We are now seven months into the Standards Development Process and already over 1,200 hours of stakeholder participation have been chalked up through Working Group and Sub-group meetings alone. Our remote working arrangements have fared well and have facilitated an inclusive process, allowing all voices to be heard. We have also invited recognised experts to address Working Groups, which has stimulated discussion around some of the more thorny issues.
In addition to our comprehensive meetings schedule, our complementary biomass workshop series, organised in collaboration with IEA Bioenergy and ETIP Bioenergy, has proved hugely successful in informing the Standards Development Process. Some 500 delegates in total, from a variety of stakeholder groups, have joined the first four in the series of five. And through use of an interactive platform we have fostered a spirited exchange of thoughts and perspectives. We have benefited first-hand from great insights into the key issues we are dealing with, including biodiversity and forest carbon. Still to come is our workshop on social impacts and already we see a healthy number of delegates registered to take part.
Initially, each of the three Working Groups spent time identifying and grouping the issues to be addressed. Then a Sub-group structure was devised to tackle each of them and report back to the Working Groups with proposals. We started this Process with the attitude that everything was ‘up for discussion’ and we have not been disappointed with the breadth of the issues put forward by our stakeholders for discussion.
The Sub-groups have tackled the difficult or more contentious topics first, giving plenty of time to explore the issues. After considerable discussion of wide-ranging issues we are now turning our attention to drafting and where decisions are yet to be taken we are sharpening our focus and anticipate that our Theory of Change process will help to resolve some of the questions.