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Summary of the discussion [#5424]


Dear Members of the Open-Ended Online Forum,

I would like to thank all those of you who shared your views and helped in making important progress on the challenging task mandated to us by the COP-MOP to align the Training Manual and the Guidance.

In seeking to help guide the process, a proposal was made for a concrete way forward comprising 5 steps as quoted below:

i) Mapping all corresponding sections between the Manual and the Guidance.

ii) Identifying if there are sections or concepts contained in the Guidance that are missing in the Manual, and vice-versa, for which users would benefit from more introductory explanation (i.e. in the Manual) or more in-depth analysis (i.e. in the Guidance), taking into account the different scopes of the documents.

iii) Adding new text to the Manual if and where necessary to better explain some sections and concepts contained in the Guidance in a coherent manner.

iv) Making recommendations to the COP-MOP on ways to improve the Guidance, taking into account the results of the testing.

v) Presenting the aligned package of the two documents in an electronic format that allows for easy navigation between corresponding sections of the two documents. This can be achieved, for example, through links and explanatory notes offering additional information and guiding the users between the two documents.

It was further suggested that we could proceed by working simultaneously on steps i) and ii) as we go through the documents in their entirety. This would then be followed by tackling steps iii) to v) with help from the Secretariat, possibly during additional rounds of online discussions, if needed. This proposal was enthusiastically supported by participants and provides a clear direction for the next activities of the alignment exercise.

A suggestion was made and endorsed by others to restructure the Manual, as appropriate, so that the wording of the corresponding  headings and their order  would be similar or at least closer to those of the Guidance in order to simplify the alignment process.

Regarding the content of the two documents and the draft alignment provided by the Secretariat, participants agreed that the issues discussed in the Manual and the Guidance are indeed conceptually complementary and that major editing of the texts, at least in the first chapters of the two documents discussed in this session, is not necessary particularly considering that the documents are aimed at different audiences and purposes. However, that being said, participants stressed the importance of ensuring that the concepts and ideas are discussed consistently between the two documents. Proposals were made to (i) include an introductory section explaining the context, scope and purpose of the two documents and (ii) that appropriate citations to the references at the end of each section be included within the text of the Manual.

With respect to the presentation of the aligned package some participants were of the view that the use of cross-references and hyperlinks to facilitate the navigation between relevant sections of the two documents is a practical way forward. Some participants also noted that explanatory notes could be used to aid the navigation between the Manual and the Guidance, but that these notes should not be placed directly in the text of the documents in order not to overload the main content. A suggestion was made relatively to where the links between the two documents could be placed: at the end of Manual’s sections, leading to more detailed text in the Guidance; and at the beginning of Guidance’s sections, leading to introductory text in the Manual.

With a view to moving forward with the process of aligning the documents and taking into account a concrete suggestion made during the discussion, I have been informed by the Secretariat that a draft proposal for the restructuring of the Manual will soon be made available as a possible basis for further discussions. Additionally, the Secretariat will open a discussion for a period of 3 days to give participants the opportunity to seek clarification on the draft restructured Manual. I hope that this will allow participants time to familiarize themselves with the proposed changes to the Manual for when we resume our discussions in September as per the updated calendar of events (http://bch.cbd.int/onlineconferences/calendar_ra.shtml).

I look forward to our continued collaboration and fruitful discussions and wish you all a pleasant vacation season.

Best regards,
posted on 2013-07-16 17:23 UTC by Ms. Manoela Miranda, UNEP/SCBD