The first session of the Intergovernmental Committee on the Convention on Biological Diversity (ICCBD) met in Geneva from 11-15 October 1993. The meeting was convened by the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), with the objective of preparing for the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties and ensuring an early and effective operation of the Convention once it enters into force. The ICCBD was established in May 1993 by the UNEP Governing Council.
After a halting start due to procedural problems that resulted from the 16-month gap between the last negotiating session for the Convention and this meeting, progress was made in addressing the long list of tasks mandated to the Committee by the Convention for completion before the first Conference of Parties (COP). There were frank debates about convening a scientific meeting, biosafety, the financial mechanism, technical cooperation, national activities, and the rules of procedure for the COP. The ICCBD established two working groups, which met throughout the week. Yet, despite several sessions of substantive debate, the working groups were not able to produce reports that could be approved by the Plenary. When the reports of the working groups were presented to the Plenary, a number of delegates expressed concern that they had not seen the documents in their final form and, due to the large number of amendments and changes, could not adopt them at this time. As a last minute solution, the Plenary adopted only two decisions: the establishment of a scientific and technical committee that will meet before the next session of the ICCBD and a request to the Secretariat to use the unadopted Working Group reports as guidance during the intersessional period.
@HEAD2.5 = A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CONVENTION: ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
The Convention on Biological Diversity was opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 5 June 1992. As of the end of July 1993, 165 countries had signed the Convention and as of 29 September 1993, 31 nations had ratified the Convention. As a result, the Convention will enter into force on 29 December 1993. The Convention, which is based on a broad ecosystem approach, contains three national-level obligations: to conserve and sustainably use biological diversity and to share its benefits.
[Return to start of article]