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The Conference of the Parties (COP) and its subsidiary bodies (CST and CRIC) meet once every two years. At these meetings (sessions) all country Parties are represented and involved in making decisions about the Convention and its implementation.

At the regular sessions of the COP and the subsidiary bodies the Parties also establish a Bureau. The COP, CST and CRIC each have a Bureau, and the chairs of the CRIC and CST are also members of the COP bureau.

These Bureaux remain in function during the period in between the meetings. They can meet virtually or in person, to form the formal governance of the Convention during that time. Even though the Bureaux can provide guidance and advise on the process, substantive decisions are only taken by all Parties, in consensus, at the bi-annual sessions of the COP.