Earth Negotiations Bulletin

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 A Reporting Service for Environment and Development Negotiations

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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Vol. 09 No. 153
Friday, 19 May 2000

CBD COP-5 HIGHLIGHTS
THURSDAY, 18 MAY 2000

On the fourth day of CBD COP-5, delegates continued their discussions in Working Groups in morning and afternoon sessions. Working Group I (WG-I) considered Chair’s draft text on sustainable use, including tourism, and incentive measures, and work programmes on inland water, marine and coastal and forest biodiversity. A contact group on dry and sub-humid lands met in the evening. Working Group II (WG-II) continued discussions on the operations of the Convention, as well as national reporting, financial resources and mechanism, and the Clearing-House Mechanism (CHM). The two contact groups on access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing (ABS) and the operations of the Convention met in the evening.

WORKING GROUP I

SUSTAINABLE USE, INCLUDING TOURISM, AND INCENTIVE MEASURES: In considering the Chair’s draft decision on sustainable use, sustainable tourism and incentive measures (UNEP/CBD/COP/5/WG.I/CRP.1), delegates debated whether to address the issues in one or three decisions and whether to have a general preamble or separate preambular paragraphs. On sustainable use, many delegations proposed including the ecosystem approach in the preamble and text. SOUTH AFRICA proposed language on the benefits of biodiversity’s sustainable use for all beings. INDONESIA, BURKINA FASO and TONGA asked for reference to poverty alleviation and local and indigenous communities in relation to sustainable use implementation, and NEW ZEALAND requested reference to the private sector. AUSTRALIA emphasized the need for more focused outputs and, with the US, for specific reference to IUCN's Sustainable Use Initiative. The DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO asked for reference to biodiversity threats during war and to funding for ecosystem restoration.

On incentives, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION requested assessment of existing incentives. INDONESIA called for elaboration of liability schemes, while JAPAN stated that this would be premature. The SEYCHELLES, supported by TURKEY and UGANDA, suggested that economic valuation of biodiversity be a cross-cutting issue. JAPAN, NEW ZEALAND and others opposed specifying organizations to coordinate with. Regarding sustainable tourism, NAMIBIA, NEW ZEALAND, SOUTH AFRICA and PORTUGAL, on behalf of the EU, suggested expanding international guidelines to include activities within and outside protected areas. PERU requested text encouraging responsible behavior by the tourism industry. Chair Peter Schei (Norway) formed a drafting group to finalize discussion.

PROGRAMMES OF WORK ON INLAND WATER, MARINE AND COASTAL AND FOREST BIODIVERSITY: The Secretariat introduced background document UNEP/CBD/ COP/5/10 and relevant information documents. SBSTTA-5 Chair Cristián Samper reviewed SBSTTA Recommendations IV/1A and V/5, 6 and 7. On inland water ecosystems, most delegations expressed support for the work programme and endorsed cooperation with the Ramsar Convention and the CSD. The EU, HAITI, PAKISTAN, and SLOVENIA, on behalf of the CEE, asked for enhanced institutional and regional cooperation. SOUTH AFRICA, supported by the CEE and others, suggested SBSTTA review the report of the World Commission on Dams. AUSTRALIA, PAPUA NEW GUINEA and SWITZERLAND urged participation in the River Basin Initiative. SWITZERLAND underscored the importance of synergies to avoid duplication of efforts. Many delegates emphasized the need for financial resources and capacity-building. NEPAL, PAKISTAN and ZIMBABWE emphasized the importance of mountain ecosystems for fresh water resources and requested GEF funding. ECUADOR asked for inclusion of education and, with LESOTHO and UGANDA, underscored the need for information. INDIA addressed the impact of pollution and, with RWANDA, the issue of alien species. CANADA referred to unintentional introduction of alien species in water ecosystems due to inadequate information. HAITI raised the issue of transboundary inland waters. ZIMBABWE asked for coordination between the inland waters and drylands work programmes. Many delegates highlighted the importance of water management strategies. CHINA addressed the protection of inland waters' sources. Chair Schei said a Conference Room Paper would be issued for discussion.

On marine and coastal biodiversity, most delegations welcomed the work programme and referred to coral bleaching, the adverse effects of climate change, the need for regional cooperation and collaboration with the UNFCCC and other relevant bodies. TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, on behalf of GRULAC, and CHINA proposed protection from land sources of marine pollution. INDONESIA, with INDIA, KENYA and others, asked for resources and capacity-building. COLOMBIA noted the importance of a taxonomic inventory for marine management programmes. NORWAY addressed alien species and marine genetic resources, and with others suggested the establishment of two technical expert groups on mariculture and marine protected areas. PERU asked for study of El Niño's effects on biodiversity. SAMOA called for innovative and holistic management strategies, incorporating the needs of local subsistence communities. The MEDITERRANEAN ACTION PLAN welcomed cooperation with the CBD Secretariat.

On forest biodiversity, delegates expressed support for expansion of the work programme's focus from research to practical action, collaboration with forest-related bodies and development of synergies with the UNFCCC. Many delegates supported the establishment of a technical expert group, and TANZANIA, GHANA, NORWAY and UGANDA further supported establishment of an open-ended working group on forest policy. As a compromise, NORWAY proposed an open-ended group with both a scientific and policy focus. CANADA opposed expansion of the work programme or an open-ended working group. KENYA requested assistance for development and application of forest valuation methods. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA called for a mechanism to discuss restoration of burned forest areas. SWITZERLAND stressed promoting the multifunctionality of forests and encouraged elaboration of a programme on carbon sequestration. SWEDEN noted the need to strengthen taxonomic capacity and to raise awareness of sustainable forest management. CHINA, the EU, JAPAN and others flagged the need to cooperate with the proposed United Nations Forum on Forests.

WORKING GROUP II

ACCESS AND BENEFIT-SHARING: A.H. Zakri (Malaysia), Chair of the contact group on ABS, reported that the group made progress on draft decisions. Topics addressed included the resource-user and provider measures, and relations with other ongoing processes. The contact group met in a late evening session, starting with a discussion on intellectual property rights and ABS.

OPERATIONS OF THE CONVENTION: Jonathan Tillson (United Kingdom), Chair of the contact group on operations of the Convention noted agreement on the issues of the COP and the Convention’s strategic plan. Under miscellaneous matters, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION stressed efficient preparation before COPs, especially for documentation. CHINA, on behalf of the ASIAN GROUP, stated that SBSTTA should focus on scientific assessment and advice. Several countries emphasized regional and sub-regional activities. NORWAY emphasized national level implementation activities.

Regarding implementation, several countries supported BRAZIL and COLOMBIA’s proposal to establish a Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) to assess the CBD’s operations. NEW ZEALAND stated that an SBI would cause unnecessary duplication and supported voluntary review. NORWAY, supported by CANADA and AUSTRALIA, preferred an intersessional assessment. JAPAN sought clarification on prioritization of the assessment of implementation. The US stated that the CHM is essential for successful implementation. BIRDLIFE INTERNATIONAL and SOBREVIVENCIA stated that the main impediments to the Convention’s success are external socioeconomic and trade-related factors, and called for improved functioning of existing bodies. The contact group on operations met in a late evening session to consider draft text and outstanding issues relating to SBSTTA, implementation and miscellaneous operational matters.

NATIONAL REPORTING: The Secretariat introduced background document UNEP/CBD/COP/5/13 and SBSTTA-5 Chair Samper reviewed SBSTTA Recommendation V/13. Many countries supported a full national report every four years and some also supported a thematic report prior to each biannual COP meeting. HAITI stated that deadlines for thematic reports might be too tight. Several countries supported guidelines for national reporting. The EU noted the need for a standard format. Many developing countries stated that a standard format should be used as a reference and not be mandatory. Several countries called for in-depth consideration of specific issues. The EU suggested focusing on monitoring and indicators. CANADA said thematic reporting should be voluntary. INDONESIA and BIRDLIFE INTERNATIONAL called for inclusion of all stakeholders. BANGLADESH recalled the financial implications of reporting in developing countries. CANADA, MOROCCO and NIGERIA said reporting should take into account reports to other fora to streamline work. UGANDA emphasized that national reporting is primarily for national use. The SEYCHELLES underlined that reports should not be used to rank Parties.

FINANCIAL RESOURCES AND MECHANISM: The Secretariat introduced background documents UNEP/CBD/COP/ 5/7 and 13. On further guidance to the financial mechanism, the UNITED KINGDOM, supported by NORWAY, urged delegates to refer to previous guidance when proposing new ones to ensure consistence. The NETHERLANDS noted that guidance should set priorities. DENMARK indicated that biosafety should be a priority issue. Regarding the review of the financial mechanism, the UNITED KINGDOM, supported by the NETHERLANDS, preferred that an independent body undertake the second review and, with CANADA, suggested taking into account the GEF’s forthcoming fourth evaluation. On additional financial resources, INDIA expressed concern over reduction of GEF funding. CHINA stressed that private sector involvement should not reduce developed countries’ funding obligations. INDONESIA suggested establishing a trust fund to increase financial resources.

NORWAY, supported by BANGLADESH, DENMARK and ERITREA, requested additional financial resources be directed to developing national strategies and action plans. The UNITED KINGDOM, supported by NEW ZEALAND, SWITZERLAND and the US, called for a simpler format for reporting financial support. SWITZERLAND asked to expand and improve the database on biodiversity-related funding. PAKISTAN stated that GEF criteria should be simplified. DENMARK encouraged developing countries to include biosafety in their cooperation programmes. BANGLADESH suggested creating a GEF focal area on biosafety. LIBERIA stated that financial support must be directed towards drylands and land and forest rehabilitation. MALAYSIA highlighted involvement of the private sector.

CLEARING-HOUSE MECHANISM: The Secretariat introduced background documents UNEP/CBD/COP/5/3, 13, Inf.3 and Inf.4, and SBSTTA Recommendation V/2. NEW ZEALAND stated that the CHM should directly facilitate technical and scientific cooperation among Parties, and, with AUSTRALIA and CANADA, called for clarification of the Informal Advisory Committee�s mandate. INDIA expressed concern about ownership and control of information in the CHM and called for a database on patents to foster implementation of ABS. Several countries supported the finalized pilot phase and the strategic plan. BANGLADESH asked for an extended pilot phase and integration of countries not included to date. A number of delegations stated that the CHM should employ non-Internet tools. COLOMBIA asked for closer cooperation with SBSTTA and strengthening of regional and subregional activities.

IN THE BREEZEWAYS

Discussions in the Working Groups and the breezeways have been awash with talk of cooperation with other environmental agreements. Some noted positive and proactive collaboration with Ramsar and the CCD in contrast to lackadaisical responses from the UNFCCC on coral bleaching and forests. A few delegates suggested that the successful collaborations partially relate to an incentive to develop ties with the CBD�s financial mechanism. Others wondered whether the GEF�s new operational programme on ecosystem management and its ties to carbon sequestration would facilitate such activities at the national level.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

WORKING GROUP I: WG-I will convene at 10:00 am in Room 2 to continue discussing the forest biodiversity work programme.

WORKING GROUP II: WG-II will meet at 10:00 am in Room 1 to continue discussing the CHM.

CBD, FAO & WTO: A panel discussion on genetic resources and the relations among the CBD, FAO and WTO will be held from 1:30-3:00 pm in Room M-310.

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin � <enb@iisd.org> is written and edited by Chango Bai <changbobai@hotmail.com>, Stas Burgiel <stas@iisd.org>, Laura Ivers <laurai@iisd.org>, Jessica Suplie <jsuplie@iisd.org> and Elsa Tsioumani <elsa@iisd.org>. The Digital Editors are Andrei Henry <andrei@iisd.org> and Nabiha Megateli <nmegateli@iisd.org>. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. <pam@iisd.org> and the Managing Director is Langston James "Kimo" Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Canada (through CIDA and DFAIT), the United States (through USAID), the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape (SAEFL), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Commission (DG-ENV). General Support for the Bulletin during 2000 is provided by the German Federal Ministry of Environment (BMU) and the German Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation (BMZ), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Environment of Austria, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment of Norway, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Environment of Finland, the Government of Sweden, the Government of Australia, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and BP Amoco. Logistical support has been provided at this meeting by UNEP. The Bulletin can be contacted by e-mail at <enb@iisd.org> and at tel: +1-212-644-0204; fax: +1-212-644-0206. IISD can be contacted by e-mail at <info@iisd.ca> and at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada. The opinions expressed in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and other funders. Excerpts from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications only and only with appropriate academic citation. For permission to use this material in commercial publications, contact the Managing Editor. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists and can be found on the Linkages WWW server at http://www.iisd.ca/. The satellite image was taken above Nairobi �2000 The Living Earth, Inc. http://livingearth.com. For information on the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, send e-mail to the Managing Director at <kimo@iisd.org>.

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