Meeting of the Parties
The Meeting of the Parties (MOP) is the highest decision-making body of the Agreement, reviewing progress and setting policies for the new reporting period. Ordinary sessions of the MOP take place at least every three years, unless the MOP decides otherwise and/or if there is a lack of funds. On the written request of at least one third of the Parties, an extraordinary session shall be convened. Only Parties have the right to vote and each Party has only one vote. Decisions of the MOP are usually adopted by consensus, or if consensus cannot be achieved, by a two-third majority of the Parties present and voting.
At each of its ordinary sessions, the responsibilities of the MOP include:
· Considering the conservation status of gorillas and their habitats
· Reviewing progress made in implementing the Agreement
· Making available best science to Parties through the Technical Committee
· Agree gorilla conservation measures for all Parties for the next reporting period
· Discussing institutional and financial arrangements of the Agreement
· Strengthening synergies with GRASP and other organizations contributing to gorilla conservation
· Considering and deciding upon proposals to amend this Agreement and the way it functions
MOP1 took place in Rome, Italy, on 29 November 2008. During MOP1, two Resolutions were adopted, the implementation of a monitoring and reporting system for the Agreement and the establishment of the Technical Committee. An annual contribution of €3,000 per Party was also agreed. The Parties represented at the meeting were Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon and Nigeria and non-Party Range States Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Uganda.
MOP2 was held in Bergen, Norway, 26-27 November 2011. During MOP2 four Resolutions were adopted on the following matters: cooperation and information sharing for improved wildlife law enforcement; financial matters; institutional arrangements for the Agreement; and elements of information management for gorilla conservation. The Parties represented were Congo, Gabon and Nigeria and non-Party Range States Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Uganda.
The Technical Committee was established at the MOP1 on 29 November 2008 and has the following members:
· One representative of each Range State with scientific expertise in gorilla conservation;
· One representative from GRASP;
· One expert from each of the following fields: forest management and conservation; environmental law; and wildlife health
The Technical Committee endeavours to convene once between regular MOPs. The main task of the Technical Committee is to provide scientific and technical advice and information to the MOP and the Parties and to make recommendations concerning implementation of the Agreement, the associated Action Plans and further research to be carried out. In addition, in the event of an emergency affecting the conservation status of one or more gorilla taxa, the Committee can call for urgent steps to be taken.
The Secretariat provides administrative support to Parties to assist them in implementing the Agreement and Action Plans. The CMS Secretariat is acting as the Interim Secretariat to the Gorilla Agreement, as agreed at the 32nd CMS Standing Committee in November 2007 and subsequent COPs. The Executive Secretary of CMS is the Acting Executive Secretary of the Gorilla Agreement. The establishment of an independent secretariat, as mentioned in Article VII of the Agreement, depends on finance. It was decided at MOP2 in 2011 that the Interim Secretariat should investigate the possibility of a Party or organization, such as UNEP or GRASP, hosting the permanent Secretariat.
The main tasks of the Secretariat are the following:
· Assist Parties in implementing the Agreement and its associated Action Plans
· Arrange and service the MOP and meetings of the Technical Committee
· Execute relevant decisions adopted by the MOP
· Promote and coordinate activities under the Gorilla Agreement, in close collaboration with GRASP and other partner organizations
· Liaise with non-Party States and facilitate coordination between the Parties and other national organizations
· Propose and administer the budget
· Provide information for the general public