PROGRAMME OF WORK AND BUDGET: Delegates conducted a preliminary discussion, chaired by Peter Unwin (UK), on the programme of work. Most agreed that the workload is heavy and emphasized a balanced and flexible approach. A few ideas for addition were discussed.
FINANCIAL RESOURCES AND MECHANISM: The contact group chaired by John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) discussed a range of agenda items including: designation of the institutional structure operating the financial mechanism of the Convention; timetable and nature of review of the financial mechanism; draft memorandum of understanding (MOU); guidance on start-up or enabling activities; further guidance to the financial mechanism on programme priorities and modalities for processing projects; relationship between SBSTTA and STAP; and continuation of the study on the availability of additional financial resources. Five of seven paragraphs (each dealing with a specific agenda item) of the fourth draft of the Chairman's text have been broadly agreed to while the paragraphs dealing with the designation and MOU, and a new paragraph regarding a medium-sized grant programme, remain unresolved.
MARINE AND COASTAL and TERRESTRIAL ISSUES: The Group chaired by A.K. Ahuja (India) met Saturday and established two subgroups, one on marine and coastal issues and the other on terrestrial issues, coordinated by Australia and Brazil, respectively.
The terrestrial group focused on a statement for the IPF. Some delegations said the statement should address IPF's terms of reference. Others recommended following CBD priorities, using SBSTTA recommendations. A delegation suggested addressing political and legal issues. Another delegation opposed discussion of any new legal instrument. The subgroup established drafting groups on ecological issues and on access, benefits-sharing and indigenous peoples' issues.
The subgroup examining marine issues, chaired by Peter Bridgewater (Australia), received draft texts regarding possible terms of reference and composition of the ad hoc panel of experts on marine and coastal biological diversity from the Secretariat and four others. A drafting group examined how the texts could be combined and decided to use the Secretariat's paper as the starting point. The drafting group also supported SBSTTA's recommendation for the establishment of the panel. An informal group was to combine elements from the other texts into the Secretariat's text over the weekend.
BIOSAFETY: The group chaired by Effendy Sumardja (Indonesia) spent much of its time on procedural matters. Three draft decisions on the biosafety protocol (submitted by G-77/China, EU and Norway) along with 4 unofficial proposals were considered. Two differences noted by delegates among the versions were the justification for and scope of the proposed protocol. A bracketed Chairman's text, based on submitted proposals, will be considered by the group on Monday.
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