GLOBAL BIODIVERSITY FORUM:
Yvonne St. Hill presented a
report on the outcome of the three-day Global Biodiversity Forum
hosted by the IUCN in Gland, Switzerland, 7-9 October 1993. The
Forum, organized by UNEP, the African Centre for Technology
Studies, the World Conservation Union and the World Resources
Institute, included 150 participants from 50 countries. The purpose
was to foster an open exchange of views on issues that are
frequently contentious and are currently being negotiated in other
multilateral fora. St. Hill outlined the Forum's key
- Participation and Information: Widespread participation of a diversity of stakeholders is essential to biodiversity conservation. Moreover, NGO access to information and formal deliberations, as well as constructive collaboration with the Interim Secretariat, should be encouraged.
- Finance: A diversity of financial means and funding mechanisms is needed. Without addressing the negative impact of certain patterns of trade and debt on biodiversity, the Convention's well-intentioned, project-oriented financing schemes may be rendered ineffective.
- Institutional Change: In line with the Convention's comprehensive and community-based approach to ecosystem protection, Governments should restructure and reform national institutions, laws, policies and accounting mechanisms. In addition, Governments should set up multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral national commissions.
- Intellectual Property Rights (IPR): The potentially negative impact of existing IPRs on biodiversity and their alternatives should be assessed before these regimes are extended. The traditional knowledge embodied in current practices and technologies should also be recognized.
- Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs): Specific biodiversity criteria should be developed for EIAs, policies and laws. EIA processes should be proactive, precautionary, transparent and participatory. Some countries will require capacity-building in order to conduct EIAs on complex and novel technologies.
[Return to start of article]
- Biosafety: A biosafety protocol must consider the social, economic, and biological implications of the trade and use of modern, and often experimental, biotechnologies.