BIOSAFETY: The Group chaired by Effendy Sumardja (Indonesia) considered a draft Chairman's text on Agenda Item 4.4 in its third day of discussions. Delegates debated alternate wording for the text, and will consider a revised draft Chairman's text on Tuesday. One of the paragraphs under discussion involves a decision by members of the drafting group to "recognize the need for," "decide to develop," or "conclude that there is a need for" a protocol on biosafety. Among other options to be considered by the group are bracketed versions of proposed wording that defines the terms of reference for a working group or committee whose task it will be to develop a draft protocol on biosafety.
MARINE AND COASTAL and TERRESTRIAL ISSUES: The Contact Group chaired by A.K. Ahuja (India) met briefly as a whole following the Plenary. The Chair outlined progress in the two groups and suggested that the output should take the form of short, direct political statements to CSD.
Chair Ahuja submitted a draft for the CBD statement to the IPF on biodiversity and forests. It welcomed the designation of the CBD Secretariat as the lead agency for addressing the relationship between indigenous peoples and forests, and calls for a dialogue between CBD and IPF on a broader range of issues. It addresses diversity in tropical, temperate and boreal forests, forests' value as habitat to the majority of terrestrial species, ecological services, provision of jobs and role in climate and ecological cycles. The link between forest biodiversity loss and decreased forest area and quality is mentioned. The draft requests IPF to acknowledge the need to integrate conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in relevant plans, programmes and policies and explore how biodiversity could be assisted by establishment of environmental goals. It calls for goals at an ecosystems level aimed at securing forest quality and a number of components. National plans should include in situ activities in accordance with Article 8. The draft suggests the importance of education and awareness raising and strengthened focus on research.
The Chair's draft was based on that of the drafting sub-group on ecological issues chaired by Antonius Van Der Zoon (Netherlands), which met Monday morning. The sub-group reviewed and agreed to a three-page draft statement that includes an introduction, text on the importance of biodiversity, a summary of trends in forest ecosystems and their biodiversity components, a section on the main causes of forest biodiversity loss, and recommendations on methods for conservation and sustainable management of forests.
The drafting sub-group on access to genetic resources, equitable sharing of benefits and indigenous peoples' issues chaired by Ulf Svensson (Sweden) met in morning, afternoon and evening sessions. Following submission of the Contact Group Chair's draft, the sub-group agreed to submit a three-paragraph addition. One paragraph covers knowledge, innovations and practices. A second will address access to forest-based genetic resources subject to prior consent on mutually agreed terms. The third paragraph instructs the CBD Secretariat to prepare preliminary input to the IPF session scheduled for September 1996 and calls for further input from COP-3 to IPF. Language on the three paragraphs is expected to be finalized at a Tuesday morning drafting session.
The Group considering marine and coastal biodiversity, chaired by Peter Bridgewater (Australia), began Monday considering a draft text prepared by a drafting group on Sunday evening, which was based on a Secretariat draft and incorporated others' suggestions. The text consisted of a thirteen-paragraph draft decision that called for establishing an ad hoc panel of experts on marine and coastal biodiversity, among other things, and an annex regarding the terms of reference and work programme for the panel. Changes were incorporated into the text during the day, adding three paragraphs to the draft decision and text to two sub-paragraphs in the proposed work programme, as well as other changes.
References to "adoption" of SBSTTA recommendation I/8 on scientific, technical and technological aspects of the conservation and sustainable use of coastal and marine biological diversity remain bracketed pending discussion of the recommendations. A proposal was made to add reference to assessment of genetic resources of the high seas, in particular the deep sea bed.
During discussion of the draft terms of reference and work programme, some delegates cautioned against micro-managing the panel. References to needs for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in the context of "food security," and evaluation of the "effects on marine biodiversity of over-fishing capacity and associated subsidies" were proposed, but not resolved. Delegates are expected to continue consideration of these texts and to take up on Tuesday consideration of the recommendations made by SBSTTA.
FINANCIAL MECHANISM AND RESOURCES: The contact group on financial resources and mechanism, chaired by John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda), met Monday evening. Delegates discussed the three remaining unresolved issues: designation of the institutional structure for the financial mechanism; the MOU; and eligibility criteria, strategy and programme priorities. The text on these issues remains bracketed.
BUDGET AND PROGRAMME OF WORK: The contact group, chaired by Peter Unwin (UK), considered a revised budget proposal from the Secretariat during a morning session. The proposed restructuring to achieve greater efficiency and savings was welcomed, but a number of concerns were expressed, including the need for further information from the Secretariat regarding the budgetary implications of decisions being taken in other contact groups. An evening session of the group discussed the draft decision on COP's medium-term programme of work for 1996-1997. Key concerns and points of discussion included: the heavy workload for COP-3; the possibility of certain items, listed for consideration in 1996, being moved to the following year; and the implications for the work programme of decisions being taken in other contact groups regarding possible expert panels on a number of issues.
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