On Friday, 1 July 1994, the final session of the ICCBD Plenary was held to adopt the reports of the two working groups and the report of the Committee.
The Chair of Working Group I, Prof. Ongeri presented the Working Group's report (UNEP/CBD/IC/2/L.3) and verbally noted the corrigenda consisting of minor editorial points. The Netherlands introduced an addition to the report in the section on ownership of, and access to, ex situ genetic resources (4.2.3) that the CGIAR centres stand ready to participate in the development of the clearing-house mechanism for information on biodiversity for food, forestry and agriculture. The Chair did not allow this statement to be included in the Working Group's report said it would be included in the report of the Plenary. The report was adopted.
The Chair of Working Group II, Mr. Koester (Denmark), introduced the report of Working Group II (UNEP/CBD/IC/ 2/L.4), which was subsequently adopted.
The Rapporteur of the Plenary, Mr. J. Husain (Pakistan), introduced the continuation of the report of the work of the Plenary (UNEP/CBD/IC/2/L.1/Add.1-Add.6 with attached corrigenda). Greece noted to the Plenary that it had ratified the Convention and that this was not reflected in the revisions to the information document circulated that morning (UNEP/CBD/IC/2/Inf.1/Rev.1). The Chair noted that this would be reflected in the report of the Plenary.
Germany, on behalf of the EU, offered some further thoughts on how the permanent Secretariat should be chosen, saying that it may not be feasible to choose it at the first COP. He said that the EU is impressed by the quality and performance of the present team and suggested that the Interim Secretariat continue until the second COP. Ongeri noted that the Working Group I report recommended this. Sweden supported the EU suggestion and added that not only should it be made clear that one of the conditions should be full transparency, but that States should have a decisive say in the selection of the permanent Secretariat. Switzerland supported the EU and reminded the Plenary that its existing agreement covers the costs of the secretariat through 1995.
Syria expressed general thanks on behalf of the Arab Group. Kenya thanked the delegates for coming and reiterated its desire to house the permanent secretariat. India expressed dismay at the brackets left in the rules of procedure and the lack of headway on the biosafety protocol. Mauritius was disappointed with the resistance to expanding the size of the Bureau to include the small island developing States. He also requested information from UNEP on the status of the request from the African Group for sponsorship of the African Regional meeting. UNEP Executive Director Elizabeth Dowdeswell explained that the first stage of preparation is complete and that UNEP has sought donor contributions.
Peru announced that it will host an intergovernmental meeting in Lima, with the participation of NGOs and scientific organizations, for the Latin American and Caribbean Group to consider the issues on the agenda for the first COP. Brazil said that the results of this meeting show the start of real work in forging the global partnership in implementation of the Convention, particularly in communities related to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. But, he added, it is up to governments to forge the framework to generate more wealth, requiring political will, patience and the courage to change and to envision a new world. Algeria, on behalf of the G-77, said it was pleased with the Committee's work and that he hoped that the COP will be in a position to identify the permanent financial mechanism that will best be able to implement the Convention. Poland, supported by the Chair, thanked the International Institute for Sustainable Development for publishing the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, which, he said, was a helpful service for a one-person delegation so that he could monitor both working groups.
Ashish Kothari, from the Indian Institute of Public Administration, speaking on behalf of many of the NGOs present, noted that one of the positive developments of this session was that the Convention is not limited to narrowly defined conservation programmes, but that sustainable use and benefit-sharing are equally important objectives. He noted that the root causes of biodiversity loss are still ignored and he hoped that the Spain meeting (CSD inputs) would help to define the task of addressing these causes. He stressed that the COP must deal with the issues of indigenous and local community rights. He said that disagreements on the crucial aspects of the financial mechanism and priorities for funding are a striking failure of the ICCBD and that the GEF remains an inappropriate institution to serve the Convention.
UNEP Executive Director Elizabeth Dowdeswell said that in only two sessions the ICCBD had accomplished its mission. Although a number of items have not been fully resolved, a fruitful dialogue has been established and will continue. She hoped that governments would pursue intersessional consultations on the financial mechanism. She thought that perhaps a meeting between the regional groups on the eve of the first COP would be helpful. She added that UNEP currently houses the secretariats of six global conventions and thirteen agreements and, if a similar request were made to UNEP at the first COP to the Convention on Biological Diversity, it would accept.
Angela Cropper, Executive Secretary of the Interim Secretariat, noted the large number of tasks assigned to it for the five months before the first COP. She encouraged signatories that had not ratified the Convention to do so before 30 August 1994 to ensure representation at the first COP. She said that one of the tasks ahead was the raising of funds for the regional workshops and the COP. She said that discharging the function of the Executive Secretary was stimulating and gratifying.
S nchez announced that Conference Services had provided diskette copies of all the documents and reports for distribution. He thanked the Committee for its tireless work and particularly the Rapporteur and his "friends," and the representatives of the regional groups. He reminded the Committee of the work to be done as the Convention enters the implementation stage and echoed Brazil in the need for a constructive partnership, particularly in food self- sufficiency. He thanked the UN agencies, and the IUCN and NGOs who have reminded the governments of things they might have forgotten or neglected. He then declared the second session of the ICCBD closed.
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