Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development
Vol. 09 No. 126
Monday, 5 July 1999
SUMMARY OF THE FOURTH SESSION OF THE SUBSIDIARY BODY FOR SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL
AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVICE AND THE INTERSESSIONAL MEETING ON THE OPERATIONS OF THE
CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY:
21-30 JUNE 1999
The fourth session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific, Technical and Technological
Advice (SBSTTA-4) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) met in Montreal, Canada,
from 21-25 June 1999. The first Intersessional meeting on the Operations of the Convention
(ISOC) convened in Montreal from 28-30 June 1999.
SBSTTA-4 delegates met in two working groups. The first considered developing a work
programme on dryland ecosystems, principles for the prevention of impacts of alien
species, and further advancement of the Global Taxonomy Initiative. Working Group II
discussed: new plant technology for the control of plant gene expression; sustainable use
of biological resources, including tourism; and incorporation of biological diversity
considerations into environmental impact assessments. Delegates also discussed the SBSTTA
work programme, cooperation with other bodies and progress on thematic areas. They
considered the terms of reference of ad hoc technical expert groups, but deferred making a
decision to SBSTTA-5.
ISOC was convened based on COP-4 Decision IV/16, which called for an open-ended meeting
to consider possible arrangements to improve preparations for and conduct of the meetings
of the Conference of the Parties (COP). ISOC also held preparatory discussions on the
COP-5 agenda item on access to genetic resources and benefit sharing, focusing on the
upcoming Experts Panel on Access and Benefit Sharing, which will meet in October 1999 in
Costa Rica, ex situ collections that were acquired prior to the Convention's entry into
force and the relationship between intellectual property rights and the relevant
provisions of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and
Most delegates were pleased with the progress made during the two meetings,
highlighting decisions to improve the scientific input prior to SBSTTA meetings and the
sound basis provided for COP-5 discussions on operations of the Convention. Discussions
over genetic use restriction technologies (GURTs), a possible new subsidiary body on
implementation and retroactive application of the Convention on ex situ collections evoked
the greatest amount of contention among delegates. Most delegates agreed that the most
important step remains COP-5 action to implement and further clarify the
A BRIEF HISTORY OF SBSTTA AND THE CBD
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, 175
countries have become Parties to the Convention. Article 25 of the CBD establishes a
Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) to provide the
Conference of the Parties (COP) with "timely advice" relating to implementation
of the Convention. During its first three meetings, SBSTTA developed 28 recommendations
for consideration by the Conference of the Parties.
The Parties to the Convention have met four times and developed work programmes on four
different thematic areas: marine and coastal, agricultural, forest, and inland water
biodiversity. Delegates have also discussed several cross-cutting issues, including
biodiversity indicators, approaches to taxonomy, access to genetic resources and benefit
sharing, and implementation of the Convention's provisions on traditional knowledge
(Article 8(j)). Other issues discussed include financial arrangements, the establishment
of a clearing-house mechanism (CHM) and national reporting. Negotiations for the first
protocol to the CBD on biosafety began in 1996 and are still in progress.
SBSTTA-1: SBSTTA-1 met from 4-8 September 1995 in Paris, France.
Recommendations on the modus operandi of 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. Recommendations addressed issues including 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; and preparation of an annual Global Biodiversity Outlook by the
SBSTTA-2: SBSTTA-2 met in Montreal from 2-6 September 1996. Agenda items
included monitoring and assessment of biodiversity, approaches to taxonomy, economic
valuation of biodiversity, access to genetic resources, agricultural biodiversity,
terrestrial biodiversity, marine and coastal biodiversity, biosafety, and the CHM.
SBSTTA-3: At its third meeting, held in Montreal from 1-5 September 1997,
SBSTTA considered the implementation of the pilot phase of the CHM and a progress report
on the work of SBSTTA and the effectiveness of its advice. Additional decisions were
adopted on biodiversity in inland waters, marine and coastal biodiversity, agricultural
biodiversity, forest biodiversity, and biodiversity indicators.
RECENT INTERNATIONAL MEETINGS RELEVANT TO SBSTTA-4 AND ISOC AGENDA ITEMS: The
second Conference of the Parties of the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD) met in
Dakar, Senegal, from 30 November to 11 December 1998. The CCD's Committee on Science and
Technology (CST) met in parallel to the COP from 1 to 4 December and discussed traditional
knowledge in-depth. The COP established an ad hoc panel to further explore specific
aspects of this issue. The decision also requests the Secretariat to explore ways to link
the CST's work on traditional knowledge with that under other conventions.
The 8th session of the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture was
held in Rome, Italy, from 19-23 April 1999. Delegates considered animal genetic resources
for the first time, implementation of the Global Action Plan for the Conservation and
Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, and continued
renegotiating the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and
Agriculture. They continued discussions on facilitated access within the multilateral
system and established texts on the multilateral system of access and benefit sharing,
coverage of the multilateral system, and Farmers' Rights.
The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) held its seventh session in New York
from 19-30 April 1999. Delegates discussed tourism, among other items, and developed an
international work programme on sustainable tourism development. This work programme
includes an invitation to the CBD COP to contribute to international guidelines for
activities related to sustainable tourism development in vulnerable terrestrial, marine
and coastal ecosystems and habitats of major importance for biological diversity and
protected areas, including fragile mountain ecosystems.
The 7th COP of the Ramsar Convention Wetlands, held in San José, Costa Rica, from
10-18 May 1999. Delegates advanced the joint work programme between the CBD and Ramsar on
inland waters and coastal and marine wetlands by adopting 30 resolutions and four
recommendations, including a toolbox for managing and monitoring wetlands, a Global Action
Plan for Peatlands, and a Strategic Framework vision for a Global Network of Wetlands of
International Importance. Delegates invited the SBSTTA Chair to be a permanent observer on
Ramsar's Scientific and Technical Review Panel
SBSTTA-4 delegates gathered on Monday morning, 21 June 1999, to hear several opening
statements, elect the Bureau and adopt the agenda. SBSTTA-4 Chair Zakri Hamid (Malaysia)
opened the meeting and stressed the importance of incorporating the best available
scientific and technical information and translating it into policy advice. He noted that
some actors have indicated an interest in exploring the feasibility of a mechanism similar
to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to draw more systematically on
existing scientific knowledge, assessments and organizations.
Paul Chabeda (UNEP) noted ongoing UNEP efforts to consult international environmental
conventions to identify areas of common concern and opportunities for synergy and to
promote collaboration and interlinkages among them. Acting CBD Executive Secretary
Hamdallah Zedan noted that CBD Parties have emphasized the need for SBSTTA to focus on the
preparation of scientific, technical and technological advice of the highest quality. He
also said SBSTTA needs to design mechanisms to enable the identification of those areas
where there is insufficient knowledge and the ways in which such gaps could be filled. A
representative from the Global Biodiversity Forum, which convened immediately prior to
SBSTTA-4, noted that participants had developed a number of recommendations, including the
importance of using economic arguments to illustrate the need to integrate biodiversity
into decision making and the need for practical, clear biodiversity indicators.
Chair Hamid, who also served as Chair of SBSTTA-3, noted that COP-4 had invited him to
remain in office until the end of SBSTTA-4 with the Chair-elect, Cristián Samper
(Colombia), invited to attend the Bureau as an ex-officio member. He introduced the Bureau
as: Edgar Gutiérrez-Espeleta (Colombia), Jan Plesnik (Czech Republic), Kutelama Seleko
(Democratic Republic of Congo), Martin Uppenbrink (Germany), Gábor Nechay (Hungary),
Elaine Fisher (Jamaica), Zipangani Vokhiwa (Malawi), Peter Schei (Norway) and Mick Raga
(Papua New Guinea). Jan Plesnik also served as Rapporteur.
Delegates agreed to establish two working groups, the first chaired by Martin
Uppenbrink with Elaine Fisher as Rapporteur and the second chaired by Zipangani Vokhiwa
with Tevita Savae Latu (Tonga) as Rapporteur. Delegates adopted the agenda
(UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/4/1/Rev.1) and organization of work (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/4/1/Add.1) and
commenced their deliberations.
Delegates discussed cooperation with other bodies, progress on thematic areas, the
SBSTTA programme of work and ad hoc technical expert groups in Plenary on Monday, 21 June,
and Friday, 25 June. They broke into two working groups on Tuesday, Wednesday and
Thursday, 22-24 June. One working group discussed dryland ecosystems, the prevention of
impacts of alien species, and the Global Taxonomy Initiative. The second considered new
plant technology, the sustainable use of biological resources, including tourism, and
environmental impact assessments. Delegates adopted recommendations, several identifying
action for SBSTTA or the Executive Secretary and many others to be considered at COP-5.
The following report summarizes delegates discussions on each issue and the
recommendations they adopted.
COOPERATION WITH OTHER BODIES: The discussion on cooperation with other bodies
sought to identify ways for SBSTTA to make more effective use of existing scientific
knowledge and expertise. The discussion was based on the document on cooperation with
other bodies (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/4/2). Additional information was provided by representatives
from the secretariats of international agreements and organizations, who addressed the
opening Plenary and indicated ongoing efforts and further areas for cooperation. The
Ramsar Convention on Wetlands presented a Progress Report on Implementation of the Joint
Work Plan between the Wetlands Convention and the CBD. The FAO noted that existing
instruments within the FAO's framework, such as the International Plant Protection
Convention (IPPC) and the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
(CGRFA), have key roles to play in the way the international community addresses issues on
the SBSTTA-4 agenda. The Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD) noted that the CCD and
CBD Secretariats had reached a memorandum of understanding (MOU) and were working on a
common framework to strengthen the synergies between the two Conventions. The Convention
on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) highlighted the links that
were being established between the work of the CMS and SBSTTA. The International Plant
Genetic Resources Institute, on behalf of the Consultative Group on International
Agricultural Research (CGIAR), highlighted the closer links being established between
CGIAR and the CBD, as well as links with FAO in the field of new technologies.
SBSTTA-4 delegates then discussed the use of MOUs and other cooperative mechanisms and
proposed areas for improvement in cooperation with other bodies. The REPUBLIC of KOREA
suggested speeding up the establishment of MOUs with other bodies, specifically the WTO.
CANADA supported more broadly involving IUCN's Commissions of global experts. Several
speakers said cooperation should be practical and provide a clear and transparent idea of
which body would carry out what action. Additional ideas included enhancing public
awareness efforts, including for the International Biodiversity Observation Year (IBOY),
and making use of experience and practices of other processes in SBSTTA's work to develop
Delegates discussed a draft recommendation text (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/4/CRP.2) on Friday, 25
June, and adopted it as amended. The text invites the Executive Secretary to prepare a
proposal for COP-5 that addresses the issues of peer review and scientific assessments for
the CBD, drawing on the experience of the UNFCCC and the Montreal Protocol on Substances
that Deplete the Ozone Layer. It accepts the Ramsar Convention's invitation to designate
the SBSTTA Chair as a permanent observer on that Convention's scientific panel. The text
invites the Executive Secretary to enhance communication with Parties by introducing a
notification system. It also recommends increased cooperation on scientific, technical and
technological advice between the CBD and other relevant international conventions and
agreements important for achieving the CBD's objectives.
PROGRESS IN THE WORK PROGRAMME ON THEMATIC AREAS: Discussion on the work
programme on thematic areas sought to review progress in implementation of the CBD's work
programmes on agriculture, inland water, marine and coastal and forest biodiversity. The
starting point for the discussion was the Executive Secretary's note
(UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/4/3), which covered the period after COP-4 and included a draft
recommendation focused on forest biodiversity and coral reef ecosystems. Some noted the
difficulty in monitoring progress. The UK suggested that future progress reports on the
thematic areas identify problem areas and remedial actions, in addition to successes.
Several delegations, including the NETHERLANDS, BRAZIL, NORWAY, the UK, MALAWI and NEW
ZEALAND, lamented the lack of progress on forest biodiversity. CANADA suggested deleting a
proposal to invite Parties to provide human and other resources to assist the Executive
Secretary in the work programme on forest biodiversity. MALAWI proposed adding reference
to access to genetic resources and benefit sharing and other COP decisions related to this
subject, but others said these issues would be better addressed in other fora, such as
intersessional meetings or the COP. BRAZIL expressed concern with the slow progress on the
development of indicators and added related text to the decision.
On agricultural biodiversity, CANADA suggested that Parties "take note of"
the results of the international workshops on sustaining productive ecosystems and
agricultural biodiversity and pollinators in agriculture rather than "be guided
by" them, and looked forward to seeing many additional inputs. NORWAY expressed
opposition to the development of "suicide seeds."
On marine and coastal biodiversity, several speakers noted the need for clear
arrangements about who would do what and when, and called for full use of the roster of
experts. NORWAY suggested expanding the work on coral reefs to include all forms of
physical destruction of such ecosystems.
On inland waters, the NETHERLANDS endorsed the CBD's relationship with Ramsar and JAPAN
emphasized the importance of taking the outcome of Ramsar COP-7 into account. ECUADOR
proposed text recommending education and public awareness in line with Article 13 of the
Delegates discussed and adopted a draft recommendation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/4/CRP.3) during
the closing Plenary. The recommendation notes the limited progress made on the
implementation of the programme of work on forest biodiversity, and urges the Executive
Secretary to promote the implementation of that work programme. It agrees that the
degradation and destruction of coral reefs pose a significant threat to the biodiversity
of these ecosystems and recommends that the COP expand its request to the SBSTTA to
include the effects of such activities in addition to the analysis of coral bleaching. It
also urges the Executive Secretary to make rapid progress on the issue of coral bleaching.
The decision also recommends that education and public awareness be included in the
discussions on the thematic work programmes and that the Executive Secretary, in his
reports on progress to SBSTTA-5, give special emphasis to identifying limitations and
proposing measures to improve implementation.
SBSTTA PROGRAMME OF WORK: Delegates discussion focused on preparing a
proposal for a draft programme of work for SBSTTA for its next five meetings.
Deliberations began with the Executive Secretary's note (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/4/4 with Annex
1). A number of countries expressed support for developing a long-term SBSTTA work
programme. Many speakers, including NEW ZEALAND, GERMANY, the NETHERLANDS and JORDAN,
stressed the need to develop a strategic plan with targets and timeframes. COLOMBIA and
SWEDEN stated the work programme should focus on scientific and technical matters, rather
than dealing with policy-related issues given SBSTTAs heavy work programme. INDIA,
CAMEROON and MALAWI proposed that SBSTTA work on access and benefit sharing. CANADA,
GERMANY, FINLAND, the UK and SWITZERLAND said access issues and Article 8(j) are being
considered in specific groups established by the COP to address these issues. COLOMBIA and
the GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT NETWORK proposed identifying mechanisms to harmonize SBSTTA's work
programme with other scientific bodies, such as the Ramsar's Scientific and Technical
Review Panel (STRP). Delegates supported a BRAZILIAN proposal to recommend recognizing
micro-organisms and genetic diversity, enhancing intersessional activities, and
considering the assessment of the status and trends of biodiversity.
Delegates adopted a draft proposal on the programme of work for SBSTTA
(UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/4/CRP.4) in Plenary. The text proposes that the COP adopt the long-term
programme of work for SBSTTA, as contained in an annex (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/4/CRP.4/Add.1). It
recommends the preparation of a strategic plan and suggests considering the interests of
indigenous and local communities on each of the topics discussed. The text invites the
Executive Secretary to further develop a uniform methodology to use the roster of experts
and a common framework for case studies. It also suggests that mechanisms under the
Convention dealing with access to genetic resources and benefit sharing and Article 8(j)
advise the COP on what scientific, technical and technological aspects should be addressed
by SBSTTA. The annex was adopted with modifications based on the outcome of several
SBSTTA-4 decisions, including requests for reports on the Global Taxonomy Initiative and
AD HOC TECHNICAL EXPERT GROUPS: Delegates discussed the document on possible
mandates, duration and priority issues for ad hoc technical expert groups
(UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/4/5). They supported establishing expert groups, but presented different
views on their number, composition, purpose and distinction from liaison groups. NORWAY
noted the confusion in CBD terminology regarding informal inter-agency task forces, expert
groups and liaison groups and stated that the latter aims to liaise between the
Secretariat and other organizations and processes, avoid duplication, and improve
documentation preparation. He said there should be no more than two groups, preferably on
drylands and forests. AUSTRALIA and KENYA also supported establishing an expert group on
drylands. GERMANY suggested treating drylands within the agro-biodiversity work programme.
Other proposed issues for expert group consideration included impact assessments
(AUSTRALIA); biodiversity indicators (GERMANY); the ecosystem approach (ZIMBABWE and
GERMANY); ecosystems and species issues (the NETHERLANDS); marine and coastal, forest and
agricultural biodiversity (SWEDEN); and mountain ecosystems (INDIA). INDONESIA supported
prioritizing forests. The DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO, BRAZIL and CÔTE DIVOIRE
supported establishing an invasive species expert group. ECUADOR disagreed, noting that
the Global Invasive Species Programme already exists.
The UK, with BRAZIL, endorsed the establishment of informal liaison groups and, with
CHINA, GREECE, CANADA, ZIMBABWE and ARGENTINA, suggested that further discussion of expert
groups be postponed until SBSTTA-4 completed its deliberations on thematic issues. NEW
ZEALAND stressed that these groups should have clear and time-limited mandates without
duplicating others' work, and recommended limiting expert groups to 15-20 participants
representing all geographic regions. CANADA emphasized the need to include specialized
experts in the area of traditional knowledge, and with COLOMBIA and NEW ZEALAND,
encouraged further development of the expert roster once the terms of reference have been
defined. JAPAN said the expert roster should be fully utilized.
Several delegates recommended the continuation of the Marine and Coastal Biodiversity
Expert Group and the joint work plan with Ramsar on inland water ecosystems. BRAZIL noted
the difference in mandates and Party representation of Ramsar and the CBD. During the
final Plenary, Chair Hamid noted a Bureau proposal that further discussion on ad hoc
technical expert panels be postponed until SBSTTA-5, and that Parties make an effort to
update the existing roster of experts.
WORKING GROUP I
DRYLAND ECOSYSTEMS: SBSTTA-4 delegates considered the conservation and
sustainable use of drylands, Mediterranean, arid, semi-arid, grassland and savannah
ecosystems, and recommended that the COP consider adopting a work programme on these
ecosystems. The Secretariats background paper (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/4/7) assessed the
status, trends and options for the conservation and sustainable use of these ecosystems.
Several speakers, including SOUTH AFRICA, ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA and ALGERIA, supported
creating a separate work programme on these ecosystems. CANADA, SWITZERLAND, GERMANY, MALI
and BRAZIL stressed that a work programme should complement and not duplicate the work of
other conventions and organizations. SWITZERLAND added the need to identify synergies,
gaps and overlaps with current CBD work programmes. Other comments included BRAZIL and
COSTA RICA's suggestion that the official title be shortened to avoid calling the work
programme the "dryland ecosystem programme" since it address more than arid
ecosystems. Several speakers noted additional relevant ecosystems, including sub-humid
areas (PERU) and hyperarid lands (EC). CANADA noted that the Arctic is a specific dryland
ecosystem and suggested that work by the Arctic Council be reported to SBSTTA. Speakers
also identified issues that should be covered under the work programme, such as fire
control and management, the impact of civil wars and refugee inflows, benefit sharing and
capacity-building. Many speakers stressed focusing on socio-economic aspects and the
importance of local communities and indigenous groups in addressing dryland issues.
ZIMBABWE proposed calling on the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to support activities
under this programme, but others cited COP instructions that SBSTTA should not address
issues related to the GEF unless specifically requested by the COP.
The decision on dryland, Mediterranean, arid, semi-arid, grassland and savannah
ecosystems (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/4/L.3) recommends that the COP consider adopting a programme
of work on biodiversity in these ecosystems and consider "providing guidance to the
financial mechanism regarding the financing" of the programme. It requests the
Executive Secretary to prepare a draft work programme, in consultation with the
Secretariat of the CCD, and to present it to SBSTTA-5. The draft should bear in mind the
need to avoid duplication of work with other global conventions or processes and should
identify synergies, gaps and overlaps within current CBD work programmes. The draft
programme should integrate consideration of a number of issues, including fires, land-use
management, social-economic and cultural needs, knowledge, innovations and practices of
indigenous and local communities, capacity-building and taxonomic requirements. The
decision also requests that the Executive Secretary propose a shorter compound name for
the title and invite other relevant conventions, organizations and international
programmes to support the elaboration of the work programme.
PREVENTION OF IMPACTS OF ALIEN SPECIES: Discussion of the impacts of alien
species was called for in COP-4 Decision IV/1.C, which requested SBSTTA-4 to develop
guiding principles for the prevention and mitigation of impacts of alien species and to
report on those principles and any related work programmes to COP-5. Document
UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/4/8 presented conclusions and recommendations on developing guiding
principles for the prevention of impacts of alien species.
Harold Mooney, on behalf of the Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP), introduced
this topic with a presentation on the ecological problems and control costs of invasive
species and capacity-building. During the subsequent debate, several speakers noted
relevant work underway in other conventions and organizations, particularly GISP, CITES
and the IPCC. Delegations also supported the development of a database on control and
prevention strategies and making it available through the CHM. Some countries stressed the
need for public awareness and education. GERMANY requested the CBD Secretariat to compile
more case studies on invasive species and make them available on the Clearing-House
Mechanism (CHM). In response to a proposal to use "invasive" as opposed to
"alien" species, the US said that a work programme should focus on
standardization of terminology and developing technical and financial resources for a
distributive network of information.
Additional issues discussed included SOUTH AFRICA and PORTUGALs highlighting of
the need for transboundary control. HUNGARY, AUSTRALIA and NAMIBIA said regional
initiatives should be considered. Several delegates supported New Zealands informal
paper on principles to prevent the introduction of invasive species, but noted the
difficulty in predicting whether a species is likely to be invasive. GERMANY also proposed
a new text on the annex for an outline for case studies. Paula Warren (New Zealand)
chaired a small group to produce a revised draft, which was adopted by Working Group I
The draft decision (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/4/L.2) recommends that the COP request the
Executive Secretary to: develop an inventory of initiatives and roster of experts and make
them available through the CHM; formally liaise with the GISP; and further integrate the
issue of alien species in the implementation of the thematic work programmes and to report
to COP-6. The decision also recommends that the COP invite the GISP to undertake a
comprehensive review of existing measures for prevention, early detection, eradication and
control of alien species and their impacts and invite the GISP, FAO, IMO, WHO and other
relevant organizations to assist the Parties to carry out relevant tasks. It requests that
the Executive Secretary develop, in cooperation with the GISP, principles for the
prevention, introduction and mitigation of impacts of alien species for consideration by
SBSTTA-5, and requests him to develop an outline for case studies, taking into
consideration related proposals from two Parties (Germany and New Zealand), which were
annexed to the decision.
FURTHER ADVANCEMENT OF THE GLOBAL TAXONOMY INITIATIVE: SBSTTA-4 delegates
considered how to further advance the Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI). Their discussion
was based on a note from the Executive Secretary that identified options for the
development of final products, tools or instruments for the further advancement of the GTI
(UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/4/6 and Corr.1).
Peter Bridgewater, DIVERSITAS Programme/UNESCO, opened the discussion with a
presentation on the GTI. He stressed the importance of cooperative efforts at national,
regional and international levels and called for new partnerships between the CBD and
other institutions. Several delegates identified priorities for action on the GTI,
including projects that: support the CBD's work; disseminate and increase access to
information on taxonomy; train and build capacity for taxonomy experts; and strengthen
infrastructure and training programmes. Many speakers highlighted the decreasing number of
taxonomists and the need to create jobs for them. Some speakers suggested identifying
economic reasons to support taxonomic work and using this information to educate
policymakers about the necessity for permanent taxonomist positions. SWEDEN said it has
provided funding for a senior staff position in taxonomy in the CBD Secretariat, and
several speakers suggested that this position be filled. BURKINA FASO and the DEMOCRATIC
REPUBLIC OF CONGO suggested designing a global project, with UNEP as coordinator, to help
Parties move forward. Others said the GTI should be under the auspices of the Convention,
not UNEP. CAMEROON suggested welcoming UNEP's offer to assist in the development of a
project in accordance with the priorities of a GTI, but ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA proposed that
such activities be through the use of UNEP's own resources. CAMEROON withdrew her proposal
on the condition that the SBSTTA-4 report notes that one delegate strongly welcomed UNEP's
offer. BRAZIL suggested that the Executive Secretary report to SBSTTA-5 on his
identification of options for a coordination structure for the GTI. Several speakers
discussed the GEF's involvement in taxonomy initiatives, with COLOMBIA suggesting the
adoption of measures to monitor related GEF decisions, BRAZIL highlighting a GEF role in
institution building, and CAMEROON calling for GEF funding for the GTI. Others noted the
COP-4 decision that SBSTTA should address issues related to the GEF only at the COP's
request. A contact group, chaired by Linda Hedlund (Sweden), helped draft the text that
was ultimately adopted.
The decision (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/4/L.7), as amended during the closing Plenary, recommends
to the COP that the Executive Secretary further develop the GTI and undertake preliminary
activities required to build a framework for implementing it, including the convening of
regional meetings of experts to identify priorities, opportunities and constraints. It
suggests that initial priorities should include capacity-building, the development of
taxonomy-related products, and dissemination of and access to taxonomy information and
collections. It also recommends to the COP that funding institutions, including the GEF,
recognize the cross-cutting nature of taxonomy and facilitate partnerships between
developing and developed countries. It requests the Executive Secretary to identify
options for a coordination structure for the GTI and options for baseline initiatives, and
to report this information to SBSTTA-5. The decision also undertakes to integrate the
development and implementation of the GTI into the thematic and cross-cutting work
programmes of the SBSTTA.
WORKING GROUP II
NEW PLANT TECHNOLOGY: Following COP-4 Decision IV/6, SBSTTA-4 delegates
considered and assessed whether there are consequences of the use of the new technology
for the control of plant gene expression for biodiversity conservation and sustainable
use. The Secretariat introduced a note by the Executive Secretary with a technical
assessment as an annex (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/4/9/Rev.1). Richard Jefferson, author-in-chief of
the expert assessment and Chair of the Center for the Application of Molecular Biology in
International Agriculture (CAMBIO), presented an overview of the core technology and
biology behind genetic use of restriction technologies (GURTs). He distinguished between
V-GURTs, variety-level GURTs (e.g., "terminator"), which produce plants with
inviable seeds, and T-GURTs, trait-specific GURTs, in which "added value"
transgenic traits of the seed are protected by technical means that can be activated by
farmers and end users. He contended that commercially viable V-GURTs may decrease
transgene spreading, but outstanding issues remain, such as: indirect effects of GURTs on
biodiversity; toxicity of inducing compounds and cellular toxins; environmental spreading
of V-GURT traits; and patents as a means of control of V-GURTs. He indicated that further
scientific study is necessary and GURTs will not be commercialized for another five years.
Many delegates supported HUNGARY's call to apply the CBD's precautionary principle to
the application of this technology. Speakers also addressed the numerous uncertainties
involved with GURTs and potential effects on biodiversity, food security and human health.
NORWAY stressed that GURTs' impacts on ecosystems, species and genetic diversity need an
in-depth review with the participation of the environmental community. GERMANY and others
recommended that the Secretariat conduct further scientific assessments on, inter alia:
technological accessibility; patent licensing options; liability questions; gene
constructions and silencing; inducers used; and potential apomixis effects on wild
relatives and non-GURT crops.
CANADA recommended that new plant technologies be addressed by the FAO's CGRFA. The
NETHERLANDS said UNEP could coordinate future scientific assessments, and with SOUTH
AFRICA and the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI), preferred that the CBD
continue its consideration of GURTs.
The working group continued negotiations on the Chairs draft recommendations,
which incorporated input from a contact group chaired by Andreas Gettkant (Germany).
NORWAY and a number of others recommended an international moratorium on GURT commercial
use and field testing. The US called for further study of the issue and, with AUSTRALIA,
said that SBSTTA is an inappropriate forum to call for a moratorium. CANADA proposed that
the use of GURTs not be approved by Parties until further scientific assessment. GERMANY
proposed that the use of GURTs in the field not be approved until their viability is
INDIA added reference to Farmers' Rights. SURINAME added reference to indigenous rights
and traditional knowledge. Delegates agreed to an amended version of a UK proposal calling
for further assessments and adding a new preambular paragraph on moratoriums. NEW ZEALAND,
with AUSTRALIA, requested that the SBSSTA-4 report indicate their reservations regarding a
preambular paragraph that recognizes that Parties and governments may establish a
moratorium on the commercial use and field testing of GURTs, since they said such a
moratorium should only refer to "uncontained field testing" of GURTs.
The recommendation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/4/L.5), as amended and adopted in the final
Plenary, contains preambular paragraphs recognizing that any country may establish a
moratorium, subject to national legislation, and stressing the precautionary approach. At
the international level, it recommends that the COP: continue work on new plant
technologies under its agro-biodiversity work programme; invite the FAO and other members
of the Ecosystem Conservation Group to further study policy questions and implications of
such technologies on agro-biodiversity; invite FAO and its CGRFA to inform COP-6 of its
initiatives; invite relevant organizations to study the impact of technologies on the
protection of intellectual property for the agricultural sector; and recommend that
products incorporating GURTs not be approved by Parties for field testing until
appropriate scientific data justifies such testing, and for commercial use until
appropriate authorized and strictly controlled scientific assessments. At the national
level, the COP is recommended to invite Parties and governments to carry out scientific
assessments on the ecological, social and economic effects of GURTs and disseminate
results through the CHM. The COP is recommended to encourage Parties and governments to
address concerns regarding such technologies under national and international approaches
to germplasm use and to identify ways and means to address their potential impacts on in
situ and ex situ biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. It requests the Executive
Secretary to prepare two reports: one for SBSTTA prior to COP-6 on the status of
development of GURTS, and another for the COP based on discussions with organizations with
relevant expertise and representatives of indigenous and local communities on potential
GURTs' impacts on those communities and on Farmers Rights.
SUSTAINABLE USE, INCLUDING TOURISM: In accordance with Annex II of COP-4
Decision IV/16, delegates discussed the development of approaches and practices for the
sustainable use of biological diversity, including tourism. The Executive Secretarys
note on this topic (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/4/11) outlined the role of tourism in the sustainable
use of biological resources, identified potential impacts of tourism on biodiversity,
discussed management options and strategies for addressing biodiversity through tourism,
and explained the role of the CBD in the development of a framework of policy options for
sustainable tourism, and to broaden its consideration of sustainable use to cover other
The NETHERLANDS, along with the UK, the US, NEW ZEALAND and SWITZERLAND, stressed the
importance of interlinkages between tourism and the sustainable use of biodiversity.
Delegates annexed an assessment of these interlinkages to the CBD report to the work on
tourism of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD).
Many participants, including NORWAY, CUBA, AUSTRALIA, BOLIVIA, and the EC, expressed
concern that the Secretariat paper did not consider other aspects of sustainable use. The
US stressed the importance of including language that takes into consideration the unique
role of ecotourism in contributing to the conservation of biodiversity. The NETHERLANDS,
along with CANADA, ZIMBABWE, SURINAME, TONGA, CÔTE D'IVOIRE, ECUADOR, the INDIGENOUS
PEOPLES BIODIVERSITY NETWORK and the UK, emphasized the involvement of local and
indigenous communities in the decision making process. Following an initial discussion in
Working Group II, a contact group chaired by Marcel Vernooij (the NETHERLANDS) was
created. Chair Vernooij introduced draft recommendations for Working Group IIs
consideration, which were amended and adopted.
The final Plenary adopted the draft recommendation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/4/L.4), as amended.
The decision recommends, inter alia, that the COP should adopt the assessment of
interlinkages between biodiversity and tourism, as contained in an annex to the decision,
and transmit it to the CSD; and accept the invitation to participate in the intersessional
work programme on sustainable tourism development under the CSD process. It also
recommends that the COP call on Parties, governments, the tourism industry and relevant
international organizations to pay particular attention to: developing strategies and
planning based on an ecosystem approach; considering the need for long-term monitoring and
assessment, including the development and use of indicators; and involving the
participation of indigenous and local communities in the development and management of
The annex to the decision elaborates the definition of sustainable use and development,
as well as of the environmental and socio-economic impacts of tourism on wildlife, water
resources, marine and coastal and mountain ecosystems, and local communities.
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT: Delegates considered the incorporation of
biological considerations into environmental impact assessment (EIA), using document
UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/4/10 as a starting point for discussion.
A number of developing countries stressed the importance of capacity-building and
financial assistance to run EIA workshops. Several speakers highlighted elements to
incorporate in EIAs, including traditional knowledge (CANADA), biodiversity and human
health (MEXICO), and quality of human life (ECUADOR). Most countries were disinclined to
support detailing all their EIA experiences in national reports, as suggested in the
Executive Secretary's note. Delegates could not agree whether to have an EIA and
biodiversity expert group, a roster of experts or to develop strategies for collaborating
with other institutions, notably the International Association for Impact Assessment.
Subsequently, the idea of any form of expert group did not make it through to the final
recommendations. FRANCE and others emphasized the importance of undertaking transboundary
EIAs and also underscored the need to undertake EIA's on policies, plans and strategies
rather than just projects. A number of delegates stressed the importance of undertaking
strategic environmental assessments. The Ramsar Convention representative highlighted its
development of an EIA toolbox and suggested that this instrument could be applied in other
On developing guidelines on the incorporation of biodiversity-related issues into
legislation, AUSTRALIA proposed adding reference to the precautionary approach and the
ecosystem approach. GERMANY added a reference to the "principle of equivalency"
in mitigation measures. The German text was deleted in the final Plenary as some
delegations did not understand the concept of equivalency.
Delegates adopted, as amended, a draft decision (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/4/L.6), which
recommends that the COP invite Parties, governments and other relevant organizations to,
inter alia: integrate EIA into their work programme on thematic areas; address loss of
biological diversity and interrelated cultural and human health effects in EIAs; consider
biodiversity concerns in new legislation; ensure the involvement of interested and
affected stakeholders; and organize experts meetings to develop local expertise. It
encourages Parties, governments and relevant organizations to use strategic environmental
assessments to assess cumulative and global effects, and requests Parties to include
practices, systems, mechanisms and experience in national reports. The SBSTTA is requested
to further develop guidelines on the incorporation of biodiversity-related issues into
legislation. The decision also requests the Executive Secretary to make accessible and
increase the call for case studies, in particular impact assessments that apply the
SBSTTA-4 Chair Hamid opened the final Plenary session of SBSTTA-4 on Friday, 25 June,
and invited them to elect the Bureau for SBSTTA-5. Delegates elected Mary Fosi Mbantenkhu
(Cameroon), Tevita Savae Latu (Tonga), Evgeny Oreshkin (Russian Federation), David
Brackett (Canada), and Cristián Samper (Colombia). Martin Uppenbrink (Germany), Kutelama
Seleko (Democratic Republic of Congo), Zakri Hamid (Malaysia), Elaine Fisher (Jamaica) and
Jan Plesnik (Czech Republic) will remain in office. Cristián Samper will chair SBSTTA-5.
Delegates adopted the draft report on the opening of the meeting, organizational matters,
reports, and priority issues (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/4/L.1), including priority issues discussed
in Working Group I (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/4/L.1/Add.1) and Working Group II
(UNEPO/CBD/SBSTTA/L.1/Add.2) with several amendments. The report of SBSTTA-4, based on
these "L" documents, was amended to incorporate comments during the closing
Plenary and was distributed during the following week as a single document
Delegates then considered draft decisions from the two Working Groups and Plenary
deliberations. Several delegates offered statements or reservations that they wanted
entered into the meetings report. On sustainable use, including tourism, several
countries supported NORWAYs statement that he could accept the recommendation on the
understanding that a broader discussion on sustainable use would be taken up at the next
On the draft recommendation on new plant technology, NEW ZEALAND recorded her
reservation on the preambular paragraph recognizing that any Party or government may
establish a moratorium on GURTs without including reference to "uncontained"
field testing. The US noted for the record that it could not associate with any implicit
call for a moratorium on testing or commercialization of this technology. On a
recommendation to not approve field testing GURTs until scientific assessments are
validated, AUSTRALIA recorded his reservation on the references to food security,
agricultural production and other socio-economic and human health issues. He said these
issues extend beyond the mandate of SBSTTA. The Chair announced that the Bureau had
suggested addressing ad hoc technical groups at SBSTTA-5, so no draft decision was
circulated on that issue. Delegates agreed that the date and the venue of SBSTTA-5 would
be 31 January - 4 February 2000 in Montreal.
During closing Plenary statements, PERU, on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean
Group, expressed satisfaction with the progress made during the week, but noted that much
work remains to be done. INDIA, on behalf of the Asian Group, commended the initiatives to
invite experts and scientists to address the meeting on relevant subjects. Hamdallah
Zedan, Acting Executive Secretary, noting the implications of SBSTTAs outputs on the
CBD agenda and the Secretariats human and financial resources, called for Parties to
make the necessary funding available to carry out the work. SBSTTA-4 Chair Zakri Hamid
said the inputs received at this meeting from a wide range of actors provided a variety of
views and made the meeting report a living process. He noted that, as Chair he has seen
SBSTTA evolve from tentative beginnings to a global center of referral in the field of
biodiversity. He closed SBSTTA-4 at 5:30 pm.
Lászlo Miklós (Slovakia), President of COP-4, opened the Intersessional meeting on
the Operations of the Convention on Monday, 28 June 1999. He said principle questions that
delegates should address include: how to improve the clarity and implementation of COP
decisions; expectations for the financial mechanism and other institutions; measures to
improve scientific input and the scientific basis for policy recommendations; and the
possibility of creating further subsidiary bodies. Hamdallah Zedan, Acting Executive
Secretary, noted that the Convention will only achieve its goals through effective
management and organization. Jorge Illueca, on behalf of UNEP Executive Director Klaus
Töpfer, wished participants a successful meeting.
Delegates agreed that the COP-4 Bureau would serve as ISOC's officers. Therefore,
Lászlo Miklós (Slovakia) served as President. The Vice-Presidents were: Ralph Adewoye
(Nigeria), Elaine Fisher (Jamaica), Ilona Jepsen (Latvia), Bernarditas Muller
(Philippines), Sid-Ali Branci (Algeria), Mohammed Reza Salamat (Iran), Robert Lamb
(Switzerland) and Marcel Vernooij (Netherlands). Mariângela Rebuá (Brazil) served as
Rapporteur. Delegates adopted the agenda (UNEP/CBD/ISOC/1) and agreed to conduct the
entire meeting in Plenary.
Delegates then commenced their deliberations on the review of the operations of the
Convention and programme of work. Delegates offered statements on this issue during
morning and afternoon Plenary sessions on Monday, 28 June. A contact group chaired by
Jonathan Tillson (UK) met on Monday evening and throughout Tuesday to develop a decision
on this issue. Delegates offered statements on access and benefit sharing during two
Plenary sessions on Tuesday, 29 June. A contact group chaired by Elaine Fisher (Jamaica)
met Tuesday evening and Wednesday to develop a decision on the issues discussed under that
agenda item. This report summarizes the discussion and decisions on these issues.
REVIEW OF THE OPERATIONS OF THE CONVENTION
ISOCs consideration of the operations of the Convention and programme of work was
based on the Executive Secretarys note (UNEP/CBD/ISOC/1/Add.1), which contains
options for review, including proposals regarding scientific assessment, a more developed
programme of work, regionalization of work and potential needs for subsidiary bodies.
Cristián Samper (Colombia), Chair of SBSTTA-5, highlighted improvements made during
SBSTTA-4 and suggested that delegates may wish to find ways and means to: enhance
scientific inputs into SBSTTA, including peer reviews and transparent intersessional
workshops; develop a strategic plan for SBSTTA, leaving politically sensitive issues to
open-ended working groups or another subsidiary body; improve SBSTTA outputs to COPs;
request the Executive Secretary to assess the relevance of SBSTTA recommendations to COPs
and possible follow-up mechanisms for their implementation; and promote better
coordination with other scientific bodies and institutions.
On proposed changes to existing structures, GERMANY, on behalf of the EU, and others,
expressed preference to make the CBD's existing structures work better rather than
fundamentally changing them, such as through a subsidiary body. BRAZIL and others
supported a parallel intersessional body that could address implementation issues not
dealt with by SBSTTA, such as financing and capacity-building. GUYANA, on behalf of the
G-77/CHINA, supported creating a subsidiary body for monitoring. INDIA and others
supported establishing a limited number of specific expert panels, which many stressed
should be transparent and have equitable geographic representation. A number of
institutional options are included in the final set of recommendations.
On institutional linkages of the Secretariat, ETHIOPIA, on behalf of the African Group,
said the CBD should work closely with other multilateral agreements, including the Ramsar
Convention and CITES. The PHILIPPINES sought to record in the ISOC report that her country
believes there is "need to review," rather than to "consider whether there
is a need to review" these linkages.
Most delegates supported developing a strategic plan, with CHINA emphasizing the need
for a 10-year plan, along with a medium five-year and two-year rolling implementation
plan. Some delegates emphasized the need for such a plan to retain flexibility. CAMEROON
said such flexibility could translate into the Secretariats participation in the
upcoming WTO TRIPs negotiations. In the contact group, one delegate indicated that she
preferred developing options for a strategic plan rather than a plan itself. This wording
is reflected in the final set of recommendations.
On guidance to the financial mechanism, ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA requested a change in
identifying priority issues "which will provide support," rather than "with
special reference to the modalities" of cross-cutting issues. A number of countries
emphasized the important role of the financial mechanism in capacity-building. In the
final Plenary, the PHILIPPINES requested that the meetings report reflect her
delegations belief that there should be a review of the "effectiveness of the
financial mechanism" rather than a "review of the MOU" between the COP and
the GEF Council.
On the importance of regional meetings and processes, ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA opposed, and
NEW ZEALAND and others supported such regional processes. The COOK ISLANDS, on behalf of
the Pacific Island Countries, recommended measures to improve the participation of small
island countries of the Pacific, including CBD Secretariat cooperation with regional
conventions and biodiversity-related bodies such as the South Pacific Regional Environment
Programme. This draft decision on regional processes remains in brackets. The NETHERLANDS
wanted the report of the meeting to record that several delegates underlined the
importance of regional meetings and that the draft decision did not reflect the broad
level of support for these processes.
Many delegates supported the SBSTTA Chair's recommendations for reforms, especially
regarding the establishment of expert groups under the SBSTTA. On a reference to the role
of SBSTTA in undertaking sound scientific assessments, NORWAY, in the final Plenary,
proposed creating a mechanism for undertaking such assessments, including the preparation
of the Global Biodiversity Outlook. This was accepted. ECUADOR suggested additional
language, which was recorded in the report of the meeting, calling on the Executive
Secretary to compile information on other relevant conventions as to how they relate to
the CBD and how they can help.
Many delegates noted the importance of the CHM for sharing information, scientific
cooperation and COP preparation. A number of developing countries emphasized the need for
capacity-building in this context. In the final Plenary, CANADA wanted the report to
indicate that it interpreted the final recommendation on the development of the CHM as not
changing the scope of the CHM. CHINA, with CAMEROON, requested developing themes for each
years International Biodiversity Day.
The final set of recommendations to COP-5 (UNEP/CBD/ISOC/L.2) retains some bracketed
text, including five options regarding implementation. Delegates recommended that the COP
decide to, inter alia:
- hold COP meetings every [two] year[s];
- hold SBSTTA meetings every year;
- revise procedures on decision making regarding administrative and financial matters;
- incorporate guidance to the financial mechanism in a single decision;
- request the Executive Secretary to limit the number of documents;
- consider whether there is a need to review the institutional linkages of the
- develop options for a strategic plan;
- authorize the Chair of SBSTTA attend meetings of other scientific bodies of
- allow the SBSTTA to establish ad hoc technical expert groups;
- call on SBSTTA to reflect properly the findings of in-depth scientific assessments in
its recommendations; and
- promote the development of the CHM.
The set of recommendations on implementation proposed a number of alternative
administrative arrangements for the implementation of the convention, through, inter alia:
- existing institutions and procedures;
- including a Working Group on Implementation;
- holding a second intersessional meeting on implementation;
- enhancing the functions of regional meetings;
- agreeing that the COP Bureau [and SBSTTA Bureau] shall act as an Intersessional
Executive Body; or
- establishing a Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI).
The proposal on a SBI includes a number of elements based on the FCCC SBI model. The
draft decision was adopted, with the various options on implementation and the reference
to regional processes remaining in brackets, and will be forwarded to COP-5 for its
ACCESS TO GENETIC RESOURCES AND BENEFIT SHARING
REVIEW OF ACCESS TO GENETIC RESOURCES AND BENEFIT SHARING ARRANGEMENTS: ISOC
delegates conducted preparatory discussions on access to genetic resources and benefit
sharing arrangements in order to provide guidance to COP-5 and to contribute to
preparations for the Expert Panel on Access and Benefit Sharing scheduled for October 1999
in Costa Rica. Deliberations were based on the Executive Secretary's note on options on
access to genetic resources and benefit sharing (UNEP/CBD/ISOC/3), and included
consideration of modalities for the operation of the Expert Panel.
During general Plenary discussions, many representatives, including INDIA, ARGENTINA
and DJIBOUTI, stressed the urgent need to tackle benefit sharing, the CBDs third
objective, and emphasized that access issues are at the core of the Convention. Several
speakers highlighted the importance of ongoing work under the FAO International
Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources (IU). Many delegations emphasized the importance of
an effective CHM in this regard, both at the national and international levels. GERMANY,
on behalf of the EU, said due consideration should be accorded to the diversity of
practices and perspectives of providers and users and recommended that the CBD's long-term
work programme regularly examine the implementation of the CBDs provisions on access
and benefit sharing.
BRAZIL, among others, said access must be in accordance with national legislation. On
behalf of the African Group, MALI recommended initiating a process to develop a protocol
along the lines of the IU to cover access and benefit sharing, protection of indigenous
and local communities, recognition of the origin of resources, and biopiracy. The US said
that contractual arrangements, based on mutually agreed terms, represent an effective and
flexible instrument to guide benefit sharing.
EXPERT PANEL ON ACCESS AND BENEFIT SHARING: During Plenary discussions on the
Expert Panel on Access and Benefit Sharing, a number of delegates supported inclusion of
representatives from a variety of international and regional organizations in the Expert
Panel. Many speakers, including the EU, CÔTE D'IVOIRE and KENYA, stressed the importance
of involving stakeholders, especially indigenous and local communities. SWITZERLAND added
the private sector. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA and others emphasized the importance of
transparency. INDIA and others endorsed equitable geographic and regional representation.
COSTA RICA and SWITZERLAND, supported by PERU, proposed establishing an Ad Hoc Executive
Committee, which would, among other things, elaborate an agenda and choose the
Panels experts from the Secretariat's list.
For the Panel's agenda, CANADA suggested identification of: benefits of the use of
genetic resources on a sectoral basis; mechanisms currently used to share these benefits,
particularly capacity-building; the need for new and improved measures; and legal cases
related to IPR and genetic resources for a discussion paper, which could be prepared in
cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The G-77/CHINA
proposed a focus on access and benefit sharing, ex situ collections, and how IPR can be
harmonized with the CBD.
Other proposals for possible Panel agenda items were: review of COP decisions on access
and benefit sharing and identification of national CHM needs and training areas for GEF
financing, including negotiating capacity on access and benefit sharing arrangements
(ARGENTINA); measures to implement prior informed consent provisions (EU); the pros and
cons of the regional approach and analysis of case studies on access and benefit sharing
(INDONESIA); laws, policies and parameters for equitable benefit sharing in recipient and
user countries (INDIA); definitions for "equitable" benefit sharing and access
to genetic resources (COLOMBIA); transfer and development of technologies (BRAZIL);
protection of the rights of communities and source countries (MADAGASCAR); mechanisms for
monitoring and enforcing contracts and permits (AUSTRALIA); best practices for contractual
arrangements based on mutually agreed terms (US); and flaws in "bioprospecting
contractual models" (RAFI).
Several speakers, including TURKEY, NORWAY, COLOMBIA, RUSSIA and MEXICO, suggested that
the Panel examine how to make distinctions between research and commercial uses in the
context of access and benefit sharing. ECUADOR said that for practical and other reasons
the boundary between research and commercialization is not easy to determine.
Further debates on the agenda, composition and operation of the Expert Panel on access
and benefit sharing took place in a contact group. While transparency, regional
representation and inclusion of non-anglophones were endorsed, different views were held
regarding whether the Secretariat, the Bureau and/or an Ad Hoc Executive Committee should
set the agenda, select a relevant roster of experts for the Panel, or develop criteria for
selecting representatives of relevant regional and international organizations. Delegates
agreed to drop the idea of an Executive Committee and omit the proposed agenda item on
pre-CBD public and private ex situ collections.
The final decision on the Expert Panel on Access and Benefit Sharing
(UNEP/CBD/ISOC/L.3) recommends that the Panel's preparatory documentation include a
synthesis of access and benefit sharing case studies, and no more than 50 experts
participate with regional and intergovernmental organization representatives as observers.
Recommended agenda items for the Expert Panel are:
- access and benefit sharing for scientific and commercial purposes, including review of
existing access and benefit sharing contractual arrangements and guiding principles or
voluntary codes of conduct;
- review of legal and policy measures, at national and regional levels, on how to address
prior informed consent, equitable benefit sharing, and mutually agreed terms;
- legislation on IPR and sui generis systems;
- review of incentive, regulatory and valuation measures; and
- the facilitation of access to genetic resources.
EX SITU COLLECTIONS ACQUIRED PRIOR TO THE ENTRY INTO FORCE OF THE CBD AND NOT
ADDRESSED BY THE CGRFA: ISOC delegates, as per COP-4 Decision IV/8, discussed
recommendations to COP-5 for future work on this issue. The Secretariat introduced related
documentation, UNEP/CBD/ISOC/4 and UNEP/CBD/ISOC/Inf.1, noting that the Executive
Secretary's invitation for input had resulted in information from five governments, the
FAO, IPGRI, Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BCGI), the International Species
Information System (ISIS), and the World Federation of Cultural Collections (WFCC).
The EU said information exchange about ex situ collections would be helpful and, with
NORWAY, stressed that the CBD had no retroactive effect regarding these collections.
ETHIOPIA, on behalf of the African Group, supported bringing ex situ materials collected
prior to the CBD's entry into force under CBD provisions and recommended the provision of
GEF funds for initiatives that strengthen and establish gene banks in developing
countries. BURKINA FASO opposed limiting consideration of ex situ collections to
phytogenetic resources, while COLOMBIA suggested creating a forum to study mechanisms for
ex situ collections, in particular plant and animal genetic resources and micro-organisms.
INDIA suggested that the COP recommend establishing unified guidelines for access to such
collections. CANADA recommended avoiding duplication of work by other sectors, such as
botanical gardens, the food and agriculture sector and microbial collections. AUSTRALIA
wished to have noted in the ISOC report that it has not changed its position on COP-4
Decision IV/8, which stated that his country was not in favor of revisiting the issue of
biological resources acquired prior to the Convention's entry into force.
In the contact groups deliberations on pre-CBD and non-CGRFA ex situ collections,
delegates debated on what sort of information and follow-up is needed. A number of
delegates noted the complexities posed by such collections, including the trend in
privatization of public ex situ collections. One developed country emphasized that the
dynamic and political nature associated with elaborating a questionnaire meant it should
be voluntary and piloted before general distribution. One participant emphasized it could
only agree to the sharing of information and principles for access and benefit sharing and
ex situ collections. Others said recommendations regarding a programme of work, uniform
multilateral principles, the GEF, a roster of experts, and an ad hoc working or expert
group were "premature forays" beyond the CBD's scope.
Delegates discussed if and what to include in an annexed questionnaire on such
collections, how the CBD should relate to centers hosting ex situ collections, whether
international law can allow for treaty retroactivity, and if COP Decision IV/8, which
invites the Executive Secretary to gather information on such collections, ought to be
interlinked with the Nairobi Final Act, which recognizes a need to seek outstanding issues
concerning plant ex-situ collections "not acquired in accordance with CBD."
The proposal that the GEF support the promotion and capacity-building for the
establishment, maintenance and utilization of ex situ collections was deleted. After the
group annexed elements for a questionnaire, one delegate replaced items on plant and
animal "live collections" with "plant field collections" and
"whole animal collections." Annex references to repatriation of information and
repatriation of duplicate germplasm and a replacement of seed banks by "seed gene
banks" were added by another delegate.
The final recommendation (UNEP/CBD/ISOC/L.5) states that the COP may wish to consider:
- the continuation of information gathering by requesting the Secretariat to gather
available data on items of the type described in two annexes, as appropriate and where
necessary, via a questionnaire to be developed by the Secretariat;
- application on a voluntary basis by the holders of such collections;
- the facilitation of technology transfer for the maintenance and utilization of ex situ
- development, on a sectoral basis, of principles for access and benefit sharing.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS AND TRIPS: Based on COP-4 Decisions IV/8 and
IV/15 respectively, delegates considered and made recommendations for future work to
develop a common appreciation of the relationship between IPR and relevant provisions of
the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) and the
CBD. Discussions were based on the Secretariats document on the relationship between
IPR, TRIPs and the CBD (UNEP/CBD/ISOC/5). During Plenary, INDIA said IPR are not the main
mechanisms for realizing equitable benefit sharing and that the synergies between the CBD
and TRIPs have not been adequately treated. COLOMBIA called for further studies on IPR in
relation to biodiversity, technology transfer, the protection of traditional knowledge and
national, regional and international measures on access and benefit sharing. The EU noted
that TRIPs provisions and CBD objectives are interrelated, and attention should be given
to the protection of knowledge and innovation of indigenous and local communities. Several
delegations, including MEXICO, emphasized the importance of sui generis systems,
biodiversity protection and sovereign rights over biological resources. SWITZERLAND
suggested that the intersessional working group on Article 8(j) consider the potential and
options of IPR and sui generis systems to protect traditional knowledge.
Delegates conveyed a variety of perspectives on how and what the CBD should communicate
to the WTO and other institutions. MALAWI suggested that the COP should give the Executive
Secretary clear guidance on how to tackle the interrelationship between the CBD and the
WTO. BRAZIL called for the establishment of a permanent mechanism for information sharing
between the CBD, WTO and WIPO. SOUTH AFRICA expressed concern that no provision is made in
the TRIPs agreement to protect IPR relating to indigenous and local communities. ECUADOR
recommended that CBD deliberations be communicated to the TRIPs Council.
CAMEROON, on behalf of the African Group, and with INDIA, highlighted the potential for
TRIPs to jeopardize Farmers Rights and the application of the CBD. He suggested
requesting the TRIPs Council to defer decisions reviewing patent excludability until after
COP-5 and recommended inviting the Council to address potential conflicts with the CBD,
such as sui generis protection of plant varieties and the right of countries to exclude
plants, animals, micro-organisms and any parts thereof, and microbiological processes for
animal and plant production. NORWAY noted it was premature to change TRIPs. The US noted
that TRIPs establishes appropriate levels of protection for IPR, including patents that
can be supportive of the CBD. He recommended that the COP consider ways in which Parties
could use existing forms of intellectual property to encourage development based on local
biological resources and indigenous knowledge.
Participants also considered the issue of patent excludability. A number of delegates,
including INDIA, NORWAY, TOGO and COLOMBIA, opposed granting patents for animals and
plants. Some emphasized that TRIPs members should be allowed to exclude such patents for
ethical and social reasons. WWF said exemptions under TRIPs need to be maintained until
there has been adequate experience with sui generis systems. The THIRD WORLD NETWORK
stressed the importance of CBD proactive participation in the TRIPs negotiations.
During contact group discussions, many delegates agreed that the CBD should continue
exploring existing knowledge gaps on the implications of IPR on biodiversity and benefit
sharing. One government preferred that the WTO be invited to conduct such further
exploration. Several emphasized the importance of giving a role to the CBD to transmit its
perspective to other relevant fora. Delegates accepted a proposal to recognize the urgency
of the CBD to become a WTO TRIPs Council observer.
The final decision (UNEP/CBD/ISOC/L.4) recognizes: the need to ensure the mutual
supportiveness between the TRIPs agreement and the CBD; the need for CBD exploration of
the implications of IPR on biodiversity and equitable benefit sharing; and the urgency for
the CBD to achieve observer status in the WTO TRIPs Council. Follow-up activities for COP
consideration include: an invitation to WTO to acknowledge relevant CBD provisions and
explore the relationship between the CBD and TRIPs provisions; recognition of the ongoing
work on Article 8(j) and the importance of systems, such as sui generis and others; and
ways and means to closely follow work done by WIPO and the WTO and to provide inputs from
the perspective of the CBD when relevant, including on issues related to traditional
Chair Miklós called the closing Plenary to order at 5:10 pm on Wednesday, 30 June.
Elaine Fisher, Chair of the contact group on access and benefit sharing, introduced the
texts on the review of access to genetic resources and benefit sharing arrangements
(UNEP/CBD/ISOC/L.3), the relationship between IPR, the relevant provisions of the TRIPs
Agreement and the CBD (UNEP/CBD/ISOC/L.4), and ex situ collections acquired prior to the
entry into force of the CBD (UNEP/CBD/ISOC/L.5). Delegates adopted them without amendment.
The Rapporteur, Mariângela Rubuá (Brazil), introduced the report of the meeting
(UNEP/CBD/ISOC/L.1 and Add.1). She noted that the report covered only the first two days
(Monday and Tuesday). The PHILIPPINES wanted to ensure that interventions made on the
third day (Wednesday) during the adoption of the text on the review of the operations of
the Convention would be added to the report. The Chair said those comments would be
recorded and the third day would be incorporated into the final report. Delegates adopted
The Secretariat noted that informal consultations on the process to resume the session
of the ExCOP for the Biosafety Protocol would take place Thursday, 1 July 1999, in the
offices of the Secretariat. This consultation chaired by the Colombian Environment
Minister, Juan Mayr, was to be attended by the appointed spokespeople of the negotiating
NORWAY noted that the meeting had recognized that there are knowledge gaps and links to
be explored between the TRIPs agreement and the CBD and asked what the Secretariat would
do in the meantime to convey the results of ISOC to the next meeting of the TRIPs Council
(7-8 July 1999). The Acting Executive Secretary said he would consider sending a
representative to brief the TRIPs Council on the meetings deliberations.
MALAWI, as a member of the African Group, commended the Secretariat for its work and
expressed his hope that the Secretariat would be fully functional and all positions would
be filled in the lead up to SBSTTA-5 and COP-5.
The Acting Executive Secretary informed delegates that negotiations with Kenya, the
host government for COP-5, are proceeding. He also urged all Parties that had not yet done
so to nominate experts to the Expert Panel on Access and Benefit Sharing by 15 July 1999.
President Miklós noted that the meetings' recommendations will help COP-5 focus its work
and he expressed hope that COP-5 would be able to adopt decisions that will improve the
operations of the Convention. He said that convening a three-day intersessional meeting
also provides an important opportunity for the Convention to work through its agenda. At
5:59 pm, "almost midnight in Central Europe," President Miklós gaveled the
meeting to a close.
INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS ON THE BIOSAFETY PROTOCOL
Informal consultations on the Biosafety Protocol took place on Thursday, 1 July 1999,
at the CBD Secretariat's office in Montreal. Colombian Environment Minister Juan Mayr
presided over the discussion in his capacity as the President of the Extraordinary session
of the COP (ExCOP), which was held in Cartagena, Colombia, in February 1999.
Representatives and their advisers from the core negotiating groups from Cartegena,
including the Miami Group, the Compromise Group and the Like-minded Group, participated in
the meeting. Other participants included Klaus Töpfer, UNEP Executive Director, and
Hamdallah Zedan, Acting Executive Secretary of the CBD.
Participants reported that discussion focused on intersessional arrangements before the
resumed ExCOP session. Some participants preferred a resumed session of the ExCOP prior to
December 1999, while others noted the need for time to brainstorm on the pending issues
and preferred that it be held in 2000, preferably in March. After an extended morning
discussion, participants agreed that there will be another informal consultation in
September lasting five days and, subject to satisfactory progress, a resumed ExCOP likely
in February 2000, lasting 2-3 days. Participants agreed that those coming to the informal
consultation in September would have the full negotiating authority of their governments.
Participants further agreed that the ExCOP Bureau, in consultation with the CBD
Secretariat, will decide on the specific dates for meetings and communicate these
arrangements to governments. Each of the core negotiating groups stated its commitment to
concluding a Biosafety Protocol at the next ExCOP. As part of this commitment, they agreed
not reopen issues that had been agreed upon in Cartagena and only to deal with those
remaining articles, including the scope of the Protocol and its relationship with other
international conventions. To facilitate participation at these meetings, UNEP offered to
help mobilize funding.
A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF SBSTTA-4 AND THE ISOC
Apart from brief moments of contention over genetic use restriction technologies
(GURTs), a possible new subsidiary body on implementation and retroactive application of
the Convention, SBSTTA-4 and the ISOC proceeded relatively smoothly. Delegates were
generally pleased with the streamlined and more manageable agenda for SBSTTA-4, although
some noted that several agenda items, like ad hoc technical expert panels, were passed off
to SBSTTA-5. Most welcomed the opportunity to hold a special intersessional meeting to
improve the implementation of the Convention. Decisions to improve the operations of the
COP and SBSTTA were a key focus of both meetings and most delegates believed that they
laid the groundwork for a positive step forward. This brief analysis elaborates on these
issues and other accomplishments and shortcomings, and looks at coming challenges for CBD
meetings in the year 2000.
SCIENCE VS. POLITICS: The ongoing identity crisis for SBSTTA remains a
significant point of discussion. While some delegations treated the SBSTTA as a mini-COP,
delegates from the scientific community wanted greater time for scientific and technical
discussions. Some delegations were concerned that SBSTTA did not have the mandate to make
"political decisions" over such issues as GURTs and moratoriums. Others observed
that delegations with scientists rather than diplomats floundered over the negotiation
process, putting forward text changes that did not reflect previous COP decisions or
political nuances associated with the Convention itself.
Despite the identity crisis, delegations welcomed SBSTTA's technical presentations that
introduced the discussions on GURTs, the Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI) and the Global
Invasive Species Programme (GISP) and hoped that this new format would be expanded at
subsequent SBSTTAs. Many commented on the improved quality of the background papers for
the meetings, although some lamented that detailed scientific inputs are still lacking.
Delegates also valued the numerous, lunchtime side-events and the Global Biodiversity
Forum that preceded SBSTTA. A number of delegates commented that they thought that SBSTTA
had matured and that "biodiversity," rather than other extraneous matters, was
now becoming the primary subject of discussions.
Some suggested that the decision to hold the ISOC also helped delegates at SBSTTA focus
on the scientific mandate. This meant that SBSTTA was becoming less like a mini-COP. In
addition to providing an alternative forum for COP preparations, delegates noted that this
"field test of a possible subsidiary body on implementation" a wistful
association with the UNFCCC's institutionalized Subsidiary Body on Implementation
set several good examples that could help improve SBSTTA and the COP's operations in the
Proposals to improve the scientific input and output of SBSTTA prevailed in many
discussions during both SBSTTA-4 and the ISOC. SBSTTA Chair Hamid's opening suggestion
that delegates consider establishing a structured mechanism like the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) received limited support, but proposals to develop expert
panels and rosters of experts appear to be a step in that direction. Additional proposals
to improve SBSTTA, including closer collaboration with other scientific mechanisms and
bodies will not be realized until SBSTTA-6, after the COP adopts decisions on these
SLIPPED THROUGH THE NET: A number of delegates expressed concern that some
issues received only superficial treatment at SBSTTA-4. Drylands and sustainable use were
cited as two examples. On drylands some delegates questioned why so much time was spent on
defining drylands rather than discussing scientific and technical aspects of dryland
biodiversity. Many anticipated that SBSTTA-5's discussion of the issue will provide an
opportunity to more fully elaborate the work programme, although some questioned why
SBSTTA-4 did not complete the discussion, leaving SBSTTA-5 with a very cluttered agenda.
Some delegates were also disappointed that the issue of coral bleaching had dropped off
the agenda, despite the COP decision that SBSTTA address this issue prior to COP-5. These
delegates were less than impressed with the Executive Secretary's explanation that this
issue was being in other fora.
On sustainable use, many delegates expressed displeasure that the SBSTTA-4 agenda had
narrowed this issue to focus on tourism. Some delegates confessed that they were unhappy
with the fact that this subject had been "hijacked" at COP-4 in Bratislava by
Germany and that this thematic dominance had flowed through to SBSTTA. Like drylands,
sustainable use will re-appear at SBSTTA-5. Many are hoping for a broader discussion on
While most delegates wanted a stronger scientific analysis of issues, all proposals to
establish new technical panels were dropped at the end of SBSTTA-4, although draft
recommendations at ISOC meant that they will be given further consideration at SBSTTA-5
and the next COP.
Timing of meetings has also created some difficulties and resulted in some missed
opportunities. Some delegates expressed concern that the close proximity of the Convention
to Combat Desertification's COP-3 and the simultaneous meeting of its Committee on Science
and Technology at the end of November and SBSTTA-5 will limit the opportunity for
collaboration between the two conventions. The drylands issue is not the only example of
poor timing in the CBD annual schedule. The documents for COP-5, which is scheduled for
15-26 May 2000, should be distributed six months prior to the meeting, which means they
will be completed before SBSTTA-5, which will meet from 31 January 4 February 2000.
COP-5 decisions on the SBSTTA programme of work and periodicity of COP and SBSTTA meetings
could facilitate efforts to avoid such missed synergies in the future.
SUB-TEXTS AND SUBSTANCE: A few issues, substantive and otherwise, stood out as
having occupied delegates' time and emotions more than others. Possibly the most
contentious related to whether or not to call for a moratorium on the use of GURTs. Many
delegates commented that the technical presentation by Richard Jefferson during SBSTTA
provided a useful insight into the complexity of this technology. Delegates were amazed by
the level of sophistication that gene technology has now reached, given the fact that
genetic expression can be turned on and off by the application of chemicals. Jefferson's
presentation stimulated a variety of questions, reflecting the broad spectrum of knowledge
on this issue. Some delegations were obviously concerned about the environmental and
social implications of this technology. A number focused on the importance of safety and
capacity-building to ensure any use is properly executed. Debate over a moratorium on
field-testing and the implications that the technology has for food security became the
primary focus during negotiations. For some of the scientists present, the concept of
banning field-testing was anathema to their scientific training. Some delegates suggested
that the issue of food security was beyond the competency of a "scientific"
organization like SBSTTA. Others believed that food security was clearly a matter of
social science and should be considered by this organization. Most felt that the final
text, suggesting that the use of GURTs would not be approved until authorized scientific
assessments were carried out, was a good compromise and reflected a well-reasoned
application of the precautionary principle.
The presentation and discussion on the GTI triggered background tensions between the
CBD and UNEP to rise to the fore. Delegates deleted a proposal suggesting that the GTI
would be formalized as a project under the auspices of UNEP, in preference for the CBD
Secretariat. Observers suggested that some delegations still recall UNEP Executive
Director Tï¿½pfer's presentation at COP-4, which some interpreted as a CBD takeover bid.
Additional concerns in this regard extended to unfilled positions in the Secretariat,
including a new position on taxonomy, and the acting status of the Executive Secretary. As
Malawi stated during the closing Plenary of ISOC, many participants hoped that all
positions would be filled and the Secretariat would be fully functional in the lead up to
SBSTTA-5 and COP-5.
Calls for the retroactive application of the CBD to ex situ genetic resource
collections sparked lively discussions within the contact group. The fact that the call to
establish a technical panel on this issue was scrapped by a number of developed countries
suggests that it will be some time before this issue will be given serious consideration.
The discussion on the relationship between the CBD and TRIPs, on the other hand, appeared
to make some in-roads into the sacred territory of the World Trade Organization. Even so,
for some delegates, the in-road was minute with one delegate suggesting the Plenary
discussion on this issue was a preview to trade negotiations "in thirty years
SMOOTHING THE AGENDA: Overall, most delegates left the meetings with the
feeling that some progress had been made. SBSTTA started settling down to business,
although SBSTTA-5 inherited unresolved issues from SBSTTA-4 adding to its already heavy
agenda. With Chair Samper's proposed reform agenda for SBSTTA and the numerous ISOC
decisions, delegates are hoping that these changes will provide a sound starting point for
smoothing COP machinations. Many hope that SBSTTA reforms and the development of new CBD
implementation mechanisms will help go some way towards making the huge CBD agenda a
little more manageable.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR BEFORE COP-5
TRIPS COUNCIL MEETING: The next meeting of the Council for the Agreement on
Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) will take place at WTO
headquarters from 7-8 July 1999. For more information, contact: WTO, Centre William
Rappard, Rue de Lausanne 154, CH-1211 Geneva 21, Switzerland; tel: +41-22 739 51 11; fax:
+41-22-739 54 58; Internet: http://www.wto.org/wto/intellec/intellec.htm.
NINTH EUROPEAN CONGRESS ON BIOTECHNOLOGY: This meeting, which will be held
from 11-15 July 1999 in Brussels, will consider four sectors of applied biotechnology and
five mainstream fundamental sciences underpinning biotechnology. For more information
contact: ECB9 Secretariat, Reyerslaan 80, B-1030 Brussels, Belgium; tel: +32 2 706 8174;
fax: +32 2 706 8170; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.ecb9.be/.
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON BIOTECHNOLOGY IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY: The Harvard
University Center for International Development is organizing an International Conference
on Biotechnology in the Global Economy on 2-3 September 1999 at Harvard University in
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. The conference will address the implications of
biotechnology for international trade, intellectual property rights, biodiversity
prospecting, developing countries, human and environmental safety, and social values.
For more information contact: Calestous Juma, Harvard University; tel: +1-617-496-0433;
BIOSAFETY PROTOCOL: Informal consultations on the outstanding issues in the
Biosafety Protocol will take place in September 1999, for a period of five days yet to be
determined. A resumed extraordinary session of the COP is expected to be scheduled in
February 2000. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; World Trade Center, 393
Jaques St., Suite 300, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H2Y 1N9; tel: +1 514 288 2220; fax: +1
514 288 6588; e-mail email@example.com; Internet: http://www.biodiv.org.
WORLD SEED CONFERENCE: This Conference will be held in Cambridge, UK, from 6-8
September 1999. For more information contact: The World Seed Conference Secretariat; tel:
+44 1 223 323437; fax: +44 1 223 460396; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
3RD TRONDHEIM CONFERENCE ON BIODIVERSITY: The Norway/UN Conference on the
Ecosystem Approach for Sustainable Use of Biological Diversity will take place in
Trondheim, Norway from 6-10 September 1999. For more information contact Rita Strand,
NINA-NIKU; tel: +47 73 80 15 48; fax: +47 73 80 14 01; e-mail:
email@example.com; Internet: http://www.ninaniku.no or
FAO/NETHERLANDS CONFERENCE ON THE MULTIFUNCTIONAL CHARACTER OF AGRICULTURE AND LAND
MANAGEMENT: This FAO/Netherlands co-sponsored conference will be held from 13-17
September 1999 in Maastricht, the Netherlands. For more information contact: Lucas
Janssen, FAO/SDRN; tel: +39 6 57052287; fax: +39 6 57053369; e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.fao.org/sd/agr99/.
FAO CONTACT GROUP ON THE INTERNATIONAL UNDERTAKING: A contact group will meet
from 20-24 September 1999 at FAO headquarters in Rome to decide on how to continue the
revision of the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources in harmony with the
CBD. For more information contact: FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy;
tel: +39 6 52251; fax: +39 6 52253152; Internet: http://www.fao.org or
UNEP MEETING OF THE INTERLINKAGES EXPERT PANEL AND THE INAUGURAL MEETING OF THE
SUBSIDIARY SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL BODIES OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONVENTIONS: These
meetings will be held in October 1999 in Bonn, Germany. For more information contact:
Jorge Illueca, AED Division of Environmental Conventions, UNEP, P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi,
Kenya; tel:+254 2 624 011; fax: +254 2 623 926; e-mail: email@example.com.
EXPERT PANEL ON ACCESS AND BENEFIT SHARING: An Expert Panel on Access to
Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing will be held from 4-8 October 1999 in San Josï¿½,
Costa Rica. For information contact: CBD Secretariat; World Trade Center, 393 Jaques St.,
Suite 300, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H2Y 1N9; tel: +1 514 288 2220; fax: +1 514 288 6588;
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.biodiv.org.
THE SIXTH MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE CONVENTION ON MIGRATORY
SPECIES: This meeting will be held in Cape Town, South Africa from 10-16 November
1999. For information contact: UNEP/CMS Secretariat, tel: +49 228 815 2405; fax: +49 228
815 2449; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.wcmc.org.uk/cms/.
THIRD CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE CONVENTION TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION (CCD):
The CCD COP-3 will take place from 15-26 November 1999 in Recife, Brazil. For more
information contact: CCD Secretariat, POB 260129, Haus Carstanjen, D-53153, Bonn, Germany;
tel: +49 228 815 2800; fax: +49 228 815 2899; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet:
CBD AD HOC WORKING GROUP ON ARTICLE 8(J): This meeting will be held from 24-28
January 2000 in Montreal. For more information contact: CBD Secretariat; World Trade
Center, 393 Jaques St., Suite 300, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H2Y 1N9; tel: +1 514 288
2220; fax: +1 514 288 6588; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.biodiv.org.
FIFTH MEETING OF THE SBSTTA of CBD: SBSTTA-5 of CBD will be held from 31
January - 4 February 2000 in Montreal. For more information contact: CBD Secretariat;
World Trade Center, 393 Jaques St., Suite 300, Montrï¿½al, Quï¿½bec, Canada, H2Y 1N9; tel:
+1 514 288 2220; fax: +1 514 288 6588; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet:
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON MANAGING NATURAL RESOURCES FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURAL
PRODUCTION IN THE 21ST CENTURY: This Conference will take place from 14-18 February
2000 in New Delhi, India. Themes to be discussed include: agro-biodiversity and
agro-forestry; biodiversity, people and sustainable agriculture; and natural resources
management and comprehensive food security. For more information contact: A.K. Singh,
Secretary-General, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, 110 012 India; tel:
+91 11 5731494; fax: +91 11 5755529; e-mail: email@example.com.
THE FIFTH MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL
DIVERSITY: CBD COP-5 will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 15-26 May 2000. For
information contact: CBD Secretariat; World Trade Center, 393 Jaques St., Suite 300,
Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H2Y 1N9; tel: +1 514 288 2220; fax: +1 514 288 6588; e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.biodiv.org.