The first session of the ICCBD met in Geneva from 11-15 October 1993. After a halting start, due to procedural, organizational and political problems that resulted from the 16-month gap between the last session of the INC and this meeting, progress was made in addressing the long list of tasks mandated to the Committee by the Convention for completion before the first Conference of the Parties (COP).
The ICCBD established two working groups. Working Group I dealt with the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, 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 tackled the institution operating the financial mechanism, the characteristics desired in the financial mechanism, a process for estimating funding needs, the meaning of "full incremental costs," the rules of procedure for the COP, and technical cooperation and capacity building. Despite several sessions of substantive debate, at the end of the week-long session the working groups were not able to produce reports that could be approved by the Plenary. When the reports of the working groups were presented to the Plenary, a number of delegates expressed concern that they had not seen the documents in their final form and, due to the large number of amendments and changes, could not adopt them at this time. As a last minute solution, the Plenary adopted only two decisions: the establishment of a scientific and technical committee that would meet before the second session of the ICCBD; and a request to the Secretariat to use the unadopted working groups' reports as guidance during the intersessional period.
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