance while revising it; (ii) that the work for improving the Guidance should focus on comments that are useful and have clear and constructive justifications that are linked to the evaluation of the Guidance, while sorting out comments that are out of scope; and (iii) the need for full transparency throughout the revision process without, however, creating a burden by providing excessive information.

As you may recall, at its last meeting, the AHTEG agreed that certain tasks, such as streamlining the comments of the testing and providing concrete text proposals, would be best done in a more focused and smaller group setting and, thus, established a sub-group composed of one member from each region. So, looking forward, as the next step in line with our calendar of activities, I would like to invite the sub-group to take up the task of evaluating whether each comment was placed in the most appropriate category, and proposing changes as needed. This discussion of the sub-group will be held from 9 to 23 March 2015. I would also like to note that the sub-group will organize its own work, without a Chair, and the Secretariat will provide assistance as needed.

Once the sub-group has finished that task, I would kindly request the Secretariat, to the extent that it is possible, to implement the changes proposed, including those coming from the past discussion of the entire AHTEG as well as in the upcoming discussion of the sub-group.

Last by not least, I would like to apologize to the fact that some of you experienced difficulties in posting messages in the online discussion. The Secretariat informed me that there was a problem with the computer server handling the online forums. The Secretariat has implemented some measures to prevent and minimize similar problems in the future.

Let me please end this message by reiterating that it is an honour for me to chair the work of such a dedicated group and thank you all for the spirit of cooperation which you have shown during the last discussion. I look forward to our next round of online discussion which is tentatively scheduled to be held at the end of next month, together with the Online Forum.

All the best,
posted on 2015-03-05 18:24 UTC by Mr. Helmut Gaugitsch, Austria