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Biodiversity and Wildlife


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December 2009

POLICY SEMINAR LOOKS AT FUTURE DIRECTION FOR THE ITPGR

A policy seminar on the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR), held from 15-18 December 2009, in Bari, Italy, addressed global challenges and future direction for the ITPGR. Participants assessed the Treaty's role in addressing the global challenges of agricultural biodiversity, food security and climate change. Among others, they identified a strong need for advocacy on the Treaty's role as a central instrument for climate change adaptation policy, and on the crucial role of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture as the basis for global food security in the climate change context. Implementation of the benefit-sharing fund of the Treaty's Funding Strategy received a boost, as Spain announced a contribution of two million Euros. The outcomes of the seminar will be forwarded to a high-level round table on the Treaty, to be organized by the Italian government in 2010. Link to further information The seminar webpage

November 2009

CONSULTATIONS ON UNDP LAC REGIONAL INITIATIVE ON BIODIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEMS CONVENE IN QUITO, BOGOTÁ AND GUATEMALA

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) convened consultations in Quito, Ecuador (24-25 November), Bogota, Colombia (30 November-1 December), Guatemala City, Guatemala (3-4 December 2009) as part of a regional initiative entitled “Biodiversity and Ecosystems: Why these are Important for Sustained Growth and Equity in Latin America and the Caribbean.” The initiative was organized to prepare a report on the role of biodiversity in wealth generation and support of wellbeing in the region. The first consultation was held in Mexico City from 13-14 August, the second in Lima, Peru from 24-25 September and the third in Caracas, Venezuela from 4-5 November. Others are scheduled for Brasilia, Brazil and Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (for the Caribbean), in January 2010. Each consultation seeks the inputs of national experts and stakeholders. Links to further information Information on the fourth consultation IISD RS coverage of the fifth consultation IISD RS coverage of the sixth consultation
SIXTH PLENARY SESSION OF THE GROUP ON EARTH OBSERVATIONS ASSESSES STATUS OF ACTIVITIES

The sixth plenary session of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO-VI) convened in Washington, DC, US, from 17-18 November 2009, to assess and promote the partnership's progress towards making information about global environmental change readily available to those who need it. Among the issues addressed were: GEO Data Sharing principles, including open access to space data; global carbon monitoring, including the GEO Forest Carbon Tracking task, which is estimating trends in the spatial extent and carbon content of the world's forests; and the GEO Biodiversity Observation Network, which involves approximately 100 organizations working to support the Convention on Biological Diversity's establishment of biodiversity baselines to support future targets, including the 2010 target. A Ministerial Summit will convene in Beijing, China, from 3-5 November 2010, at the mid-point in implementation of the GEO partnership, to highlight and assess its outputs. GEO is a voluntary partnership of governments and international organizations that provides a framework within which these partners can develop new projects and coordinate their strategies and investments. Participating organizations include the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Educational , Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UNFCCC, the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), the UN University (UNU), and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Links to further information IISD RS sources GEO-VI website PRNewswire news report, 17 November 2009
ABS 8 ADOPTS CONSOLIDATED NEGOTIATING DOCUMENT, ESTABLISHES INTERSESSIONAL PROCESS

The eighth 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 9-15 November 2009, in Montreal, Canada. The Working Group on ABS continued the negotiation of an international regime on ABS, in view of its mandate to finalize the international regime and to submit an instrument/instruments to effectively implement the provisions in Articles 15 and 8(j) of the Convention and its three objectives for consideration and adoption by COP 10 in October 2010. During the course of the meeting, ABS 8 delegates addressed operative text on the components of the regime, including traditional knowledge, capacity building, compliance, benefit-sharing and access. Delegates also discussed the legal nature of the regime. The meeting adopted the Montreal Annex, consisting of a single, consolidated draft on the international regime, and a second annex on proposals for operational texts left in abeyance for consideration at the next meeting of the Working Group. The Working Group also established an intersessional process leading up to ABS 9, including: a Friends of the Co-Chairs group to convene in late January 2010, and a Co-Chairs' inter-regional informal consultation to convene in March 2010. A series of regional and inter-regional consultations will also be held during the intersessional period before ABS 9, scheduled to be held from 22-28 March 2010, in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting
ICCAT REDUCES TUNA ALLOWABLE CATCH

During its annual meeting, held from 9-15 November 2009, in Recife, Brazil, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) adopted new measures aimed at stabilizing Atlantic bluefin tuna stocks. ICCAT reduced the total allowable catch from 22,000 tonnes in 2009 to 13,500 for 2010. The measure was accompanied by a decrease in the fishing season by one month for purse seiners, and improved mechanisms for the evaluation of parties' control efforts. However, conservation NGOs say that such a decrease is not going to recover the species. It is recalled that the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to be held in March 2010 in Doha, Qatar, will consider Monaco's proposal to list bluefin tuna in CITES Appendix I. Links to further information ICCAT press release, 16 November 2009 ICTSD Bridges Trade BioRes, 27 November 2009
WILDERNESS CONGRESS CALLS FOR LINKING CLIMATE AND BIODIVERSITY CRISES

Held from 6-13 November 2009, in Merida, Mexico, the 9th World Wilderness Congress adopted the Message from Merida, an international call for action to integrate wilderness and biodiversity conservation into a global climate change strategy. Furthermore, during the meeting an agreement on wilderness conservation was agreed and signed by the governments of Mexico, Canada and the US. Link to further information Environment News Service, 13 November 2009 The Congress website
GEF COUNCIL ADOPTS NEW ALLOCATION FRAMEWORK

The 36th meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council took place in Washington DC, US, from 10-12 November 2009, and adopted a new allocation framework, the System for a Transparent Allocation of Resources (STAR), to be applied to the fifth replenishment of the GEF Trust Fund (GEF-5). Resources in the focal areas of biodiversity, climate change and land degradation will thus be distributed following STAR criteria. Every country will receive a minimum allocation of $4 million, from whichUS$2 million would be used for climate change, $1.5 million for biodiversity, and $0.5 million for land degradation. The maximum a country may get is $300 million for these three focal areas. The Council also approved a work programme comprising 34 project concepts worth US$159.29 million, and decided its next meetings would convene the weeks of 29 June 2010 and 15 November 2010. The fourth meeting for the GEF-5 Replenishment also took place in the same venue on 13 November 2009. Participants welcomed the Russian Federation as new donor to GEF-5, and continued discussions on the level of funding and focus of GEF-5. The next meeting to discuss GEF-5 is, subject to confirmation, scheduled for February 2010 in Rome. On 12 November 2009 the Council of the Least Developed Countries Fund and Special Climate Change Fund (LDCF/SCCF) also met and approved projects in Brazil and Jordan. Links to further information Council meeting summary of the Chairs GEF replenishment meeting summary of the Chairs GEF Council and LDCF/SCCF Council meeting and documents
CBD WORKING GROUP ON ARTICLE 8(J) MAKES PROGRESS

The sixth meeting of the Ad hoc Open-ended Intersessional Working Group on Article 8(j) and related provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was held from 2-6 November 2009 in Montreal, Canada. The Working Group adopted a series of recommendations, to be submitted to the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the CBD, to be held from 18-29 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan. Among its main achievements, the Working Group worked towards concluding negotiations on an ethical code of conduct to ensure respect for the cultural and intellectual heritage of indigenous and local communities, and expressed detailed views on the international regime on access and benefit-sharing (ABS), for transmission to the eighth meeting of the Ad hoc Open-ended Working Group on ABS, held from 9-15 November 2009, in Montreal. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting
UNDP CONSULTATION IN VENEZUELA CONTRIBUTES TO REPORT ON ROLE OF BIODIVERSITY IN WEALTH GENERATION

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) organized a consultation in Caracas, Venezuela, from 4-5 November 2009, as part of a regional initiative entitled “Biodiversity and Ecosystems: Why these are Important for Sustained Growth and Equity in Latin America and the Caribbean,” to prepare a report on the role of biodiversity in wealth generation and support of wellbeing in the region. Participants at the consultation: discussed Venezuelan policies; identified key sectors for promoting investment in biodiversity and ecosystem services and barriers to such investments; examined insights from case studies from Paraguay and Indonesia; and recommended inputs to the regional report on principal arguments to use, ways to convince decision-makers and dissemination strategies. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting

October 2009

ASEAN CONFERENCE ASSESSES BIODIVERSITY STATUS

A conference with the theme “Biodiversity in Focus: 2010 and beyond,” was held from 21-23 October 2009, in Singapore, hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Centre for Biodiversity and the National Parks Board, Singapore. The meeting assessed the status of biodiversity in the region and progress towards the 2010 biodiversity target of reducing significantly biodiversity loss. Parallel sessions addressed: biodiversity and climate change; economics of ecosystems and biodiversity, and access and benefit-sharing. Links to further information The conference website CBD Executive Secretary statement
WORLD FORESTRY CONGRESS CONVENES IN BUENOS AIRES

The XIII World Forestry Congress, co-organized by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Government of Argentina, opened on the evening of Sunday, 18 October 2009, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Themed “Forests in Development: A Vital Balance,” the Congress brings together approximately 7000 participants from international organizations, governments, academia, private sector and civil society, representing160 nations, to discuss forest issues. During this weeklong event, participants will convene in daily plenary sessions, roundtables on forests and energy and forests and climate change, over 60 thematic technical and poster sessions and numerous other events and side events. The thematic sessions will focus on: forests and biodiversity; producing for development; forests in the service of people; caring for our forests; development opportunities; organizing forest development; and people and forests in harmony. Links to further information IISD RS coverage World Forestry Congress website
Working Group on the Future Shape of CMS Reviews Draft Report

20 October 2009: The Inter-sessional Working Group on the Future Shape of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) met from 19-20 October 2009, in Bonn, Germany, to review the first draft of a report dealing with the current organization of the CMS and its family of agreements. Significant headway was made in refining the text of the report, prior to its submission to the CMS Standing Committee. The Working Group also started planning the next two stages of the process on the future shape, which is expected to culminate in the submission of three options to the next COP, due to convene in 2011. [CMS press release]
WORKSHOP DISCUSSES REGIONAL FOREST COOPERATION

The workshop on Regional Forest Cooperation took place on 17 October 2009, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on the occasion of the XIII World Forestry Congress, organized by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the German Organization for Technical Cooperation GmbH (GTZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Thirty experts from regional organizations and initiatives, as well as 25 experts from research organizations, national and international institutions, and representatives of multilateral and bilateral donors attended the event. The Workshop built on previous events in support of the work of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) and the Convention on Biological Diversity. During the one-day event, participants heard presentations on challenges and impacts of regional forest cooperation and discussed in working groups the added value of the various forms of regional cooperation initiatives and potential for attainment of their common goals. The result of the workshop was a series of recommendations to be forwarded to the World Forestry Congress, including that the international community should make better use of regional organizations and initiatives to: build regional capacity; address technical and sensitive political issues; take into account the rights and interests of indigenous and forest-dwelling people; attract and channel funds; develop and promote common positions; and promote SFM and related subjects, such as reducing emissions from deforestation and land degradation (REDD), access and benefit sharing, and payment for ecosystem services. The declaration states that international and national level entities are well positioned to mobilize resources (financial and technical) to implement SFM on the national level, but more support is required at the regional level for transboundary aspects. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
CGRFA-12 SPECIAL EVENT ADDRESSES ABS FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE

On Saturday, 17 October 2009, in the prelude to the twelfth regular session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA-12), a special information seminar was held at the headquarters of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, Italy, titled “Policy Arrangements for Access and Benefit-Sharing for Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.” Participants addressed the status and challenges of access and benefit-sharing (ABS), with presentations on the: status of the negotiations on the international regime on ABS; food security and ABS; recent developments in intellectual property law and policies; and the impact of climate change on genetic resources for food and agriculture. There was also a panel discussion on the use and exchange of genetic resources for food and agriculture, which includes the domains of plant, animal, forest and microbial genetic resources and biological control agents. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the seminar
BUSHMEAT LIAISON GROUP DEVELOPS RECOMMENDATIONS

The Convention on Biological Diversity's (CBD) Liaison Group on Bushmeat held its first meeting from 15-17 October 2009, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC). The meeting's objective was to develop policy recommendations for the sustainable use and conservation of bushmeat species. Recommendations addressed issues including sustainable wildlife management, climate change, forest concessions and certification, rights and tenure, good governance and partnerships, among others. Link to further information CBD press release
DIVERSITAS OPEN SCIENCE CONFERENCE UNDERSCORES ECONOMIC VALUE OF ECOSYSTEM SERVICES, CALLS FOR IPBES ESTABLISHMENT

Held from 14-16 October 2009, in Cape Town, South Africa, the Diversitas second Open Science Conference was attended by over 600 scientists who committed to finding practical solutions to biodiversity loss and the resulting risk to human well being, according to the Conference's concluding statement. Experts noted such solutions could be achieved through: increasing shared knowledge of biodiversity and its functions; helping to develop systems for monitoring the biodiversity of the planet; and being responsive to the knowledge needs of society with clear communication of findings. They also called on governments and NGOs to join them in establishing an intergovernmental panel on biodiversity and ecosystem services as soon as possible. Preliminary research demonstrated at the Conference shows the economic value of ecosystem services of biomes like forests and coral reefs. According to Pavan Sukhdev, head of the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) project, halving deforestation, for instance, has a net present value estimated at US$3.7 trillion, while investment in protected areas holds exceptional high returns. Diversitas is an international non-governmental programme, established in 1991 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) and the International Union of Biological Science (IUBS) to address scientific questions related to the loss of, and change in, global biodiversity. Links to further information Reports from the conference Diversitas website
UNEP-SPONSORED MEETING ADDRESSES SCIENCE-POLICY INTERFACE ON BIODIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES

Held from 5-9 October 2009, in Nairobi, Kenya, the second Ad Hoc Intergovernmental and Multi-stakeholder Meeting on an Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES-II) discussed the findings of a gap analysis on the existing science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services, options to strengthen such interface, and possible functions and governance structures of an intergovernmental science-policy platform. Most delegates expressed support for a new mechanism that carries out assessments able to generate and disseminate policy-relevant advice, and agreed that a new mechanism should complement multilateral environmental agreement bodies, not replace them. Many countries also recognized that a new mechanism should harness local and traditional knowledge as a tool for conservation. Delegates agreed that the UNEP Executive Director should report at the 11th special session of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC-11/GMEF) in February 2010 on the meeting's outcome, and that the UNEP GC should request to convene a third and final meeting to negotiate and decide whether to establish an IPBES. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
CHAIRS OF SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BODIES OF BIODIVERSITY-RELATED CONVENTIONS CONVENE

The third meeting of the Chairs of the Scientific Advisory Bodies of Biodiversity-related Conventions convened on 4 October 2009, in Nairobi, Kenya. The meeting discussed the development of post-2010 biodiversity targets, and options for improving collaboration and synergy on issues of common interest, among other issues. Link to further information Meeting webpage

September 2009

UNDP CONVENES TRAINING TO COMBAT ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME IN WEST AFRICA

The Ozone Programme Implementation and Management Unit of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the World Customs Organisation and the Green Customs Initiative convened a workshop in West Africa in September to address transnational environmental crime. The “train the trainers” workshop sought to enable senior customs officers from Nigeria, the Gambia, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia to identify harmful cross-border environmental crimes, including the illegal trade of environmentally-sensitive commodities such as ozone depleting substances, toxic chemical products, hazardous wastes, fauna and flora, and living modified organisms. Link to further information Green Customs Initiative press release, 15 September 2009
UNDP REGIONAL PROGRAMME CONVENES SECOND CONSULTATION FOR BIODIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEMS REPORT

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) held a consultation in Lima, Peru, on 24-25 September 2009, as part of a regional initiative on “Biodiversity and Ecosystems: Why these are Important for Sustained Growth and Equity in Latin America and the Caribbean” (the Initiative). The Initiative will prepare a report on the role of biodiversity in wealth generation and support of wellbeing in the region. Participants heard plenary presentations on the Initiative and the national context, and met in two working groups to discuss emblematic Peruvian policies, identify key sectors for promoting investment in biodiversity and ecosystem services and any existing barriers to such investments, and propose ideas for financing biodiversity and ecosystem service projects. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
Pan-European Biodiversity Conference Focuses on Ecosystem Services, Climate Change Impacts

September 2009: The fifth Intergovernmental Conference on “Biodiversity in Europe” was held from 22-24 September 2009, in Liege, Belgium. The conference discussed the state of Europe's biodiversity and post-2010 biodiversity targets for the pan-European region. It resulted in a “Message from Liege,” in which European conservation leaders list a range of priorities and recommendations to conserve ecosystem services, address the biodiversity impacts of climate change, and integrate biodiversity into other sectors. A new target was suggested, to “halt any further loss of species and habitats and, by 2025, restoration of degraded areas with an emphasis on links between biodiversity, ecosystem services, climate change and human well-being.” [The conference website] [Final press release]
ASCOBANS MOP ADOPTS ACTION PLANS FOR HARBOR PORPOISES IN THE NORTH AND BALTIC SEAS

The sixth Meeting of the Parties to the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas (ASCOBANS), an agreement under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), was held from 16-18 September 2009, in Bonn, Germany. Parties agreed on a number of measures to protect and enhance populations of small whales and dolphins, including a new version of the Recovery Plan for Baltic Harbor Porpoises (Jastarnia Plan) aiming at restoring the population to healthy levels by reducing bycatch, supporting research and public awareness and establishing a network of marine protected areas. They also adopted a new Conservation Plan for the Harbor Porpoise in the North Sea, including actions related to management, monitoring, mitigation of threats and research. In addition, participants agreed on guidelines to address the adverse effects of underwater noise on marine mammals during offshore construction activities for renewable energy production. Link to further information ASCOBANS press release, 18 September 2009
EU MINISTERS CALL FOR STRONGER LINKS BETWEEN REDD, BIODIVERSITY AND DEVELOPMENT

Environment ministers and senior officials of the European Union met in Strömstad, Sweden, with a view to contributing to the revision of the Strategic Plan of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) after 2010. At a High-level Meeting entitled “Visions for Biodiversity Beyond 2010 – People, Ecosystems and the Climate Crisis,” held from 7-9 September 2009, participants endorsed a target to halt global forest cover loss by 2030 and to reduce gross tropical deforestation by at least 50% by 2020 compared to current levels. They further agreed on strategic principles on ecosystem services, a global vision for biodiversity, and climate change and sustainable development. The principles pointed to the need to increase ecosystems' resilience to threats from climate change and to use “REDD+” (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) to create synergies between biodiversity, climate change and development policies, including the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. Link to further information Chair's conclusions

July 2009

CITES STANDING COMMITTEE FORWARDS RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE COP

The 58th 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 6-10 July 2009. The Committee adopted a number of recommendations on, inter alia: national wildlife trade policy reviews; national reports; reviews of significant trade; revision and publication of CITES Appendices; introduction from the sea; trade in crocodilian specimens; stock assessment and a total allowable catch methodology for sturgeons; and bigleaf mahogany. The Committee also established an intersessional working group on the participation of the African region in CITES. Recommendations will be forwarded to the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties, to be held from 13-25 March 2010, in Doha, Qatar. Links to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting CITES Secretariat Executive summaries
CBD HOLDS MEETINGS ON SOUTH-SOUTH EXCHANGE FOR FORESTS

The Secretariat of the Convention Biological Diversity (CBD) has facilitated a meeting, held from 8-10 July 2009, in Montreal, Canada, on South-South Cooperation and sustainable forest management with a focus on forest biodiversity, between the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization, the Association of South-East Asian Nations and the Central Africa Forests Commission. The purpose of the meeting was to share knowledge, strategies and experiences in order to promote mutual learning on forest policy coordination and cooperation, and to improve the impact of regional organizations. Link to further information CBD press release, 16 July 2009
WIPO COMMITTEE SESSION ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND GENETIC RESOURCES ENDS WITH NO AGREEMENT

Held from 29 June-3 July 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland, the 14th session of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) focused on the renewal of its mandate for the 2010-2011 biennium, without reaching agreement on a roadmap for future work. At the basis of discussions was a proposal by the African Group suggesting that the future work of the Committee should comprise “text-based negotiations,” conclude with the adoption of an “internationally legally binding instrument/s,” and be undertaken through a “defined work programme and time frame, including the holding of intersessional work sessions.” The WIPO General Assembly will take up the matter of the Committee's mandate at its 47th meeting, to be held from 22 September-1 October 2009. Links to further information WIPO press release, 6 July 2009 IP Watch, 30 June 2009 IP Watch, 3 July 2009 IP Watch, 6 July 2009

June 2009

CBD WORKSHOP ON ABS AND FORESTS RECOMMENDS BETTER INTEGRATION OF ABS AND FOREST POLICIES

The first pan-African workshop on Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS) and Forests was held from 22-25 June 2009, in Nairobi, Kenya. The workshop brought together more than 50 forest and ABS experts from across Africa, and resulted in a set of recommendations to better integrate ABS and forest sector policies. Among its key findings, the workshop noted that ABS and forest management are inextricably linked, however existing legislation relating to forests and the environment do not sufficiently address the issue of ABS. The workshop also noted that: there is a need to develop/implement legal provisions as well as tracking and monitoring systems that address ABS and forestry issues; and national and regional strategies to deal with ABS and forest management are required, as some genetic resources and traditional knowledge are shared among countries and communities. Link to further information Workshop recommendations
Frankfurt Meeting Marks Year of the Gorilla, Calls for Better Protection

10 June 2009: Held from 9-10 June 2009, in Frankfurt, Germany, under the title “Gentle Giants in need,” a conference was organized by the German Government, the Frankfurt Zoological Society and the Frankfurt Zoo to mark the UN Year of the Gorilla and the 30th Anniversary of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species. The meeting adopted the “Frankfurt Declaration,” in which participants highlighted major threats to gorillas and their habitats, and conservation strategies, and appealed to governments, the international community and industrial companies to enhance activities to reduce threats to the remaining gorilla populations in the wild. [UNEP/CMS press release, 10 June 2009] [The Frankfurt Declaration]
TRIPS COUNCIL MAKES NO PROGRESS ON DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENT

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) met on 8 June 2009, but saw little progress towards resolving TRIPS issues in the context of the Doha negotiations. These issues include an amendment to the TRIPS Agreement to require that patent applicants disclose the origin of any genetic resources or traditional knowledge used in the inventions. Originally supported by a number of developing countries, such a proposal has drawn the support of more than 100 WTO Members, including the EU and Switzerland. The US, joined by Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, New Zealand and Taiwan, reaffirmed their opposition, with the US noting that the disclosure requirement is not essential and bringing the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) into the TRIPS Agreement would not make sense. According to the report, Australia, Canada and New Zealand suggested the possibility of shifting discussions on the TRIPS Agreement and the CBD to another forum, possibly the World Intellectual Property Organization. Link to further information Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, 17 June 2009
PLANT TREATY GOVERNING BODY CONVENES IN TUNIS

The third session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture is meeting from 1-5 June 2009, in Tunis, Tunisia. The agenda includes: procedures and operational mechanisms to promote compliance and address issues of non-compliance; implementation of the funding strategy; the business plan of the Governing Body; the relationship between the Governing Body and the Global Crop Diversity Trust; implementation of the Treaty's Multilateral System of Access and Benefit-sharing; procedures for the Third Party Beneficiary; implementation of Article 6 (Sustainable Use of Plant Genetic Resources); implementation of Article 9 (Farmers' Rights); the relationship between the Governing Body and the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA); and the work programme and budget for 2010/2011. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting
PLANT TREATY GOVERNING BODY CONCLUDES SUCCESSFUL SESSION

The third session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture convened from 1-5 June 2009, in Tunis, Tunisia. Following two days of lengthy procedural discussions regarding the establishment of contact groups on the funding strategy and/or compliance, and the eventual agreement to establish both, the Governing Body managed to make good progress going through its heavy agenda. Delegates agreed to: a set of outcomes for implementation of the funding strategy, including a financial target of US$116 million for the period July 2009 to December 2014; a resolution on implementation of the Treaty's Multilateral System including setting up an intersessional advisory committee on implementation issues; a resolution on farmers' rights; and procedures for the Third Party Beneficiary. They also adopted the work programme and budget for the next biennium; agreed to the urgent need to finalize the outstanding financial rules at the fourth session; and established intersessional processes to finalize compliance procedures by the fourth session, and review the Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA). The fourth session of the Governing Body is scheduled to be held in the second or third quarter of 2011, in Indonesia. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting
FIRST GLOBAL PRIVATE DONOR FORUM ON BIODIVERSITY MEETS IN BERLIN

The first Global Private Donor Forum on Biodiversity was held at the initiative of the German Presidency of the ninth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) on 3 June 2009, in Berlin, Germany. The forum stressed that biodiversity constitutes the indispensable foundation of our lives, is crucial for global economic and social development, and is fundamentally important for human livelihoods, poverty eradication and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Participants noted that human-induced extinction of biodiversity is still advancing at a dramatic pace and agreed it was urgent to scale up efforts to reach the 2010 target to significantly reduce biodiversity loss. Participants also generally agreed that one area where increased effort is necessary is the provision of additional financial resources for the effective and efficient implementation of the decisions of the CBD. Link to further information Berlin Declaration on Private Donorship for Biodiversity

May 2009

UN PERMANENT FORUM ON INDIGENOUS ISSUES CONSIDERS CLIMATE CHANGE AND LAND TENURE ISSUES

About 2,000 indigenous representatives, as well as representatives of member States, civil society, academia, some 35 UN entities and other intergovernmental organizations, participated in the eighth session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), which convened from 18-29 May 2009, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The Forum considered a concept note, prepared by the special rapporteurs, on the preparation of the report on whether climate change policies and projects adhere to the standards set forth in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Forum also considered the Special Rapporteurs' reports on climate change and land tenure and hosted a panel discussion with UN experts on the impacts of the financial and economic crisis on indigenous peoples. Forum Chair Victoria Tauli-Corpuz called for a human rights-based approach to development that integrates indigenous peoples' needs and solutions to redress the impacts of climate change. Tauli-Corpuz indicated that the economic crisis has led to an increase of infrastructure development expenditures, and cautioned against construction projects on traditional lands without indigenous peoples' free, prior and informed consent, which may lead to their displacement. Tauli-Corpuz noted linkages between the climate change and global economic crises and underlined that the policies and solutions to address them may: deepen the poverty of indigenous communities and their economic and food insecurity; threaten their traditional livelihoods; and decrease their access to social services. The recommendations agreed by the UNPFII include a call on States and corporations to involve indigenous people in all negotiations relating to mining, infrastructure projects and other development schemes taking place on indigenous lands. Various side events were held in parallel to the main session of the UNPFII, including an event on the UN-REDD Programme, Operational Guidance and Engagement of Indigenous Peoples, organized by the UN Development Programme (UNDP). The event presented the programme and operational guidance and discussed the challenges facing indigenous peoples in many countries. Forum delegates gave testimonies about their lives and how the UN-REDD Programme could affect them. Links to further information Eighth Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issue... UN-REDD Programme, Operational Guidance: Engagement of Indig...
UNESCO MAN AND THE BIOSPHERE COUNCIL DESIGNATES NEW RESERVES

Meeting from 25-29 May 2009, in Jeju, Republic of Korea, the 21st session of the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere Programme decided to add 22 new sites from 17 countries to UNESCO's World Network of Biosphere Reserves, which now counts 553 sites in 107 countries. The new sites include the first Biosphere Reserves in two countries, Malaysia and Syria, and a sacred site in North Korea. Link to further information UNESCO release, 26 May 2009
WHO MEETING DISCUSSES ABS FRAMEWORK FOR INFLUENZA VIRUSES

Held from 15-16 May 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland, a World Health Organization (WHO) Intergovernmental Meeting sought to finalize negotiations on the pandemic influenza preparedness framework. The meeting ended with the understanding that there was agreement on most elements of the framework, however “further work needs to be undertaken on some key remaining elements.” During discussions, Brazil read the Declaration that the the Group of Like-Minded Megadiverse Countries made during the seventh meeting of the Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), held from 2-8 April 2009, in Paris, France. The Declaration recognized the sovereign right of States over their biological resources and that viruses and other pathogenic organisms are included in the scope of the CBD, noting that WHO negotiations should be consistent with the CBD objectives and shall not prejudge the outcome of the CBD ABS negotiations. The EU and the US responded that there is no linkage between the CBD and the WHO negotiations. Link to further information Third World Network Info Service, 26 May 2009

April 2009

ACAP AGREES TO COVER ALL ALBATROSS SPECIES

Held from 27-30 April 2009, in Bergen, Norway, the third Meeting of the Parties to the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP), developed under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species, agreed to add the three North Pacific albatrosses to the list of species covered by the Agreement. The addition of these three species – Black-footed Phoebastria nigripes, Laysan Phoebastria immutabilis and Short-tailed Phoebastria albatrus albatrosses – means that all albatross species worldwide are now covered by the Agreement. Link to further information ACAP press release
ATHENS CONFERENCE FOCUSES ON BIODIVERSITY PROTECTION BEYOND 2010

A high-level Conference was organized by the European Commission from 27-28 April 2009, in Athens, Greece, under the title “Biodiversity protection beyond 2010: priorities and options for future EU policy.” The Conference focused on the EU Biodiversity Action Plan, biodiversity and climate change, integration of biodiversity protection and business, the Natura 2000 network of protected areas, economics and finance, and the objectives of biodiversity protection beyond 2010. Link to further information The Conference website
CITES ANIMALS COMMITTEE CONCLUDES

The 24th meeting of the Animals Committee (AC) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) convened from 20-24 April 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland. The AC heard reports from intersessional working groups and issued recommendations on issues including: sharks and stingrays, non-detriment findings (NDFs), sea cucumber fisheries, the review of significant trade (RST), and periodic review of the appendices. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting
G8 MINISTERS ADOPT CHARTER ON BIODIVERSITY LOSS

Meeting from 22-24 April 2009, in Syracuse, Italy, the G8 Environment Ministers reaffirmed commitments to address biodiversity loss. Furthermore, the “Syracuse Charter” explicitly links safeguarding biodiversity to the fight against global warming, stating that biodiversity and ecosystem services are critical for climate regulation. Links to further information AFP press release, 23 April 2009 Reuters, 24 April 2009
ASEAN WORKSHOP FOCUSES ON HARMONIZATION OF REPORTING TO BIODIVERSITY-RELATED CONVENTIONS

Held from 15-17 April 2009, in Hanoi, Vietnam, a workshop on harmonization of reporting to biodiversity-related conventions gathered representatives of seven ASEAN countries and Australia. Its goal was to provide a venue to develop a framework to harmonize national reporting to the Convention on Biological Diversity, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and World Heritage Convention. A strong focus was put on building the capacity of the ASEAN countries to improve and streamline national reporting as an output of implementation of global conventions. The workshop was lead by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, in partnership with the Vietnam Environment Administration and with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and the biodiversity-related convention secretariats. Link to further information ASEAN Center for Biodiversity press release
ASEAN CONFERENCE ADDRESSES WILDLIFE CRIME

Held from 10-12 April 2009, in Pattaya, Thailand, a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) addressed wildlife crime. Under the title “A forgotten crisis: arresting wildlife depletion through strengthened partnerships and regional cooperation,” the meeting concluded with the signing of a new wildlife manifesto on “Combating Wildlife Crime in Asia.” According to the ASEAN Secretariat, the manifesto will help develop the Southeast Asia and South Asia wildlife enforcement networks into fully effective and sustainable platforms. Link to further information ASEAN Secretariat press release, 12 April 2009
ABS 7 NEGOTIATIONS STUMBLE UPON PROCEDURAL ISSUES

The seventh 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 2-8 April 2009, at UNESCO headquarters, in Paris, France. The meeting continued the negotiation of an international regime on ABS, focusing on operational text on the objective, scope, compliance, fair and equitable benefit-sharing, and access. The Working Group is expected to finalize the international regime, for consideration and adoption by the tenth Conference of the Parties to the CBD, to be held from 18-29 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan. The Working Group encountered several procedural obstacles, most of which related to the structure of the negotiating document agreed upon at ABS 6 and ratified by CBD COP 9, 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 the case of agreement in principle (“bricks”), or “for further consideration,” in the case of disagreement or need for further clarification (“bullets”). Although this structure had assisted negotiations in the past, it provoked prolonged procedural debates in Paris, with regional groups accusing each other of trying to promote bullets to bricks through their textual proposals under different items. Two days before the end of the meeting, the Working Group agreed to abandon the bricks and bullets concept and work on textual proposals under the structure set out in the annex to COP Decision IX/12. With regard to substance, the most controversial debate concerned whether to include viruses and pathogens in the scope of the regime. Although time and energy spent on the procedural “rules of engagement” has damaged the trust between negotiating groups, the outcome of the meeting, consisting of a streamlined working document on the objective, scope, compliance, benefit-sharing, and access, albeit highly bracketed, provides draft language on most items, and sets out parties' preferences and points of divergence. This collective outcome will form the basis for negotiations at ABS 8, to be held from 9-15 November 2009, in Montreal, Canada, where delegates will address the nature of the regime, traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources, and capacity building. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting
CMS HOLDS WORKSHOP ON THE SAKER FALCON

A workshop held from 5-7 April 2009, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, considered the principles of sustainable use and management of the Saker Falcon, as well as its population status, threats and conservation measures through captive breeding, artificial nests, reintroduction and satellite tracking. The event, which was held under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), recommended that conservation activities should be implemented under the umbrella of the existing CMS agreement on birds of prey. Link to further information CMS press release, April 2009

March 2009

CBD ABS WORKING GROUP MEETING IN PARIS

The seventh meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is being held from 2-8 April 2009, at UNESCO headquarters, in Paris, France. The meeting continues the negotiation of an international regime on ABS, focusing on operational text on the objective, scope, compliance, fair and equitable sharing, and access. In accordance with decision IX/12 of the Conference of the Parties (COP), the Working Group is instructed “to finalize the international regime and to submit for consideration and adoption by the Conference of the Parties at its tenth meeting an instrument/instruments to effectively implement the provisions in Article 15 and Article 8(j) of the Convention and its three objectives, without in any way prejudging or precluding any outcome regarding the nature of such instrument/instruments.” COP 10 will be held from 18-29 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting
CMS AND CITES ENDORSE ELEPHANT WORK PROGRAMME

The first meeting of the signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on West African populations of the African Elephant, developed under the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), was held from 30-31 March 2009, in Accra, Ghana. A joint meeting of representatives from CMS and the CITES programme MIKE (Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants) also took place on 1 April 2009, in Accra. Delegates agreed on a three-year work programme from 2009-2011, and CMS announced that it would provide EUR 30,000 towards its implementation. The MoU entered into force in November 2005 and currently has 13 signatories. Link to further information CMS press release, 9 April 2009
CITES PLANTS COMMITTEE FORWARDS RECOMMENDATIONS TO COP

The 18th meeting of the Plants Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) convened from 17-21 March 2009, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The meeting addressed proposals for amendments to the Appendices for possible consideration at the 15th Conference of the Parties to CITES, progress on the implementation of the action plan for bigleaf mahogany, Review of Significant Trade (RST) in specimens of Appendix II species, and the outcomes of the recent international expert workshop on non-detriment findings. The Plants Committee made many recommendations, including to: exclude mahogany from Peru from the RST; include mahogany from Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, Honduras and Venezuela in the next round of the RST; commission trade studies, including on a review of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding Systems (HS Code) applicable to timber trade and associated definitions for specimens in trade and amendments to annotations for tree species listed in Appendices II and III; establish capacity-building workshops to provide guidance for non-detriment findings (NDFs) for timber species and Prunus Africana; task the Bigleaf Mahogany Working Group to address cedar and rosewood; and encourage all range States to list cedar and rosewood in Appendix III. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting
HIGH-LEVEL WORKING GROUP ADDRESSES THE FUTURE OF POLICY FOR BIODIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEMS

At the invitation of the German Presidency of the CBD Conference of the Parties, approximately 50 distinguished individuals met in their personal capacity from 9-10 March 2009, in Bonn, Germany. The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss the framework of the post-2010 biodiversity target and to prepare the ground for the discussion and action on the future of the global biodiversity agenda. Link to further information CBD press release, 18 March 2009

February 2009

Friends of the Co-Chairs on Liability and Redress Produce Draft Supplementary Protocol to the Biosafety Protocol

27 February 2009: The first Meeting of the Group of Friends of the Co-Chairs on Liability and Redress under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety convened from 23-27 February 2009, in Mexico City, Mexico. The meeting continued negotiating international rules and procedures on liability and redress for damage resulting from transboundary movements of living modified organisms in the context of the Biosafety Protocol, and produced a draft text for a supplementary protocol on liability and redress, which will serve as a basis for further consideration at the second meeting of the Group of Friends of the Co-Chairs, to be held in early 2010, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Most delegates agreed that the supplementary protocol is far from complete, but many thought the meeting had put a successful outcome within reach in time for the fifth Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol, to be held from 11-15 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan. [IISD RS coverage of the meeting]
28TH SESSION OF THE WORLD CUSTOMS ORGANIZATION ENFORCEMENT COMMITTEE CONVENES

The 28th Session of the World Customs Organization Enforcement Committee was held from 23-27 February 2009, in Brussels, Belgium. Attended by national level Customs and Revenue Directorates, as well as non-Enforcement Committee members, the meeting included consideration of cooperation between the public and private sectors in addressing environmental crime. Link to further information Green Customs coverage of the meeting

January 2009

CBD EXPERT GROUP ON COMPLIANCE FOR ABS MEETS

With regard to the negotiations for an international regime on access and benefit-sharing (ABS) under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the group of technical and legal experts on compliance met from 27-30 January 2009, in Tokyo, Japan. The group considered public and private international law measures to: facilitate access to justice and access to courts by foreign plaintiffs; support mutual recognition and enforcement of judgments across jurisdictions; and provide remedies and sanctions in civil, commercial and criminal matters, to ensure compliance with national access and benefit-sharing legislation and requirements. The group also addressed: voluntary measures available to enhance compliance of users of foreign genetic resources; an internationally agreed definition of misappropriation and misuse of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge and whether it could support compliance; compliance measures that take account of the customary law of indigenous and local communities; and compliance measures for research with non-commercial intent. Link to further information The meeting website