Biodiversity and Wildlife
UN SEMINAR ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AIMS TO PROTECT THEIR RIGHTS
A UN-backed expert seminar on treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements between States and indigenous peoples was held from 15-17 December 2003, in Geneva, Switzerland.
The seminar opened with a call to learn from history in a bid to elaborate new treaties to safeguard indigenous rights. Addressing the expert gathering, the Acting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Bertrand Ramcharan, noted that agreements – often unwritten – have traditionally established a wide range of rights concerning land and resources. Known as “historic treaties,” these accords are viewed by many indigenous people as the basis for their claims. He asked participants to consider what lessons can be drawn from historic treaty-making to elaborate new accords between States and indigenous peoples, and suggested that experts explore how disputes are currently being handled in different countries. More information is available at: http://www.unhchr.ch/indigenous/treaties.htm
Ad Hoc Working Group on Article 8(j)
The third meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Inter-Sessional Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) met from 8-12 December 2003, in Montreal, Canada.
Approximately 240 participants attended the meeting, representing 84 governments, as well as indigenous and local community groups, UN agencies, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations, academia and industry.
Delegates at the third meeting of the Working Group considered and adopted nine recommendations on: the integration of the work programme on Article 8(j) into the CBD thematic areas; progress in the implementation of the work programme; recommendations from the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues; genetic use restriction technologies; elements for a sui generis system for the protection of indigenous and local communities' knowledge, innovations and practices; participatory and communication mechanisms for the effective involvement of indigenous and local communities in matters related to the objectives of Article 8(j); draft guidelines for the conduct of cultural, environmental and social impact assessments regarding developments proposed to take place on, or which are likely to impact on, sacred sites and on lands and waters traditionally occupied or used by indigenous and local communities; the composite report regarding the knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities; and technology transfer and cooperation. The recommendations adopted by the Working Group will be forwarded to the seventh meeting of the CBD Conference of the Parties (COP-7), to be held from 9-20 February 2004, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The meeting was held in a constructive and efficient spirit, which was acknowledged by many during the closing Plenary. Expected stalemates were encountered regarding the role of international and national law and the recognition of customary law with regard to sui generis systems. However, the adoption of the Akwé: Kon guidelines on impact assessments, recommendations for concrete steps to increase indigenous participation in the CBD process, and proposed elements for sui generic systems for the protection of traditional knowledge bode well not only for the future of the Article 8(j) Working Group, but also for the implementation of the Convention. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin's
coverage of this meeting is available at: http://www.iisd.ca/biodiv/wg8j-3/
Second meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-Sharing
The second meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) met from 1-5 December 2003 in Montreal, Canada.
Approximately 280 participants attended the meeting, representing 91 governments, as well as UN agencies, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), indigenous and local community groups, academia and industry.
Delegates adopted six recommendations on: reports on experience with the Bonn Guidelines; the international regime on ABS; use of terms; other approaches, as set out in decision VI/24 B on other approaches for implementing the CBD ABS provisions; measures to ensure compliance with prior informed consent (PIC) and mutually agreed terms (MAT); and capacity building. The Working Group's recommendations will be forwarded to CBD COP-7, which will be held from 9-20 February 2004, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The meeting was charged with the significant task of paving the way for COP-7 negotiations on steps to develop an international ABS regime. Although much time and effort was devoted to debating the regime's process, nature, scope, elements and modalities, delegates admitted that a heavily bracketed text was the best that could be achieved at such an early stage. While discussions on an international regime overshadowed the other topics, delegates expressed satisfaction with the recommendation on compliance measures for PIC and MAT, which, although not clarifying the relationship with, and the role of, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and leaving open the debate on an international certificate of origin or legal provenance, provides for steps to move forward. The recommendation on capacity building and the expert workshop's draft action plan was also welcomed as concrete outcomes for the implementation of CBD ABS-related provisions. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin's
coverage of this meeting is available at: http://www.iisd.ca/biodiv/abs-wg2/
Preparatory experts meeting for an intergovernmental meeting on great apes and the Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP)
Under the auspices of UNEP and UNESCO, coordinators of the Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP), an experts meeting was held in Paris, France from 26-28 November 2003, aiming to draw up a survival plan for great apes.
This event was held as a preparatory experts meeting for en intergovernmental meeting on great apes planned for the end of 2004. Representatives from the 23 great ape home range States in Africa and South-East Asia, as well as donor governments, UN agencies, NGOs and other GRASP partners were informed that $25 million is urgently needed to mitigate the high risk of extinction that the world's remaining gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orang-utans face in the immediate future or at best within 50 years.
As noted by Klaus Töpfer, UNEP Executive Director, “the clock is standing at one minute to midnight for the great apes, animals that share more than 96 percent of their DNA with humans. If we lose any great ape species we will be destroying a bridge to our own origins and with it part of our own humanity.” For information on the meeting, see the meeting's website
, UNEP Press Release
, and UNEP report on “Great Apes – the Road Ahead.”
Ninth Meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice of the Convention on Biological Diversity
Approximately 600 participants attended the 9th Meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which convened from 10-14 November 2003, in Montreal, Canada.
SBSTTA-9 delegates addressed an ambitious agenda, including two main themes for discussion, protected areas, and technology transfer and cooperation. They adopted 16 recommendations on: protected areas; technology transfer; genetic use restriction technologies; biodiversity and climate change; monitoring and indicators; the Global Taxonomy Initiative; the integration of outcome-oriented targets into the CBD's programmes of work; outcome-oriented targets for the Global Strategy on Plant Conservation; mountain biodiversity; sustainable use; perverse incentives; invasive alien species; guidelines for implementing the ecosystem approach; and progress reports on implementation. The recommendations will be forwarded to the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD (COP-7) to be held from 9-20 February 2004, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Among the meeting's highlights, SBSTTA-9 delegates adopted proposed elements for programmes of work on protected areas and technology transfer, as well as mechanisms for reviewing implementation and for integrating outcome-oriented targets into the CBD's work programmes. The meeting also welcomed the joint-NGO Pledge to provide and mobilize financial and technical support for the work programme on protected areas. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin
report on this meeting is available at: http://www.iisd.ca/biodiv/sbstta9/
2003 Session of WIPO Assemblies
Bringing together the 179 member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), as well as some intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, the WIPO 2003 Assemblies met from 22 September to 1 October 2003, in Geneva, Switzerland, to review the organization's activities over the past year and agree on its agenda for the next.
The meeting's highlights included: approval of the 2004-2005 programme and budget by consensus; four studies on the effect of the patent system on developing countries; and amendments to streamline and simplify WIPO's governance and constitutional structure and reinforce the transparency and efficiency of the organization.
Regarding the WIPO's Intergovernmental committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC), the General Assembly decided to extend its mandate, which requires the IGC to accelerate its work and focus on the international dimension of intellectual property and genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore. Among the most contentious points was the possible outcome of the IGC's work that should be included in the mandate. Over disagreement on whether the outcome should be a legally binding instrument or not, members agreed on vague language saying “no outcome of its work is excluded, including the possible development of an international instrument or instruments.”
More information on this meeting is available at:
WIPO Press Release, 1 October 2003
WIPO Press Release on IGC-related outcomes, 29 September 2003
ICTSD reporting, 3 October 2003
FIFTH WORLD PARKS CONGRESS - BENEFITS BEYOND BOUNDARIES
The Vth IUCN World Parks Congress (WPC) convened in Durban, South Africa, from 8-17 September 2003 under the overarching theme of “Benefits beyond Boundaries.” More than 2,700 participants attended the Congress, organized by IUCN – the World Conservation Union every ten years.
Participants addressed gaps within protected area (PA) systems by identifying under-represented ecosystems, defined tools to improve management effectiveness, sought new legal arrangements, and identified partnerships.
The Congress produced several outcomes. The three main Congress Outputs are: the Durban Accord and Action Plan, consisting of a high-level vision statement for PAs, and an outline of implementation mechanisms; 32 recommendations, approved by workshops during the Congress; and the Message to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Other outcomes include: the UN List and State of the World's Protected Areas, a global report on the world's PAs; a Protected Areas Learning Network (PALNet), a web-based knowledge management tool for PA managers and stake-holders; and specific outputs on Africa's PAs, including a recommendation on Africa's PAs and the Durban Consensus on African Protected Areas for the New Millennium. During the Congress, new PAs were announced in countries such as Madagascar, Senegal and Brazil, covering 200,000 sq km, and a total amount of US$ 35 million was pledged for conservation both on land and sea.
WPC highlights included heated debates between representatives of the extractive industries, conservationists and indigenous peoples, as well as discussions on, inter alia, linkages in the landscape and seascape, PA governance, PA financial future and evaluation of PA management. WPC discussions reflected: the importance of addressing the needs of people residing in and around PAs, and the need for those people's participation in PA management; the recognition that PAs provide valuable ecosystem services; and the need for providing tools, guidelines, training and resources for PA managers. For Sustainable Developments' summary report and web coverage on this meeting, visit: http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/sd/worldparksV/
18TH SESSION OF THE GLOBAL BIODIVERSITY FORUM: BIODIVERSITY, TRADE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Organized by IUCN, the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), and the Mexican Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, among others, the 18th session of the Global Biodiversity Forum (GBF-18) brought together 140 participants to discuss the interlinkages between trade and biodiversity from 5-7 September in Cancun, Mexcio.
Three workshops addressed: trade and sustainable livelihoods; risk, precaution and biosecurity; and the relationship between the CBD and TRIPs. All workshops raised concerns over the impacts of trade liberalization on biodiversity conservation and use. For ICTSD's synopsis of the meeting, see: http://www.ictsd.org/biores/03-09-08/story1.htm
. For more information on the GBF see: http://www.gbf.ch
6 September 2003: The sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-6) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and Mitigate the Effects of Drought in those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, particularly in Africa (UNCCD) took place at the Palacio de Convenciones in Havana, Cuba.
The meeting commenced on 25 August and concluded on 6 September 2003. The COP was attended by 12 Heads of State and Government, approximately 170 Parties, five observer States, 33 UN agencies and intergovernmental organizations, as well as 147 non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Parties convened in informal consultations and plenary sessions of the Committee of the Whole (COW), Committee on Science and Technology (CST), and the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC). The COP also included two open dialogue sessions with NGOs and governments, and a High Level Special Segment that adopted the “Havana Declaration of Heads of State.”
Progress was made on a number of issues including: the designation of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) as a financial mechanism of the UNCCD; activities for the promotion and strengthening of relationships with other relevant conventions and international organizations, institutions and agencies; enhancing the effectiveness of the CST; and follow-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). The COP adopted 31 decisions, of which eight were developed in the CST and six in the CRIC. For more information, see Earth Negotiations Bulletin's coverage of the meeting: http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/desert/cop6/
19TH MEETING OF THE CITES ANIMALS COMMITTEE
The 19th meeting of the CITES Animals Committee convened 130 participants representing governments, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations.
Delegates discussed 22 agenda items in Plenary on a range of topics including, inter alia: strategic planning; review of significant trade in specimens of Appendix II species; review of criteria for amendment of Appendices I and II; periodic review of animal species included in the Appendices; transport of live animals; conservation of and trade in tortoises and freshwater turtles; seahorses; sea cucumbers; sharks; hard corals; and trade in alien species.
In addition, 12 working groups were formed to address: review of the criteria for amendment of Appendices I and II; relationship between ex situ production and in situ conservation; control of captive breeding, ranching and wild harvest production systems for Appendix II species; process for registering operations; review of significant trade in specimens of Appendix II species; transport of live animals; trade in tortoises and freshwater turtles; seahorses; queen conch; sea cucumbers; hard corals; and sharks. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin report outlining these discussions in detail can be found at: http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/cites/CITA19/
13TH MEETING OF THE CITES PLANTS COMMITTEE
The 13th meeting of the CITES Plants Committee drew together some 75 participants representing governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.
The meeting's agenda included a range of topics, such as regional reports, checklists and nomenclature, strategic planning, significant trade and evaluation of the review of significant trade. Delegates also followed-up on COP-12 decisions on Harpagophytum spp., guaiacum spp. and aquilaria spp., and agreed on the terms of reference and schedule for the review of criteria for amending the Appendices I and II. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin report outlining these discussions in detail can be found at: http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/cites/CITP13/
26th Meeting of the CMS Standing Committee
Hosted by the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, the 26th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) was held from 17-18 July 2003 in Bonn, Germany.
The meeting addressed: collaboration with other international organizations; implementation of CMS Agreements and MOUs; the development of further agreements; and the development of strategic plans for the work of the Scientific Council and for the future implementation and development of the Convention. The Committee also reviewed the current status of the Trust Fund contributions, the budget and resources, and decided on work priorities of the Secretariat. More information is available at: http://www.wcmc.org.uk/cms
REGIONAL WORKSHOP ON LEARNING FROM COMMUNITY ACTION TO REALIZE THE MDGS: BIODIVERSITY AND HIV/AIDS
A regional workshop entitled “Learning from Community Action to Realize the MDGs: Biodiversity and HIV/AIDS” took place from 13-18 July 2003 in Nairobi, Kenya.
The event was attended by more than 120 representatives of grassroots and community groups, NGOs, indigenous organizations and local government from 11 African countries. The workshop, which was organized by UNDP among others, aimed to increase understanding and awareness of the importance of local community action for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Participants discussed HIV/AIDs, food security, water and land management and sustainable development issues, and had the opportunity to visit five communities undertaking innovating work to help realize the MDGs.
The workshop's outcomes include the Community Declaration, containing recommendations and a call for action to support community activities on the MDGs, and the learning exchange agreements, which would facilitate the exchange of knowledge and establish local community partnerships. More information is available at: http://www.undp.org/equatorinitiative/secondary/events/Kenya...
FIFTH SESSION OF WIPO'S INTERGOVERNMENTAL COMMITTEE ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND GENETIC RESOURCES, TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE AND FOLKLORE
The fifth meeting of WIPO's Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore, which took place from 7-15 July 2003 in Geneva, Switzerland, marked the end of the Committee's initial mandate.
Although delegates agreed on the importance of the continuance of its work for the next two years, they could not reach agreement on the content of its activities. With positions ranging from the continuation of the technical work and completion of documents, to the request for a negotiation process for a legally binding instrument, Member States did not reach consensus. The WIPO General Assembly, which is meeting in September 2003, will have to take the final decision. More information is available at: http://www.iucn.org/info_and_news/press/wipo.pdf
and the report of the meeting will be available at: http://www.wipo.int/globalissues/igc/documents/index.html#5
26TH SESSION OF THE CODEX ALIMENTARIUS COMMISSION
The 26th session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission convened from 30 June to 7 July 2003 in Rome, Italy.
The Commission is a subsidiary of both the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), and is the highest international body on food standards. Delegates from 127 member countries attended the session and adopted over 50 new safety and quality standards, including agreement on assessing the risks to consumers from foods derived from biotechnology, including genetically modified foods and irradiated products. The guidelines cover the scientific assessment of DNA-modified plants, such as maize, soya or potatoes, and foods and beverages derived from DNA-modified micro-organisms, including cheese, yogurt and beer. New quality standards adopted by the session include the specification that products marketed as “chocolate” must have a minimum of 35% cocoa solids, while “chocolate type” products must have a minimum of 20%.
The report of the meeting will be available at:
A UN news report of the meeting is available at:
Asian and African Ministerial Conferences Held in Preparation for UNCCD COP 6
July 2003: Two meetings at the ministerial level convened recently to prepare for the sixth session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
The African Ministerial Conference convened in Cotonou, Benin, from 3-4 July 2003, while the Second Asian Ministerial Conference on UNCCD Implementation convened from 10-11 June 2003 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Participants at both meetings discussed the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) and the first meeting of the UNCCD's Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC), progress on implementing their respective Regional Action Plans, and financing of implementation, especially in reference to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Operational Programme for land degradation.
Each Conference adopted a Ministerial Declaration, both of which, inter alia, called on the UNCCD Parties to adopt at COP-6 a decision for the GEF to become a “funding” or “financial” mechanism of the UNCCD.
For documents on the African Ministerial Conference, visit: http://www.unccd.int/regional/africa/meetings/meetings.php#r...
For documents on the Asian Ministerial Conference, visit: http://www.unccd.int/regional/asia/meetings/meetings.php#reg...
FOURTH TRONDHEIM CONFERENCE ON BIODIVERSITY: TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AND CAPACITY BUILDING
The Norway/UN Conference on Technology Transfer and Capacity Building, also known as the fourth Trondheim Conference on Biodiversity, was held from 23-27 June 2003 in Trondheim, Norway.
Hosted by the Norwegian Ministry of Environment in collaboration with UNEP, the Conference focused on practical and technical follow-up measures for technology transfer and capacity building as called for under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Approximately 240 participants from 96 countries, representing governments, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and scientific and academic institutions, attended the Conference.
Technology transfer and capacity building will be major themes at the ninth meeting of the CBD's Subsidiary Body on Science, Technological and Technical Advice (SBSTTA-9), to be held in November 2003, and at the seventh Conference of the Parties to the CBD (CBD COP-7), which will meet in February 2004. The fourth Trondheim Conference sought to provide input for these two meetings as well as to support UNEP's work in the development and implementation of an intergovernmental strategic plan for technology support and capacity building to developing countries.
The meeting's conclusions and recommendations will be incorporated into a Chair's report and Proceedings of the Conference and will be submitted to SBSTTA-9 as an information document and communicated to other relevant fora. The discussions leading to these conclusions contributed to achieving the Conference's objectives to: enhance the knowledge base on issues related to technology transfer and capacity building; identify more efficient ways and means of building capacity and developing sustainable and useful institutions; present lessons learned and identify success factors regarding technology transfer and capacity building; explore the role of traditional knowledge in capacity building and technology transfer; and provide a forum for cross-sectoral and multi-disciplinary dialogue between scientists and policy makers on issues related to the implementation of Articles 16-19 of the CBD, dealing with technology transfer, exchange of information, scientific cooperation and biotechnology. The Sustainable Developments report outlining these discussions in details can be found at: http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/sd/sdtro/
HELCOM/OSPAR Ministerial Meeting
Invited by the Federal Republic of Germany, the Baltic Marine Environment Commission (Helsinki Commission - HELCOM) and the Commission for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) held their first joint meeting at the ministerial level in Bremen, Germany from 25-26 June 2003.
This meeting aimed to improve the protection of the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic and the Baltic Sea. Participants stressed the need for: an ecosystem approach to the management of human activities that affect the seas; collaboration between all national and international authorities to protect the seas, in the context of the EU's European Marine Strategy; and joint action to protect threatened and declining species and habitats. Ministers also considered the environmental impact of fisheries and shipping.
Prior to this joint meeting, the Helsinki and OSPAR Commissions held separate Ministerial meetings. HELCOM addressed oil pollution and eutrophication symptoms, prioritizing safe of navigation and emergency-response capacity, curbing deliberate illegal oil discharges and examination of the possibilities of designating the Baltic Sea as a “Particularly Sensitive Sea Area” by the International Maritime Organization. The OSPAR Commission adopted an instrument to ensure that all offshore installations in its area have, by 2005, environmental management systems that meet the highest international standards, as well as a new monitoring and assessment strategy to prepare for the next overall assessment in 2010. It also identified species and habitats in need of protection, established the basis for a network of marine protected areas, and reviewed implementation progress of the Radioactive Substances Strategy. Members also agreed to set a deadline for taking action on the conservation and protection of cold water corals.
For more information, see:
The meeting's joint press statement is available at:
WWF's press release on the meeting is available at:
10th Regular Session of the Council of the NAFTA Commission on Environment and Cooperation
At the tenth regular session of the Council of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation held from 24-25 June 2003 in Washington DC, US, the Ministers of Environment of Canada, Mexico and the US adopted by resolution a Strategic Plan for North American Cooperation in the Conservation of Biodiversity.
The meeting further discussed freshwater management, trade in hazardous waste, chemicals' management, and indicators of children's health and the environment. For more information, see the CEC Ministerial Statement: http://www.cec.org/news/details/index.cfm?varlan=english&ID=...
International Ministerial Conference and Expo on Agricultural Science and Technology
The Ministerial Conference and Expo on Agricultural Science and Technology, sponsored by the US Department of Agriculture, the US Agency for International Development and the US Department of State, met from 23-25 June 2003 in Sacramento, CA, US, gathering more than 150 agriculture, science and environment ministers and high rank government officials from 112 countries.
A report on “21st Century Agriculture: a Critical Role for Science and Technology,” presented by Ann Veneman, US Secretary for Agriculture, served as the basis for discussions. The meeting was met by thousands of protesters opposed to genetically modified foods. A public rally was also organized by the NGOs Public Citizen and the Sacramento Coalition for Sustainable Agriculture.
For coverage and transcripts of the Conference proceedings, see:
The report on “21st Century Agriculture: A Critical Role for Science and Technology” can be accessed at:
A report on “Voices from the South” prepared by the Institute for Food and Development Policy can be accessed at:
More information on protests can be found at:
55TH ANNUAL MEETING OF THE INTERNATIONAL WHALING COMMISSION
The 55th Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission took place from 16-19 June 2003, in Berlin, Germany.
Among the meeting's accomplishments was the formalization of the Commission's role as a conservation body through Resolution 2003-1, the Berlin Initiative on Strengthening the Conservation Agenda of the IWC. With votes 25 in favor, 20 against and 1 abstention, it established a Conservation Committee to prepare and make recommendations on the IWC's conservation agenda.
The Commission also established an intersessional group to explore ways to move the Revised Management Scheme forward. Two proposals for sanctuaries in the South Pacific and South Atlantic failed to gain the necessary majorities and were rejected. The Commission rejected a proposal by Japan for catch limits of 150 minke whales and 150 Bryde's whales to be taken by coastal community-based whaling. On scientific permits, it passed a resolution urging countries to terminate or not to commence special permit catches, and another one asking Japan not to continue its special permit catches of Antarctic minke whales. For more information, visit: http://www.iwcoffice.org/2003_meeting.htm
and the meeting's final press release: http://www.iwcoffice.org/FinalPressRelease2003.htm
TRIPS COUNCIL MEETING
At the TRIPS Council meeting, which took place from 4-6 June 2003 in Geneva, Switzerland, discussions were held on the review of article 27.3(b) of the TRIPS Agreement, on intellectual property and traditional knowledge, and on the relation between TRIPS and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The meeting addressed a new paper by the Africa Group reiterating their demand that patents on all life forms and living processes be prohibited, that countries be able to use a sui generis system of their choice, and that traditional knowledge be better protected. The meeting also considered a paper by a group of developing countries elaborating on their earlier proposal that TRIPS require patent applications involving genetic materials or traditional knowledge to disclose the country of origin accompanied by evidence of prior informed consent and benefit sharing arrangements. Participants further discussed a paper by Switzerland that proposed a mechanism for enabling disclosure of source through the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). More information is available online from TWN Info Service on WTO Issues, 3 June 2003 at: http://www.twnside.org.sg/title/twninfo21.htm
2010:THE BIODIVERSITY CHALLENGE
“2010 – The Global Biodiversity Challenge” convened in London, UK, from 21-23 May 2003, coinciding with the International Day for Biological Diversity on 22 May.
Organized by the CBD Secretariat in partnership with the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Center and UNDP, the meeting was the second in a series dealing with the linkages between biodiversity, sustainable development and the UN Millennium Development Goals. The meeting's primary objective was to articulate a framework of action for achieving the 2010 biodiversity target – a target that was endorsed by the Hague Ministerial Declaration and by the World Summit on Sustainable Development's Plan of Implementation. The Sustainable Developments report outlining these discussions in detail is available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/sd/sdgbc/
Fourth open-ended workshop on sustainable use of biological diversity
The fourth open-ended workshop on sustainable use of biological diversity, which took place from 6-8 May 2003 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia was attended by government-nominated experts, representatives of international organizations, NGOs, and resource persons.
Participants addressed in plenary organizational issues, the workshop's mandate, the outcome of three previously held regional workshops on the issue, and a synthesis of case-studies and views submitted to the Secretariat. They established two working groups that considered practical ways for measuring biodiversity components and their decline, and further developed practical principles and operational guidelines for the sustainable use of biodiversity. The outcome of the workshop, the “draft Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines for the Sustainable Use of Biodiversity” will be submitted to CBD SBSTTA-9 in November 2003. The report of the workshop can be accessed at: http://www.biodiv.org/doc/meetings/suse/wssuse-04/official/w...
CMS International Meeting Concerning the MOU for the Conservation Measures for the Aquatic Warbler
An international meeting, held recently in Minsk from 29-30 April 2003, finalized and adopted a Memorandum of Understanding and Action Plan concerning Conservation Measures for the Aquatic Warbler under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species.
The two-day meeting was hosted and chaired by the Belarussian Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Leonty I. Khoruzhik, in cooperation with the CMS Secretariat, BirdLife International, Achova Ptushak Belarusi, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and UNDP. The MoU expresses countries' intentions to identify, protect and manage sites where the globally threatened Aquatic Warblers breed (central Europe and Western Siberia), rest on migration (Western Europe) or spend the winter (central west Africa). Annexed to the Memorandum is a detailed Action Plan summarizing the distribution, biology and threat status of the Aquatic Warbler, and describing precise actions to be taken by relevant countries. Conservationists see this as a significant milestone in the protection of this globally threatened bird and its habitat. More information is available online at: http://www.wcmc.org.uk/cms
FIFTH SESSION OF THE INTERIM COMMISSION ON PHYTOSANITARY MEASURES
Meeting from 7-11 April 2003 in Rome, Italy, the fifth session of the Interim Commission for Phytosanitary Measures (ICPM) of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) adopted several guidelines, including on the use of irradiation as a phytosanitary measure and on environmental risks in relation to pest risk analysis for quarantine pests.
It was noted that the negotiations generally went smoothly, however the use of terminology remained a challenge and a concern to delegates. The ICPM mainly utilizes terminology used under the Convention on Biological Diversity, and some delegates were concerned over the use of these definitions in different fora. The Commission made recommendations for future work at both national levels and between secretariats to clarify the terms used. For more information, visit: http://www.ippc.int/IPP/En/Archive/Icpm5/ICPM5.htm
18th session of the Codex Alimentarius Committee on General Principles
The 18th session of the Codex Alimentarius Committee on General Principles convened from 7-11 April 2003 in Paris, France.
The session approved a set of draft working principles for risk analysis. The draft principles were finalized by consensus and will be formally adopted by the Commission in July, to be applied by the numerous Codex committees that elaborate international food safety standards. Another set of principles for risk analysis, to be used by member governments, is in the early stages of discussion. The Committee further agreed to begin working on a definition of traceability/product tracing in a new working group open to interested countries. The status of the EC as a member of the Codex Alimentarius Commission was forwarded for clarification by the FAO Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters. For more information, visit: http://www.codexalimentarius.net/ccgp18/gp03_01e.htm
CBD INTER-SESSIONAL MEETING ON THE MULTI-YEAR WORK PROGRAMME
Held immediately after SBSTTA-8, the Open-ended Inter-sessional Meeting on the Multi-Year Programme of Work for the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the CBD up to 2010, met from 17-20 March 2003, in Montreal, Canada.
The meeting adopted recommendations on: the multi-year programme of work for the COP up to 2010; legal and socioeconomic aspects of technology transfer and cooperation; the outcome of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) as it relates to the Convention process; achieving the CBD and WSSD 2010 target to significantly reduce the current rate of biodiversity loss; an international regime for access and benefit sharing; and future progress evaluation in implementing the Convention and the Strategic Plan. MYPOW delegates successfully identified work priorities for the COP up to 2010, as well as initial steps towards developing an international regime on access and benefit sharing. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin report outlining these discussions in detail can be found at: http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/biodiv/mypow/
Eighth Meeting of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-8)
The eighth session of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-8) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) met from 10-14 March 2003, in Montreal, Canada.
SBSTTA-8 delegates adopted recommendations on: mountain biodiversity, the main theme of the meeting; inland waters; marine and coastal biodiversity; dry and sub-humid lands; biodiversity and tourism; and SBSTTA operations. The meeting did not fully complete deliberations on the components of a draft work programme on mountain biodiversity, and mandated a technical expert group to further consider the issue before SBSTTA-9. Delegates were particularly pleased with the meeting's outcomes on marine and coastal biodiversity, including recommendations on deep seabed genetic resources and on marine and coastal protected areas. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin report outlining these discussions in detail can be found at: http://www.iisd.ca/biodiv/sbstta8/
Fourth Meeting of the Codex Alimentarius Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Food Derived from Biotechnology
The Codex Alimentarius Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Food Derived from Biotechnology held its fourth meeting from 11-14 March 2003, in Yokohama, Japan.
The meeting adopted the draft Guideline for the conduct of food safety assessment of foods produced using recombinant DNA microorganisms, the last of three draft standards on biotech food, which will be submitted to the Codex Alimentarius Commission meeting in July. Delegates finally approved a two-fold safety assessment of both the GM microorganism and the food produced with its aid. More information on this meeting is available online at: http://www.ictsd.org/biores/03-03-21/index.htm
, while the meeting's documents are available at: http://www.codexalimentarius.net/ccfbt4/bt03_01e.htm
BIODIVERSITY AFTER JOHANNESBURG: THE CRITICAL ROLE OF BIODIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES IN ACHIEVING THE UN MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS
The meeting on Biodiversity after Johannesburg, organized by the Equator Initiative, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), The Nature Conservancy, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), convened from 2-4 March 2003 in London, UK.
Participants discussed the links between biodiversity, ecosystem services, sustainable development and the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This was the first of two meetings in London dealing with the linkages between biodiversity and sustainable development. Over 160 participants, representing governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, academia and the private sector discussed these issues in plenary and in working group sessions.
The plenary sessions provided an overview of the MDGs and biodiversity mandates arising from the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), and the Water, Energy, Health, Agriculture and Biodiversity (WEHAB) framework. To explore the interaction between biodiversity and the MDGs, participants convened in four working groups to discuss: poverty, hunger and biodiversity; health and biodiversity; water, sanitation, urban poverty and biodiversity; and MDG 8 on developing a global partnership for development. The final plenary summarized the meeting's recommendations, which will contribute to the second meeting on “Biodiversity after Johannesburg” and to the UN Millennium Project. The Sustainable Developments report outlining these discussions in detail can be found at: http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/sd/sdund/
Meeting of the interim Panel of Eminent Experts for the Establishment of the Global Conservation Trust
The interim Panel of Eminent Experts for the Establishment of the Global Conservation Trust, which operates within the framework of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, met for the first time on 25-26 February 2003 in Rome, Italy, under the chairmanship of Ambassador Fernando Gerbasi (Venezuela).
The Panel considered legal options and rules of governance of the Trust, and drafted ethical guidelines for the receipt, management and disbursement of funds. The Trust, spearheaded by the Future Harvest Centre of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and FAO, aims to conserve the world's seed varieties and protect crop diversity from natural disasters, war and other threats. While it seeks to raise an endowment of US$260 million, approximately US$25 million have already been committed by the governments of the United States, Switzerland, Egypt and Colombia, and the UN and Gatsby Foundations. More information on this meeting is available online at: http://ipgri-pa.grinfo.net/index.php?itemid=61
Third UNEP Working Group Meeting on Economic Instruments
18 February 2003: Approximately 35 participants from government, academic and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations gathered on 17-18 February 2003 in Geneva, Switzerland for the Third UNEP Working Group Meeting on Economic Instruments.
The Working Group provides a platform to help define modalities for the use of economic instruments for environmental management and sustainable development. A key aim of the Group is to enhance policy coordination at the national level related to the design and use of economic instruments, including maximizing the net development gains from trade liberalization.
Participants discussed two papers: “Opportunities, Prospects and Challenges for the Use of Economic Instruments in Environmental Policy Making” and “The Use of Economic Instruments to Implement Selected Multilateral Environmental Agreements.” The “Opportunities” paper provides practical guidance on when economic instruments may be appropriate and effective, how to introduce them and how to assess and respond to their economic, social and environmental effects. Using the framework presented in the paper, a number of country projects on economic instruments that UNEP has commissioned were reviewed to provide insights into the potential country-level use of the methodology proposed.
The second paper was prepared in close collaboration between UNEP and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and Ramsar Convention Secretariats. It analyzes existing provisions in these Conventions and decisions of the Conferences of the Parties for the use of economic instruments, their implementation and relevant environment and trade implications. The meeting website contains links to the papers and to presentations made during the meeting, as well as a list of participants. For more information contact: UNEP DTIE Economics and Trade Branch; tel: +41-22-917-8243; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
; Internet: http://www.unep.ch/etu/etp/events/Economic_Instruments/2003_...
FIRST MEETING OF IOSEA MARINE TURTLE MOU SIGNATORY STATES
The first Meeting of the Signatory States to the Indian Ocean – Southeast Asia (IOSEA) Marine Turtle Memorandum of Understanding was held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 22-24 January 2003.
The meeting established an advisory committee, reviewed implementation of the Conservation and Management Plan, identified complementary regional initiatives, reviewed financial matters and discussed arrangements for the Memorandum Secretariat. Madagascar and the Seychelles signed the Memorandum during the meeting, bringing the number of Signatory States to 15.
Links to further information
First Meeting of the IOSEA Marine Turtle Signatory States website