The Standing Committee provides policy guidance to the Secretariat concerning the implementation of the Convention and oversees the management of the Secretariat's budget. Beyond these key roles, it coordinates and oversees, where required, the work of other committees and working groups; carries out tasks given to it by the Conference of the Parties; and drafts resolutions for consideration by the Conference of the Parties [see Resolution Conf. 11.1 (Rev. CoP16) Annex 1].
The members of the Standing Committee are Parties representing each of the six major geographical regions (Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Central and South America and the Caribbean, and Oceania), with the number of representatives weighted according to the number of Parties within the region [again see Resolution Conf. 11.1 (Rev. CoP16) Annex 1]. The membership of the Standing Committee is reviewed at every regular meeting of the Conference of the Parties.
Additionally, the Standing Committee systematically includes a representative from:
- the Depositary Government (Switzerland);
- the Party that hosted the previous meeting of the Conference of the Parties (Qatar hosted CoP15 in March 2010); and
- the Party that will host the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties (Thailand will host CoP16 in 2013).
Nevertheless, and unlike other members, the Depositary Government may only vote to break a tie and the previous and next host Parties have no voting rights.
The members representing the regions elect the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and alternate Vice-Chairman of the Committee. These are currently Chile, Ghana and China respectively. All Parties that are not members of the Standing Committee have the right to send observers to its meetings. In addition, the Chairman may invite observers from any country or organization.
Usually the Standing Committee meets only once a year, although it does also meet just before and after each meeting of the Conference of the Parties.
Non-governmental organizations may be represented as observers at meetings of the Committee, in accordance with Rule 6 of the Rules of Procedure of the Standing Committee.
Click here to find out more about the meetings of the Standing Committee.