Working Group 1 was chaired by Braulio Da Souza Dias (Brazil). The topics discussed were: assessment of biodiversity; identification and monitoring of adverse impacts; biodiversity indicators; agrobiodiversity; terrestrial biodiversity; and marine and coastal biodiversity.
The discussion on agrobiodiversity did not result in consensus, and was referred to a contact group on Wednesday evening, 4 September. The contact group met late into the night with, at times, heated debate, finally reaching a delicate equilibrium in the words of the Working Groups Chair. The recommendations adopted by SBSTTA-2 are incorporated into a single document, which includes the report of Working Group 1 (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/2/L.3).
BIODIVERSITY ASSESSMENTS, IDENTIFICATION AND MONITORING OF ADVERSE IMPACTS, AND BIODIVERSITY INDICATORS: Discussions on Agenda Items 3.1 (assessment of biodiversity and methodologies for future assessments), 3.2 (identification, monitoring and assessment of components of biodiversity and of processes that have adverse impacts) and 3.3 (review and promotion of indicators of biodiversity) were initiated individually, however, there was an early consensus that the three were inextricably linked and should be considered together. After general comments, therefore, the three were brought together in the Chairs draft text on recommendations.
Negotiations based on the Chairs draft text centered around prioritization of activities. From a long list of proposed activities, a number of actions received several expressions of support for prioritization, including: critical methodological review; indicator work; information exchange; analysis of activities with negative impact; refinement of guidelines; and cooperation with other international processes. Capacity building was also stressed, particularly by a number of African countries, including ZAIRE and MALAWI.
A third revision of the Chairs text (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/ WG.1/CRP.1) included an Annex containing an indicative framework of activities that have a significant adverse impact on biodiversity. Delegates deleted the Annex but added specific amendments on this subject based on previous discussions.
The adopted recommendation summarizes the conclusions of the working group and recommends next steps. The SBSSTA recommends that the COP accord high priority to the following tasks: enhancement of developing country capacity in identification; monitoring and assessment; development of the clearing-house mechanism; development of national guidelines; a critical review of methodologies; development of core indicators and indicators in thematic areas; development of an indicative framework of processes likely to have significant adverse impacts; and incorporation of biodiversity dimensions into resource assessments. Other important recommended tasks include: development of regional/ecosystem-based guidelines; thematic assessments; establishment of costs and benefits of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use; and development of a review of methods for monitoring activities with adverse impacts on biodiversity and options for mitigating those effects.
It is recommended that the COP should request that the next meeting of the SBSTTA consider specific immediate tasks for the Executive Secretary, including: a guideline report to assist Parties in addressing the above issues with information on assessment methodologies; indicators and monitoring techniques and recommendations for harmonization; options for capacity-building in developing countries for applying guidelines and indicators; and information on indicator development and recommendations for a core set of indicators of biodiversity, particularly related to threats. The recommendations also include peer review of the guidelines and other products, initiation of consultation with other regional and global organizations on including biodiversity in resource assessments, and consideration of indicators, assessment and monitoring together as a standing item on the SBSTTAs agenda.
AGROBIODIVERSITY: After the initial introduction of the Agenda Item 3.9, agricultural biological diversity (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/2/10), many delegations warned against duplicating the work of the FAO, and AUSTRALIA underscored that the FAO is the primary task manager on agricultural biodiversity. The CHAIR reassured delegations that there was no conflict between the policy role of the COP and the role of the FAO as a chief implementation agency.
SWEDEN and DENMARK suggested an approach similar to SBSTTA-1s extensive treatment of marine and coastal biodiversity. NORWAY stressed the need for gap analysis. The US, supported by the EC, highlighted the positive aspects of intensive agriculture.
After the preliminary discussion, a contact group was formed to reach agreement on final recommendations, drawing on extensive written submissions from Sweden (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/2/ Info.20) and Brazil. The contact group was formed after the introduction of a draft summary prepared by the Secretariat. This draft drew criticism for its brevity and failure to fully reflect preliminary discussion in the working group or the written submissions.
Following the introduction of a new draft based on deliberations in the contact group, SWEDEN and GERMANY objected to a paragraph on the benefits to biodiversity that have accrued from sustainable intensification of agriculture, and entered reservations. SWEDEN said the paragraph failed to reflect the current state of knowledge. The AFRICAN GROUP, supported by MALAWI and COSTA RICA, amended an addition by SWITZERLAND on the important role of science, to signal recognition of the status and role of indigenous science.
The adopted recommendations on agrobiodiversity address the challenge for agriculture to achieve stability and productivity on a sustainable basis, using technologies and practices to reconcile environmental protection, stable production, economic efficiency and equitable sharing of benefits.
The SBSTTA recommends that the COP: adopt as a key focal area the contribution of the conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity to sustainable agriculture and develop a programme of work, noting the FAOs offer to contribute in the area of genetic resources; integrate social, economic and environmental considerations; encourage Parties to implement the Leipzig Global Plan of Action on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture; and encourage research and development.
It also recommends that the COP: encourage the transformation of unsustainable agricultural technological approaches and the development, maintenance and mobilization of local knowledge, with special reference to gender; study the positive and negative impacts of agricultural intensification or extensification; conduct a gap analysis (pollinator decline, soil micro-organisms, biocontrol organisms, wild sources of food, biodiversity friendly agriculture and market forces, integrated land and resource management, traditional knowledge, degraded landscape restoration, and use of botanical gardens) of activities and instruments in cooperation with the FAO and other organizations with the objective of developing a multi-year work plan at the SBSTTA; and invite the GEF and other international agencies to report on funding.
The SBSTTA also recommended that the COP: encourage case study sharing, using the clearing-house mechanism; strengthen indigenous in situ conservation; conduct collaborative work on criteria and indicators; promote technology transfer using the clearing-house mechanism; promote integrated resource management; encourage farming systems that increase productivity and enhance biodiversity; appraise and disseminate traditional knowledge; encourage ex ante and/or ex post evaluation of impacts; develop assessment methods; and identify the key maintenance components of biodiversity in agricultural production systems.
TERRESTRIAL BIODIVERSITY: The adopted recommendations on terrestrial biodiversity resulted from discussion of document UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/2/11 on the links between forests and biological diversity, produced at the request of the COP (decision II/9) to help the Parties determine whether further input to the Commission on Sustainable Developments (CSD) Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) is required.
SBSTTA delegates advocated that the CDB develop links with other conventions, including the Convention to Combat Desertification and the Framework Convention on Climate Change, to avoid duplication and enhance synergism. GERMANY wanted to prioritize coordination with the CSD and financing for combating desertification. They acknowledged the need to address the direct and underlying causes of forest loss and degradation at all levels. C�TE DIVOIRE highlighted concern among Francophone countries about over-exploitation of forest resources, sometimes involving governments.
While some delegations recommended that the SBSTTA await the outcome of the IPFs deliberations before deciding on a work programme on forests and biodiversity, NORWAY pointed out that knowledge gaps already identified by the IPF would exist whatever the outcome. BURKINA FASO warned against delaying CBD implementation. The BIODIVERSITY ACTION NETWORK suggested that some Parties may be attempting to delay the process, and CAMEROON called for an immediate programme of work. DENMARK and AUSTRIA suggested a work programme adaptable to IPF decisions. The PHILIPPINES recommended a focus on in situ conservation and encouraging the participation of indigenous communities. The INTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES OF THE TROPICAL FOREST called for a standing forum for indigenous peoples.
The SBSTTA recommended that the COP ask the Secretariat to explore ways and means to cooperate with the IPF with a view to developing common priorities for further consideration at SBSTTA-3. In addition, it recommended sending the following suggestions to the IPF: full integration of biodiversity considerations into IPF recommendations and proposals and consider ways to deal with gaps in forest biodiversity knowledge; use of an ecosystem approach in the IPF programme element on national forest and land use plans, to integrate conservation measures and sustainable use of biodiversity; and inclusion of biodiversity conservation and maintenance of forest quality in the IPF programme on criteria and indicators.
The SBSTTA also recommended that the COP explore ways to cooperate with the UN Convention to Combat Desertification on matters relating to biodiversity and drylands to identify common priorities. It identified the following research and technological priorities: building the scientific foundation necessary to advance elaboration and implementation of criteria and indicators for forest quality and biodiversity conservation; analysis of the role of biodiversity in forest ecosystems; analysis of measures to mitigate underlying causes of biodiversity loss; advancement of approaches to rehabilitate deforested ecosystems and enrich forest biodiversity; identification of knowledge gaps in areas of fragmentation; assessment of ecological landscape models; integration of protected areas into the ecosystem approach to sustainable forest management; scientific analysis of the ways in which human activities influence biodiversity, in particular forest management practices, and assessment of methods to minimize impact; and development of assessment and valuation methodologies to measure the multiple benefits derived from forest biodiversity.
COASTAL AND MARINE BIODIVERSITY: At its second session, the Conference of the Parties decision II/10 and the Jakarta Mandate called for an expert meeting on marine and coastal biodiversity, with a view to a SBSTTA-2 review of the results. Little progress has been made on this issue in 1996, with only agreement on a roster of experts.
The SBSTTA-2 debate on Agenda Item 3.12 was based on a report by the Executive Secretary on marine and biological diversity(UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/2/140) and eventual recommendations focused on the need for the Secretariat to take a number of actions to implement COP decision II/10.
Delegates were generally supportive of a draft text introduced by the Chair, urging implementation of decision II/10. The MARSHALL ISLANDS called for equitable geographic representation at the Meeting of Experts, and SAMOA, MAURITIUS, and the MALDIVES called for representation from small island States. JAPAN favored an open- ended Meeting for the sake of transparency. CANADA supported a Global Biodiversity Forum (GBF) recommendation for a global state of knowledge assessment. UNEP announced that it was preparing documentation to assist the implementation of the Jakarta Mandate. NEW ZEALAND objected to a proposal by SWEDEN to postpone work until SBSTTA-4.
The recommendation notes that little substantial action on marine and coastal biodiversity has occurred during 1996, and that decision II/10 should be implemented as quickly and efficiently as possible. It calls on the COP to direct the Secretariat to provide an interim report at SBSTTA-3 on recommendations from the Meeting of Experts on the following topics: availability of resources; identification of the issue area in which the CBD can be most effective; identification of related work by non-CBD entities; and how other planned or on-going activities outside the CBD can contribute to the Conventions proposed actions.
The Secretariat is urged to: convene the first Meeting of Experts, which is to take place in Indonesia early in 1997, and refer available information (including document UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/ 2/14 considered at SBSTTA-2) and comments from Parties to that meeting; request the Meeting of Experts to assist the Executive Secretary in identifying priorities and pragmatic options for implementing COP decision II/10; and strengthen and develop special partnership arrangements with competent international organizations and institutions including regional bodies. The SBSTTA also recommended that the COP ensure that resources are available to implement the work of the Secretariat under the Jakarta Mandate, and to fill the related Secretariat posts.
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