HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE SECOND IUCN WORLD CONSERVATION CONGRESS
Delegates met in three Congress sittings throughout the day to address Commissions' mandates, the programme and budget, membership dues, membership policy and voting procedures. The Congress also considered and adopted numerous draft resolutions.
23rd SITTING OF THE CONGRESS
COMMISSIONS' MANDATES: Martin Holdgate, Chair of the Programme Committee, introduced a motion to amend wording on structure and organization of Commissions' mandates (CGR2.GOV001). Members adopted the amended mandates.
PROGRAMME AND BUDGET FOR THE PERIOD BETWEEN THE 2ND AND 3RD WORLD CONGRESS: Sweden called for increased donations to the general programme. Maritta Koch-Weser, IUCN Director General, hoped donors would feel like shareholders, and underscored that the 3rd World Congress will report with clarity and transparency on the seven key result areas contained in the programme (CGR/2/2000/9 and CGR/2/2000/10).
MEMBERSHIP DUES 2002-2004 AND TECHNICAL REVIEW OF IUCN STATE MEMBERSHIP DUES TO TAKE EFFECT IN 2002: The US reaffirmed its zero nominal growth policy for the budget of international organizations, and opposed the three percent membership dues increase. The Sudanese Environmental Conservation Society and Bangladesh said the increase would deter NGOs from joining. The Finance and Audit Committee said a new methodology would be drafted for consideration at a future World Congress. Koch-Weser suggested creating a membership mutual assistance fund to assist developing countries. These documents (CGR/2/2000/12 and CGR/2/2000/13) were adopted.
DRAFT MEMBERSHIP GUIDELINES: Members took note of the guidelines (CGR/2/2000/14).
VOTING PROCEDURE: Delegates discussed Rule 81 of the Rules of Procedure. Martin Edwards, IUCN Election Officer, introduced proposed amended text (CGR2/2000/CRP.007) to streamline IUCN's voting procedure, particularly to change from ranked, preference voting to simply noting votes with an "X." Delegates debated whether to retain the option to abstain from voting (paragraph d). Regarding elections of three persons from several candidates (paragraph 81c), the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust proposed that the procedure be amended to state that members may vote for up to three preferred candidates. The amended text was adopted by a vote, retaining the abstention option.
FINANCES OF IUCN OVER THE 1996-2000 PERIOD: Members approved the document (CGR/2/2000/6).
APPOINTMENT OF EXTERNAL AUDITORS: Members approved the auditing firm Deloitte & Touche for external auditors (CGR/2/2000/11).
24th AND 25th SITTINGS OF THE CONGRESS
CONSERVATION RESOLUTIONS: On indigenous peoples, sustainable use of natural resources and international trade (CGR2.CNV026 Rev.2), Defenders of Wildlife opposed language urging governments to put sustainable use principles into action and to eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade in natural products derived from non- endangered species, as this could compromise IUCN's capacity to advise on CITES. The Africa Resources Trust said encouraging sustainable use is part of IUCN's mandate and supported the resolution. Members adopted the resolution by vote.
The US and Panama supported a resolution on unexploded ordnance contamination in sites of US military activities in Panama (CGR2.CNV027). The resolution was adopted by vote. Members also adopted a resolution on the protection of the Macal River Valley in Belize (CGR2.CNV028 Rev.1).
The resolution on conservation of the Kaisho Forest, Japan (CGR2.CNV017) was adopted, including amended language proposed by Defenders of Wildlife to ensure that the 2005 World Exposition in Japan be conducted in an environmentally sensitive manner.
The following resolutions were adopted with minor amendment: conservation of dugong, Okinawa woodpecker and Okinawa rail in and around Okinawa Island (consolidated CGR2.CNV004 and CGR2.CNV005 Rev.1); and on establishment of an ecological corridor in the Americas (CGR2.CNV029).
PROGRAMME RESOLUTIONS: On protected areas of international importance in the Alps and the Mediterranean (CGR2.PRG024 Rev.1), Adrian Phillips, WCPA Chair, proposed language noting ongoing collaboration between WCPA and CEL. The resolution was adopted as amended.
On saving the last wild rivers of Europe (CGR2.PRG025), a delegate from a Polish NGO, with Nick Robinson, CEL, proposed amended text urging IUCN to review and, if necessary, promote the development of an international classification of river and river-valley categories. The resolution was adopted as amended.
On conserving the Panama Canal watershed (CGR2.PRG030), Asociación Nacional para la Conservación de la Naturaleza requested inclusion of text indicating that the decision to widen the Panama Canal has not been finalized. Panama opposed. Delegates later considered a revised text (CGR2.PRG030 Rev.1) that invites Panama to undertake a participatory process to carry out studies on the expansion of the Panama Canal. Circulo de Estudios Cientificos Aplicados noted that all textual changes were made at the Panamanian government's request. Panama noted their intention to abstain from a vote. The resolution was adopted.
On impacts of military activities on the environment and indigenous peoples' communities in the Arctic (CGR2.PRG033 Rev.1), the Russian Federation requested that language referring to impacts from World War II and the Cold War be deleted, since ecological ramifications of military activity are not confined to these events. The resolution was adopted.
The resolutions on the Spratly Island Group Marine Sanctuary (CGR2.PRG035) and the conservation of world areas of continental importance for the protection of freshwater and wildlife (CGR2.PRG051) were withdrawn.
On support for environmental defenders (CGR2.PRG044 Rev.1), the Sierra Club, supported by the US, proposed amended text discouraging harassment or persecution of environmental advocates and environmental organizations using all appropriate means. The motion was adopted as amended.
The motion towards best practice in mining (CGR2.PRG052) was originally considered with the motion on protection and conservation of biological diversity of protected areas from the negative impacts of mining and exploration (CGR2.CNV025 - previously adopted). In discussion involving several delegates, it was agreed to amend the paragraph from this motion referring to the use of best practice in all aspects of mineral extraction to the previously adopted motion (CGR2.CNV025). The remainder of the programme motion was withdrawn.
On Antarctica and the Southern Ocean (CGR2.PRG034 Rev.2), Koch- Weser questioned the request that the Director General "ensure" a balanced and effective set of Antarctic-related activities. Alternative text stating "seek to ensure a set of effective IUCN related activities" was agreed to and the resolution was adopted.
Regarding corruption in the forest sector (CGR2.PRG046 Rev.1), the US questioned IUCN's comparative advantage in combating illegal logging and trade, and noted a high-level conference on enforcing forest laws and regulations scheduled for early 2001.
Peru opposed referring to regions troubled by corruption, preferring reference to where corruption poses an obstacle. Mexico suggested text urging States and corporations to prepare a code of conduct for sustainable forestry management. Others noted existing codes of conduct, with the International Council of Environmental Law highlighting conflicts between existing codes and certification systems. Holdgate suggested, and delegates supported, that codes of conducts be perfected and that States and corporations abide by them. The resolution was thus adopted.
On cooperation among international and national participants in conservation programmes (CGR2.PRG045), the Sierra Club suggested adding language recognizing the efforts of local community and regional groups in addition to national efforts, and it was adopted as amended.
On a resolution regarding land use policies and legal tools for coastal conservation (CGR2.PRG047 Rev.2), Lawyers for a Green Planet requested that reference to indemnification - in relation to an operative paragraph dealing with procedural means of transferring rights to the public maritime domain - be deleted, as it could suggest support of the wise use movement. With this and other minor revisions the resolution was adopted.
Protracted discussions during afternoon and evening sessions on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and biodiversity (CGR2.PRG038 Rev.1) focused on two issues: the precautionary approach versus principle and the IUCN method for addressing GMOs. Canada, supported by others, requested that the precautionary approach, as it appears in Agenda 21, be reflected in the resolution. Lawyers for a Green Planet, with the Sierra Club, supported reference to the precautionary principle. Germany, and others, supported language requesting the Director General to set up a structure to provide leadership on GMO work. Others objected, citing fiscal implications. The final version contains "approach" in a preambular paragraph and "principle" in the operative section, and requests the Director General to explore the scope for an IUCN contribution to the GMO issue. The resolution was adopted.
On promoting organic agriculture to enhance biodiversity (CGR2.PRG039 Rev.1), Canada suggested textual changes on a working group to study the "contribution" of organic agriculture, but not to "promote" organic agriculture. Australia noted its opposition to language on multi-functionality. The resolution was adopted.
The following resolutions were adopted without substantive debate: responding to the recommendations from the World Commission on Dams (CGR2.PRG011 Rev.1); illegal and/or unsustainable trade of wildlife species among and from the Mekong riparian countries (CGR2.PRG020 Rev.1); marine protected areas in the Baltic Sea (CGR2.PRG022); IUCN temperate, boreal and southern cold temperate forests programme in Russia (CGR2.PRG026 Rev.1); conservation of plants in Europe (CGR2.PRG027 Rev.1); nature conservation on the Guyana Shield (CGR2.PRG032); invasive alien species (CGR2.PRG037 Rev.1); trade liberalization and the environment (CGR2.PRG040 Rev. 1); multilateral and bilateral financial institutions and projects impacting on biodiversity and natural features (CGR2.PRG041 Rev.2); poverty reduction and environmental conservation (CGR2.PRG043 Rev.1); incidental capture of marine turtles by pelagic longline fisheries (CGR2.PRG048 Rev.2); pirate fishing and seabird mortality from longlining in the Southern Ocean and adjacent waters (CGR2.PRG049 Rev.1); ocean pollution by oil (CGR2.PRG050 Rev.1); preparation and adoption of guidelines for oil, gas and mineral exploration and exploitation in arid and semi-arid zones (CGR2.PRG053 Rev.1); natural resource security in situations of conflict (CGR2.PRG054 Rev.1); conservation of mountain ecosystems in Europe (CGR2.PRG023 Rev.1); an international academy of environmental law (CGR2.PRG012 Rev.1); strengthening IUCN's use of its Commissions (CGR2.PRG001 Rev.2); IUCN's work in the Arctic (CGR2.PRG004 Rev.2); climate change, biodiversity and the IUCN programme (CGR2.PRG005 Rev.2); actions for implementation of the CCD (CGR2.PRG009 Rev.1); strategic information management (CGR2.PRG010 Rev.1); preparing for Rio+10 (CGR2.PRG013 Rev.1); African black rhinoceros (CGR2.PRG017 Rev.1); and Asia's major rivers (CGR2.PRG019 Rev.1).
The following were adopted with minor amendment: unsustainable commercial trade in wild meat (CGR2.PRG055 Rev.1), with an amended title suggested by the Centre for Russian Environmental Policy, removing reference exclusively to human consumption of wild meat; and ecological management issues relating to large dams (CGR2.PRG056), including amended text referencing effects on ecosystem integrity and sharing information with local communities and institutions.
GOVERNMENT RESOLUTIONS: The sponsor of the motion on priority considerations in the overall Quadrennial programme (CGR2.GOV001), the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, withdrew the motion. The mandate for the Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) (CGR2.GOV002 Rev.1) was adopted, without text on funding over and above the Commission Operations Fund. The resolution on IUCN arid and semi-arid lands programme (CGR2.GOV003 Rev.1) was also adopted.
On establishing an Arab region and Arabic as an official language (CGR2.GOV006 Rev.1), L'Association Tunisienne pour la Protection de la Nature et de l'Environement and the Iran Centre for Sustainable Development opposed the creation of an Arab region. Robinson recalled that members have the authority to organize inter-regional committees. Holdgate proposed a new paragraph on requesting the IUCN to "review the possibility of creating an Arab region" and suggested maintaining the paragraph on measures toward designating Arabic as an official IUCN language. The resolution was adopted as amended.
LAUNCH OF THE GLOBAL YOUTH REPORTERS PROGRAMME
IUCN presented its Global Youth Reporters Programme, a centerpiece of its Global Biodiversity Youth Awareness Campaign. Twelve 17- year-old trainee reporters from around the world and seven young Jordanians have attended the Congress with the aim of preparing thematic feature stories dealing with various aspects of the environment. A special website has been created for this project: www.iucn.org/info_and_news/gyrp.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
26th CONGRESS SITTING: The 26th Sitting of the Congress will take place at 8:00 am in the Cultural Palace to complete consideration of resolutions and to approve the 1996-1999 Auditor's Report, appoint auditors, hear the Programme Committee Chair's Report and adopt the programme and budget for the period between the 2nd and 3rd Conservation Congresses.
CLOSING CEREMONY: The closing ceremony will take place at 2:00 pm in the Cultural Palace.
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