When Chilean Ambassador Vincente S nchez, the Chair of the Intergovernmental Committee on the Convention on Biological Diversity (ICCBD), closed the second session on Friday, 1 July 1994, exhausted delegates emerged from the conference rooms at UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi feeling that while the meeting was not an unconditional success, debate had moved forward and the foundation was in place for the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The ICCBD was established by the UNEP Governing Council in May 1993 to prepare for the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties and ensure an early and effective operation of the Convention once it enters into force. During the two-week session, which took place in Nairobi from 20 June - 1 July 1994, delegates undertook a number of preparations for the first meeting of the COP, which is scheduled to take place in Nassau, The Bahamas, from 28 November - 9 December 1994. Among the issues discussed were: institutional, legal and procedural matters; scientific and technical matters; and matters relating to the financial mechanism. Although the delegates went home feeling that progress had been made, many understood that they had also postponed negotiation on very pertinent issues, including the need for a protocol on biosafety, ownership of and access to ex situ genetic resources, farmers' rights, and the financial mechanism. Nevertheless, due in part to the ability of the Chairs of the two working groups and the contact groups in moving the debate forward, a number of recommendations have been made to the first COP and potential paralysis of the deliberations, such as that faced during the first meeting of the ICCBD, was averted.
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