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CBD COP-5
Photos and RealAudio of 22 May
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On the sixth day of COP-5, delegates met in a morning Plenary to hear progress reports from the Working Groups and statements from international organizations, and considered decisions for adoption. Following Plenary, Working Group I (WG-I) met to address alien species and the global plant conservation initiative. Working Group II (WG-II) considered identification, monitoring and assessment, and indicators, as well as education and public awareness. Contact groups on access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing (ABS), Article 8(j), agricultural biodiversity and forest biodiversity met in the evening.


Plenary
COP-5 President Francis Nyenze (Kenya) opened Plenary, remarking that the CBD was adopted on this day and location in 1992.
NEW SBSSTA CHAIR: Dr. Jan Plesnik of the Czech Ministry of Nature Conservation, was nominated by Slovenia, on behalf of Central and Eastern Europe, and endorsed in Plenary as Chair of SBSTTA-7 and SBSTTA-8. Plesnik [left] gets congratulated by outgoing SBSTTA-5 and SBSTTA-6 Chair, Christian Samper (Colombia).
Plenary: STATUS OF THE BIOSAFETY PROTOCOL
COP-5 President Nyenze and Ambassador Philémon Yang (Cameroon, shown here on the left), Chair of the Bureau of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Cartagena Protocol (ICCP) introduced for adoption the report on the status of the Biosafety Protocol and the work plan for the ICCP (UNEP/CBD/CBD/5/L.2).
ARGENTINA expressed concern over the work plan, emphasizing that Article 18 (Handling, Transport, Packaging and Identification) should be addressed at the ICCP's second meeting. She stated that ICCP-1 should limit its work to capacity-building, information sharing and the CHM.
Emphasizing that the ICCP's mandate is confined to preparatory work, MEXICO supported adoption of the work plan.
Ethiopia said there was no need to bring in the "ghosts of Cartagena and Montreal" into the ICCP Work Programme
The US stated that pharmaceuticals should remain outside the work plan as they are beyond the Protocol's scope, and requested clarification on selection of the biosafety CHM Technical Experts' Group
Plenary: INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS STATEMENTS
Mohammed El Ashry, CEO of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) highlighted its biodiversity projects and new programmes on ecosystem management and agrobiodiversity, and offered GEF's assistance in mobilizing additional financial resources. He noted a recently approved capacity development initiative in cooperation with UNDP in areas of biodiversity, climate change and land degradation.
Jorge Illueca, UNEP, speaking on behalf of the CITES SECRETARIAT, underscored the importance of enhancing cooperation between CITES, the CBD and other biodiversity-related conventions. He reported that at the recent CITES COP-11, delegates endorsed proposals for synergy on, inter alia, scientific and technical cooperation, enforcement, capacity-building and fund-raising.
Roberto Lenton, Director Sustainable Energy and Environment Division (SEED) on behalf of  UNDP, noted its continuous commitment to CBD implementation, highlighting activities in areas such as biosafety, forests and indigenous peoples. He also highlighted GEF projects intended to help countries implement the CBD: the Biodiversity Planning Support Programme; the country dialogue workshop programme on access to funding; and the Small Grants Programme.

Working Group Two: ALIEN SPECIES
COLOMBIA and BRAZIL introduced a draft decision for an initiative on plant conservation, for development and consideration at COP-6.
NIGERIA speaking for the G-77/CHINA, supported COLOMBIA and BRAZIL's draft decision and highlighted the importance of medicinal plants.
TANZANIA supported adopting the interim guidelines on invasive species and applying the precautionary principle in tandem with local communities to tackle the problem of transboundary invasion of alien species, a leading cause of biodiversity loss between regions.

SWITZERLAND said case studies should be conducted on a regional
basis and called for the elaboration of definitions of alien, invasive and introduction.

KENYA said COP-5 should take a stand against biological agents aimed at destroying crops and called for GEF support for invasive species programmes.
SOLOMON ISLANDS also called for COP-5 condemnation of all attempts to eradicate cultivated species with biological pathogens and agents which can act as invasive species. She also said local awareness building on such agents and invasives species should be a priority.
CHINA proposed addressing GMOs and genotypes as potentially invasive species

Side event: CBD Birthday Cake and Campeau Eulogy

Today was the 8th anniversary of the adoption of the text of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Hamdallah Zedan, Executive Secretary of the CBD [top photo, right], convened participants for this special occasion to share a birthday cake.

Veit Koester, former Chair of the Biosafety Working Group [top photo, center], compared the CBD to an 8 year-old child whose health was uncertain at birth but has since then grown strong and healthy. He noted, however, that the CBD child is poorly equipped and lacks resources for education, despite having certain wealthy parents. He reminded participants of the tremendous contribution of the late Arthur Campeau, head of the Canadian delegation during the negotiation of CBD text. Koester added that Campeau would have been proud to see the CBD develop as it has, happy with the Biosafety Protocol and pleased with the good atmosphere at this COP-5.

John Hurley, head of the COP-5 Canadian delegation [bottom photo, far right] lead participants in a rendition of "Happy Birthday," then cut the birthday cake with Veit Koester.


Side event: BioNET International and the Global Taxonomy Initiative

BioNET-International held a workshop to discuss interactions and collaboration of its Global Network for Taxonomy with the CBD's Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI) .

Nicholas King, Director of BioNET International [nking@cabi.org, right], facilitated discussion on "fast-track" implementation of taxonomic capacity-building objectives of GTI via existing BioNET Locally Organized & Operating Partnerships (LOOPs) rather than through new regional and national nodes, and possible project concepts for submission for GTI funding, such as the repatriation of taxonomic information.

Ian Cresswell, GTI Programme Officer, CBD Secretariat [ian.cresswell@biodiv.org], invited input on how best to implement and facilitate CBD taxonomic initiatives at the national and international levels.

Kerry Ten Kate, Head of Conventions and Policy Section, Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, [ktenkate@rbgkew.org.uk, left], said that Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew and other ex situ conservation and research institutions could repatriate both raw data and results of research to countries of origin in light of CBD Sub-Articles 17.1 and 17.2. She said that such repatriation efforts should proceed in the following stages: a needs assessment to identify a "wish list" of material for repatriation; a supply assessment identifying institutions outside the country that may have such itemized materials; making contacts with appropriate ex situ institutions; elaboration of a budget and seeking of funds; execution of repatriation; and follow-up mechanisms to ensure that repatriation is part of an ongoing process. Contact Ms. ten Kate for a copy of "Going Home: A Manual on the Repatriation of Information from Ex-Situ Conservation and Research Institutions to Countries of Origin," written by Manolo Ruiz, Rachun Pooma, Martin Jenkins and Kerry ten Kate and published by the Kew Darwin Initiative.


Side event: Awareness and Education "Hot Spots:" Helping Article 13 Work for Biodiversity

A workshop on implementing Article 13 on the CBD public education and awareness-raising strategy and ways to make biodiversity realistic and tangible to more actors was convened by the Ministry of Environment, Norway and the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication (CEC), a global network of experts in environmental communication and education.

Sylvi Ofstad, COP-5 Delegate of Norway [sylvi.ofstad@md.dep.no, right], urged delegates to call for development of education and awareness materials by the CBD Secretariat for Parties and Ministries of Environment and endorsement of the SBSTTA recommendation that education and communication strategies be directly linked to and included in specific CBD work programs. She suggested that Parties consider UNESCO be a key partner with formal education strategies and request GEF support for collaborative communication processes on biodiversity with the involvement of all local and regional stakeholders, including children, indigenous peoples and the private sector.

Ana Puyol, Delegate of Ecuador [center], said communication and education strategies should be incorporated in every CBD work programme, but prioritized. She proposed that COP-5 delegates give priority to Article 8(j), capacity building in this area and launch a technical cross-cutting thematic working group on developing CBD public education and awareness programmes.

Wendy Goldstein, Head of the IUCN Education and Communication Programme [wjg@hq.iucn.org], asked delegates for to propose options for elevating Article 13's profile. For follow-up, notes of the session, or a copy of the GBF's report Public Education and Awareness: How to Put It into Practice, please contact Ms. Goldstein at the above e-mail address.

Participants considered the possibilities of: the Secretariat working with others such as UNESCO, IUCN, OECD, UNITAR and journalist organizations to develop a training manual and capacity-building schemes to assist Parties in their national and regional implementation of biodiversity publicity campaigns and education; expanding GEF, regional institutions and multilateral development bank support for CBD information-training through formal and informal educational channels; cooperation with the private sector, particularly the garden, pet and aquarium industries, to reach households directly; and collaborating with indigenous peoples to improve their leadership and community access to CBD information, especially on Article 8(j).


Side event: The GEF, Ecosystems and Agrobiodiversity

Colin Rees, Leader of the Global Environmental Facility's Biodiversity and International Waters [crees@worldbank.org, pictured here on the right] chaired a workshop hosted by the GEF Secretariat on the agrobiodiversity and ecosystem operational programmes recently adopted by the GEF Council.

Herbert K. Acquay, Leader of the GEF Land and Water Resources Team [hacquay@worldbank.org, bottom photo on the left] gave an overview of the GEF' s role, scale of support, operational requirements and existing operational programmes on agrobiodiversity, drylands, forests, coastal, marine, mountains and freshwater resources.

Walter Jami Lusigi, Senior GEF Biodiversity Advisor [wlusigi@worldbank.org, bottom photo on the right] described the GEF Operational Programme on Agricultural Biodiversity, Land Degradation Action Plan, Africa Land and Water Initiative and Operational Programme on the Ecosystem Approach. Regarding the Programme on Agricultural Biodiversity, he said that it contributes to CBD objectives by integrating agricultural ecosystems into the broader landscape, and conserves wider ecological services such as clean water, erosion control and microclimate stabilization. In addition, for dryland, the GEF is strongly positioned to fund biodiversity-friendly Desertification Convention provisions despite not being the financial mechanisms for the latter convention.

For more information on eligibility criteria for GEF funding, visit [http://www.gefweb.org]


IN THE BREEZEWAYS
While delegates await the arrival of Ministers and the signing of the Protocol, the ghosts of Cartagena and Montreal reared their heads in Plenary discussion on the ICCP's work plan. Many of the voices were the same as those heard at the biosafety roundtable negotiations, and the issue of identification and documentation was the same one that concluded the negotiations in Montreal. Delegates noted that such tensions might be inevitable in a preparatory process that is supposed to facilitate the Protocol's implementation on core, and sometimes contentious items, while supposedly not being substantive negotiations themselves.
Right: at the UN compound at Gigiri, buildings are not separated
by closed corridors, instead they are linked by open breezeways.

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