At this point, Malaysia took the opportunity to make several key points regarding the programme of work. She warned that this meeting should not be used as an opportunity to rewrite the Convention or to attempt to operationalize it in ways to further the interests of certain groups. She also objected to the Interim Secretariat's overly optimistic analysis of biosafety, noting that the precautionary principle alone would preclude reference to the "good safety record." Malaysia proposed that biosafety be addressed in Working Group I and that technical cooperation be transferred to Working Group II. Brazil supported Malaysia's proposals and reminded the Plenary that the ICCBD is not a scientific forum but, rather, an intergovernmental committee. Sweden also supported Malaysia's proposal in light of the political nature of the topic of technical cooperation and capacity building.
It was agreed that Working Group I would deal with the conservation and sustainable use, including the full range of important activities for reducing the loss of biodiversity, the scientific and technical work between meetings and the issue of biosafety. Working Group II would deal with the institution operating the financial mechanism, the characteristics desired in the financial mechanism, a process to estimating funding needs, the meaning of "full incremental costs," the rules of procedures for the COP and technical cooperation and capacity building.
Once the procedural matters had been agreed to, the Chair was able to open the floor so that delegates could report on progress made with regard to ratification of the Convention, its implementation, and the conservation of biological diversity. [Return to start of article]