The CHAIR introduced Agenda Item 3.1 on assessment of biodiversity and methodologies for future assessment (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/2/2). NORWAY distinguished between knowledge assessments and status assessments. The US proposed flexible methodologies. CAMEROON noted the conflicting needs for reporting convenience and harmonization. SOUTH KOREA suggested that reporting should be tied to country capacity. GHANA proposed funding for countries lacking capacity. SWEDEN called for adding biodiversity to resource assessment in a number of sectors. NIGERIA called for capacity building to assist assessment and data management. SWITZERLAND said SBSTTA and the CBD should take advantage of 1995 UNEP assessments. He noted the work of the FAO on agricultural biodiversity. ZIMBABWE noted that some harmful agricultural methods in need of assessment involve transferred technologies.
Under Agenda Item 3.2, the Secretariat introduced the report on identification, monitoring and assessment of components of biodiversity and processes that have adverse impacts (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/2/3). NEW ZEALAND proposed that the Secretariat develop pragmatic guidelines on assessments and consider the experience of other biodiversity- related conventions. KENYA proposed that the Secretariat prepare a background paper on freshwater ecosystems. GERMANY noted the importance of biosphere reserves, and called for clear priorities on the monitoring of processes and categories of activities. Monitoring and indicators need to be reflected in SBSTTAs work programme as a joint standing item.
The MARSHALL ISLANDS, supported by JAMAICA, noted that radioactive contamination resulting from nuclear testing should be listed as a threat to biodiversity. URUGUAY said that information on laws and regulations should be included in national reports and called for assessment of temperate zone ecosystems, particularly grasslands and wetlands. The UK stressed the importance of national action, capacity building and improved training. He urged the initiation of intersessional work on identification and monitoring.
SWEDEN stressed that assessment has taken on many different meanings. She said there are generally accepted best methods for assessing the status of resources, but no methods for assessing related components of biodiversity. The NETHERLANDS highlighted his countrys efforts under UNEPs Global Environment Outlook programme. The US noted that states should consider carefully what they are assessing and why. He suggested focusing on short-term strategies as a start.
ARGENTINA questioned a Secretariat reference to biodiversity information beyond national sovereignty, and the competence of SBSTTA to make financial recommendations to the COP. The EUROPEAN COMMUNITY drew attention to conventions with developed criteria for identifying components of biodiversity. SRI LANKA added improper land management to a paragraph on categories of activities leading to threats to biodiversity. AUSTRALIA suggested that MOUs be pursued with other organizations and conventions already using indicators. ZIMBABWE noted that the secretariats categories failed to take account of the possible harmful effects of non-use of biodiversity, citing the example of prohibitions giving rise to uncontrolled use. COSTA RICA asked for additional references to: threatened ecosystems in a section on components of biodiversity; hunting sports and airport/port construction in the categories of activities leading to threats; and unsustainable consumption habits to a paragraph on ultimate causes of threats. CANADA, commenting on global and national indicator initiatives, said his country has learned that one cannot wait for the perfect product. BURKINA FASO added over- exploitation of natural resources to categories of activities leading to threats to biodiversity. PERU added migratory agriculture to the same paragraph.
Under Agenda Item 3.3, the Secretariat introduced the report on indicators for assessing the effectiveness of measures taken under the Convention (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/2/4). GERMANY welcomed the establishment of an expert group. SWITZERLAND said SBSTTA should ensure that this item is on the permanent work agenda for the COP and the UK called for concentrating on proven successful indicators. COLOMBIA proposed criteria for the selection of indicator species, including: the availability of taxonomic expertise; a minimal sample requirement; avoiding groups with seasonal or long-term cycles; low impact sampling; and sensitivity to human activity. AUSTRALIA suggested a timetable for the development of the Clearinghouse Mechanism (CHM). The WORLD BANK said indicators should be straightforward at project level and linked to incentive structures.
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