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Biodiversity and Wildlife


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December 2008

CMS/ACCOBAMS MEETING ON MARINE ENVIRONMENT HELD

The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) together with its Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS) facilitated the International Summit on the Marine Environment, which convened from 9-11 December 2008, in Heraklion, Greece. Part of the Year of the Dolphin, participants agreed on first steps for urgent measures to stop the further degradation of marine ecosystems caused by overfishing in Greek waters. Draft recommendations will be submitted to the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs for implementation. Link to further information UNEP Press Release, 11 December 2008
ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT GROUP CONSIDERS CLIMATE NEUTRAL UN

The 14th Senior Officials Meeting of the Environment Management Group convened on 10 December 2008, in Poznan, Poland. Participants discussed: implementation of the 2007 commitment by the Chief Executives Board on moving towards a climate-neutral UN, including the development of a Climate Neutral Knowledge Management website that will document individual agency's greenhouse gas emissions and reductions; the cost implications and budgetary modalities of purchasing carbon offsets; and future EMG work, including a possible strategic process and the strategy for implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and the 2010 biodiversity targets. Regarding the issue of a climate-neutral UN, participants discussed the significant contributions of air travel to the UN's climate footprint. They also considered the Issue Management Group on a Climate Neutral UN's agreement for a common approach on whether to use the Radiative Forcing Index as a metric. Link to further information Meeting website
SECOND MEETING DISCUSSES INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION ON MIGRATORY SHARKS UNDER THE CMS

The second meeting on International Cooperation on Migratory Sharks (SHARKS II) under the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) convened from 6-8 December 2008, at UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy. The goal of the meeting was to reach agreement on the final form of the instrument to guide the management of migratory sharks, based on two drafts of a legally-binding instrument (LBI) and a non-legally-binding instrument (NLBI) prepared by the Convention on Migratory Species and Wild Animals Secretariat, in consultation with an Intersessional Steering Group on Migratory Sharks (ISGMS). SHARKS II agreed on an NLBI in the form of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for migratory shark conservation and adopted a “Statement on the Outcome of the Meeting.” SHARKS II revised the proposed draft MoU and informally considered draft elements for the plan of action that will be developed further by July 2009, by an Inter-Sessional Drafting Group to be chaired by the US. The MoU and its plan of action are expected to be finalized and adopted at SHARKS III, to be held in The Philippines. Among the meeting's most contentious issues was whether to limit the MoU's scope to the Basking, Great White and Whale Sharks that initially triggered interest in the instrument in 2005 or to include the Spiny Dogfish, Porbeagle and Shortfin and Longfin Mako Sharks that were listed on the CMS appendices at its ninth Conference of the Parties the previous week. SHARKS II agreed that the MoU will apply to the Basking, Great White and Whale Sharks, but the decision to include the other species was deferred to SHARKS III. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
CMS COP 9 CONCLUDES, LISTS SHARKS AND CHEETAH ON THE APPENDICES

The ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 9) to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) was held from 1-5 December 2008, in Rome, Italy. COP 9 was preceded by several associated meetings from 27-30 November: the first Meeting of the Parties (MOP1) to the Gorilla Agreement; the seventh UN Environment Programme (UNEP)/Global Environment Facility (GEF) Siberian Crane Wetlands Project Steering Committee meeting; the 34th CMS Standing Committee meeting; and the Aridland Mammals meeting. Delegates considered CMS COP 9 to be a successful meeting, touching upon a range of institutional, key policy and species conservation issues. The meeting adopted 17 resolutions and five recommendations. It listed 11 species on Appendix I of the Convention, including three dolphin species and the West African manatee, as well as the cheetah, with the exception of the populations of Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia for which quotas are in place under the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Species listed in Appendix II include the African wild dog, saiga antelope and several dolphin populations. Following intense negotiations, mako sharks, the porbeagle shark and the northern hemisphere population of the spiny dogfish were also listed on Appendix II. The proposal to list the saker falcon on Appendix I was eventually withdrawn, but a resolution was adopted that sets out the direction for future work on this species, and proposes listing it at COP 10 unless its conservation status improves significantly. Other highlights of the meeting included: the adoption of a modest but flexible core budget for the next triennium representing a 3.3% increase compared to the 2006-2008 budget; resolutions on climate change impacts on migratory species, ocean noise, by-catch and marine species; and the establishment of an intersessional process on the future shape of CMS, aiming to address a series of institutional issues. COP 9 was followed by the second Meeting to Identify and Elaborate an Option for International Cooperation on Migratory Sharks, held from 6-8 December. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
CBD EXPERT GROUP ADDRESSES ABS CONCEPTS AND TERMS

The group of technical and legal experts on concepts, terms, working definitions and sectoral approaches in the context of the international regime on access and benefit-sharing (ABS), negotiated in the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), met from 2-5 December 2008, in Windhoek, Namibia. According to its terms of reference, the expert group addressed: the different ways of understanding biological resources, genetic resources, derivatives and products and the implications of each understanding for the main components of the international regime; different forms of utilization of genetic resources in relation to sectoral and sub-sectoral activities; sector-specific characteristics of ABS arrangements; and the range of options and approaches for taking these different characteristics into account that may bring coherence to ABS-related practices in different sectors. Link to further information The report of the meeting

November 2008

CBD EXPERT GROUP ON BIODIVERSITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE CONVENES

The first meeting of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on Biodiversity and Climate Change of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) convened from 17-21 November 2008, in London, UK. The meeting focused on two key challenges: identifying the impacts of climate change on biodiversity, including recognizing vulnerable components of biodiversity; and further elaborating the positive and negative links between biodiversity and climate change mitigation. Links to further information The meeting's website CBD Executive Secretary statement
MEETING ON BIODIVERSITY AND INDUSTRY HELD IN PARIS

The European Platform for Biodiversity Research Strategy (EPBRS) week was held from 17-21 November 2008, in Paris, France, under the French Presidency of the EU. A meeting on biodiversity and industry was organized on 18 November 2008, to examine the current situation, biodiversity and corporate strategies, and compensation issues. During the meeting, a memorandum of cooperation was signed between CBD Executive Secretary Ahmed Djoghlaf and Bernard Delay, President of the Fondation pour la recherche sur la biodiversité. Links to further information Meeting's programme Speech by the CBD Executive Secretary (in French)
BRAZIL CONVENES INTERNATIONAL BIOFUELS CONFERENCE

The Government of Brazil convened an International Conference on Biofuels, from 17-21 November 2008, in São Paolo, Brazil. The Conference was organized under the theme “Biofuels as a Driving Force of Sustainable Development,” and sought to encourage international discussion about the challenges and opportunities of biofuels and related issues, such as energy security, climate change, sustainability of the production and use, innovation, and agricultural and industrial processing. The event was attended by participants from 92 countries as well as numerous non-governmental and private sector organizations. While no formal declaration was adopted, the summaries of Conference's plenary sessions suggest that participants broadly supported a number of statements, including: a 10% share of biofuels in transport worldwide is feasible; biofuels can significantly contribute to combating climate change; the current food, energy and financial crises provide an opportunity to revise standards of production and consumption, and boost the development of renewable and sustainable energy sources; biofuels can be a driver of rural development; innovation and technology development in all aspects of biofuel production and use will increase efficiency in biomass conversion; and a number of measures are necessary to create global market for biofuels, including their classification as environmental commodities under the World Trade Organization and the reduction of tariffs and other trade barriers. Links to further information Summary of President Lula's Speech Summaries of Plenary Sessions
CITES RHINO TASK FORCE TO TACKLE RHINO POACHING

The Rhinoceros Enforcement Task Force of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) held a meeting from 18-19 November 2008, in Nairobi, Kenya. Bringing together wildlife law enforcement officials from range, transit and consumer countries to facilitate the exchange of intelligence on rhino-related crimes, the meeting aimed to stop the escalation of rhino poaching and to break up criminal networks involved in the increasing illegal trade in their horns. In related CITES-enforcement news, Africa's largest international operation against wildlife crime has resulted in the arrest of 57 suspected illegal wildlife dealers and 1,000 kilos of ivory in coordinated raids across five African countries. Links to further information CITES press release, 17 November 2008 UN news release, 18 November 2008 Environment News Service, 17 November 2008
INTERNATIONAL MOUNTAIN BIODIVERSITY CONFERENCE FOCUSES ON CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS

The International Conference on Mountain Biodiversity, held from 16-18 November 2008 in Khumalatar, Lalitpur, in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, was hosted by the regional centre International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), in cooperation with IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, WWF-Nepal, Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment and UNESCO's Man and Biosphere Programme. The Conference discussed ways to fill the lack of systematic data regarding change in the Himalayan region, in order to develop a reliable picture of the present situation, and formulate approaches to respond. Participants also tackled the problems of biodiversity conservation by looking at how climate change is affecting mountain biodiversity, how biodiversity can best be managed for economic goods and ecosystem services from the mountains, and how to achieve long-term continuity in mountain research programmes from the many different organizations involved. The Conference was accompanied by two pre-conference workshops on Mountain Transboundary Protected Areas (10-14 November 2008), and Linking Geodata with Biodiversity Information (15-16 November 2008), and a post-conference workshop on a Research Strategy on Global Change in Mountain Biosphere Reserves (19 November 2008). Links to further information ICIMOD press release, 16 November 2008 ICIMOD press release, 17 November 2008 ICIMOD press release, 19 November 2008 ICIMOD press release, 20 November 2008 Message by the CBD Executive Secretary
WORLD CONFERENCE ON MARINE BIODIVERSITY HIGHLIGHTS CONCERNS AND CHALLENGES

Organized by the Spanish Council of Scientific Research and the European Network of Excellence on Marine Biodiversity, the first World Conference on Marine Biodiversity was held from 11-15 November 2008, in Valencia, Spain. The meeting adopted the Valencia Declaration – a plea for the protection of marine biodiversity. The declaration highlights that the: pace and scale of anthropogenic changes occurring in the oceans and the impact of these changes on marine biodiversity and ecosystems are cause for grave concern; emerging human activities, such as geo-engineering of the oceans to mitigate climate change, may deliver negative impacts to marine ecosystems; and deep sea ecosystems should be approached with an exceptionally high degree of precaution. Participating scientists urge that action be taken related to: integrated ocean management both within and beyond national jurisdiction; development of ecologically coherent networks of marine protected areas; enhancement of research efforts on marine biodiversity; and authorization of deep-sea fisheries only where evidence has been gathered that a stock can be exploited sustainably. Links to further information The meeting's website The Valencia Declaration EurekAlert, 10 November 2009
GLOBAL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES CONSULTATION ADOPTS STRATEGY ON REDD

The Global Indigenous Peoples Consultation on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) convened from 12-14 November 2008, in Baguio City, the Philippines. The consultation was organized by Tebtebba (Indigenous Peoples' International Centre for Policy Research and Education), the UN University Institute of Advanced Studies Traditional Knowledge Initiative, the UN REDD Programme and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat. Participants adopted a global indigenous peoples strategy on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. The strategy makes reference to a number of overarching principles, including a human-rights approach to all REDD activities, and the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples. With regard to international processes and organizations, recommendations address: coordinating and sharing information with the UN agencies, specialized bodies and initiatives that are considered relevant for implementing action on climate change and indigenous peoples; recognizing the close links between traditional knowledge, biodiversity and climate change, and ensuring close cooperation and more synergy between the CBD and UNFCCC on traditional knowledge and climate change, supporting the establishment of a working group on local-level adaptation with the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples; and establishing a working group/expert body on traditional knowledge and climate change under the joint liaison group of the CBD/UNFCCC/UNCCD. It is also recommended that the UN-REDD programme and other funders develop compliance guidelines, as well as a grievance and recourse mechanism, to ensure that indigenous peoples' rights are observed at the national and international levels. Links to further information The report of the meeting CBD Executive Secretary statement
MEETING CONSIDERS SCIENCE-POLICY PLATFORM ON BIODIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES

Held from 10-12 November 2008, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the Ad Hoc Intergovernmental and Multi-Stakeholder Meeting on an Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services considered the development of a platform to strengthen relations between knowledge holders on biodiversity and ecosystem services and actors involved in decision/policymaking processes. Link to further information IISD RS coverage, November 2008

October 2008

CMS HOLDS TECHNICAL MEETING ON SAIGA ANTELOPE

A meeting held from 29-31 October 2008, in Almaty, Kazakhstan, focused on implementation issues related to the Saiga Antelope Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which was developed in the framework of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and entered into force in 2006. The meeting assessed the status of the medium-term work programme 2007-2011, while a workshop assessed how individual saiga populations are currently being monitored, what optimal methodology should be used, and how such methods could be practically implemented. Link to further information CMS press release, 11 November 2008
TALKS CONTINUE ON TRIPS BIODIVERSITY AMENDMENT

The Council of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) met from 29-30 October 2008, in Geneva, Switzerland. Discussions focused on a register for geographical indications and a possible amendment of the TRIPS Agreement to require disclosure of origin of genetic resources in patent applications. India argued that amendments to the TRIPS Agreement are necessary to remedy the “inadequacy in the TRIPS Agreement to combat biopiracy and misappropriation of genetic resources and traditional knowledge.” India further expressed disappointment at the lack of progress on this issue, despite overwhelming support and technical work. Approximately 80 countries, over half of World Trade Organization member states, support amendment of the TRIPS Agreement to protect biodiversity and traditional knowledge better. During the meeting, Sri Lanka became an official co-sponsor of a 2006 document calling for mandatory disclosure of origin of genetic resources and traditional knowledge in patent applications, and evidence of prior informed consent and benefit-sharing. Link to further information IP Watch, 31 October 2008
MEDITERRANEAN MARINE TURTLE CONFERENCE EMPHASIZES THE VALUE OF REGIONAL COOPERATION

The Third Mediterranean Conference on Marine Turtles, which took place in Hammamet, Tunisia, from 20-23 October 2008, brought together field biologists, conservationists, government administrators and other professionals from all Mediterranean countries, involved in sea turtle research and conservation. The event was a joint initiative of: the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean; the Protocol on Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity; the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals; the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats; and IUCN's Marine Turtle Specialist Group, Mediterranean Region. During the conference, participants were presented with the most recent scientific findings and developments associated with sea turtle research management and conservation aspects in the Mediterranean region. Link to further information Conference website
NEW CMS MOU TO PROTECT MIGRATORY BIRDS OF PREY

A meeting held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, from 20-22 October 2008, resulted in agreement on a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and action plan on migratory birds of prey in Africa and Eurasia, in the framework of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). The MoU was signed by 28 countries. A new CMS coordinating unit will be established in Abu Dhabi to promote and monitor the new agreement as a UNEP initiative. Link to further information CMS press release, 23 October 2008
CMS SIGNS MoU ON BIRDS OF PREY

Organized by the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), a meeting held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, from 20-22 October 2008, resulted in agreement on a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and action plan on migratory birds of prey in Africa and Eurasia, in the framework of the CMS. The MoU was signed by 28 countries. A new CMS coordinating unit will be established in Abu Dhabi to promote and monitor the new agreement as a UNEP initiative. Link to further information CMS press release, 22 October 2008
WIPO COMMITTEE ON GENETIC RESOURCES AND TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE CONSULTATIONS TO CONTINUE

Held from 13-17 October 2008, in Geneva, Switzerland, the 13th session of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) ended with no agreement. Despite the encouragement of WIPO Director General Francis Gurry to move to concrete progress, two detailed analytical background papers from the secretariat, and a proposal from the African Group, positions remained largely unchanged from past IGC meetings. What stalled this week's meeting was disagreement on two competing proposals on future work: one submitted by the African Group early Monday morning, 13 October, and then revised following consultations with members, and one tabled by meeting Chair Rigoberto Gauto Vielman (Paraguay) at midday on Friday. The Chair's text adhered closely to a text circulated by France, which sources said was on behalf of the EU, in informal sessions earlier on Friday. Key disagreements were over the composition of the proposed three intersessional working groups, the timing of the sessions, and whether or not to make the three meetings concurrent. The three working groups would focus on the following issue areas: traditional knowledge; traditional cultural expressions;and genetic resources. Following the meeting's closure, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry and Chair Rigoberto Gauto Vielman said they would pursue efforts in the coming weeks to bridge differences on the way to move negotiations forward. Links to further information WIPO press release, 21 October 2008 IP Watch, 18 October 2008 All IP Watch articles on the meeting Meeting website
DELHI SUMMIT DECLARATION ADDRESSES INTERNATIONAL ABS REGIME

The Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, the President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and the President of South Africa, Kgalema Petrus Motlanthe, met in New Delhi, India, on 15 October 2008, for the 3rd Summit of the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Dialogue Forum. The Delhi Summit Declaration addresses a variety of global issues, including the Millennium Development Goals, sustainable development, climate change and food security. On biodiversity, the leaders stressed the importance of a timely and successful conclusion of the ongoing negotiations of a legally binding international regime on access to genetic resources and sharing of the benefits derived from their use and from associated traditional knowledge (ABS). They reaffirmed the urgent need for an adequate legal framework at the international level to prevent biopiracy, ensure that national rules and regulations on ABS are fully respected across borders and recognize the value of biological resources and of traditional knowledge as an additional tool to promote sustainable development. They recognized the positive role of the IBSA Forum in enhancing the coordination within the Group of Like Minded Megadiverse Countries, of which the three countries are members, in the context of ABS negotiations. The 4th IBSA Summit will be held in Brazil on 8 October 2009. Link to further information India's Ministry of External Affairs Press Release, 15 October 2008
NEW CMS MOU ON WEST AFRICAN MARINE MAMMALS SIGNED

During the second inter-governmental meeting on Western African and Macaronesian aquatic mammals (WATCH-Western African Talks on Cetaceans and their Habitats), which took place in Lomé, Togo, from 2-3 October 2008, 15 countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) to protect over 30 small cetacean species in an area that stretches from Macaronesia, through Morocco to South Africa. The new instrument contains two action plans to conserve marine species and will help facilitate transboundary cooperation by providing an international platform to negotiate and coordinate research and conservation measures. The countries that signed the agreement are Angola, Benin, Cape Verde, Chad, the Republic of Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Togo. Link to further information UNEP Press Release, 7 October 2008

September 2008

WIPO ASSEMBLIES TAKE NOTE OF IGC WORK

The General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) met from 22-30 September 2008, in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting appointed Australian national Francis Gurry as the next Director General of WIPO. He outlined his priorities for the future and called for “concrete outcomes” to negotiations relating to genetic resources, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. With regard to the work of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC), the General Assembly noted the work under the Committee on the analysis of gaps in the protection available for traditional cultural expressions/expressions of folklore and for traditional knowledge. Delegates also noted the IGC's decision to update and re-issue working documents on the protection of genetic resources for in-depth discussion at its next session, and the invitation for intersessional commentary on the issue of genetic resources. With a view to accelerating the Committee's work, in line with its mandate, the next session of the IGC, to be held from 13-17 October 2008, will consider establishing intersessional mechanisms to build on the progress achieved so far in a structured and focused manner. Member states also welcomed the further successful implementation of the WIPO Voluntary Fund for Indigenous and Local Communities, noting that it had significantly enhanced the depth and diversity of representation in the IGC process. During the meeting, developing countries, in particular the African Group, reaffirmed their long-standing demand for an international binding instrument to protect genetic resources, traditional knowledge and expressions of folklore, making reference to regional instruments recently concluded in Africa with this objective. Links to further information WIPO Press Release, 1 October 2008 Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, 2 October 2008 Bridges Trade BioRes, 3 October 2008
AFRICAN CONGRESS ADDRESSES BIOTECHNOLOGY FOR FOOD SECURITY

The first All Africa Congress on Biotechnology convened from 22-26 September 2008, in Nairobi, Kenya, under the theme “Harnessing the potential of biotechnology for food security and socioeconomic development in Africa.” The Congress adopted a “Nairobi Declaration,” which states, inter alia, that delegates are “resolved working towards advancement and development of biotechnologies that were significantly safer with less potential risks to the continent's population either environmentally or health wise and that the urge for biotechnology applications would be driven by Africa's determined demand and needs. The best example stated was the need for Africa to urgently adopt agricultural biotechnology to mitigate the impact of food insecurity on the continent and make agriculture a beneficial household enterprise for millions of families that rely on farming for their livelihoods.” Among the Congress recommendations was the formulation of regional biotechnology programmes and projects, the establishment of an African Biotechnology Trust Fund, and the establishment of a regional secretariat in Nairobi. Links to further information The Congress website SciDev.Net, 26 September 2008
AEWA MOP-4 ADOPTS AFRICAN INITIATIVE

The fourth Meeting of the Parties to the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement met from 15-19 September 2008, in Antananarivo, Madagascar. Among the meeting's main achievements were: the adoption of a budget that will allow the Secretariat to maintain its current level of staff and activities, with additional costs for interpretation and meeting travel cost support covered by funds from increased minimum annual contributions; and the adoption of a resolution on an African Initiative for the Conservation of Migratory Waterbirds and their Habitats in Africa, which illustrates the Agreement's increasing focus on Africa. The meeting also adopted: the Strategic Plan 2009-2017 and an enhanced national report format; conservation guidelines concerning impacts of infrastructure development-related disturbance and measures needed to help waterbirds adapt to climate change; and international single species action plans on the maccoa duck, Madagascar pond heron, white-winged flufftail, lesser flamingo, black-tailed godwit, Eurasian spoonbill and lesser white-fronted goose, the latter with a note that it will be kept under review and updated when new information becomes available. A Mauritian proposal to include 20 additional seabird species in Annex 2 of the Agreement was agreed. Other resolutions addressed: phasing out lead shot in wetlands; avian influenza; climate change and migratory waterbirds; hunting and trade legislation; re-establishment projects; and non-native species. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
MIGRATORY WATERBIRD CONFERENCE CONVENES IN MADAGASCAR

The fourth Meeting of the Parties (MOP4) to the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds, also known as the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), is meeting from 15-19 September 2008, in Antananarivo, Madagascar. The MOP4 agenda includes the implementation of the: Agreement and Action Plan; International Implementation Priorities 2006-2008; Communication Strategy; and African-Eurasian Flyways Global Environment Facility (GEF) Project. Discussions are also focusing on: phasing out lead shot in wetlands; avian influenza; climate change and migratory waterbirds; proposed amendments to the Annexes of the Agreement; Draft Single Species Action Plans; Draft Conservation Guidelines; establishment of an International Review Panel; and International Reviews on various technical matters, including the conservation status of migratory waterbirds in the Agreement area and the status of introduced non-native waterbird species. AEWA is a UNEP-backed agreement developed in the framework of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). According to a press release published by the AEWA Secretariat, a study to be presented to the meeting shows declines of 41% of migratory waterbird populations along their main migration routes in Africa and Eurasia. Links to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting AEWA press release

August 2008

IOSEA MARINE TURTLE MEETING HIGHLIGHTS COASTAL DEVELOPMENT AND HARMFUL FISHING ACTIVITIES

The Fifth Meeting of the Signatory States to the Convention on Migratory Species/Indian Ocean South East Asia (IOSEA) Marine Turtle Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was held in Bali, Indonesia, from 20-23 August 2008. The meeting brought together 27 country representatives to review the implementation of the conservation and management plan contained in the MoU, with a particular focus on coastal development issues and fisheries interaction with marine turtles. Ahead of the meeting, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) had reported mixed results in attempts to protect marine turtles in the region. The Agency said that while South Africa's Loggerhead turtle population has grown in the past 40 years, the numbers in eastern Australia and Madagascar have sharply declined. Recognizing progress made by signatory States in many areas, UNEP called for their increased support to international coordination efforts. Among the threats posed to the species, UNEP identified coastal development, harmful fishing gear, degradation of critical habitats on land and excessive harvesting of eggs and for meat. Link to further information UNEP press release, 20 August 2008

July 2008

FOLLOWING WTO MINISTERIAL COLLAPSE, FUTURE OF BIODIVERSITY ISSUES UNCERTAIN

Following the collapse of the 21-29 July 2008 WTO ministerial, the future of talks on a possible amendment of the TRIPS Agreement to include a requirement for disclosure of origin of genetic resources and/or associated traditional knowledge in patent applications remains uncertain. Intellectual property issues were reported to have been discussed consistently by key delegations during the ministerial, but never rose to the level of full negotiation, the main issues remaining agriculture and industrial goods. On the eve of the ministerial, an unprecedented coalition of developed and developing countries led by Brazil, the EU, India and Switzerland had presented “draft modalities” on three controversial intellectual property issues: disclosure of origin in patent applications, extension of geographical indications to all goods, and the establishment of a multilateral register for geographical indications for wines and spirits. The proposal to address these issues together in the horizontal negotiations on modalities in the industrial and agricultural sectors had been rejected by Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan and the US. According to the draft modalities, members would agree, prior to official negotiations on the issue, to amend the TRIPS Agreement so that all patent applications would be required to disclose the origin of genetic resources and/or associated traditional knowledge used in the product in question. Patent applicants would also have to provide proof of prior informed consent and benefit-sharing. Links to further information IP Watch, 31 July 2008 IP Watch, 29 July 2008 ICTSD Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, 16 July 2008
CITES STANDING COMMITTEE CONCLUDES, DESIGNATES CHINA AS AN IVORY TRADING PARTNER

The 57th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) convened in Geneva, Switzerland, from 14-18 July 2008. The meeting addressed the CITES Strategic Vision for 2008-2013; financial matters; review of the scientific committees; and trade and conservation issues in species including great apes, elephants, tigers, rhinoceroses, sturgeons, ramin and bigleaf mahogany. The Committee adopted a number of recommendations, including on: development of indicators; costed programme of work for 2009-2011; review of the status of the elephant, trade in its specimens and the impact of the legal trade; and designation of China as an ivory trading partner. Many intersessional working groups were established to carry out work on, inter alia: CITES and livelihoods; introduction from the sea; the Monitoring of Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) programme; decision-making mechanism for authorizing ivory trade; intensive operations breeding tigers on a commercial scale; review of the scientific committees; cooperation between parties and promotion of multilateral measures; trade in crocodilian specimens; and purpose codes on CITES permits and certificates. These working groups are expected to report back to the next meeting of the Standing Committee in July 2009. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting

June 2008

WTO MEMBERS STILL DIVIDED ON BIODIVERSITY-RELATED ISSUES

Issues related to a possible amendment of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to be in line with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) remained contentious at the TRIPS Council meeting held on 17 June 2008. Such amendment would require the disclosure of origin of biological resources or traditional knowledge in patent applications, but countries disagree over whether this amendment is the most effective way to stop the misappropriation of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge. Countries also disagreed over the issue of “parallelism,” which refers to the question of whether certain intellectual property issues, including disclosure, should be included in forthcoming horizontal negotiations on market opening in the agricultural and industrial sectors. Proponents of disclosure and parallelism, including most developing countries, emphasized that their proposal on disclosure is supported by over two-thirds of the members of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and urged the Council to proceed with text-based negotiations. The Philippines and South Africa spoke in favor of disclosure but against parallelism. Opponents of both parallelism and disclosure, including Argentina, Australia, Canada, Korea, Japan, Singapore and the US, argued that addressing controversial intellectual property issues would jeopardize the negotiations on agriculture and industrial products. The TRIPS Council also discussed the issue of granting observer status to the CBD, and noted that consultations on this matter will be held with the CBD Secretariat. Links to further information Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, 18 June 2008 IP Watch, 9 June 2008 IP Watch, 10 June 2008

May 2008

CBD COP 9 OPENS IN BONN: BIOFUELS, FORESTS AND ACCESS AND BENEFIT-SHARING HIGH ON THE AGENDA

Immediately following COP/MOP 4, the ninth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 9) opened on 19 May 2008 and will continue until 30 May. During the two-week meeting, the COP will consider: agricultural biodiversity, including biofuels; the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation; invasive alien species; forest biodiversity; incentive measures; the ecosystem approach; progress in implementation of the Strategic Plan and towards the 2010 target and relevant Millennium Development Goals; and financial resources and the financial mechanism. Other substantive and strategic issues to be addressed include: access and benefit-sharing; Article 8(j) and related provisions; biodiversity and climate change; protected areas; marine and coastal biodiversity; and cooperation with other conventions and engagement of stakeholders. The meeting will also address administrative matters and the budget for the biennium 2009-2010. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of CBD COP 9
CBD COP 9 ADOPTS THIRTY-SEVEN DECISIONS

The ninth Conference of the Parties (COP 9) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which convened from 19-30 May 2008, in Bonn, Germany, immediately following the fourth Meeting of the Parties (COP/MOP 4) to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, adopted 37 decisions on a wide range of items. Key agreements included the adoption of a roadmap for negotiations on access and benefit-sharing, a Resource Mobilization Strategy, scientific criteria for marine protected areas, and language cautioning against ocean fertilization. Issues for in-depth consideration included: agricultural biodiversity, including biofuels and biodiversity; the Global Strategy for Plant Conservaton; invasive alien species; forest biodiversity; incentive measures; the ecosystem approach; progress in the implementation of the Strategic Plan and towards the 2010 target to reduce significantly biodiversity loss; and financial resources and the financial mechanism. Among COP 9's achievements is the adoption of a roadmap for the negotiation of an international ABS regime, ensuring that three ABS Working Group and three expert group meetings will take place before the 2010 deadline for completion of negotiations. The adoption of scientific criteria and guidance for marine areas in need of protection, and of the first-ever Resource Mobilization Strategy for the Convention were also hailed as major achievements and tools towards reaching the 2010 biodiversity target. A considerable amount of attention focused on issues related to climate change, including reference to mitigation and adaptation activities, ocean fertilization and biofuels. While strong language was agreed cautioning against ocean fertilization, there was no agreement on adopting sustainability criteria for biofuel production and consumption. On genetically modified (GM) trees, an issue which attracted a great deal of public interest, the COP reaffirmed the need for a precautionary approach and called on parties to authorize the release of GM trees only after completion of studies in containment as well as science-based and transparent risk assessments, a decision that was criticized as insufficient by several parties and observers. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of COP 9
CSD-16 Completes Review of Agriculture, Desertification, Africa

May 2008: Delegates to the sixteenth session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD16), which convened at UN headquarters in New York, US, from 5-16 May 2008, reviewed the thematic cluster of agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and Africa. Throughout CSD-16, participants highlighted the connections between the session's thematic agenda and both the current food crisis and climate change, and highlighted the drivers of food prices, including land degradation, high energy costs, climate change, poor harvests, speculation in agricultural commodities, inequitable terms of trade, decline of investments in agricultural and rural development, and increased production of biofuels from food crops. A Chair's Summary outlines the issues discussed. Delegates will attain take up these issues at the May 2009 meeting of CSD17, during which policy recommendations will be negotiated. [IISD RS coverage]
BIOSAFETY COP/MOP 4 FOCUSES ON LIABILITY AND REDRESS

The fourth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (COP/MOP 4) was held from 12-16 May 2008, in Bonn, Germany, and was dominated by discussions on liability and redress. While the meeting did not complete its mandate to adopt an international regime on liability and redress in the context of the Protocol, it achieved a political compromise that will pave the way towards adopting a legally binding regime, hailed by most participants as a major step forward. The compromise envisions a legally binding supplementary protocol focusing on an administrative approach but including a provision on civil liability to be complemented by non-legally binding guidelines on civil liability. The meeting also established an ad hoc technical expert group on risk assessment and risk management. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of COP/MOP 4
FORUM CONSIDERS INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, CLIMATE CHANGE

A forum on intellectual property (IP) has examined the links between the IP system and climate change. The European Patent Forum, which took place from 6-7 May 2008, in Ljubljana, Slovenia, considered how patenting and the IP system could bring benefits to the environment and help combat climate change, with participants discussing in particular the need to encourage greater innovation. “The patent system can foster innovation ... but then you'd better have a functioning patent system,” said Alison Brimelow, President of the European Patent Office, in a closing address. ”The patent system is drifting toward dysfunctionality… but I think we are also showing here that regulators are becoming less Olympian...and much more open to dialogue,” she added. In his address, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer noted that intellectual property rights are perceived as a barrier to technology transfer for developing countries in the context of the climate change negotiations. He proposed further discussion on: clarifying where IP rights are a barrier to technology transfer and where they are not; regulating patent regimes to balance reward and access; removing barriers to accessing technologies in the public domain; assessing the impact of higher costs on the dissemination of technologies; and compulsory licensing. The two-day Forum was organized by the European Patent Office, the government of Slovenia (which currently holds the EU Presidency), the Slovenian IP Office and the European Commission. It was attended by participants from 45 countries. Links to further information Forum website, May 2008 EPO conference update, 7 May 2008 Intellectual Property Watch report, 14 May 2008 Yvo de Boer's speech (powerpoint presentation), 7 May 2008
WORKING GROUP CONSIDERS MEASURES TO PROTECT MARINE BIODIVERSITY BEYOND NATIONAL JURISDICTION

The Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group of the General Assembly to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction, convened from 28 April - 2 May 2008, at UN headquarters in New York, US. Over 300 participants representing governments, UN agencies, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and the fishing industry, attended the meeting. During the week, the Working Group exchanged views on the issues, agreeing to acknowledge differences of opinion over legal interpretations and the existence or nonexistence of regulatory and governance gaps. The Group concentrated on practical measures to conserve and protect marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction. The informal setting and non-negotiated nature of the outcome facilitated a frank exchange of views that enabled participants to identify common ground on issues, such as the implementation deficit in existing agreements, the need for marine scientific research and the continuation of the Working Group. The outcome of the meeting – a Co-Chairs' Draft Joint Statement to be submitted to the 63rd session of the General Assembly – included issues that the General Assembly may wish to consider referring back to the Working Group. Link to further information IISD RS Coverage

April 2008

CITES COMMITTEES ESTABLISH INTERSESSIONAL WORKING GROUPS

The 17th meeting of the Plants Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the 23rd meeting of the CITES Animals Committee were held in Geneva, Switzerland from 15-19 and 19-23 April 2008, respectively. On 19 April, the two Committees held a joint meeting. The Plants Committee discussed topics including: the review of significant trade (RST) in Appendix II species; the periodic review of plant species included in CITES appendices; timber issues; strategic planning; non-detriment findings (NDFs); transport of live plants; and the definitions of hybrids and cultivars. Delegates agreed to include bigleaf mahogany in the Review of Significant Trade (RST), recommending that the review be limited to parties with implementation problems. The joint session of the Plants and Animals Committees addressed the revision of the terms of reference of the Committees; cooperation with advisory bodies of other biodiversity-related multilateral agreements; RST in specimens of Appendix II species; an international expert workshop on NDFs; and transport of live animals and plants. The Animals Committee addressed 21 agenda items, including: the RST in Appendix II species; production systems for specimens of CITES-listed species; conservation and management of sharks; the periodic review of animal species included in the Convention's appendices; and a proposal to transfer the Mexican population of Crocodylus moreletii from Appendix I to Appendix II. Discussions will continue within intersessional working groups set up by the Committees, as well as during the next round of meetings scheduled for early 2009, where recommendations will be further developed for consideration at CITES COP 15, to be held in 2010 in Doha, Qatar. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meetings
BUSINESS-ENVIRONMENT SUMMIT CONSIDERS CLIMATE CHANGE, BIODIVERSITY-HEALTH LINKS

The Global Business for the Environment Summit, jointly organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Global Compact, met in Singapore from 22-23 April 2008 to discuss business-driven solutions for mitigating and adapting to climate change. During the event, UNEP announced that ten new participants joined the Climate Neutral Network (CN Net). The CN Net is an online forum set up by UNEP, in cooperation with the UN Environment Management Group, to tackle the challenge of increasing greenhouse gases. The initiative was launched in February 2008, during UNEP's Governing Council in Monaco. The meeting also revealed the findings of a newly released book entitled Sustaining Life: How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity, which provides a comprehensive view of how human medicines, biomedical research, the spread of infectious diseases, and the production of food depend on biodiversity. Links to further information UNEP press release on CN Net, 23 April 2008 UNEP press release on "Sustaining Life," 24 April 2008 Sustaining life website, Harvard Medical School
CITES COMMITTEES CONVENE IN GENEVA

The 17th meeting of the Plants Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was held in Geneva, Switzerland from 15-19 April 2008. It was immediately followed by the 23rd meeting of the Animals Committee, which met from 19-23 April. On 19 April, the two Committees held a joint meeting. The Plants Committee adopted recommendations on several issues. Among the meeting's highlights was the decision to include bigleaf mahogany in the Review of Significant Trade (RST), recommending that the review be limited to parties with implementation problems. On 19 April, the joint session of the Plants and Animals Committees addressed issues of common interest, including: the revision of the Terms of Reference of the Committees; cooperation with advisory bodies of other biodiversity-related multilateral agreements; review of significant trade in specimens of Appendix II species; international expert workshop on non-detriment findings (NDFs); and transport of live animals and plants. The Animals Committee addressed, among other issues, the sustainability of international trade in sharks and sturgeons. The Committee examined reports on efforts to improve monitoring of the catch of and trade in sharks and to implement the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) International Plan of Action-Sharks. It also examined key shark species for possible listing under CITES. Concerning sturgeons, the Committee began an evaluation of the assessment and the monitoring methodologies used for stocks shared by several countries, such as those of the Caspian Sea. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meetings
Regional Discussions Held Ahead of CBD COP 9

April 2008: Meetings have been held in Africa and the Pacific as part of regional preparations for upcoming ninth Conference of the Parties (COP 9) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). A meeting of African leaders on access and benefit-sharing was held from 10-12 April 2008, in Mahé, Seychelles, as part of preparations for the high-level segment. In his statement to the meeting, CBD Executive Secretary Ahmed Djoghlaf underlined that “access and benefit-sharing is a corner stone of the Convention and we are at a pivotal stage in the negotiations of the International Regime. The success of these negotiations depends on the involvement, at the highest level, of decision makers, who have the ability to pull their leverage together to influence the final outcomes of this important process.” Meanwhile, the Pacific region held a regional preparatory meeting for COP 9 from 13-16 April 2008, in Apia, Samoa. At the meeting, nine Pacific island countries defined their priorities and modalities to work together during CBD COP 9. Priority agenda items include: financial resources and mechanism; agricultural biodiversity; forest biodiversity; invasive alien species; access and benefit sharing; Article 8(j) and related provisions; biodiversity and climate change; protected areas; marine and coastal biodiversity; and island biodiversity. In Europe, the European Parliament has adopted a resolution on preparations for CBD COP 9 and the fourth Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, to note their deep concern at the continued loss of biodiversity and at the EU's ever increasing ecological footprint, which extends the impact on biodiversity well beyond EU's borders. The resolution highlights the need to implement the CBD work programme on protected areas, agree on common principles and criteria for good forest governance, ban all terminator technologies and agree a moratorium on genetically modified trees, and ensure a legally binding liability regime under the Biosafety Protocol. COP 9 is taking place from 19-30 May, in Bonn, Germany. [Speech of the CBD Executive Secretary at the Africa meeting] [SPREP news release, 25 April 2008] [EP press release, 24 April 2008]
EXPERTS DISCUSS SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF AFRORMOSIA

The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), along with the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), convened a regional workshop on afrormosia (Pericopsis elata), a tropical hardwood listed in CITES Appendix II, in Kribi, Cameroon, from 2-4 April 2008. Over 30 participants from the main range states in central and west Africa, as well as importing countries, NGOs, timber trade representatives and international organizations, developed a participatory action plan to help ensure that international trade in afrormosia is consistent with its sustainable management and conservation in Africa. The action plan includes: building capacity of exporting and importing countries to implement CITES and manage afrormosia sustainably; improving ecological and silvicultural knowledge of the species; promoting support programmes for its regeneration; and relevant governance and marketing issues. Link to further information ITTO media release, 15 April 2008

March 2008

POTATO IS THE FOOD OF THE FUTURE, CONFERENCE TOLD

An international conference to celebrate the International Year of the Potato was held from 25-28 March 2008, in Cusco, in potato's native land of Peru. Hosted by the International Potato Center and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and seeking to tap the potato's potential to play an even stronger role in agriculture, the economy and food security, especially in the world's poorest countries, the conference gathered leading experts on the potato and on research for development. Participants shared insights and recent research results to develop strategies for increasing the productivity, profitability and sustainability of potato-based systems. They also addressed potato development challenges facing three distinct economic typologies in developing countries, as identified in the World Bank's World Development Report 2008. Links to further information Cusco Conference website FAO press release, 25 March 2008
BIOSAFETY PROTOCOL WORKING GROUP ON LIABILITY AND REDRESS AGREES TO CONVENE FRIENDS OF THE CHAIR GROUP BEFORE COP/MOP 4

The fifth meeting of the Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group of Legal and Technical Experts on Liability and Redress in the context of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety took place from 12-19 March 2008, in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. The Working Group spent the first three days of the meeting focusing on the elaboration of options for rules and procedures referred to in Article 27 of the Protocol based on a revised working draft compiled by Co-Chairs Jimena Nieto (Colombia) and René Lefeber (the Netherlands). On the fourth day of the meeting, the Co-Chairs introduced a core elements paper as a tool intended to move the negotiations forward. The paper contained four pieces and essentially set out a “package deal” on the administrative approach, civil liability, the supplementary compensation scheme and capacity building. After significant discussion, delegates did not agree with the choices made in the core elements paper and decided to revise it in a Friends of the Chair group. Agreement was reached on definition of damage, but many outstanding issues remain, including standard of liability and causation. Delegates also deferred debate on the choice of instrument. The meeting's key outcome was that the Working Group agreed on certain core elements, reduced the number of options for operational text and categorized the remaining options in a way that reflects the main choices for elaborating international rules and procedures on liability and redress. As a result, the working document has been reduced from 53 to 27 pages. The Working Group also agreed to convene an intersessional Friends of the Chair group to further negotiate the core elements, to be held prior to the fourth meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity serving as meeting of the parties to the Protocol, which will convene in Bonn, Germany, from 12-16 May 2008. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting
TRIPS COUNCIL MEETING SEES INCREASED SUPPORT FOR BIODIVERSITY AMENDMENT

Held on 13 March 2008, the meeting of the World Trade Organization Council for Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) was marked by further support for an amendment to the TRIPS Agreement to include a mandatory requirement to disclose the origin of biological resources and/or associated traditional knowledge in patent applications, as well as evidence of compliance with prior informed consent and fair and equitable sharing of benefits. Initially proposed by a group of developing countries led by India and Brazil, the proposal has subsequently gained the support of the African Group and the group of Least Developed Countries. Following the announcement that the Dominican Republic and the group of African, Caribbean and Pacific countries also back the proposal, it was noted during the TRIPS Council meeting that nearly 80 of the WTO's 151 members now support the amendment. The US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Korea did not consider a disclosure requirement to be the most efficient way to address biopiracy and reiterated they did not believe a conflict existed between the TRIPS Agreement and the Convention on Biological Diversity. The EU stated that it was prepared to negotiate a disclosure of origin requirement, while noting it would not support requirements for either prior informed consent or proof of equitable benefit sharing. In addtion, the EU said the World Intellectual Property Organization, rather than the WTO, was the appropriate forum for discussions on disclosure. Links to further information IP Watch, 14 March 2008 Bridges Trade BioRes, 20 March 2008
WIPO DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE HOLDS FIRST MEETING

The Committee on Development and Intellectual Property, established by the General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2007, convened its first meeting from 3-7 March 2008, in Geneva, Switzerland, to initiate discussions regarding the implementation of the WIPO Development Agenda. During the meeting, the Committee adopted its rules of procedure and considered a work programme for implementation of the recommendations adopted by the WIPO General Assembly. Consultations on the work programme will continue intersessionally. The Committee's second session is scheduled for July 2008. Links to further information WIPO press release, 10 March 2008 IP Watch, 21 March 2008

February 2008

WIPO COMMITTEE ON TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE AND GENETIC RESOURCES AGREES ON WORK PLAN

The twelfth session of the Intergovernmental Committee on Traditional Knowledge, Genetic Resources and Folklore of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has reached a compromise agreement on steps for future work. The session, held from 25-29 February 2008, in Geneva, Switzerland, heard concerns from developing countries on lack of progress, before a final agreement was reached late in the meeting. The last-day compromise on future work calls for the Secretariat to prepare separate documents on international protection for traditional knowledge and for traditional cultural expressions/expressions of folklore, including a gap analysis. On genetic resources, the Secretariat will re-issue documents for “full in-depth discussion” at the next session, which is scheduled for 13-17 October 2008. Links to further information IP-Watch, 29 February 2008 IP-Watch, 3 March 2008 The report of the meeting will be available at the WIPO website
CBD SBSTTA 13 TRANSMITS BRACKETED RECOMMENDATIONS TO COP 9

The thirteenth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has forwarded seven recommendations to the ninth Conference of the Parties, although they contain a number of bracketed, or unresolved, issues. The SBSTTA convened from 18-22 February 2008, in Rome, Italy, immediately following the second meeting of the Convention's Working Group on Protected Areas. Participants at SBSTTA 13 conducted in-depth reviews of the CBD work programmes on agricultural and forest biodiversity, and addressed scientific and technical issues of relevance to the implementation of the CBD's 2010 target to significantly reduce the rate of biodiversity loss relating to marine and coastal biodiversity, inland waters biodiversity, invasive alien species, and biodiversity and climate change. The meeting also considered the modus operandi for addressing new and emerging issues relating to the conservation and use of biodiversity. Unresolved issues include: biofuels in the context of agricultural and forest biodiversity; options for the consideration of genetically modified trees; several issues relating to marine and coastal biodiversity; the possible establishment of an expert group on biodiversity and climate change; and references to climate change mitigation measures. Delegates welcomed progress on invasive alien species, and on biodiversity and climate change, considering the debates these issues have generated in the past. However, they raised concerns about the large number of bracketed references that will have to be resolved by at COP 9, which is scheduled to take place in Bonn, Germany, in May 2008. Link to further information IISD RS meeting coverage
PROTECTED AREAS WORKING GROUP ENDS AMID FRUSTRATION

The second meeting of the Ad hoc Open-ended Working Group on Protected Areas of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) convened in Rome, Italy, from 11-15 February 2008, immediately prior to the thirteenth meeting of the CBD's Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (18-22 February 2008). The Working Group adopted two heavily bracketed recommendations for consideration by the CBD's ninth Conference of the Parties (COP 9, 19-30 May 2008, Bonn, Germany), on the review of implementation of the programme of work and on options for mobilizing financial resources for its implementation. Concerns were voiced with regard to the lack of full consideration of financing needs and the low level of political impetus in the context of protected areas, as well as to procedural shortcomings and the likely impact of the extensively bracketed recommendations on delegates' workload at COP 9. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting
UNESCO MEETING DISCUSSES FUTURE OF BIOSPHERE RESERVES

The third World Congress on Biosphere Reserves, organized by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Spanish Ministry for the Environment, opened on 4 February 2008 in Madrid, Spain, and will finish on 9 February. Gathering more than 1000 participants, the event will aim to take stock of the current Biosphere Reserves Programme and define an action plan for the five years ahead. Biosphere reserves are sites recognized under UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme, which innovate and demonstrate approaches to conservation and sustainable development. They are also tools to help countries implement the results of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and, in particular, the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Ecosystem Approach. There are 529 sites worldwide in 105 countries. Links to further information Congress website UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme website
UNESCO CONFERENCE SAYS BIOSPHERE RESERVES CAN SPUR CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION

Participants at the third World Congress of Biosphere Reserves, which took place from 4-9 February 2008, in Madrid, Spain, and was organized by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), have adopted the Madrid Declaration, which underlines that biosphere reserves can spur efforts “to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and to promote the greater use of renewable energy,” as well as to tackle challenges such as the loss of traditional knowledge and cultural diversity. Conference participants also adopted the Madrid Action Plan, mapping out the Man and the Biosphere Programme's strategy and actions for 2008-2013, which emphasizes the need to use biosphere reserves to demonstrate effective responses to poverty, growing urbanization, climate change and desertification. UNESCO's world network of biosphere reserves now includes 531 reserves spread over 105 countries, following the addition of the Rostowsky Biosphere Reserve in Russia and the Islas Marietas Biosphere Reserve off Mexico's western coast. The Rostowsky reserve provides a habitat for more than 460 species of plants, 30 species of mammals and 200 species of birds, while the Islas Marietas is home to many species of coral, the humpback whale and other mammals, birds and fish. At each reserve listed in the network, local communities try to enhance their socioeconomic development while promoting biodiversity conservation. Links to further information UNESCO news release, 11 February 2008 World Congress on Biosphere Reserves website
MEETING IN BAMAKO RESULTS IN ANTI-IVORY TRADE COALITION

Meeting from 6-7 February 2008, in Bamako, Mali, delegates from 17 African elephant range states focused their discussions on elephant conservation and anti-ivory trade initiatives. The meeting, which gathered delegates from Mali, Niger, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Togo, Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Southern Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya, resulted in the creation of a coalition for the conservation of the African elephant and against ivory trade. It was organized by the governments of Mali and Kenya and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), following a decision by the 14th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) to allow for sales of specific ivory stocks owned by Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe before commencement of a nine-year trade suspension. Links to further information IFAW press release, 7 February 2008 Environment News Service, 6 February 2008
SOUTH ASIAN COUNTRIES LAUNCH INITIATIVE TO CONTROL WILDLIFE TRADE

Held in Katmandu, Nepal, from 31 January – 1 February 2008, the first regional workshop on the South Asia Wildlife Trade Initiative gathered representatives from all eight South Asian countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The meeting agreed that the South Asia Wildlife Trade Initiative and its South Asia Regional Strategic Plan on Wildlife Trade will focus on a number of key areas of work, including: co-operation and co-ordination; effective legislation, policies and law enforcement; sharing knowledge and effective dissemination of information; sustainability of legal trade and livelihoods security; intelligence networks and early warning systems; and capacity building. The decisions of the workshop will be presented for endorsement at Ministerial level at the 11th meeting of the Governing Council of the South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP), an inter-government organization established in 1982 for promoting regional co-operation in South Asia in the field of environment. Link to further information TRAFFIC press release, 7 February 2008

January 2008

ABS WORKING GROUP CONVENES IN GENEVA

The sixth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) opened on 21 January 2008, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. In a continuation of the fifth meeting of the Working Group, held in October 2007, the Working Group is to proceed with the elaboration and negotiation of an international regime on ABS, under the co-chairmanship of Fernando Casas (Colombia) and Timothy Hodges (Canada). Discussions are expected to focus on issues related to: compliance, including measures to support compliance with prior informed consent and mutually agreed terms, an internationally recognized certificate of origin/source/legal provenance, and monitoring, enforcement and dispute settlement; traditional knowledge and genetic resources; capacity building; and the nature, scope and objectives of the international regime. The results of the deliberations of the Working Group will be submitted for consideration by the Conference of the Parties to the CBD at its ninth meeting, to be held from 19-30 May 2008, in Bonn, Germany. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting
CBD WORKING GROUP MAKES PROGRESS ON INTERNATIONAL REGIME ON ACCESS AND BENEFIT-SHARING, FORWARDS DOCUMENT TO COP 9

The sixth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was held from 21-25 January 2008 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. In a continuation of the fifth meeting of the Working Group, held in October 2007, the Working Group proceeded with the elaboration and negotiation of an international regime on ABS, under the co-chairmanship of Fernando Casas (Colombia) and Timothy Hodges (Canada). Discussions focused on the main components of the international regime, including fair and equitable sharing of benefits, access to genetic resources, compliance, traditional knowledge and genetic resources, and capacity building. The Working Group made considerable progress in producing a short and concise working document on the international regime, consisting of sections on the main components and lists of items “to be further elaborated with the aim of incorporating them in the international regime” in case there was agreement in principle, or “for further consideration,” in case of disagreement or need for further clarification. The outcome of the Working Group's deliberations will be submitted for consideration by the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the CBD at its ninth meeting, to be held from 19-30 May 2008, in Bonn, Germany, where delegates will have to take critical decisions on the future of the ABS negotiations, with the 2010 deadline for completion rapidly approaching. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting