The measurement of success of any intergovernmental negotiating process is an arbitrary one that depends by and large on who is setting the expectations and on what those expectations are based. Some delegates and observers arrived at the second and final meeting of the ICCBD with greatly reduced expectations. They were concerned about both an unmanageable agenda and a possible repetition of the same errors that were committed at the first session of the ICCBD in Geneva. ICCBD-1 was characterized by a lack of adequate preparation by the Interim Secretariat, behind-the-scenes politics over the selection of the Chair, and the inability of the Committee to focus and prioritize issues. To these participants with reduced expectations, the ICCBD-2 meeting was a qualified success.
On the other side, some delegates and observers arrived in Nairobi with high expectations. With the Conference of Parties set to convene in six months' time, they were expecting ICCBD-2 to effectively set the stage for this crucial meeting. Using the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for the Framework Convention on Climate Change (INC) as a guide, they expected to successfully negotiate a number of procedural and substantive recommendations so that the first meeting of the COP could quickly move through the organizational matters and immediately focus on matters of substance. Many overlooked the fact that the INC will have met six times before the first COP for the Climate Change Convention and the ICCBD only twice. To these delegates, ICCBD-2 was a failure, since very few procedural, much less substantive, matters were actually resolved.
Regardless of the level of expectations, most agree that the ICCBD did accomplish several things that will facilitate the implementation of the Convention and the first COP. The general feeling of the participants was that they had accomplished a fair amount and the spirit of the meeting lacked the acrimoniousness of ICCBD-I. In other areas, familiar arguments characterized the lengthy debates where little progress could be made. In general, most participants and observers can agree that much more work needs to be done before the COP can begin serious work and the goals of the Convention can become a reality.
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