Article 25 of the Convention on Biological Diversity establishes an open-ended intergovernmental scientific advisory body known as the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) to provide the Conference of the Parties (COP) and, as appropriate, its other subsidiary bodies, with timely advice relating to the implementation of the Convention. As a subsidiary body of the COP, SBSTTA is to report regularly to the COP on all aspects of its work. Multidisciplinary and open to participation by all Parties, SBSTTA comprises government representatives competent in the relevant field of expertise. Its functions include: providing assessments of the status of biological diversity; providing assessments of the types of measures taken in accordance with the provisions of the Convention; and responding to questions that the COP may put to the body. How SBSTTA carries out its work is described in its consolidated modus operandi set forth in annex III of decision VIII/10.
SBSTTA has met 23 times to date and produced a total of 240 recommendations to the Conference of the Parties, some of which have been endorsed in full by the latter. Such endorsement makes these recommendations de facto decisions of the Conference of the Parties. Parts of other recommendations have also been endorsed, and many others have been taken up in modified form.