EDITOR'S NOTE
Friday, 9 November 2007

October found delegates in multiple negotiating settings attempting to broaden and deepen the international biodiversity regime.

The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), in its “CMS October Pentathlon,” which refers to its bid to negotiate five new regional species agreements, brought the biodiversity regime a number of new rules and decision making procedures. During the Western African Talks on Cetaceans and Their Habitats (WATCH), a new Memorandum of Understanding for the protection of the Eastern Atlantic populations of the Mediterranean Monk Seal was concluded, alongside the development of a draft agreement for the conservation of small cetaceans and manatees of Western Africa. Negotiations towards an agreement on migratory birds of prey in Africa, Asia and Europe, a meeting of Pacific and Indian Ocean range states in Abu Dhabi on implementation of a CMS agreement protecting the dugong (sea cow) throughout its southern ocean, and conclusion of the Paris Agreement on the conservation of gorillas and their habitats (the Gorilla Agreement) completed the picture (http://www.iisd.ca/cms/brief/CMS_Gorilla_Agreement_Brief.html).
Lynn Wagner, Ph.D.
Editor, Linkages Update
and MEA Bulletin

Delegates convened in Montreal, Canada, for three meetings under the auspices of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to carry on their discussions about norms and decision making procedures for key elements in the Convention and its protocol on Biosafety: access and benefit-sharing (ABS, http://www.iisd.ca/biodiv/abs5/) and traditional knowledge (http://www.iisd.ca/biodiv/wg8j-5/) as they relate to the Convention, and liability and redress in the context of the Cartagena Protocol (http://www.iisd.ca/biodiv/wglr4/). While the meeting on ABS did not yield a concrete outcome, participants agreed that future negotiations would benefit from the improved understanding of the issue and other parties’ expectations developed during the meeting. On liability and redress, delegates welcomed the substantive progress achieved, while acknowledging that much work remains to be done before they will be able to deliver an agreement.

Many delegates flew directly from the three weeks of CBD talks to either the Fifth Trondheim Conference on Biological Diversity (http://www.iisd.ca/sd/tcb5/) or the second session of the Governing Body (GB-2) of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR) (http://www.iisd.ca/biodiv/itpgrgb2/). While the Trondheim Conference, an initiative of Norway in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme, offered participants the opportunity to think of the biodiversity regime in relation to the broader sustainable development agenda, including its relationship to climate change, the ITPGR Governing Body reminded observers that government commitment (in this case, in the form of the Treaty budget) to their agreements’ principles remains a yardstick for regime success.

The interplay between the biodiversity and the broader sustainable development regime, particularly in relationship to climate change and forests, and the (financing for) development agenda will continue to play out in the coming months and years. The upcoming ninth meeting of the CBD Conference of the Parties (COP) and the fourth Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol (MOP), to be held in May 2008 in Bonn, Germany, will be key for setting the CBD’s direction on several issues, with COP 9 marking the mid-point towards the 2010 deadline for the negotiation of the international ABS regime, and MOP 4 reviewing progress on liability and redress. Most of all, COP 9 will be the last opportunity to take measures towards achieving the CBD’s target to significantly reduce the current rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. We will continue to help you monitor delegates’ efforts to strengthen and increase the effectiveness of the CBD regime at these meetings.
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