The group decided to take up the remaining matter left from Tuesday's debate, "Monitoring and evaluation" when it discusses "Arrangements between the COP and the Institutional Structure."
INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE TO OPERATE THE FINANCIAL MECHANISM UNDER THE CONVENTION
ICCBD Chair, Amb. Vincente S nchez, said that success of the session depends on the success of discussion on this agenda item. He had attended the three GEF restructuring meetings as requested by the ICCBD, where he raised the matter of inconsistencies in the GEF instrument and the CBD with delegates, some of which were remedied. The GEF instrument notes "cooperative arrangements and agreements" with the COP, but these can be interpreted as something between two equal partners and this is not the case. He noted that the term "under authority" is missing. He hoped the ICCBD would make concrete recommendations for the first COP.
SELECTION OF THE INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE ENTRUSTED WITH THE OPERATION OF THE FINANCIAL MECHANISM: The Working Group Chair, V. Koester, noted that the institutional structure in place is the GEF. Malaysia, supported by Kenya, Mauritius, Cuba, and Mexico urged that the COP should not rush into any decision and that the GEF could serve as the interim mechanism past the first COP so that it could be tested for suitability. Kenya, Syria, and Mauritius called for an independent mechanism. Delegates discussed the merits of one versus many institutional structures and mechanisms, and whether the CBD referred to it/them in the singular or plural. Sri Lanka questioned whether the GEF would act under government authority, given it is now funding NGOs independently of government approval. Uganda, supported by Guinea, noted that the COP should examine the GEF for suitability for the allocation of funds and whether it will allow the COP to utilize the fund for its own subsidiary bodies. Pakistan said that the restructured GEF does not qualify under the CBD, since it is not democratic or under the authority and guidance of the COP. The Bahamas, supported by WWF, accepted the GEF with its "good and bad bits", although not as the only mechanism, since that would discourage some funding. The Bahamas added that this ongoing debate was the "GEF interactive role playing game". In so many words, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, US, Norway, and the Russian Federation felt that the successfully restructured GEF should be the financial mechanism for the CBD. France said that seeming disparities between the GEF instrument and the CBD are semantic and not philosophical. The US and France noted that national legislative bodies would get a signal from this meeting. The UK and Switzerland noted that the GEF restructuring was negotiated by countries present and the UK noted that Pakistan had even contributed to the GEF. Argentina suggested that the ICCBD should recommend the GEF as the interim structure until the COP decides otherwise. The Chair said that both groups in the debate needed each other to make any of the possible decisions regarding the institutional structure.
OTHER FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS: France noted that a procedure, similar to that of the Climate Convention, should be established where regional banks and the World Bank provide information to the Climate Secretariat. The UK, US, Brazil, and Australia, among others, supported France's proposal for a survey of various bodies that would evaluate the roles and nature of activities carried out by other financial institutions, and whether their policies are consistent with the aims of the CBD.
ARRANGEMENTS BETWEEN THE COP AND THE INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE: Australia's proposal for an arrangement such as a memorandum of understanding between the COP and the institutional structure, was strongly supported. It would provide a formal basis while providing flexibility and avoiding legal arrangements. The Interim Secretariat will likely develop a draft list of elements that such a memorandum would contain. The Bahamas suggested that an intermediary body between the COP and all agencies operating under its authority be developed (including financial institutions, scientific and technical bodies etc). Such a body would receive reports from subsidiary bodies and perform an independent monitoring and evaluation role. This intervention was widely supported. Australia also noted that the GEF is committed to independent evaluations of its operation, and suggested that the COP may wish to be part of such evaluations. Brazil, on the other hand, suggested that the COP should not be involved in monitoring and evaluation functions and should confine itself to the mandate given to it in the CBD.
It was agreed that a small open-ended Working Group would convene to further address 4.1.6 and 4.1.7, taking into account the discussions to date. The group, Chaired by Mexico, also includes Uganda, Nigeria, India, Malaysia, China, Uruguay, Antigua & Barbuda, Brazil, the US, France, Japan, Australia, the UK, and Austria.
Germany reported that the informal working group on the draft financial rules of the trust fund, and budget, for the Secretariat, had met four times since Monday. The group will continue meeting and submit a final report later in the session.
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