In May 1993, UNEPs Governing Council established the Intergovernmental Committee on the Convention on Biological Diversity (ICCBD) to prepare for the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) and to ensure effective operation of the Convention upon its entry into force. Former UNEP Executive Director, Mostafa Tolba, established four expert panels to provide advice to the first ICCBD: Panel 1-Priorities for Action and Research Agenda; Panel 2- Economic Implications and Valuation of Biological Resources; Panel 3-Technology Transfer and Financial Resources; and Panel 4-Safe Transfer, Handling and Use of Living Modified Organisms Resulting from Biotechnology. In addition, the Norwegian Government and UNEP hosted an Expert Conference on Biodiversity, held in Trondheim, Norway from 24-28 May 1993 to provide input to the work of the ICCBD. The first session of the ICCBD met in Geneva from 11-15 October 1993. After a difficult start due to procedural problems, that resulted from the 16-month gap between the last session of the INC and this meeting, the ICCBD made progress in addressing the long list of tasks mandated to it. The ICCBD established two Working Groups. Working Group I dealt with the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, the scientific and technical work between meetings and the issue of biosafety. Working Group II tackled issues related to the financial mechanisms, the 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, the Working Groups were not able to produce reports that could be approved by the Plenary. 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.
[Return to start of article]