Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 09 No. 231
Wednesday, 10 April 2002
CBD COP-6 HIGHLIGHTS:
TUESDAY, 9 APRIL 2002
Delegates met throughout the day in two Working
Groups. Working Group I (WG-I) considered forest biodiversity and
began discussions on invasive alien species. Working Group II (WG-II)
considered access and benefit-sharing (ABS). Two contact groups were
formed on forest biodiversity and ABS, which met in evening
WORKING GROUP I
FOREST BIODIVERSITY: The Secretariat
presented documents UNEP/CBD/COP/6/17, 17/Add.1-3, 1/Add.2, INF/6,
and SBSTTA recommendation VII/6. GHANA presented the results of the
workshop on forests and biodiversity held in Accra, Ghana, on 28-30
January 2002 (UNEP/CBD/COP/6/INF/7). He highlighted recommendations
to, inter alia, develop collaborative actions between the CBD
and the UNFF on forests and biodiversity.
Chair Peter Schei (Norway) invited comments on
the expanded work programme. Most delegates endorsed the work
programme recommended by SBSTTA-7, while some suggested amendments.
Many emphasized the ecosystem approach, underscored the need for
balance between the Convention's objectives, and called for
collaboration and synergies between the CBD and the UNFF as well as
with other international agreements and organizations.
Several delegates advocated international
priority setting to ensure the work programme’s efficiency and
effectiveness, while others stressed national sovereignty and
advocated national priority setting. AUSTRALIA, NORWAY, Spain on
behalf of the EU, and TUNISIA underscored the need for targets and
timeframes, and NEW ZEALAND emphasized realistic targets. Several
delegates prioritized combating illegal logging and trade, while
MALAYSIA underscored law enforcement as a matter of national
discretion. BRAZIL and KENYA stressed the fact that unsustainable
logging may not be illegal. LIBERIA stressed the need to address
impacts of legal but highly damaging intensive logging in tropical
forests, and BURKINA FASO suggested using "irresponsible" instead of
Mexico, on behalf of the GROUP OF LIKE-MINDED
MEGADIVERSE COUNTRIES (MEGADIVERSE COUNTRIES), supported by Brazil,
on behalf of GRULAC, and others, called for measures to ensure
financing, technology transfer and capacity building. CAPE VERDE
emphasized taxonomic capacity building. JORDAN highlighted public
awareness. Many developing countries emphasized the link between
poverty alleviation and forest conservation.
Many delegates stressed the work programme's
applicability to all types of forests, while AUSTRALIA, CHINA, the
EU and others prioritized primary forests. UGANDA and the CONFERENCE
ON PROTECTION OF FORESTS IN EUROPE highlighted conservation of
forests outside protected areas. Supported by GRULAC, Ethiopia, on
behalf of the AFRICAN GROUP, emphasized linkages between traditional
knowledge and forest conservation. GHANA, LIBERIA and TANZANIA
called for a definition on forest biodiversity. TURKEY underscored
prevention of introduction of alien species and the Solomon Islands,
on behalf of the PACIFIC ISLAND STATES, stressed the negative
impacts of climate change and invasive species.
AUSTRALIA stressed the vital role of indigenous
and local communities, while NORWAY highlighted the cultural and
spiritual value of forests to those communities. The INSTITUTE FOR
GLOBAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL STRATEGIES and other NGOs noted the need to
involve local communities in forest management. The INTERNATIONAL
INDIGENOUS FORUM ON BIODIVERSITY (IIFB) stressed the role of
traditional knowledge regarding forest biodiversity. The GLOBAL
FOREST COALITION highlighted underlying causes of forest
degradation. GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL emphasized illegal harvesting,
green procurement policy, focus on ancient forests and other fragile
ecosystems, and monitoring and reporting.
Delegates accepted Chair Schei’s suggestion to
form a contact group on forests, chaired by Alfred Oteng-Yeboah
(Ghana). The Chair recommended focusing on modifying the draft
decision’s language to identify priorities and accommodate
countries’ concerns. He also highlighted the issue of definitions,
international monitoring and evaluation of the work programme.
The evening contact group meeting could not reach
agreement on the nature of the priorities for the work programme and
to what extent priorities should be dealt with at the national or at
the international level. Chair Oteng-Yeboah established a group of
"friends of the chair" to solve the problem. Discussions on
remaining paragraphs in the draft decision continued into the night.
INVASIVE ALIEN SPECIES: The Secretariat
introduced documents UNEP/CBD/COP/6/3, 18, 18/Add.1/Rev.1, 1/Add.2
and INF/28. In general comments, NORWAY preferred strictly
formulated principles. TURKEY and others favored "guidelines" over
"guiding principles." Several Parties emphasized the precautionary
approach. The PHILIPPINES favored using text based on the Rio
Declaration and the Cartagena Protocol, with BRAZIL preferring the
former and NORWAY the latter.
Regarding State rights and responsibilities,
BRAZIL and others preferred deleting the entire section, while
ICELAND and the AFRICAN GROUP favored retaining it. ZIMBABWE
stressed research and monitoring aspects, and BRAZIL suggested
reference to international financial cooperation. SWEDEN called for
a definition of invasive alien species at the genetic level, and
INDONESIA supported standardized terminology and criteria for
assessing risks and socio-economic impacts on indigenous and local
On border control and quarantine measures, the
AFRICAN GROUP supported measures to control alien species’
introduction within States. Regarding intentional introductions,
some Parties supported text on burden of proof related to proposed
introductions. NORWAY suggested further work on unintentional
introductions and more detailed risk-management procedures.
On mitigation of impacts, the PHILIPPINES and the
AFRICAN GROUP preferred text establishing responsibility for costs
of control and restoration. SWEDEN, supported by JORDAN, TUNISIA and
DJIBOUTI, recommended tools for prevention and early eradication of
new species, and for eradication and control of established species.
MALAYSIA recommended integration of the CBD’s work on invasive alien
species with the International Plant Protection Convention and the
Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.
SBSTTA-6 Chair Cristián Samper stressed SBSTTA’s
emphasis on the principles of cooperation, information exchange and
WORKING GROUP II: ACCESS AND BENEFIT-SHARING
The Secretariat introduced documents UNEP/CBD/COP/6/6,
19, 19/Add.1, 1/Add.2 and INF/40, and delegates discussed the draft
Bonn guidelines, intellectual property rights (IPR) and capacity
DRAFT BONN GUIDELINES: GRULAC proposed
convening another working group meeting to finalize the draft Bonn
guidelines. Several countries supported their adoption by COP-6.
ETHIOPIA and the PHILIPPINES supported an internationally binding
instrument on ABS, while others emphasized that the guidelines are
voluntary and are not a substitute for national legislation.
AUSTRALIA and GERMANY supported their immediate application, noting
that they include a review mechanism. PERU underlined the
guidelines’ importance for countries without national ABS systems.
CANADA and GRULAC supported considering approaches other than
guidelines, with POLAND proposing work on indicators, stakeholder
regimes and technical cooperation.
Numerous developing countries supported further
work on definitions, with some suggesting referring them back to the
expert group. SWITZERLAND proposed listing definitions in an
appendix for further consideration. CANADA and NORWAY noted that
terms could be defined in national legislation. Several developing
countries supported retaining derivatives and products within the
guidelines’ scope. The EU suggested addressing derivatives within
the elements for material transfer agreements. NORWAY suggested that
the status of derivatives be determined within ABS contracts.
COLOMBIA stated that the guidelines should not allow third party
access without access contracts.
The MEGADIVERSE COUNTRIES stressed the need for
rights and obligations on user countries. BOLIVIA called for
discussion on monetary and non-monetary benefits, and the EU
proposed discussion on incentives. Cameroon, on behalf of the
AFRICAN GROUP, proposed references to poverty alleviation and the
Model Legislation of the Organization for African Unity, as well as
consideration of ex situ collections gathered prior to the
CBD’s entry into force. The US supported inclusion of prior informed
consent and hoped the guidelines would reverse the decline in
The NGO CAUCUS proposed a protocol on indigenous
and farmers’ rights. The IIFB highlighted the inseparability of
traditional knowledge from associated genetic resources and proposed
that the Working Group on Article 8(j) consider the guidelines.
CANADA and KENYA called for further discussion on the guidelines’
implications for indigenous and local communities, and BANGLADESH
emphasized examination of customary laws and practices. GRULAC
stated that the guidelines do not appropriately address IPR issues.
IPR: COLOMBIA, INDIA, JAMAICA and PERU
stressed mandatory disclosure of the country of origin in patent
applications. The EU and NORWAY supported voluntary disclosure.
NICARAGUA proposed certification of the legal origin. UPOV supported
disclosure requirements to facilitate examination of a plant
variety’s distinctness, but not as a condition for IPR protection.
KENYA suggested further work on the impacts of IPR on indigenous and
local communities. ETHIOPIA and TUNISIA supported development of a
sui generis system incorporating collective rights and
traditional knowledge, and with the IIFB and the NGO CAUCUS, opposed
patents on life forms.
Several countries supported observer status for
the CBD within the TRIPS Council, and collaboration with the ITPGRFA,
TRIPS, UNCTAD, UPOV and WIPO. Slovenia, on behalf of CENTRAL AND
EASTERN EUROPE COUNTRIES, supported further work by WIPO on IPR
issues relevant to ABS. Several countries welcomed the adoption of
the ITPGRFA. COLOMBIA and TOGO suggested that the CBD take a lead
role on ABS and traditional knowledge with support provided by WIPO.
The PHILIPPINES called for alternative mechanisms for the protection
of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge.
CAPACITY BUILDING: Several countries
supported developing the action plan and convening a workshop on
capacity building. INDONESIA proposed involving the private sector.
JAMAICA supported a survey of Partiesï¿½ requirements and national
measures. The PHILIPPINES stressed approaches and methodologies to
enhance participation of stakeholders, and CANADA prioritized
indigenous and local communities. TOGO called for information
sharing to ensure equality in negotiations, especially on ABS. The
EU and NORWAY supported full involvement of stakeholders, especially
indigenous and local communities, in ABS arrangements. A number of
developed countries noted their initiatives for building capacity in
Upon the suggestion of WG-II Chair Elaine Fisher
(Jamaica), delegates formed a contact group co-chaired by Brendan
Tobin (Peru) and Alwin Kopse (Switzerland) with a mandate to
address: the guidelines, including a process to consider definitions
at a later date, outstanding bracketed language, the balance between
user and provider responsibilities, incentives and the appendices;
and IPR issues relating to the disclosure of genetic resourcesï¿½
origin and certificates of origin.
The contact group met in the evening to address:
incentives; Appendix I on suggested elements for material transfer
agreements; and Appendix II on monetary and non-monetary benefits,
making textual changes, clarifications and additions.
IN THE CORRIDORS
The discussions on access and benefit-sharing had
some delegates expressing increasing confusion and concern about
where the process would go and how much could be accomplished by the
end of COP-6. Some participants highlighted the crucial timing for
completing work on ABS in view of the recently completed ITPGRFA and
as a strong signal from the CBD to the upcoming WSSD, as well as to
the TRIPS Council and WIPO. The Group of Like-Minded Megadiverse
Countries appears to be the new player on the block, although many
delegates wondered how the group would shape the dynamics of the
access discussions as well as the overall CBD process.
On forests, most delegates were pleasantly
surprised that the work programme proposed by SBSTTA was left
intact. However, this success has led to splits among both NGOs and
governments as to whether priorities should be set within the CBD
process or specified at the national level.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
WORKING GROUP I: WG-I will meet at 10:00 am
in the Prince Willem Alexander Hall to continue discussing invasive
WORKING GROUP II: WG-II will meet at 10:00 am
in the Van Gogh Hall to discuss the strategic plan, national reports
and the operations of the Convention.
CONTACT GROUPS : The contact group on forest
biodiversity will meet at 9:00 am in the Rembrandt Hall. The contact
group on ABS is expected to convene during lunch time to finalize
work on incentives and the appendices and in the evening to address