CONTACT GROUP ON FINANCIAL MECHANISMS, INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE AND LIST OF DEVELOPED COUNTRIES
The Contact Group addressing agenda items 4.1.5, 4.1.6 and 4.1.7, completed its discussion of the programme priorities being developed to give direction to the institutional structure operating the financial mechanism. A list of 13 programme priorities was developed. This Group completed discussion late Monday night. Eight of these were agreed. These are paragraphs: i - projects that have national priority status; ii - development of national strategies; iv- identification and monitoring of biodiversity components, in particular those under threat; v- capacity building and/or strengthening the preparation of national reports; vii - projects that promote the sustainability of project benefits and that may have application elsewhere; viii - activities that leverage other funds; x - projects that strengthen the involvement of local people; xi - coastal and marine resources under threat, arid, semi-arid and mountainous regions; and xi-bis, now xii - projects aimed at the conservation and sustainable use of endemic species. Some of the more controversial discussion focused on the following paragraphs.
Paragraphs iii and xi, strongly supported by Small Island States, prioritize "coastal and marine resources under threat." Some developed countries did not want reference made to any particular geographic area. Others noted that only coastal and marine resources "under threat" are prioritized and therefore should not be of concern to States without coastal areas. The agreed text in paragraph xi includes reference to coastal and marine resources, however, paragraph iii remains bracketed.
The majority of time was spent discussing paragraph vi, which lists the development and transfer of technology as a programme priority. This was supported by the G-77 and China. However, the developed countries, while agreeing that technology transfer is an important goal of the CBD, do not agree that it should be a programme priority for financial support under the Convention. Again, no compromise was reached and the G-77 and Western European and Others Group (WEOG) groups will each provide their own texts to the Chair. Both texts will appear bracketed in the report forwarded to the COP. Confusion surrounding the term "opportunity costs foregone" has resulted in paragraph ix remaining bracketed. A delegate suggested that to forego costs, means that costs are not incurred, whereas this paragraph addresses issues of costs incurred by local communities. Several developing countries insisted that "opportunity" remain even if "foregone" was removed. However, other countries expressed a lack of understanding of the term "opportunity cost" and the paragraph remains bracketed.
Paragraph xii, which prioritizes "projects aimed at conservation and sustainable use which contribute to the eradication of poverty," was a highly controversial item. Many developing countries insisted that the reference to poverty remain, as it is a key underlying cause of many threats to biological diversity. However, several developed countries, while acknowledging the link between poverty and threats to biodiversity, argued that the CBD does not have poverty eradication as a priority. The paragraph remains bracketed.
Discussion then began on agenda item 4.1.6 (previously 4.1.7), the institutional structure to operate the financial mechanism. The five items to be addressed during this discussion include: selection of institution; policies, strategies and eligibility criteria of the mechanism; amount of financial resources; voluntary contributions; and intersessional arrangements. The Chair's draft document on the institutional structure and its policies was then discussed in informal groups. It recommends that the GEF remain the interim financial mechanism and that a survey of other financial institutions that can manage voluntary contributions be undertaken by the Secretariat. It outlines several recommendations concerning the policies and strategies relating to access to, and utilization of the financial resources. After the informal groups provided comments (in private) to the Chair, the session was closed.
CONTACT GROUP ON FINANCIAL RULES OF THE SECRETARIAT: The Group chaired by Mr. Uppenbrink (Germany) addressed agenda item 4.1.2 (previously 4.1.3) on the draft financial rules for the Secretariat of the CBD. Several important issues remain unresolved and the results will be presented in Tuesday's meeting of Working Group II. The basis of contributions, whether they will be voluntary or mandatory, is still undecided. Additionally, the method for choosing a scale of assessment has not been agreed. Alternatives include consensus or voting by qualified majority.
[Return to start of article]