by the International
Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 09 No. 184
Thursday, 15 March 2001
WEDNESDAY, 14 MARCH 2001
Delegates to the sixth
meeting of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific, Technical and
Technological Advice (SBSTTA) to the Convention on Biological
Diversity (CBD) met in two working groups. Working Group I
(WG-I) on invasive alien species (IAS) discussed: eradication;
mitigation of effects; and the Guiding Principles (GPs).
Working Group II (WG-II) discussed: biodiversity and climate
change, including cooperation with the UN Framework Convention
on Climate Change (UNFCCC); and migratory species and
cooperation with the Convention for the Conservation of
Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). Both Working Groups
formed contact groups, which met in evening sessions, to
address the GPs and climate change.
WORKING GROUP I - INVASIVE
Piero Genovesi, National Wildlife Institute (Italy),
overviewed case studies, highlighting eradication as a
conservation tool. Michael Clout (New Zealand) reported on an
International Conference on Eradication of IAS and a lunchtime
session on island States. Several developed countries
highlighted difficulties regarding animal welfare groups.
Others noted that naturalized IAS are often resources for
local communities. The COUNCIL OF EUROPE distinguished between
threatening and harmless alien species. ARGENTINA called for
guidelines on naturalized alien species. PERU requested
guidelines to distinguish between control and eradication.
MEXICO highlighted problems
of coordination between government agencies. ESTONIA and
SWEDEN called for monitoring systems for early detection,
eradication and control. HUNGARY stressed impact assessments.
SRI LANKA supported the Global Invasive Species Programme’s
(GISP) initiatives. FINLAND and BURUNDI called for information
on continental IAS. BURKINA FASO and COTE D’IVOIRE stressed
responsibility for damage and restoration costs. ECUADOR
highlighted the need to involve commercial sectors. GUYANA
questioned using one alien species to manage another. Numerous
countries provided national examples.
MITIGATION OF EFFECTS: Sean
Murphy, CAB International, presented elements for control
programs and recommendations on access to information,
partnership building, and development of toolkits and
strategies. Guy Preston (South Africa) and Yousoof Mungroo
(Mauritius) presented case studies on eradication and
mitigation efforts. The NETHERLANDS, with NEW ZEALAND,
stressed prioritized control of IAS. MALI called for
assessment of some IAS’ utility. SOUTH AFRICA noted the need
for cost-benefit analyses of IAS. GERMANY highlighted
development of national best practices handbooks. The RUSSIAN
FEDERATION called for consideration of the ecosystem approach.
SWEDEN requested assessment of socio-economic values,
biodiversity impacts and containment. PAPUA NEW GUINEA
underscored funding of existing regional and national action
plans. BULGARIA stressed control measures over eradication.
DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE highlighted funding for GISP.
Delegates also considered
and made textual amendments to recommendations on national
reports and financial resources.
GUIDING PRINCIPLES: In
the afternoon session, delegates heard brief reports on
related side-events and evening roundtables. Discussions were
based on the original text from COP Decision V/8, a new Chair’s
text integrating comments from a number of countries, and a
non-paper prepared by Canada with Australia, Mexico, South
Africa and the US. Delegates debated which text to use, with
some noting that the Chair’s text weakens the original GPs.
Many delegates urged completion of the GPs for submission to
COP-6. On the title, some preferred "Guiding
Principles" over "Guidelines." Delegates also
debated using "alien species," "alien invasive
species" or "invasive alien species." Some
called for consistency with language in COP Decision V/8.
Several countries supported: inclusion of sub-species and
genotypes; consistency in terminology; and inclusion of the
IUCN definition. Several countries opposed consideration of
GP-1 Precautionary Approach:
Delegates debated whether to use the original text or the
Chair’s text based on Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration,
and whether to include reference to "full"
scientific certainty. A few countries supported including
reference to risk analysis, with NORWAY expressing
reservations. AUSTRALIA suggested applying the precautionary
approach to IAS pathways.
Hierarchical Approach: SOUTH
AFRICA highlighted elements from the Canadian non-paper
regarding an integrated approach. SWEDEN proposed
consideration of introductions within and between states.
FRANCE suggested adding examination of social benefits and
costs. Other minor textual suggestions were made.
GP-3 Ecosystem Approach:
Delegates debated retaining the original text or using the
Chair’s revision, allowing for application of the ecosystem
approach where relevant. Some countries stated the Chair’s
proposal was weaker, while others noted its greater
GP-4 State Responsibility:
Delegates debated whether to use existing text or the Chair’s
revision, which recognizes States’ inability to control all
risks posed to other States. FRANCE highlighted the focus on
State responsibility. CANADA emphasized States’ cooperation,
and proposed titling the GP "Rights and
Responsibilities." POLAND proposed combining Guiding
Principles 4 and 9 (Cooperation, including Capacity Building).
Several countries proposed that States identify potentially
invasive species for their territory. Delegates also addressed
informing neighboring States of introductions and difficulties
in complying with risk analysis requirements.
GP-5 Research and
Monitoring: Many delegates supported
the Canadian non-paper, which includes undertaking a baseline
taxonomic study, while others stressed capacity limitations
and called for more flexible language. The SEYCHELLES
preferred the original text. SWEDEN, supported by ROMANIA,
stressed IAS’ genetic impacts. AUSTRIA proposed reference to
GP-6 Education and Public
Awareness: AUSTRIA and JAMAICA
supported the original text, while several delegates supported
the Canadian non-paper, which includes a chapeau on the
importance of public awareness for successful IAS management.
ECUADOR suggested deleting reference to local communities. The
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO and SENEGAL called for
differentiation of useful alien species.
GP-7 Border Control and
Quarantine Measures: Delegates
debated amendments regarding capacity limitations,
implementation of measures "as far as practicable"
and specification of assessments as "scientific."
Some delegates supported references to controls within
national borders and including species that could become
invasive. Some countries supported the Chair’s amended text.
The FAO stressed harmonization of the term
"introduction" with the IPPC.
A contact group on IAS met late into the evening to finish
initial discussions on GPs 8-15, which will be incorporated in
a Chair’s text for further review.
WORKING GROUP II
CLIMATE AND BIODIVERSITY: In
the morning, Chair Raed Bani Hani (Jordan) opened discussions,
and the Secretariat introduced UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/6/11 and
INF/13. In addressing WG-II, Harald Dovland, Chair of UNFCCC’s
Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice
(SBSTA), called for a good working relationship between the
CBD and UNFCCC, in the form of joint workshops or working
groups, noting that this issue will be on the agenda of the
resumed COP-6 and SBSTA-14. Many supported establishment of an
expert group. NEW ZEALAND and the RUSSIAN FEDERATION said the
group should be regionally balanced. The NETHERLANDS
underscored inclusion of representatives from various sectors.
CANADA suggested the group analyze adaptation measures under
the UNFCCC. AUSTRALIA requested the group to report its work
to SBSTTA-7. CUBA called for timelines in its terms of
reference. The US requested it compile existing information
about impact and identify gaps.
Cooperation between the CBD
and UNFCCC and their scientific bodies received general
support, with many encouraging other relevant organizations’
engagement, particularly the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change. The NETHERLANDS underscored a joint work plan
for the scientific bodies. NORWAY, SRI LANKA and others
emphasized synergies between the two Conventions. SWEDEN
proposed a joint workshop with special attention to
outstanding issues such as carbon sinks.
The SEYCHELLES, supported by
many, expressed disappointment with the lack of urgency
regarding climate change, particularly on coral bleaching,
calling for immediate actions. BRAZIL proposed a
recommendation to UNFCCC COP-6 that urgent measures be taken
to mitigate climate change impacts. The SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC
stressed measures in desert and semi-desert areas. PALAU
underscored the devastating effects of El Niño. TOGO
highlighted natural disasters caused by climate change and the
importance of rehabilitating ecosystems. COLOMBIA underscored
the need for a global scientific analysis of climate change
impacts on different components of biodiversity. MONGOLIA drew
attention to climate change impacts on animal grazing. KENYA
prioritized mangrove ecosystems. BOLIVIA highlighted impacts
on natural tropical forests. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION and SWEDEN
noted a lack of emphasis on boreal forests. ANTIGUA AND
BARBUDA and ARGENTINA cautioned against duplication of tasks.
CANADA, with the NETHERLANDS, proposed reference to assessing
the impacts of biodiversity loss on climate.
CHINA and POLAND proposed
assessing biological loss and mitigation measures. SAMOA
cautioned that activities for assessment should not reduce
funding to both Conventions. CAMEROON called for capacity
building with GEF support. BELGIUM indicated impacts on food
security by deterioration of ecosystems. The GEF highlighted
relevant programs exploring synergies and combining efforts on
climate change and biodiversity, and noted plans for capacity
building. UNESCO, the RAMSAR CONVENTION, the CMS, the WORLD
METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION and IUCN also contributed
information on their work. GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL said that
the carbon logic of climate change does not recognize
biodiversity components and, with FRIENDS OF THE EARTH, stated
that tree plantations are not adequate to mitigate climate
A contact group on biodiversity and climate change met late
into the evening, discussing an informal paper on suggested
actions and recommendations by SBSTTA, with particular
attention to the composition of an expert group.
MIGRATORY SPECIES: In
the afternoon, WG-II heard a presentation by Arnulf
Mï¿½ller-Helmbrecht, Executive Secretary of CMS, on linkages
between the CBD and CMS. In response to questions, he
indicated that a memorandum of understanding can be used to
protect certain species and that the CMS, together with the UN
Convention on the Law of the Sea, affords protection of fish
species, including sea turtles. Chair Hani then opened
discussion on migratory species and cooperation with the CMS.
The Secretariat introduced UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/6/12, Add.1 and
Many delegates supported a
joint work programme between the CMS and CBD. KENYA and others
stressed actions should be undertaken not only by the
Conventions but also by Parties and relevant organizations.
ECUADOR and COLOMBIA supported a uniform programme with
specific timelines. Several countries supported a realistic
work programme that would be jointly implemented in a timely
manner. Numerous countries recommended integrating migratory
species issues into guidelines of regional approaches and
national action plans. Many countries emphasized that CBD
parties have an obligation to protect migratory species,
stressing the need for harmonizing reporting systems.
The UKRAINE called for
legislative support on regional environmental networks on
migratory species. EL SALVADOR highlighted transboundary
analysis, habitat studies and better population dynamicsï¿½
descriptions. MEXICO supported inclusion of case studies in
the CHM and submission to scientific bodies of other
conventions. BOLIVIA highlighted the neo-tropics. CAMEROON
noted the importance of migratory insects to agriculture, and,
with COLOMBIA and TUNISIA, called for capacity building and
public awareness. BRAZIL proposed language on the need for
arrangements to provide financial resources where appropriate
and in accordance with CBD Article 20 (Financial Resources).
GERMANY emphasized the need to invite bilateral and
multilateral financing agencies into biodiversity programmes.
The GEF noted mobilization of US $276.9 million for 32
projects as of 2000. BIRDLIFE INTERNATIONAL underscored the
roles of Parties and international organizations. The World
Commission on Protected Areas of the IUCN offered scientific
support. A representative of TULALIP TRIBES (US) emphasized
the need to involve indigenous people.
IN THE CORRIDORS
With ample information
flowing in from governments, academics, specialized agencies,
collaborative projects and NGOs, some delegates observed that
SBSTTA has definitely hit its stride for addressing scientific
issues. Amid cases of information overload, many are now
calling for information to be translated into on-the-ground
action addressing the immediate impacts of climate change and
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
WORKING GROUP I:
WG-I will meet at 10:00 am to review the Chairï¿½s draft text
on the Guiding Principles.
WORKING GROUP II:
WG-II will meet at 10:00 am to review draft recommendations on
scientific assessments, the Global Taxonomy Initiative,
biodiversity and climate change and migratory species.