Chair Francesco Mauro (Italy) opened Working Group 2, emphasizing the need for solid and scientifically-based contributions. The topics discussed were: capacity building for taxonomy; technology transfer including biotechnology; indigenous knowledge and practices; capacity building for biosafety; the clearing-house mechanism; and economic valuation of biodiversity. Discussion over specific agenda items was aided by a series of lunch-time seminars organized by delegations and observers, some of which were characterized as positive contributions to the technical appraisal of issues. The order of the agenda was rearranged to allow seminars to precede discussion of key items. The recommendations adopted by SBSTTA-2 are incorporated into a single document that includes the report of Working Group 2 (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/2/L.2).
CAPACITY BUILDING FOR TAXONOMY: Working Group 2s discussions on Agenda Item 3.4, practical approaches for capacity-building for taxonomy, were based on document UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/2/5. There was a general consensus that there is a need to overcome the current lack of taxonomists, who are essential for national implementation of the Convention. Many countries called for urgent capacity building, including training of taxonomists.
The debate focused on establishing alternatives for increasing taxonomic capacity and making recommendations for developing SBSTTAs work programme. Parties agreed on the need to adopt a more practical direction in taxonomy, linked to bio-prospecting and ecological research on the conservation and sustainable use of the components of biodiversity.
GERMANY, supported by SWEDEN, called for priority setting in capacity building for taxonomy. The establishment of regional centers of excellence was favored by NIGERIA and INDIA while opposed by the US, COLOMBIA and NEW ZEALAND. Numerous countries called for regional training programmes and GEF support. CANADA amended the draft recommendation by including recognition that biological collections are the basis of taxonomy and are sources of genetic resources.
The final recommendations to the COP recognize the scarcity of taxonomists, taxonomic collections and institutional facilities and the need to alleviate this situation to further the implementation of the Convention. It recommends that national institutions and regional and subregional networks be established or strengthened and consideration be given to information needs for bio-prospecting, habitat conservation, sustainable agriculture and the sustainable utilization of biological resources. It also reflects the widely expressed concern that capacity building for taxonomy should be linked to the effective implementation of the CBD. The recommendation called for guidelines for funding programmes, including for the financial mechanism under the Convention. This should serve areas such as bio-prospecting, habitat conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity.
The recommendations also stress the need for employment opportunities for trained taxonomists, and emphasize national priority setting. The SBSTTA also recognizes the importance of establishing regional and subregional training programmes. The inclusion of taxonomic information in the clearing-house mechanism is recommended and greater international collaboration in sharing information is called for. The adoption of mutually agreed instruments for exchange of biological specimens is encouraged. The SBSTTA furthermore requests the COP to consider instructing the GEF to support capacity building in taxonomy through: national, regional and subregional training programmes; collecting and disseminating data and information through the clearing-house mechanism; and strengthening infrastructure for biological collections in countries of origin.
TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER, INCLUDING BIOTECHNOLOGY: The Secretariats document on technology transfer, including biotechnology (UNEP/SBSTTA/2/6), outlined technology transfer issues and recommended establishment of a liaison group to encourage private sector participation. During subsequent discussion of the issue, delegates generally agreed with the Secretariats document on the role of the private sector in the CBD process.
MALAYSIA called for elaboration of the linkage between biotechnology and biodiversity conservation, particularly in bio-prospecting. GERMANY, CANADA, NORWAY, COLOMBIA, the UK, FRANCE and the US questioned the need for an additional subsidiary body on technology transfer, as proposed in the Secretariats document.
INDIA emphasized the need to make use of genetic resources to achieve the CBDs objective of equitable sharing of benefits. SWITZERLAND called for incentive measures, such as concessional terms, risk sharing and financial mechanisms. ZIMBABWE emphasized that transferred technology can sometimes contribute to environmental degradation. Supported by THAILAND, he stressed the need for investment in capacity building. NORWAY drew attention to the importance of control and management mechanisms for biotechnology.
JAPAN suggested that the proposed liaison group distinguish needs for public versus private sector technology. COLOMBIA called on governments of developed countries to create incentives for private sector technology transfer. FRANCE said individual States should decide whether to provide incentives for technology transfer and called for safeguards for patented technology.
The PHILIPPINES called for: an inventory of needed technologies; incentives for private sector technology transfer; linking technology transfer to biosafety issues; and intellectual property protection without monopoly control. MALAWI recommended developing terms of reference for a liaison group. AUSTRALIA stressed the role of multilateral development banks and intellectual property rights to facilitate technology transfer.
After the CHAIR introduced draft recommendations, ANTIGUA and BARBUDA asked for a reference to the GEF. Supported by CANADA, INDIA, the US, COLOMBIA and the UK, he also queried the SBSTTAs competence to institute a liaison group. The paragraph on liaison groups was deleted. MALAYSIA, COLOMBIA and ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA objected to the proposal by JAPAN and AUSTRALIA to delete the paragraph on identification of appropriate technologies for genetic resource utilization.
In the paragraph on private sector involvement, JAPAN, supported by NEW ZEALAND, the UK and the EC, proposed deleting the sentence urging all Parties to encourage private sector technology transfer. INDIA, INDONESIA, COLOMBIA, MALAWI and CAMEROON objected. NEW ZEALAND proposed compromise text: encourage all Parties to facilitate the transfer of technologies from the private sector. In the paragraph calling on the clearing-house mechanism to facilitate information sharing, COLOMBIA, supported by INDIA and the US, deleted specific references to putting brokers into contact with each other.
The adopted recommendations call for integrating work on access to and transfer of technology into sectoral themes related to the SBSTTAs priority issues. The recommendations state that future SBSTTA work should focus on technologies relevant to conservation and sustainable use and those that make use of genetic resources, and that the role of the financial mechanism in facilitating this should be explored. It emphasizes technologies in the context of fair and equitable benefit sharing from genetic resources utilization and those based on a needs assessment focusing on the means of gaining economic and commercial value from genetic resources. The decision recommends that the SBSTTA consider ways to involve the private sector through incentive measures in facilitating technology transfer, and states that the clearing-house mechanism should facilitate information sharing on technological innovation.
INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE: Working Group 2 examined the note produced by the Secretariat on Agenda Item 3.6, knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/2/7), in the context of the three elements of Article 8(j) in the Convention: preserving the knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous communities; promoting their wider application; and encouraging the equitable sharing of benefits arising from their use.
As proposed by many delegations, representatives of groups of indigenous people addressed the working group. They emphasized the role of indigenous people in sustainable development, called for a recognition of the collective rights of indigenous peoples within their territories and participatory approaches on project development and, supported by numerous countries, called for working groups on indigenous people and biodiversity. One representative reported on the Inuvialiuit Final Agreement, concluded in Canada in 1984, on indigenous participation in environmental management.
During the debate the need for elaboration of basic terms and terminology used by various stakeholders became apparent. These terms include: indigenous and local communities; farmers; indigenous knowledge; innovation and practices; and traditional knowledge and modern science. It was widely recognized that the links between indigenous knowledge and intellectual property rights, access legislation, human rights and other legal issues need to be explored. The need to adapt existing intellectual property rights or to develop sui generis regimes to protect and promote knowledge, innovations and practices was also discussed. The PHILIPPINES proposed a study on the impact of the current intellectual property rights system on biodiversity. Several countries called on the clearing-house mechanism to contribute to the dissemination of information on these issues.
Many countries supported the development of global and local indigenous networks. INDONESIA recognized the role of indigenous knowledge and practices in advancing science and technology. Numerous countries called for support from the financial mechanism for projects linking knowledge and practices of indigenous and local communities and biodiversity. The US suggested market and non-market mechanisms to conserve traditional knowledge. Some countries suggested that the SBSTTA or the COP should facilitate dialogue between the formal and informal sciences. ARGENTINA emphasized that SBSTTA should avoid political issues.
In its recommendations to the COP, the SBSTTA recognizes the importance of addressing the issue of knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities for the implementation of the Convention. In a late-night session, Working Group 2, however, could not agree on substantive recommendations. The Chair of Working Group 2, therefore, agreed to prepare a non-paper reflecting the diverse views and suggestions expressed during the SBSTTA meeting, in time for COP-3. The SBSTTA encourages representatives of indigenous communities to prepare and distribute information on their views and recommendations on the implementation of Article 8(j). The SBSTTA furthermore recommends that the COP request advice from the SBSTTA on technical and scientific issues, and urges that the indigenous knowledge post within the Secretariat be filled as soon as possible.
CAPACITY BUILDING FOR BIOSAFETY: The document on capacity building in biosafety (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/2/8) recognizes the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Biosafety and outlines overall capacity building needs. The NETHERLANDS, supported by CANADA, NEW ZEALAND, SWITZERLAND, the UK and INDIA, called for a twin-track approach to continue discussions on an international legal instrument on biosafety while implementing the UNEP International Technical Guidelines on Biosafety (UNEP Guidelines). Supported by most delegations, he cautioned against duplicating the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Biosafety.
SWITZERLAND suggested funding capacity building through the GEF. INDONESIA emphasized the link between biosafety and technology transfer. The UK, supported by INDIA, suggested that COP-3 develop funding recommendations on capacity building. ARGENTINA recommended regional training programmes on biosafety. AUSTRIA joined GERMANY and the UK in stating that capacity building for biosafety could not be separated from other capacity building programmes. COLOMBIA stressed consideration of biotechnology products, risk assessment and management, and social and economic impacts.
After the Chair introduced draft recommendations, ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA, supported by NIGERIA, rearranged the paragraph on funding, emphasizing guidance to the GEF on capacity building. NEW ZEALAND proposed deleting reference to the biosafety protocol. ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA and MALAYSIA objected. ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA and INDIA stated that GEF funding for biosafety should only be requested in the context of support for capacity building.
The adopted recommendation advocates: avoiding duplication between SBSTTA and the Ad Hoc Working Group on Biosafety, with the latter having priority; using the UNEP International Technical Guidelines for Biosafety as an interim measure in view of the on-going development of a biosafety protocol; developing guidelines for funding of capacity building in biosafety by the GEF; discussing capacity building within the COP in conjunction with technology transfer and risk assessment and management; and incorporating information on biosafety capacity building into the clearing-house mechanism.
CLEARING-HOUSE MECHANISM: The Secretariat introduced the document on the clearing-house mechanism (CHM) (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/2/9). The GEF outlined its contribution to CHM implementation. Several countries emphasized that the CHM should be based on the CBD, demand-driven and synergy-based. Numerous delegations suggested regional workshops on the CHM. SWEDEN and CANADA suggested establishing an advisory committee. The WORLD CONSERVATION MONITORING CENTRE proposed testing the prototype. MALAYSIA agreed with SWEDEN in advocating a pro-active role for the CHM in brokering bio-prospecting contracts.
THAILAND endorsed the publication of a CHM newsletter, and GERMANY stressed that it should not be limited to electronic information. PERU noted the need for more interactive work with national thematic and regional focal points. INDONESIA said the pilot phase evaluation should focus on organization, visualization and decision support functions. CHINA suggested that the SBSTTA organize a training course for developing countries. SPAIN proposed drawing on national patent office databases. CAMEROON and SWITZERLAND called for information exchanges for countries with existing Internet competence.
MALAWI called for funds from developed countries, and for the GEF and other donors to assist capacity building in developing countries. INDIA noted varying levels of capacity to operationalize National Focal Points. The NETHERLANDS announced cooperation with Germany on developing a World Wide Web site. JAPAN cautioned against an over- ambitious pilot phase. ZIMBABWE urged integrating local knowledge and classification systems.
To the draft Chairs recommendations, ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA added language on the financial mechanism, thematic foci and pilot projects to enable implementation of the CHM. GERMANY emphasized decentralization and training. CANADA added that information should be controlled by the providers. The US deleted a needs survey of Parties. MALAWI and INDONESIA proposed GEF support. CANADA suggested replacing guidance from experts with an advisory committee coordinated by the Secretariat. INDIA added guidance in a transparent manner and the UK called for an informal committee. The paragraph linking the CHM to National Focal Points, including national patent offices, was amended by AUSTRALIA to read for example, patent offices at the suggestion of the PHILIPPINES. SWEDEN proposed that the CHM review case studies of scientific cooperation, and this was incorporated, as modified by INDIA and the US, to be a possible topic of regional CHM workshops.
The adopted recommendation calls on the COP to: request GEF support for capacity building in information technologies including the Internet and for pilot projects; request the Secretariat to facilitate regional workshops for defining information needs; and guide the CHM by setting up an informal advisory committee constituted and coordinated by the Secretariat. The CHM should: be needs-driven and decentralized; support decision making and involve the private sector; recognize that ownership and control of information remains with the providers and respect the rights of countries of origin and indigenous communities; provide information linkages to National Focal Points; and focus on providing thematic focal points for linking activities at the national and regional levels.
BIODIVERSITY ECONOMIC VALUATION: Discussion on economic valuation of biodiversity (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/2/13) underscored that the issue of economic valuation was particularly relevant to the implementation of Articles 11 and 15 of the Convention dealing with Incentive Measures and Access to Genetic Resources. Highlighting the strong value placed on genetic resources in agriculture and the pharmaceutical industry, the document was criticized by several delegations for its narrow focus. CHILE reported on a regional workshop on Economic Valuation of Biodiversity in May 1996 as a contribution to the regional implementation of the Convention. Most delegations, excluding the US and JAPAN, agreed that the issue should be a standing item.
MALAYSIA, INDONESIA, NIGERIA and NORWAY stressed that economic valuation should not be a prerequisite for policy action. INDIA emphasized the commercial value of biodiversity. FRANCE, SOUTH AFRICA and CAMEROON cautioned that economic valuation might preclude symbolic and cultural values. NEW ZEALAND and FRANCE thought that the clearing-house mechanism should be used as a mechanism to disseminate empirical data on economic valuation of biodiversity. The AFRICAN GROUP called for participatory approaches. The NETHERLANDS and COLOMBIA proposed focusing on economic valuation of genetic resources.
Parties recognized that a better understanding of the full value of biodiversity at the genetic, species and ecosystem levels will greatly assist the implementation of the Convention. Recognizing the deficiency of information on the economic value of biodiversity, they called for further development of methods for providing information on economic value, including non-use values. As future work areas they specified case studies of economic value, research into methodologies and facilitation of access to such information.
The SBSTTA agreed to recommend to the COP that economic valuation should be integrated into the sectoral and thematic items under its work programme and should be reflected in the relevant agenda items, including incentive measures, agricultural biodiversity, genetic resources, environmental impact assessments, inland water ecosystems, and marine and coastal biodiversity. The SBSTTA recommended that the COP encourage Parties to draw upon research carried out by regional and economic groupings. With regard to incentive measures, it recommended that the COP support the development of local-level incentives, participatory approaches in designing new measures, and capacity building.
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