Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 9 No. 275
Tuesday, 10 February 2004
CBD COP-7 HIGHLIGHTS:
MONDAY, 9 FEBRUARY 2004
The Seventh Conference of the Parties (COP-7) to
the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) opened on Monday, 9
February in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Delegates met in Plenary
throughout the day to hear opening statements, keynote presentations
and reports on intersessional activities. They also addressed
OPENING STATEMENTS: Dato’ Seri Law,
Malaysia’s Minister of Science, Technology and the Environment,
welcomed delegates to Malaysia and outlined relevant developments in
Hans Hoogeveen (the Netherlands), COP-6
President, opened the meeting. Stressing the need for a
society-driven and integrated approach to achieving sustainable
development, he urged delegates to: adopt the multi-year programme
of work (MYPOW); increase the budget; agree on terms of reference to
negotiate an international regime on access and benefit-sharing
(ABS); and establish indicators and a monitoring system for
achieving the 2010 target to significantly reduce biodiversity loss.
Delegates elected Dato’ Seri Law as COP-7
Dato’ Seri Law said COP-7 delegates face the
challenge of developing a framework for technology transfer that
includes specific commitments to follow up on the WSSD, addresses
gaps such as those relating to scientific assessments, and promotes
Klaus Töpfer, UNEP Executive Director,
highlighted the importance of COP-7 in taking stock of the
Convention’s achievements since its entry into force. He noted that,
although biodiversity loss continues, successes have been achieved,
including the entry into force of the Biosafety Protocol and the
designation of the GEF as the CBD’s financial mechanism.
Hamdallah Zedan, CBD Executive Secretary,
encouraged the COP to address the 2010 target by focusing on
implementation, strategic partnerships, financial resources and
support. Highlighting technology transfer and cooperation, protected
areas (PAs) and the international regime for ABS as crucial issues,
Zedan invited participants to develop a global partnership on
KEYNOTE PRESENTATIONS: Noting his concern
regarding future generations’ well-being, David Suzuki, David Suzuki
Foundation, played a recording of a child’s statement at the 1992
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. She had
called on governments to "stop creating problems they cannot fix,"
and urged turning promises into actions. Recalling indigenous
peoples’ wisdom regarding Mother Earth, Suzuki explained that humans
depend on water, air, fire and soil, and stressed that biodiversity
is the source of the elements humans need for survival.
Emile Frison, International Plant Genetic
Resources Institute, addressed the relation between biodiversity,
nutrition and health. Highlighting the benefits of a balanced and
diverse diet for human health, he stressed the need to address the
qualitative aspect of nutrition, and said hunger reduction
strategies should address product diversification, consumption and
ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Delegates elected
Philip Buckley (Ireland) and Karen Brown (Canada) as Bureau
representatives of the European Community, and JUSCANZ (Japan, the
US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand), respectively. The election
of other Bureau members was deferred. Christian Prip (Denmark) was
elected as Chair of SBSTTA-11 and SBSTTA-12.
President Dato’ Seri Law introduced, and Parties
adopted, the agenda with minor amendments (UNEP/CBD/COP/7/1 and
Add.1). Delegates decided to establish two working groups, and
appointed Hans Hoogeveen (the Netherlands) and Desh Deepak Verma
(India) as Chairs of WG-I and WG-II, respectively.
COP-6 President Hoogeveen reported that informal
consultations had not resolved the outstanding issues, namely the
rules of procedure for COP meetings and the financial rules for the
administration of the CBD’s Trust Fund. President Dato’ Seri Law
encouraged delegates to continue informal consultations.
REPORTS: Reports of regional meetings:
Ethiopia, on behalf of the AFRICAN GROUP, expressed regret that no
regional meeting could be held due to insufficient financial
resources, but said the Group met on 8 February 2004, in Kuala
Lumpur. He stressed the importance of considering implementation
mechanisms for the Convention’s Strategic Plan and its work
programme. He emphasized the importance of capacity building, new
and additional funding and a legally binding regime on ABS. India,
for the ASIA AND PACIFIC GROUP, said the group did not hold a
regional meeting but met on 8 February 2004, in Kuala Lumpur.
Argentina, for the LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN GROUP (GRULAC),
reported on a regional meeting convened in January 2003, in Buenos
Aires. He stressed the importance of financial resources and of
implementing the work programme on PAs, and expressed support for an
international regime on ABS. Ireland, on behalf of the EU and
Acceding Countries, stressed the need for increased commitment to
the 2010 target and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),
including by adopting and implementing a work programme on PAs, and
mobilizing public support to the CBD’s work. He expressed commitment
to negotiating an ABS regime, built on a gap analysis and
experiences gained with the Bonn Guidelines on ABS. He called for
conveying the message that halting biodiversity loss is a crucial
means for sustaining livelihoods, eradicating poverty and protecting
SPAIN reported on the third intergovernmental
"Biodiversity in Europe" conference, held in January 2004, in
Madrid, which aimed to prepare the pan-European contribution to
COP-7 (UNEP/CBD/ COP/7/INF/35). He highlighted recommendations to:
engage the CBD in the WSSD follow-up process; establish a global
network of PAs at land by 2010 and at sea by 2012; and refine the
proposed work programme on technology transfer. FRANCE announced a
UNESCO conference on biodiversity research, to be convened in
January 2005, in Paris.
Reports of intersessional meetings: SBSTTA-8
Chair Jan Plesník (Czech Republic) introduced the SBSTTA-8 report (UNEP/CBD/COP/7/3),
highlighting a recommendation regarding MYPOW to focus future
activities of the Convention on existing work programmes, rather
than consider new items.
Alfred Oteng-Yeboah (Ghana) presented the
SBSTTA-9 report (UNEP/CBD/COP/7/4), noting the meeting’s
recommendations, including on mountain biodiversity, PAs, technology
transfer and cooperation, and the ecosystem approach.
COP-6 President Hoogeveen reported on WSSD
outcomes and introduced the reports on the MYPOW meeting, the second
meeting of the ABS Working Group, and the third meeting of the
Article 8(j) Working Group (UNEP/CBD/COP/7/5 to 7). On WSSD
outcomes, he stressed the need to integrate biodiversity-related
elements of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation into the CBD
work programmes and negotiate an international ABS regime. Regarding
the MYPOW report, he highlighted the recommendation to develop a
global partnership for biodiversity. On the ABS meeting, he outlined
discussions and recommendations on, inter alia: use of terms;
review of the implementation of the Bonn Guidelines on ABS; and
compliance measures for prior informed consent (PIC) and mutually
agreed terms (MAT). He identified the draft terms of reference for
an international ABS regime as a major challenge facing COP-7. With
regard to the Article 8(j) meeting, he highlighted: the Akwé: Kon
Guidelines, an integrated framework for indigenous involvement in
cultural, environmental and social impact assessment; elements for a
sui generis system for the protection of traditional
knowledge; and enhanced participatory mechanisms for indigenous and
Ambassador Philémon Yang (Cameroon) reported on
the status of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (UNEP/CBD/COP/7/8).
He highlighted the Intergovernmental Committee for the Cartagena
Protocol on Biosafety (ICCP), established by the resumed
Extraordinary Meeting of the COP. He said the ICCP met three times
to complete preparations for COP/MOP-1.
Gonzalo Castro, the GEF, presented a report on
CBD-related GEF activities (UNEP/CBD/COP/7/9). Drawing attention to
several publications, including the Beijing Declaration of the
second GEF Assembly, he identified PAs, forests and mountain
ecosystems as GEF priorities.
MEXICO said SBSTTA is diverting from its mandate
by increasingly addressing issues of economic, political and social
nature. COLOMBIA expressed concern that the majority of CBD-financed
activities relate to biodiversity conservation, rather than to
sustainable use and ABS. He stressed that the Convention’s
implementation in developing countries is dependent on developed
country Parties’ implementation of their commitments related to
financial resources and technology transfer.
Executive Secretary Zedan introduced the reports
on the administration of the Convention and the budget for the Trust
Fund of the Convention (UNEP/CBD/COP/7/10), and on the proposed
budget for the biennium 2005-2006 (UNEP/CBD/COP/7/2 and Add.1).
CANADA highlighted its annual special contribution to the
Secretariat of US$1 million. JAPAN underscored its in-kind
contribution for the support of workshops in Asia.
STATEMENTS: The Global Biodiversity Forum
reported on its 19th session, held from 6-8 February 2004, in Kuala
Lumpur. She said COP-7 participants should concentrate on, inter
alia: implementing the ecosystem approach by focusing on land-
and seascapes, rather than on PAs; recognizing and legally
guaranteeing the rights and responsibilities of local communities as
key actors in natural resource management; and promoting effective
and participatory technology transfer by ensuring that it is
demand-driven, ecologically and culturally sensitive, based on PIC,
and facilitated by access to information.
The INTERNATIONAL INDIGENOUS FORUM ON
BIODIVERSITY (IIFB) outlined its opposition to the proposed
international regime on ABS and international systems of
registration of biodiversity and traditional knowledge. Noting that
indigenous peoples are rights holders, she called for their full and
effective participation in decision making. She noted the need for
indigenous peoples’ free PIC for the establishment of PAs and access
to indigenous resources, territories and traditional knowledge. She
expressed IIFB’s support to the Akwï¿½: Kon guidelines.
The RAMSAR CONVENTION ON WETLANDS outlined its
activities and highlighted its contribution to the CBDï¿½s work on
specific ecosystems and cross-cutting issues.
UNDP stressed the poorï¿½s dependence on
biodiversity and the role of the 2010 target in achieving the MDGs.
He underlined UNDPï¿½s support to biodiversity-related projects,
including the Equator Initiative.
UNESCO emphasized the interlinkages between the
World Heritage Convention and biodiversity conservation, its role in
developing the Global Initiative on Communication, Education and
Public Awareness, and its initiative on cultural and biological
The FAO noted biodiversity as a basis for food
production, and said that biodiversity is crucial to halving hunger
and poverty by 2015. She highlighted FAOï¿½s work on pests and on
plant and animal genetic resources.
The WORLD BANK described its programmes for
biodiversity conservation, noting that improved ecosystem management
is hindered by lack of political will, rather than lack of
knowledge. He stressed the need to protect ecosystems that are
particularly vulnerable to climate change, drawing attention to the
World Bankï¿½s funding of initiatives that contribute to conserving
biodiversity and combating climate change.
Adjourning the session, COP President Datoï¿½ Seri
Law congratulated Thailand on its ratification of the Convention.
IN THE CORRIDORS
In spite of inspiring keynote presentations, many
delegates were rather cautious about the meetingï¿½s likely
achievements. Several said they would be glad to see the COP
endorsing the WSSDï¿½s call to develop a regime on access and
benefit-sharing, and consider it an added bonus if it would be
deemed legally binding. Many developing country delegates placed
strong expectations on the work programme on technology transfer,
leaving others to anticipate significant trade offs with those
supportive of a strong work programme on protected areas.
In other parts of the corridors, informal
consultations on the Presidentï¿½s compromise proposal on invasive
alien species were ongoing. Some delegates expressed fear that the
implications of the tormented adoption of the relevant COP-6
decision may result in endless legalistic negotiations regarding the
Conventionï¿½s Rules of Procedure, and hinder substantial progress on
crucial matters for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
WORKING GROUP I: WG-I will meet at 10:00 am
in the Dewan Nerdeka Hall to initiate deliberations on mountain
WORKING GROUP II: WG-II will meet at 10:00 am
in Room TR4 to discuss technology transfer and cooperation.
PLENARY: Participants will reconvene in
Plenary from 4:00-6:00 pm to hear progress reports on the work
programmes and to continue hearing statements by organizations.