COP President Maria Julia Alsagoray (Argentina) recognized that the time has come to take decisions and formulate declarations regarding the implementation of the CBD. She also stressed the need to evaluate the effectiveness of CBD implementation at national and international levels. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Executive Director of UNEP, urged the COP to design a reasonable and feasible programme of work. She stated that a new phase of implementation can be achieved by forging close linkages with other related institutions.
The Ministers were also addressed by President Menem of Argentina. He stated that not enough progress had been made in halting human destruction of their own habitat, which he described as the challenge of our times. He called for a world strategy on forests and a nature contract similar in impact to the social contract of the 18th Century. He stated that respect for traditional communities has been deferred for too long within the CBD.
During the Ministerial Segment, ministers focused on a number of issues important to the implementation of the CBD. The G-77/CHINA stressed the need for providing financial resources in a timely and predictable manner and facilitating adequate transfer of technology. He recognized that the primary hindrance to implementation is the lack of developed countries compliance with Article 20 on financial resources. Many developing country ministers reiterated this point. KAZAKHSTAN noted a lack of understanding on the need for financial assistance and the possible loss of biological diversity in countries with economies in transition. A number of countries, such as ALGERIA, BRAZIL, CHAD, CHINA and CUBA, urged the expedited dispersion of funds from the GEF and other donors, and called for simplified procedures and elimination of conditionalities. The EU also said that funds must be allocated and dispersed in an efficient manner and the GEF should be improved and simplified. BRAZIL favored the GEF as the interim financial mechanism until the next COP and called for the GEF to reinforce its credentials to respond to COP priorities.
Many countries also supported the implementation of Article 8(j) on traditional knowledge, innovations and practices. CANADA proposed an active intersessional work session to further the goals of Article 8(j). COLOMBIA cautioned against allowing CBD to focus only on conservation. He noted a recent Andean pact decision on access to genetic resources. BOLIVIA noted national efforts to recognize the rights of indigenous, rural and local communities.
CHINA called for the protection of farmers rights with regard to genetic resources. INDONESIA said benefit-sharing should be continuously reviewed by the Parties. INDIA called for concrete progress on benefit-sharing with countries of origin and national capacity-building in bioprospecting. BRAZIL underscored the conflict between the access regimes set out under the CBD and the International Undertaking on PGRFA. MEXICO cautioned against linking IPR and genetic resources issues to implementing in situ conservation and called for an examination of the effects of database copyrighting on the generation of scientific knowledge.
Many delegations also highlighted the relationship of CBD to other biodiversity-related conventions. INDONESIA said the CBD should provide guidance to other related conventions. COLOMBIA said that subjects such as agriculture and forests should not be removed from the Convention, which should be maintained as a framework for all issues related to biodiversity. PERU called on UNEP to coordinate the CBD with conventions on desertification and climate change. The UK stated that the CBD should not be seen as the poor relation to the Climate Change Convention despite the absence of many OECD ministers. He appealed to the US to ratify the CBD and to put its weight behind joint action on internationally agreed conventions rather than to press unilateral action on issues which divide the world.
Ministers stressed a number of other key points. The EU noted the importance of ensuring that all Parties develop national strategies, which should aim toward relevant sectoral policies and require the involvement of all relevant sectors. GERMANY called for sustainable agriculture in developing countries, and help for farmers in avoiding unsustainable practices. He also highlighted sustainable tourism. The need for increased capacity-building, infrastructure development, partnerships, the active participation of NGOs, and the need to prioritize the work of the COP were stressed by the G-77/CHINA. COLOMBIA expressed concern over the number of subjects on the agenda of SBSTTA. SWITZERLAND also called for a clear definition of objectives and priorities.
CANADA offered a roster of volunteers to be put at the disposal of developing countries to provide additional assistance in preparation for COP-4. INDONESIA, AUSTRALIA and the EU highlighted the importance of marine and coastal protected areas, under the framework of the Jakarta Mandate. The G-77/CHINA and BARBADOS drew attention to SIDS. MALAWI called for making the review of the forest work programme a standing agenda item. NORWAY stated that the biosafety protocol deepens the CBD and the decision on agriculture mainstreams agriculture in biodiversity issues. Some ministers also noted the upcoming Special Session.
Ministers from CUBA, BENIN, CHINA, HUNGARY, MALAWI, COTE D'IVOIRE, SLOVAKIA, SOUTH AFRICA, LAOS, HAITI, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC and INDONESIA highlighted their national implementation efforts. These have included: establishment or expansion of protected areas and nature reserves; strengthening of national policies on forest management, agricultural research, environmental education and public awareness; development of national strategies and action plans for biodiversity protection and monitoring; and initiation of studies to evaluate national biodiversity.
SLOVAKIA, supported by SWITZERLAND, invited COP to hold its fourth meeting in Bratislava.
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