Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 09 No. 253
Tuesday, 18 March 2003
MONDAY, 17 MARCH 2003
Delegates to the Open-ended Inter-Sessional
Meeting on the Multi-Year Programme of Work for the Conference of
the Parties (COP) up to 2010 (MYPOW) of the Convention on Biological
Diversity (CBD) convened in Plenary and in two working groups. The
Plenary heard opening statements, addressed organizational matters
and heard general comments on the outcome of the World Summit on
Sustainable Development (WSSD) as it relates to the Convention
process. Working Group I (WG-I) started debating the international
regime on access and benefit-sharing (ABS). Working Group II (WG-II)
began discussing implementation of the Strategic Plan.
OPENING STATEMENTS: CBD COP-6 President Hans
Hoogeveen (the Netherlands) highlighted the challenge to meet the
CBD and WSSD 2010 target to significantly reduce the current rate of
biodiversity loss. He welcomed the shift from policy development to
CBD Executive Secretary Hamdallah Zedan noted
biodiversity’s role in sustainable development and poverty
eradication, and outlined the meeting’s agenda, stressing its
importance for the Convention’s future, and the need for a strategic
Paul Chabeda, on behalf of UNEP Executive
Director Klaus Töpfer, stressed SBSTTA-8’s recommendations as a
foundation for achieving the 2010 target. He said equitable
benefit-sharing is a way of addressing poverty without undermining
ecosystem integrity, and called on MYPOW to provide guidance to
COP-7 on an international regime for ABS, and address technology
transfer and partnerships to achieve the CBD’s objectives. He
expressed hope that the Biosafety Protocol would enter into force
before the International Day for Biodiversity, on 22 May, 2003.
Mark Collins, UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring
Centre, reported on the meeting "Biodiversity after Johannesburg,"
held in London, 2-4 March, 2003.
Shakeel Bhatti, World Intellectual Property
Organization (WIPO), reported on the work of WIPO’s Committee on
Intellectual Property, Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and
Folklore, and on cooperation with the CBD on intellectual property
issues, including ABS and technology transfer.
ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Delegates elected
Hans Hoogeveen Chair of the meeting and Diann Black-Layne (Antigua
and Barbuda) meeting’s rapporteur. They adopted the provisional
agenda (UNEP/CBD/MYPOW/1), established two working groups as
proposed in the annotated agenda (UNEP/CBD/ MYPOW/1/Add.1 and
Corr.1), and agreed that legal and socioeconomic aspects of
technology transfer and cooperation would be considered by WG-I
instead of WG-II, which would instead address the WSSD outcome,
along with the Strategic Plan and MYPOW-2010. Delegates then elected
Desh Deepak Verma (India) Chair of WG-I,
and Gordana Beltram (Slovenia) Chair of WG-II.
WSSD OUTCOMES: Chair Hoogeveen stressed the
importance of the Johannesburg Declaration and WSSD Plan of
Implementation for the Strategic Plan and MYPOW-2010, and noted that
WSSD commitments on negotiating an international regime for fair and
equitable benefit-sharing, and promoting hot spot areas, ecological
networks and corridors.
CBD Executive Secretary Zedan then introduced the
document on the WSSD outcome as it relates to the Convention process
Cameroon, on behalf of the AFRICAN GROUP,
highlighted the New Partnership for Africa’s Development and, with
NORWAY, technology transfer and capacity building. Greece, on behalf
of the EU, stressed the need for: a mechanism for CBD’s leadership
on biodiversity issues; a holistic approach; implementation of
Decision VI/23 on invasive alien species; in-depth review of the
forest work programme at COP-8; and considering trade practices at
SBSTTA-9. JORDAN, supported by many, called for additional financial
resources and scientific and technical support to implement WSSD
biodiversity-related outcomes. SWITZERLAND said achieving the 2010
target requires action at all levels, and prioritized partnerships
and synergies between MEAs and trade agreements, with CANADA adding
development aspects. AUSTRALIA supported exploring biodiversity and
trade linkages. CANADA and NORWAY highlighted links with the
Millennium Development Goals (MDG). ALGERIA supported strengthening
the relationship between the CBD and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
FRIENDS OF THE EARTH called for reviewing the WTO Trade Related
Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement. TANZANIA
requested substantially increasing Official Development Assistance.
JAMAICA recommended efficient and equitable utilization of existing
resources. LIBERIA said that technology transfer and cooperation
should be country-driven. The EU, ETHIOPIA, and KENYA supported
developing indicators and monitoring performance towards the 2010
target. UKRAINE suggested a new system of "green" development
indicators. Several countries stressed poverty eradication. FAO
highlighted links between WSSD, biodiversity and the 2015 MDG’s
target to halve hunger and poverty. SYRIA raised concerns over the
lack of support for research in developing countries.
BANGLADESH highlighted work on sustainable
tourism and, with AUSTRALIA, called for further discussing marine
and coastal biodiversity, while the EU stressed establishing marine
and coastal protected areas. The BAHAMAS drew attention to
vulnerable coastal areas with relation to island biodiversity.
MAURITIUS stressed the importance of controlling invasive species
and halting marine biodiversity loss. BARBADOS and TOGO supported
in-depth consideration of island biodiversity by COP-7 and, with the
EU and the CZECH REPUBLIC, an ecosystem approach. MEXICO called for
preserving ecological networks and corridors. JAPAN and SWITZERLAND
said COP-7 should address ecological networks and corridors under
protected areas. BIRDLIFE INTERNATIONAL called for ecological
corridors at national and international levels. UNESCO reported on
its network of biosphere reserves, including ecological corridors,
and recommended these be discussed at SBSTTA-9.
The AFRICAN GROUP and Mexico, on behalf of the
LIKE-MINDED MEGADIVERSE COUNTRIES, called for an international
legally binding instrument on benefit-sharing, with the latter
highlighting recognition and protection of indigenous and local
communities’ rights, and their participation in decision making.
ARGENTINA said the legal status of an international regime cannot be
determined before its content is known. SWITZERLAND prioritized
implementation of the Bonn Guidelines. BRAZIL and KENYA suggested
that COP-7 provide a negotiating mandate to develop a protocol to
the CBD. AUSTRALIA and CANADA said the WSSD Plan does not mandate a
legally binding regime. The PHILIPPINES recommended countries adopt
their own access legislation, respecting indigenous peoples’ land
and intellectual property rights. She said a voluntary international
regime would not achieve the aim of combating biopiracy. LIBERIA
called for respect of CBD provisions on prior informed consent (PIC)
and indigenous empowerment to develop criteria for access. The
CANADIAN INDIGENOUS BIODIVERSITY NETWORK (CIBN) said an ABS
international regime must have clear procedures to guarantee PIC of
indigenous peoples. The United Nations University presented its
programme on ABS.
WORKING GROUP I
ACCESS AND BENEFIT SHARING: The Secretariat
introduced the document on an international regime for access and
benefit sharing (UNEP/CBD/MYPOW/6). ALGERIA, BRAZIL, CAMEROON,
EGYPT, KENYA, LIBERIA, MEXICO, TANZANIA and TOGO requested a legally
binding regime. KENYA suggested a protocole to the CBD, and said the
scope should include mutually agreed terms, PIC and, with ALGERIA
and MEXICO, associated traditional knowledge. CAMEROON and SUDAN
noted that benefits should reach local communities, which are the
custodians of the resources.
MEXICO said the regime should address
transboundary movement of genetic resources and, with COLOMBIA,
stressed ensuring access through PIC, and benefit-sharing with
emphasis on technology transfer and capacity building. ALGERIA said
the instrument should cover in situ and ex situ
genetic resources and products thereof. BRAZIL urged action, noting
ongoing biopiracy in the Amazon, and recalled developing countries’
difficulties to access medicines.
CANADA said the regime’s main elements are
already included in CBD provisions, the Bonn Guidelines, the
International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and
Agriculture (ITPGR) and WIPO’s work, and stressed ensuring that
governments adopt ABS regimes. With JAPAN, JAMAICA, NORWAY and
SWITZERLAND, he called for completing work on and applying the Bonn
Guidelines before starting negotiations. The EU stressed coherence
with the ITPGR, the WTO TRIPS Agreement, and WIPO. She stressed the
need for further work on ABS, including a progress report on
implementing COP Decision VI/24 on ABS, and assessing
capacity-building needs and traditional knowledge. CUBA called for
reviewing existing regulations, implementing the Bonn Guidelines, a
progress report on the ITPGR and analysis at the next meeting of the
ABS Working Group.
ARGENTINA suggested a regime ensuring compliance
with contractual clauses. CHINA said the regime should include basic
principles, norms and rules, without being limited to a legally
binding instrument, and prioritized capacity building.
WORKING GROUP II
STRATEGIC PLAN: The Secretariat introduced
the document on the implementation of the Convention and the
Strategic Plan (UNEP/CBD/MYPOW/3). The EU suggested developing a
framework of indicators on biodiversity and performance. ALBANIA and
HAITI suggested a nationally and regionally differentiated system of
indicators, while CANADA stressed integration at the international
level. The EU proposed, and AUSTRALIA and CANADA opposed, an
independent expert group for reviewing national reports. CHINA and
the PHILIPPINES called for reviewing national implementation plans.
NEW ZEALAND and NORWAY proposed a voluntary review mechanism. BRAZIL
recalled SBSTTA’s mandate to assess the status and trends of
biodiversity, and said that monitoring should not be voluntary.
SWITZERLAND proposed a liaison group on biodiversity to regularly
report to SBSTTA on achieving the 2010 targets. MEXICO, supported by
NEW ZEALAND, requested a global assessment of the Convention’s
effectiveness, and that MYPOW focus on outstanding issues before
addressing new ones. POLAND emphasized identifying the reasons for a
decreasing number of national reports and, supported by many,
suggested that national reports: be shortened; employ more
user-friendly language; and prioritize issues related to the 2010
targets. Many requested simplifying the reporting format. COLOMBIA,
SENEGAL and the PHILIPPINES noted the reports require input from
various sectors and financial resources for participatory processes.
MALI, NIGER and UKRAINE called for increased cooperation to build
reporting capacity. SWITZERLAND highlighted strengthening synergies
among MEAs. BIRDLIFE INTERNATIONAL stressed civil societyï¿½s key role
in implementing national plans.
IN THE CORRIDORS
As delegates dived into MYPOWï¿½s heavy agenda,
first discussions on ABS expectedly overshadowed other WSSD
outcomes, announcing a busy week (and years) ahead. Some noted that
this meeting would, at best, postpone addressing the issue of an
international regime for benefit-sharing until December when the ABS
Working Group is expected to meet. Calls for further studies on
legal gaps and exchange of views had some participants reflecting on
the laborious early days of biosafety negotiations.
In the meantime, closed-door consultations on
Decision VI/23 on invasive alien species are still ongoing. Many
delegates, eager to promote the Guiding Principlesï¿½ implementation,
hoped to reach common ground for acceptable wording before the end
of the week.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
Both working groups will convene at 10:00 am.
WG-I will continue discussing access and
benefit-sharing, and will consider legal and socioeconomic aspects
of technology transfer and cooperation.
WG-II will continue discussing the Strategic Plan,
and consider ecological corridors and networks, and MYPOW-2010.
Plenary will meet at 5:15 pm to review progress.