The Convention on Biological Diversity, negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), entered into force on 29 December 1993. To date more than 160 countries have become Parties. The three goals of the CBD are to promote the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.
COP-1: The first meeting of the COP (COP-1) took place in Nassau, the Bahamas from 28 November-9 December 1994. Some of the key decisions taken by COP-1 included: adoption of the medium-term work programme; designation of the Permanent Secretariat; establishment of the CHM and the SBSTTA; and designation of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) as the interim institutional structure for the financial mechanism.
SBSTTA-1: Article 25 of the CBD establishes a Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) to provide the COP with timely advice relating to implementation of the Convention. The first session of the SBSTTA took place from 4-8 September 1995 in Paris, France. Delegates considered operational matters, as well as substantive issues, particularly with regard to coastal and marine biodiversity. Recommendations on the modus operandi of the SBSTTA affirmed its subsidiary role to the COP and requested flexibility to create: two open-ended working groups to meet simultaneously during future SBSTTA meetings; Ad Hoc Technical Panels of Experts as needed; and a roster of experts.
Substantive recommendations of SBSTTA-1 included: alternative ways and means for the COP to consider components of biodiversity under threat; ways and means to promote access to and transfer of technology; scientific and technical information to be contained in national reports; preparation of an annual Global Biodiversity Outlook by the Secretariat; contributions to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) meetings on plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA); and technical aspects concerning the conservation and sustainable use of coastal and marine biological diversity. On this last issue, SBSTTA-1 identified three priorities: sustainable use of living coastal and marine resources; mariculture; and control of alien organisms. Time constraints prevented consideration of education, training and public awareness as key delivery mechanisms for coastal and marine biodiversity conservation and bio-prospecting of the deep sea bed. While the recommendation on coastal and marine biodiversity received a great deal of attention at SBSTTA-1, some States noted that land-based sources of marine pollution had not been sufficiently emphasized.
COP-2: The second session of the COP (COP-2) met in Jakarta, Indonesia from 6-17 November 1995. Some key decisions taken by COP-2 included: designation of the permanent location of the Secretariat in Montreal, Canada; agreement to develop a protocol on biosafety; operation of the CHM; adoption of a programme of work funded by a larger budget; designation of the GEF as the continuing interim institutional structure for the financial mechanism; consideration of its first substantive issue, marine and coastal biodiversity; and agreement to address forests and biodiversity, including the development of a statement from the CBD to the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) of the Commission on Sustainable Development.
COP-2 approved SBSTTAs medium-term programme of work for 1996-97 and also addressed the issue of PGRFA, adopting a statement for input to the FAOs Fourth International Technical Conference on PGRFA (ITCPGR-4). The statement notes the importance of other conventions to the CBDs three objectives, urges other international fora to help achieve these objectives through the CBDs overarching framework, and invites FAO to present the outcome of ITCPGR-4 to COP-3.
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