Great Apes Survival Bulletin

 

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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

 

Vol. 113 No. 1
Monday, 12 September 2005
 

SUMMARY OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL MEETING ON GREAT APES AND THE FIRST MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE GREAT APES SURVIVAL PROJECT (GRASP):

5-9 SEPTEMBER 2005

The first Intergovernmental Meeting (IGM-1) on Great Apes and the first meeting of the Council of the Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP Council Meeting) convened in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), from 5-9 September 2005. Over 200 delegates attended, from great ape range state governments, donor and other states, international and intergovernmental organizations, non-government organizations, the private sector and academia and scientific communities. Given that this was the first opportunity for such a diverse group of actors to meet face-to-face in DRC to reach accord on a strategy for the survival of the great apes and their habitats, the first days of the meetings were characterized by a sense of the enormous task ahead. However, as the days and negotiations progressed a clear sense of optimism and collaborative spirit emerged throughout IGM-1 and GRASP Council Meeting, and participants used both the formal meetings and informal periods to significantly push forward on their common work. As the final High Level Segment was closed with ceremony on Friday and the Kinshasa Declaration was signed, there was a sense that this week in one of the great ape range states, a positive step forward had been taken towards a common goal.

IGM-1 met from 5-6 September 2005, was followed by a GRASP Council Meeting on 7-8 September and resumed its discussions with a High-Level Segment on 9 September.

IGM-1 discussed rules for organization and management of the GRASP Partnership (the GRASP Rules); a global strategy for the Survival of Great Apes (the Global Strategy); a work plan for 2003-2007; and, a meeting declaration on great apes which became known during the week as the “Kinshasa Declaration.” The GRASP Council Meeting considered reports on the intersessional period and elected the GRASP Executive Committee and the new GRASP Council Chair. It also adopted decisions on the 2003-2007 Work Plan, and on the GRASP Rules. The results of its deliberations on the Global Strategy were forwarded to the IGM-1 Final Plenary. On 9 September, IGM-1 reconvened on a High Level Segment, heard statements by ministers and heads of delegation, approved the Global Strategy, and adopted the Kinshasa Declaration on Great Apes.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF GRASP

GRASP was initiated in May 2001 under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) joined it during its official launch at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). This Partnership now includes 17 of the 23 great ape range states, several donor countries, United Nations bodies representing the biodiversity and conservation-related multilateral environment agencies, more than 30 non government organizations, and a number of private sector representatives. It was registered as a type II partnership at the WSSD in September 2002.

During the interim period, before the first Council Meeting, an Interim Executive Committee (IEC) was established chaired by Uganda, and with the DRC and Indonesia representing the other great ape range states. An Interim Scientific Commission (ISC) was also created to provide guidance to the GRASP secretariat until the first GRASP Council Meeting.

GRASP-1 PREPARATORY MEETING: UNEP and UNESCO convened a preparatory experts’ meeting for the Intergovernmental Meeting on great apes and the GRASP Partnership in Paris, from 26-28 November 2003. During the meeting, GRASP partners agreed on a draft global great ape conservation strategy, a draft 2003-2007 work plan and a draft set of rules to govern the activities of the GRASP Partnership. These documents were considered by IGM-1.

In May 2005, the European Commission announced the decision to award 2.4 million Euros to the GRASP Partnership for the “preservation of forest resources and improved livelihoods of forest peoples through conservation of great apes as flagship species,” thus securing sufficient funds to hold the first GRASP Council Meeting.

RELATION WITH OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL AGREEMENTS AND PROCESSES

UNESCO: The UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves and the World Heritage Convention provide protection to critical sites for the survival of great apes.

CITES: The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) seeks to combat illegal international trade in apes. Major threats to great apes include human consumption as bushmeat or live trade by private individuals, zoos and entertainment businesses. The CITES Secretariat has highlighted what appears to be a significant and highly-organized trade in orangutans in South East Asia, illegally exported and trained to engage in performances for public entertainment (kick-boxing) and also raised concerns on illicit cross-border movement of specimens of CITES-listed species by UN peacekeeping forces. For more information see: http://www.cites.org/eng/com/SC/53/E53-18.pdf; and http://www.cites.org/eng/com/SC/53/sum/E53-ExSum06.pdf

CBD: The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), is involved in the debate on the effects of the bushmeat trade on biodiversity resources and in considering how best to integrate ape conservation with wider biodiversity management frameworks. The CBD is also addressing bushmeat trade within a cross-cutting international initiative on biodiversity for food and nutrition. For more information see: http://www.biodiv.org/doc/meetings/sbstta/sbstta-10/official/sbstta-10-13-en.pdf; and http://www.biodiv.org/recommendations/?id=10689&m=SBSTTA-10

CMS: The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) is concentrating on the eastern species of gorilla, which crosses the mountainous border areas between Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC. The CMS Secretariat, with the support of the International Gorilla Conservation Programme and the GRASP Secretariat, is developing a regional agreement between Rwanda, DRC and Uganda for the conservation and management of the transboundary mountain gorilla and its habitat under Article IV of the CMS Convention. For more information see: http://www.cms.int/bodies/StC/28th_stc_meeting/pdf/en/Inf_06_01_UNEP_Report.pdf

FAO: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is increasingly concerned with the issue of bushmeat and the conciliation of food security and biodiversity conservation in Africa. For more information see: http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/MEETING/007/J1457E.HTM

REPORT OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL MEETING ON GREAT APES AND THE FIRST GRASP COUNCIL MEETING

This report is organized chronologically, beginning with the Intergovernmental Meeting on Great Apes (IGM-1), then the GRASP Council Meeting, before closing with the High Level Segment of IGM-1. While IGM-1 and the GRASP Council addressed several of the same subjects, the GRASP Council Meeting is limited to the GRASP Partners, whereas IGM-1 includes those who have not yet signed up to the GRASP Partnership allowing for broad participation in, and endorsement of, the initiatives being undertaken. IGM-1 was chaired by Prof Dieudonné Musibono, DRC. Moses Mapesa Wafula, Uganda, chaired the GRASP Council Meeting. Samy Mankoto, UNESCO, GRASP Focal Point, served as Secretary General for both meetings beginning with the First Intergovernmental Meeting on Great Apes (IGM-1).

IGM-1 OPENING SESSION

In opening IGM-1 on Monday 5, Samy Mankoto, Secretary General of the IGM-1, welcomed delegates and paid tribute to President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for hosting this inaugural meeting. He noted the enormity of the challenge faced in ensuring the survival of the great apes, saying that the following days were an opportunity to form an alliance on a regional and international basis for urgent action. Underscoring the unique nature of GRASP as a type II partnership, he reminded delegates that they were to consider and agree upon: rules for the GRASP Partnership, the establishment of a GRASP Executive Committee, a GRASP Global Strategy, and a Kinshasa Declaration pledging action and securing commitments from all actors. He also encouraged them to secure a significant donation of resources.

Richard Leakey, GRASP Patron, said he had spent a lifetime studying the origin of humanity and felt that an injustice was done when science classified species, in that the classification was done by an interested party, and that human beings should have been classified as the 6th great ape. He urged delegates to consider that they were addressing the future of a member of their own family. He said the greatest pressure for the survival of the great apes is the devastation of habitat caused by climate change, highlighting similar pressure being placed on the people living around the great ape habitats, and stressing the urgent need for unifying policy to address these issues. While recognizing the existence of the political goodwill to achieve this, he emphasized the limitation of the range states’ financial resources and suggested that the great apes be considered assets--as part of the solution for poverty.

Speaking on behalf of Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director of UNEP, Veerle Vandeweerd noted the launch of the World Atlas on Great Apes on 1 September 2005, and hoped that this initiative, together with this IGM and the GRASP Council Meeting, will convince other major players to join the GRASP Partnership and bring the decline of the great apes to an end. She emphasized the: promotion of high-level national and international dialogue; facilitation of cooperation and technical support among stakeholders; raising of awareness about the threats facing the great apes; and the soliciting of new and additional funding.

Natarajan Ishwaran, Director of the UNESCO Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences and Secretary of the Man and Biosphere Programme, called GRASP a unique alliance between UNEP, UNESCO, governments, international agencies, non government organizations (NGOs), academia and the private sector to promote and strengthen great apes conservation. He said UNESCO contributes to species conservation through its bioreserves and conservation sites, wants to put conservation of great apes on solid scientific footing, has set aside funds for research grants through its Young Scientists Programme and is involved in awareness-raising in range states and in other countries. Stressing this unique opportunity to address conservation needs of these important primates, he noted that success in this area can lead to work in protecting other target species.

Aselme Enerunga, Minister of Environment, Conservation, Water and Forests, DRC, pointed out that the DRC is a megadiverse country, home for 4 of the 5 great apes species, and that IGM-1 was being held out of concern that human unsustainable use of biodiversity threatens the survival of primates, which share 97-98% of our DNA. He called for permanent recommendations and for the adoption of a Kinshasa Declaration, emphasizing the need for common actions, based on accepted standards.

Abdoulaye Yerodia Ndombasi, Vice President, DRC, welcomed delegates to the country, highlighted the DRC’s great ape strategy and action plan established in 2005, and confirmed his country’s commitment to the protection of the great apes. He emphasized that the great ape habitat is also home to the poorest people in the world, which has led to the unsustainable use of wildlife and other resources. Regarding the threats to great apes, he highlighted, inter alia: conflict, environmental pollution, weakness of monitoring and protection of natural resources, mining, natural disasters, and the lack of public participation in nature conservation initiatives. Following the playing of the national anthem, he declared IGM-1 officially open.

COUNTRY STATEMENTS

On Monday afternoon, Chair Musibono echoed Richard Leakey’s words, emphasizing that the plight of the great apes was a warning sign that needs to be taken seriously, as, if one part of our ecosystem is under threat, the whole is in danger. He urged concrete action and invited delegates to make statements to the session.

Uganda, Indonesia, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, and Angola each outlined their national and regional great ape survival strategies, underscoring their awareness of the danger of extinction of the great apes. They supported the strengthening of these initiatives through the GRASP Partnership, and highlighted the importance of collective action. Many emphasized that solutions should take into account poverty alleviation in the communities living alongside great apes, while others emphasized the need for improved law enforcement and capacity building. The Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC) underscored their role in working towards the conservation and sustainable management of forest systems. Donor states, including Belgium, the United Kingdom (UK), the United States and Japan, also welcomed the GRASP initiative and indicated their awareness of the urgency of the great apes plight. They outlined their funding activities for great apes conservation, with the European Union’s pledge of 2.4 million Euros earmarked for GRASP being greeted by applause. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), representing the biodiversity and conservation-related multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), urged the GRASP Partnership to draw on the CITES Secretariat’s vast experience and law enforcement networks.

The Lusaka Agreement Working Group welcomed the GRASP initiative, saying this was an opportunity to create a regional cooperative approach, strengthening legislation and taking into account the transboundary nature of the traffic in great apes. In a joint statement, a consortium of 17 International NGOs urged the GRASP Partnership to capitalize on its international and multi-sectoral nature to mobilize new resources, and urged result-oriented action to avoid the extinction of great apes, which is an indicator of human’s own state of danger. Volcano Safari, from the private sector, underscored that conservation and development can be mutually reinforcing, that conservation efforts can be a source of development resources, and said that the future of Africa lies in private sector sustainable development.

On Tuesday 6, Burundi, Cameroon, Republic of Guinea, Central African Republic, and DRC outlined national actions taken towards conserving great apes, and outlined the particular threats facing the great ape species in their countries. Burundi and the Rural Environment and Development Organization (Rwanda) highlighted the impact of their countries’ socio-political crises on both human and great ape populations. Republic of Guinea said the influx of refugees over the past 5 years had contributed to the destruction of his country’s natural habitat. The Central African Republic underscored the difficult and hostile nature of the environment the great apes inhabit, referred to the problems faced by those living in these poor, rural areas, and said survival of the great apes is predicated on overall economic restructuring. Several range states pledged their commitment to GRASP and called for technical and financial assistance in implementing their National Great Ape Survival Plans (NGASPs). Cameroon and others emphasized the importance of involving local communities in biodiversity conservation initiatives. The Congo Basin Forest Partnership drew delegates’ attention to their website (www.cbfp.org) and to pilot projects being carried out with the private sector.

Italy emphasized the potential of the great apes as a resource and urged range states not to allow their extinction. The Born Free Foundation urged partners to set aside individual agendas and to abandon apathy, cynicism and resignation so as to achieve their common goal.

In a video presentation, GRASP Patron Jane Goodall urged partners to commit to a conservation approach based on partnership with the people living in and around the great apes’ habitats.

GRASP GLOBAL STRATEGY

On Tuesday, Stanley Johnson, Special Advisor to the Secretary General, outlined the draft Global Strategy for the Survival of the Great Apes (Global Strategy) (UNEP/UNESCO/GRASP/IGM.1/3), explaining that the draft text with participants’ comments would be submitted to the GRASP Council for consideration. Comments included proposals suggesting that: all range states be considered for permanent GRASP membership with collective veto powers; the GRASP Partnership create an anti-poaching data intelligence network; the Global Strategy should include collaboration with the CITES Bushmeat Working Group and Great Ape Enforcement Task Force in its longer term objectives; and a proposal by Uganda for timely resettlement of communities neighboring great ape habitats under UN guidelines.

This issue was further addressed by the GRASP Council and the IGM-1 Final Plenary (see further for details).

GRASP RULES

On Tuesday, Melanie Virtue, GRASP Team Leader, UNEP, outlined the GRASP initiative history, structure and work plan, after which Stanley Johnson presented an outline of the draft rules for organization and management of the GRASP Partnership, explaining the 8 categories for membership, and the roles of the GRASP Council, Secretariat, Executive Committee, Scientific Commission, technical support teams and patrons (UNEP/UNESCO/GRASP/IGM.1/2). While urging delegates not to turn GRASP into a bureaucratic organization, he emphasized the need to establish an organized structure.

In the discussion that followed, Uganda proposed that the same person chair the IGM and the Council and delegates decided to provide written comments for consideration by the GRASP Council.

This issue was further addressed and decided upon by the GRASP Council (see further for details).

GRASP 2003-2007 WORK PLAN AND DISTINCTIVE APPROACH

On Tuesday afternoon, Melanie Virtue, presented the 2003-2007 Work Plan (UNEP/UNESCO/GRASP/IGM.1/4), and introduced a new document entitled “The GRASP Partnership: A Distinctive Approach” (UNEP/UNESCO/GRASP/Council/1.6), which outlines GRASP’s current priorities. She noted that many of the targets contained in the 2003-2007 Work Plan have already been met, and that the Secretariat had produced a document summarizing achievements to date. She noted that IGM-1 might wish to charge the Executive Committee to work with the Secretariat on developing a new work plan. Cameroon, supported by United States and International Foundation for Animal Welfare (IFAW), noted that law enforcement should be broadened to include internal and cross-border anti-poaching and support for national judiciaries and legal systems. The United States indicated that such support need not be financially burdensome, and could include technical expertise, information sharing, and cooperation between international organizations. Delegates then agreed to provide written comments to the Secretariat so that the GRASP Council could consider them during its meeting.

This issue was further addressed and decided upon by the GRASP Council (see further for details). IGM-1 was then suspended until Friday morning.

FIRST GRASP COUNCIL MEETING

On Wednesday 7 Samy Mankoto, opened the GRASP Council Meeting by summarizing the work of IGM-1 and outlining the agenda for this meeting. He then introduced Moses Mapesa Wafula, Executive Director, Uganda Wildlife Authority. Delegates then acclaimed Mr. Mapesa Wafula as Chair of the GRASP Council.

In his introductory remarks, Chair Mapesa Wafula highlighted Uganda’s role in activities to protect great apes, and indicated his willingness to share Uganda’s work with others. Delegates then approved the agenda for the meeting (UNEP/UNESCO/GRASP/COUNCIL.1/1).

PRESENTATION OF INTERIM PERIOD REPORTS

On Wednesday morning, Mapesa Wafula, Interim Executive Committee (IEC) Chair, briefly summarized the work of the IEC, noting that its purpose was twofold: to ensure that GRASP partners were part of the decision-making process for great ape conservation; and, to create a governing structure until formal rules were adopted.

Aggrey Rwetsiba, Uganda Wildlife Authority, then summarized the IEC’s Terms of Reference, highlighting the organization of IGM-1 as a key activity of the IEC. He concluded by urging delegates to continue to work collaboratively and noted that all partners have a leadership position in the preservation of great apes.

Mark Leighton, co-chair of the Interim Science Commission (ISC), outlined the ISC’s work to date, highlighting the preparation of a draft preliminary list of priority populations and sites of the 14 great ape taxa, compiled by taxon-specific expert working groups. He emphasized the very different levels of available information for taxa, and urged range states to work with the Science Commission to further develop the list. He concluded by directing delegates to consult maps depicting the populations and sites (http://www.whrc.org/africa/pripops ).

Ian Redmond, Head of the GRASP Technical Support Team (TST), then gave an overview of the TST team members, and the roles of the TST within the GRASP Partnership to date, which included: building the GRASP partnership; providing support to the range state focal points; raising awareness--for example through the Great Apes Film Initiative (http://whrc.org/africa/prioritypops/index.htm); and assisting many of the range states in developing their NGASPs. He concluded by reminding delegates that they need to decide whether there would be further TSTs under the permanent GRASP structure.

Melanie Virtue reported on the Secretariat’s income and expenditure from 2003-2005. On income, she highlighted UNEP’s commitments, those of the Governments of the UK, Ireland, Germany, and Denmark, and of the private sector. She noted that the contract with the European Commission is not yet finalized, and that UNEP has therefore loaned money to GRASP with the expectation that it will soon be recouped. On expenditures, she cited activities, which include preparation of NGASPs, technical assistance, field projects, partnership strengthening, information sharing, awareness raising, fundraising, and operations.

Natarajan Ishwaran, UNESCO, highlighted his organization’s willingness to assume specific task-related responsibilities related to range states, and requested information on the amount of the Secretariat’s work load that will be at the UN level and what can be shared with other partners. He stated that while UNESCO is helping with logistical issues, this is done in an ad hoc manner since there is no GRASP section at UNESCO.

During the ensuing discussion, the Republic of Congo said that data should be collected on great ape populations in sites that are not protected, while the Central African Republic and Burundi each suggested specific areas that should be studied. In response, the ISC indicated its desire to undertake such research. Melanie Virtue noted the need to develop a more systemic approach to choosing projects, and that the GRASP Secretariat is working with ISC to develop such criteria.

Responding to a question about non-governmental contributions, the Orangutan Foundation-UK cited the types of contributions that such organizations make. Lukuru Wildlife Research Project asked about GRASP’s relationship with GRASP-Japan and GRASP-Australia, to which Natarajan Ishwaran and Ian Redmond, responded that while each is self-financed and self-generated they are collaborating with GRASP. Central African Republic, with support from Ian Redmond, highlighted the importance of public awareness-raising.

GRASP GLOBAL STRATEGY

On Wednesday, Chair Mapesa Wafula invited delegates to consider a conference room paper prepared as a result of discussions in IGM-1 with proposed revisions to the draft GRASP Global Strategy, under the guidance of Stanley Johnson.

Following discussion, delegates agreed to the revised text which included: adding promotion of education and sensitization of local populations to GRASP’s immediate objectives, and the establishment of an internal focal point to inform international and regional agencies and groupings of GRASP activities.

Delegates also agreed to a proposal from The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund-Europe that GRASP’s overall goal should include a commitment to “conserve in their natural habitats wherever they exist, wild populations of all species and subspecies of great ape”, removing the word ‘viable’ from before the ‘wild populations’ in the original draft. This consensus was reached on the condition that, where required, more detailed ongoing GRASP work plans will address prioritization of the resources based on population viability, under the Scientific Commission’s guidance.

This issue was further discussed and agreed upon on the IGM-1 Final Plenary (see further for details).

GRASP RULES

Under the guidance of Stanley Johnson, the GRASP Council undertook a clause-by-clause review of the Rules for the organization and management of the GRASP Partnership (UNEP/UNESCO/GRASP/Council/1/2/Rev.1) on Wednesday afternoon. Considerable discussion took place on the proposal by Uganda that the same person chair the Executive Committee and GRASP Council, with delegates finally agreeing to a proposal by Cameroon to keep the posts separate and reserve for range state representatives the Chair of the Executive Committee. Delegates also discussed the size of the Executive Committee, agreeing to increase its size to 11 members: 4 from range States, 2 from non-range States, one member each from UNEP and UNESCO, one from biodiversity and conservation-related MEAs and international organizations and institutions, and 2 from NGOs, and to make the minimum quorum for the meeting 5 members. With these and other textual amendments, the GRASP Council then adopted its rules.

Final Decision: The rules for the organization and management of the GRASP Partnership establish, inter alia, that:

  • the overall goal and objectives reflect those that are detailed in the Global Strategy;
     

  • GRASP Partners will be organized by great ape range states (Category A), non-great ape range states that support or participate significantly in conservation of great apes and their habitat (Category B), UNEP and UNESCO (Category C), biodiversity and conservation-related conventions and other relevant international organizations and institutions (Category D), non-governmental organizations (Category E), other non-range states (Category F), individuals (Category G), and the private sector (Category H);
     

  • all great ape range states are full partners;
     

  • the Executive Committee should consist of 11 members (4 from Category A, 2 from Category B, 2 from Category C, 1 from Category D, and 2 from Category E); and
     

  • the GRASP Partnership may use technical support teams and other ad-hoc groups.

GRASP 2003-2007 WORK PLAN AND DISTINCTIVE APPROACH

On Thursday 8, the GRASP Council considered the 2003-2007 Work Plan (UNEP/UNESCO/GRASP/IGM.1/4). On Output 3.2 (improving modern law-enforcing techniques), delegates agreed to a proposal by Cameroon to include the implementation of training in both “internal and trans-boundary law enforcement operations” and “awareness-raising within national judiciary and legal systems”. Delegates also stressed the need to involve existing military forces in law enforcement efforts, with UNESCO highlighting the success of such activities in rhino conservation in Nepal.

Regarding Output 3.4 (strengthening of scientific expertise on great apes), delegates agreed to a further proposal by Cameroon that the GRASP Partnership “support veterinarian field programmes in great ape disease issues, including the setting up of early warning systems for Ebola and anthrax, based on ape ‘die-offs’”. On Output 4.1 (pilot projects in great ape conservation), the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) said he expected lowland gorillas to be added to the CMS species list and that the text be amended accordingly. The Republic of Congo, Cameroon, and others raised the importance of monitoring and addressing animal/human health issues, noting that GRASP should be supportive of this work.

Delegates also debated a proposal by Cameroon for the compilation by GRASP of a database of range state NGOs, noting current work by organizations such as IUCN, and agreed to consider formal action on this issue at the next GRASP Council Meeting. Regarding focal point support, Ian Redmond said that the TST had prepared an informal document on the role of focal points, and that the document would be circulated to delegates for use as a guide for national action.

After concluding discussions on the 2003-2007 Work Plan, delegates discussed the “Distinctive Approach” document (UNEP/UNESCO/GRASP/Council/1.6). Côte d’Ivoire noted the need to ensure that financial resources are available for GRASP activities. Cameroon stressed the need to ensure that changes made to the 2003-2007 Work Plan document are reflected in this document. The GRASP Council then approved the Distinctive Approach document and a decision first drafted by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) that addresses both the 2003-2007 Work Plan and the Distinctive Approach documents.

Final Decision: The GRASP Council adopted the 2003-2007 Work Plan and the “GRASP Partnership: A Distinctive Approach” document, which, respectively, describe the work plan for 2003-2007 and the strategic priorities guiding the work plan for 2005-2007. It also adopted a decision (UNEP/UNESCO/GRASP/Council/CRP.4) whereby the GRASP Council: entrusts the Executive Committee and Scientific Commission with the preparation of a detailed programme of action for 2006-2007, ensuring the consultation of all GRASP Partnership members before 30 December 2005; and recommends that the Executive Committee monitor progress on the programme of action and submit a progress report to the Council at its next session.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS AND CLOSING OF THE COUNCIL MEETING

On Thursday afternoon, the GRASP Council turned its attention to the election of the 11 members of the Executive Committee. Following regional consultations, the following members were elected: Indonesia, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of Guinea, the UK, France, UNEP, UNESCO, CITES, the WCS and the Orangutan Foundation-UK.

On Thursday afternoon, the GRASP Council unanimously elected Cameroon as its new chair. Speaking for the Government of Cameroon, Stephen Takang Ebai noted his government’s commitment to GRASP, and stated that his government would forward to the GRASP Secretariat the name of the individual selected as the Chair. Delegates then thanked outgoing Chair Moses Mapesa Wafula for his work, and expressed their appreciation to those who organized this meeting, especially the GRASP Secretariat.

IGM-1 HIGH LEVEL SEGMENT

On Friday 9, IGM-1 reconvened to conclude it work. IGM-1 Chair Musibono and Secretary General Samy Mankoto opened the high-level segment by welcoming participants and outlining the day’s agenda. Secretary General Mankoto also introduced Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director of UNEP, and Walter Erdelen, Assistant Director General, Natural Sciences Sector, UNESCO, and expressed his appreciation to the many individuals who helped organize the GRASP Council Meeting and IGM-1.

Delegates then heard statements from ministers, heads of delegation, and NGOs.

Jim Knight, MP, Minister for Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity DEFRA, UK reaffirmed his country’s commitment to GRASP and noted that efforts must be made to engage local populations in conservation, and that even relatively small amounts of money can make a huge difference. He referenced the link between this meeting and the recent G8 commitment to Africa, and noted that the Kinshasa declaration will send a signal to the 2005 World Summit. Henri Djombo, Minister of Forest Economy and Environment, Republic of Congo, noted that a common problem is a lack of resources to effectively combat poaching and a lack of technical support. He called on donors to provide funding and on international NGOs to work with national NGOs.

Egbé Hillman Achuo, Minister of Forests and Water, Cameroon, summarized his country’s efforts to protect great apes, and appealed to donor countries to provide funding. Jean-Eudes Teya, Minister of Water, Forests, Hunting and Fishing, Central African Republic, cited the need for political stability and economic development to protect great apes. David Zeller, International Rangers Federation, stressed the dangerous role of rangers in protecting great apes, and the need for training and appropriate equipment. Andrews Adjei-Yeboah, Deputy Minister for Lands, Forestry & Mines, Ghana, stressed his country’s commitment to adhering to all of the GRASP commitments. Arcado Ntagazwa, Minister of State, Vice-President’s Office, Environment, Tanzania, noted that environmental degradation in Tanzania is principally a development problem. Aselme Enerunga, Minister of Environment, Conservation, Water and Forests, DRC, noted that the GRASP Global Strategy is a source of inspiration for countries that need to develop and implement NGASPs.

Ian Singleton, Sumatran Orangutan Protection Project, gave an overview of the challenges in protecting orangutans in Indonesia and Borneo. Pasteur Cosma Wilungula Balongelwa, Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature, cited work underway in the DRC to take into account great apes both within and outside protected areas.

Joao José Martins Lopes de Carvalho, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Guinée-Bissau referenced his country’s work with two universities in Portugal, and with the IUCN, to create inventories of chimpanzees. A representative of a coalition of DRC NGOs referenced the active participation of national NGOs in various great apes projects. Graciano Domingos, Deputy Minister, Urbanization and Environment, Angola, noted the degree to which military instability has exacerbated the plight of the great apes.

Jonas Nagahudi Mbongu, Executive Director, COMIFAC, highlighted COMIFAC’s concern with conservation of fauna, and its endorsement of the Kinshasa Declaration. Anne-Marie Kalanga, representing local media, stated that the local media has a role in disseminating information on great apes, and that local populations are largely unaware of problems facing the great apes.

Toshisada Nishida, GRASP Patron and representative of GRASP-Japan, described the work of the newly founded GRASP-Japan, highlighting 7 major GRASP Japan projects, including ones in Kalimantan, Indonesia, South East Republic of Guinea, and Tanzania.

Denys Gauer, Ambassador for the Environment, France, emphasized the importance of forging links between the Congo Basin Forest Partnership and the GRASP Partnership. He said France would now consider how it could provide assistance.

United States Ambassador, Roger A. Meece, made reference to the United States’ contributions to the Congo Basin Forest Project through the Central Africa Regional Programme for the Environment (CARPE), noting that a number of CARPE projects are of direct benefit to the great apes. He said the United States is building a global Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking to focus political and public attention on the problem.

Noriaki Sakaguchi, Assistant Director Wildlife Division, Nature Conservation Bureau, Ministry of the Environment, Japan, said Japan fully supports the GRASP Partnership. Urging joint action to conserve the great apes, Michel van den Bossche of the Europe Aid Co-Operation Office of the European Commission, stressed finding solutions that can be tested at the local level through partnerships among international partners, range states, and local communities. He called for the mainstreaming of the survival of the great apes in long term sustainable development, building on the impetus started by the GRASP Partnership and IGM-1. He confirmed the European Union’s support for GRASP to facilitate this process.

Bernard de Schrevel, Attaché for Development Cooperation, Food and Security Sector, Belgium, endorsed the GRASP Partnership, said Belgium is exploring possibilities for funding GRASP activities, and endorsed the UK and France as donor country partners of GRASP. Robert Hepworth, Executive Secretary CMS Secretariat and representing the Biodiversity Liaison Group, said that this meeting was a personal dream of his as a founding member of GRASP and that he had maintained his involvement through participation in the IEC. He announced a new project to be co-sponsored by the CMS, UNEP, UNESCO, the International Gorilla Conservation Programme and the Royal Institute of Natural Sciences of Belgium, and benefiting from funds from the Governments of the UK and Italy. He said the main objective of the project is to facilitate the preparation and negotiation with governments of 10 range states an agreement and action plan under Article IV of the CMS to guarantee the protection of gorilla populations in these countries.

The session ended with statements from The Orangutan Foundation-UK, reaffirming her commitment to GRASP; and from Programme for the Protection and Development of Fauna and Flora (PDPF) and Pole Pole Foundation, who reported on successful projects undertaken within DRC with the support of the GRASP Partnership.

Chair Musibono summarized the presentations, highlighting the desire to move from rhetoric to specific deed, and from promises to action.

GRASP GLOBAL STRATEGY

On Friday afternoon, following a presentation on the launch of the World Atlas of Great Apes, IGM-1 adopted the Global Strategy for the Survival of Great Apes and their Habitat (UNEP/UNESCO/GRASP/IGM.1/3/Rev.1).

Final Decision: The Global Strategy for the Survival of Great Apes and their Habitat outlines the overall goal of lifting the threat of imminent extinction facing most populations of great apes; to conserve in their natural habitats, wherever they exist, wild populations of all species and subspecies of great apes; and to make sure that their interactions with people are mutually positive and sustainable. The Global Strategy includes, inter alia: to work to extend the future membership of the GRASP Partnership; to implement the 2003-2007 Work Plan and future work plans; and to leverage new resources for great ape conservation projects and programmes.

The document further details:

  • immediate Objectives, including to: determine the potential of sites, monitor great ape populations, and create a database with this information; promote and enforce a legal framework for the survival of the great apes and their habitat; and educate and raise awareness among local populations; and
     

  • longer-term Objectives, including to: carry out scientific research to generate information necessary for the survival of the great apes and their habitat, and disseminate such information; develop an international network of intelligence on great apes aimed at eliminating illegal transboundary traffic; and promote the development and transfer of technologies, training programmes and best practices among range states, partners and other interested parties.
     

  • The Global Strategy also sets out national-level actions by the range states, and international actions by donor countries, international agencies, NGOs and the scientific community and private sector actions.

KINSHASHA DECLARATION

Chair Musibono then introduced the draft Kinshasa Declaration, explaining that a drafting group, under the guidance of Eric Blencowe, UK, had met throughout the week and had prepared a final draft for submission to the High Level Segment.

After considering the text, delegates adopted the Kinshasa Declaration, with an agreement to take account of a call from the Republic of Congo to include in the body of the report of the meeting a commitment by donor partners to provide financial support to GRASP programmes and national programmes, so this could be included post-hoc in the Kinshasa Declaration.

Final Decision: In the final text (UNEP/UNESCO/GRASP/Council.1/CRP.3/Rev.1), representatives pledge to do everything in their power to ensure the long-term future for all great ape species and:

  • affirm their commitment to the GRASP Global Strategy and to support, and for the range states, implement, effective measures to counter the threats facing the great apes;
     

  • emphasize the need to stimulate and enhance range state cooperation to ensure the effective enforcement of great ape legislation and coordinated efforts to halt activities that have a detrimental effect on great ape populations;
     

  • emphasize the role of national and international measures and participation in regional initiatives, and encourage ratification and compliance with international treaties such as the biodiversity and conservation-related MEAs;
     

  • urge development and implementation of NGASPs by the range states;
     

  • urge GRASP Partners and others to support range states in the implementation of their NGASPs;
     

  • encourage the provision of long-term ecologically sustainable economic benefits to local communities;
     

  • invite international institutions and agencies to prioritize policies promoting ecologically sustainable livelihoods for local and indigenous communities which prevent activities detrimental to the survival of the great apes;
     

  • reaffirm their commitment to ensure GRASP has the capacity to realize its full potential;
     

  • resolve to set the target of securing a constant and significant reduction in the current loss of great ape populations by 2010 and to secure the future of all species and subspecies of great apes in the wild by 2015; and
     

  • invite the international community to provide effective and coherent support, including funding, to assist efforts made by the great ape range states.

CLOSING CEREMONY

Following the signing of the Kinshasa Declaration by representatives of the biodiversity and conservation-related MEAs, UNESCO, UNEP, NGOs and other civil society and private sector representatives, the closing ceremony of IGM-1 took place under the patronage of President Joseph Kabila, DRC, represented by Vice-President Abdoulaye Yerodia Ndombasi. Richard Wrangham, Patron of GRASP, speaking also on behalf of Toshisada Nishida, congratulated the GRASP Partnership, highlighting contributions to great ape data, and noting that successful models do exist for reversing the trend towards great ape extinction. He said that we now have the first complete assembly of data on the great ape populations. He concluded by suggesting that great apes and their habitat can be considered of outstanding universal value within the guidelines of the World Heritage Convention, and therefore great ape habitats should be designated as World Heritage sites and great apes as the first World Heritage species.

Walter Erdelen, UNESCO, on behalf of the Director General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, urged an integrated multidisciplinary approach, noting the strong political commitment as evidenced by the encouraging presence at the IGM-1. He said that in this decade for sustainable development there is a need to include the great apes within the sustainable development agenda.

Finally, on behalf of UN Secretary General, Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director of UNEP, underscored humanity’s close relationship with the great apes and said that we have not treated great apes with respect. He highlighted the success of existing efforts, emphasized cooperation to mobilize money, expertise and equipment, and said IGM-1 had made great progress in charting the way forward. He noted the timeliness of IGM-1 before world leaders meet in New York for the 2005 World Summit, noting that UNEP�s involvement in the IGM-1 is legitimized by the interlinking of the survival of the great apes with the fight against poverty.

The Kinshasa Declaration was then read out to the delegates by Melanie Virtue, and signed by range state Ministers, donor Ministers, UNEP, UNESCO and COMIFAC. Vice President Ndombasi closed the IGM at 7.40 pm.

UPCOMING MEETINGS

2005 WORLD SUMMIT: The High-Level Plenary Meeting of the 60th Session of the UN General Assembly on the follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit will take place from 14-16 September 2005, at UN headquarters in New York. The meeting is expected to undertake a comprehensive review of the progress made toward the commitments articulated in the UN Millennium Declaration. The event will also review progress made in the implementation of the outcomes and commitments of the major UN conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields. For more information, contact: Office of the President of the General Assembly; tel: +1-212-963-2486; fax: +1-212-963-3301; Internet: http://www.un.org/ga/59/hl60_plenarymeeting.html

EIGHTH CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE CONVENTION ON MIGRATORY SPECIES: CMS COP-8 is scheduled from 16-25 November 2005, in Nairobi. For more information contact: UNEP/CMS Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-2409; fax: +49-228-815-2449; Internet: http://www.cms.int/

ELEVENTH MEETING OF THE CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY SBSTTA: The eleventh meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) will meet from 28 November to 2 December 2005, in Montreal, Canada. For more information contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: secretariat@biodiv.org; Internet: http://www.biodiv.org/doc/meeting.aspx?mtg=SBSTTA-11

FIRST MEETING OF PARTIES TO THE KYOTO PROTOCOL AND ELEVENTH CONFERENCE OF PARTIES TO THE UNFCCC: Scheduled for 28 November to 9 December 2005, in Montreal, Canada, the first Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (MOP-1) is taking place in conjunction with the eleventh session of the Conference of Parties (COP-11) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. For more information, contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail: secretariat@unfccc.int; Internet: http://unfccc.int/meetings/cop_11/items/3394.php

SECOND MEETING OF THE WORKING GROUP ON PROTECTED AREAS: This meeting is tentatively scheduled to take place from 5-9 December 2005. The event is being organized by the CBD Secretariat. For more information contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: secretariat@biodiv.org; Internet: http://www.biodiv.org/doc/meeting.aspx?mtg=PAWG-02

EIGHTH CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE CONVENTION ON BIODIVERSITY: CBD COP-8 is scheduled to meet from 20-31 March 2006, in Curitiba, Brazil. For more information contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: secretariat@biodiv.org; Internet: http://www.biodiv.org/doc/meeting.aspx?mtg=COP-08


The Great Apes Survival Bulletin is a publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) <info@iisd.ca>, publishers of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin � <enb@iisd.org>. This issue was written and edited by Alexis Conrad, Langston James �Kimo� Goree VI, and Leonie Gordon. The Digital Editor is Langston James �Kimo� Goree VI. The editor is Soledad Aguilar <soledad@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James �Kimo� Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. Funding for coverage of this meeting has been provided by UNEP. IISD can be contacted at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada; tel: +1-204-958-7700; fax: +1-204-958-7710. The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in other publications with appropriate academic citation. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists (ASCII and PDF format) and can be found on the Linkages WWW-server at <http://www.iisd.ca/>. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 212 East 47th St. #21F, New York, NY 10017, USA.