Vol. 9 No. 325
WORKING GROUP HIGHLIGHTS:
Delegates to the first meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Protected Areas (PAs) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) convened in two sub-working group sessions. Sub-Working Group I (SWG-I) considered conference room papers (CRPs) on: toolkits for systems of protected areas (PAs); an intersessional expert meeting on ecological criteria for the identification of areas for protection in marine areas beyond national jurisdiction; and options for cooperation for the establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs) beyond national jurisdiction. Sub-Working Group II (SWG-II) addressed CRPs on options for mobilizing financial resources, and the process for the review of implementation of the work programme.
SUB-WORKING GROUP I
TOOLKITS: On the chapeau text, CANADA requested that recommendations be addressed to the COP. On capacity building, ECUADOR, supported by many, requested a reference to exchange of experiences and lessons learned amongst countries and communities. The GAMBIA and GHANA introduced language on helping increase local communities’ comprehension of the use of toolkits. NEW ZEALAND, opposed by the Netherlands, on behalf of the EU, BULGARIA and ROMANIA, requested deleting reference to agreed common criteria for PA policies.
On gaps in existing toolkits, INDIA added human-wildlife interface, governance and participation, and community conserved areas. CANADA included mitigation and adaptation measures in the reference to climate change. NORWAY called for a reference to management in addition to financial planning. ARGENTINA, on behalf of GRULAC, requested a reference to the footnote agreed at COP-7 with respect to ecological networks. UNESCO suggested adding integration of PAs into the broader land- and seascape and sectors. The INTERNATIONAL INDIGENOUS FORUM ON BIODIVERSITY (IIFB) proposed language on full and effective participation, and respect for the rights, of indigenous and local communities, cultural and spiritual values, and eco- and cultural tourism.
Regarding language defining toolkits, delegates agreed that toolkits are sets of instruments to facilitate systematic implementation of the work programme, in accordance with the ecosystem approach, and may facilitate the identification of criteria for PAs.
Regarding text on enhancing the indicative list of toolkits with information on practical experiences, the EU suggested adding information on validation and applicability of toolkits. CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL and the NATURE CONSERVANCY proposed a user-friendly, interactive and searchable database of tools, case studies and lessons learned.
NORWAY questioned a reference to workshops focusing on identification of gaps. INDIA suggested that such workshops address co-managed PAs and community conserved areas. Delegates agreed to a suggestion by GHANA that workshops focus on the use and further development of available toolkits.
SWG-I approved the CRP as amended.
HIGH SEAS PROTECTED AREAS: Expert meeting on criteria: NEW ZEALAND and NORWAY requested clarification on the procedural ground for the proposed expert meeting. NORWAY noted its reservation on the entire CRP.
On the terms of reference, ARGENTINA and CANADA supported a proposal by FAO to delete a reference to the need for greater clarity on responsibilities of various actors and mechanisms in areas beyond national jurisdiction. ICELAND requested that the meeting consider options for, rather than develop, ecological criteria. ARGENTINA proposed and delegates agreed to delete language on potential use of the criteria by regional and international bodies. On the scope, NEW ZEALAND, supported by others, proposed that the criteria could be used as part of a process to identify potential sites.
Requesting further time for consideration, NORWAY said it is not ready to give CBD a role with regard to high seas. Noting that the issue should be addressed by either the second meeting of the Working Group or by COP-8, she suggested that Canada host the meeting outside the auspices of the CBD. In response, the EU recalled the Working Group’s mandate to address MPAs beyond national jurisdiction according to Decision VII/28.
Options for cooperation for establishing high seas PAs: Resuming discussions on the revised CRP, ICELAND, supported by NEW ZEALAND, reintroduced FAO’s proposal on subjecting establishment of MPAs to evaluation of their utility vis-à-vis other management tools. On references to the preliminary scientific study, the EU proposed compromise language, which was agreed to with amendments by NEW ZEALAND, NORWAY and CANADA. Delegates also discussed references to cold-water coral reefs and seamounts, agreeing to language proposed by CANADA to refer to these as ecosystems “under most immediate threat.”
Following a suggestion by the IIFB amended by CANADA, delegates agreed to address data gaps regarding socioeconomic information, including from indigenous and local communities, regarding the use of marine biodiversity.
Delegates discussed language on the scientific study (UNEP/CBD/WG-PA/1/INF/1) with regard to a spatial database of marine biodiversity, and agreed that the database would build upon the one developed as part of the scientific study.
Delegates debated specific references to the content of the database, with the EU and ECUADOR suggesting retaining them and NORWAY and ARGENTINA deleting them. Delegates agreed to retaining references to marine areas habitat types and species, particularly threatened or declining, existing and regional MPA systems, and deleting reference to pressures on MPAs.
AUSTRALIA withdrew the proposal on establishment of MPAs on a regional basis, and roles and responsibilities of various bodies in their regulation. Both the paragraph on participation of stakeholders and indigenous and local communities in establishing MPAs and the reference to the benefits of MPAs beyond national jurisdiction to those within national boundaries remain bracketed.
In an evening session, AUSTRALIA, supported by the EU and CANADA, and opposed by NORWAY and ARGENTINA, suggested new language urging Parties to endeavour to establish by 2008 some pilot MPAs beyond national jurisdiction as a contribution towards meeting the 2012 target. The text was bracketed. Delegates agreed upon two paragraphs recognizing the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea as the legal framework and the need for improved multisectoral coordination. Other paragraphs on, inter alia, relevant global and regional legal instruments, gaps in the existing international legal framework, lack of commitment to implement and enforce existing agreements, and the role of MPAs beyond national jurisdiction in fostering coordination among existing specialized regimes, remain bracketed in whole or in part.
Delegates decided to restructure and redraft recommendations as options, according to the Canadian proposal tabled on Wednesday. Agreement was reached on language regarding cooperation within the existing legal framework and among different bodies.
By the end of the session, large portions of text remained bracketed, and deliberations will continue on Friday morning.
SUB-WORKING GROUP II
WORK PROGRAMME REVIEW: Delegates addressed a CRP containing recommendations on review of implementation of the work programme.
On development of an evaluation matrix, delegates debated whether such a matrix, as contained in an annex to the CRP, should be finalized at present or future meetings. CANADA, NEW ZEALAND and AUSTRALIA expressed concern over its use and requested more time for consideration, while the EU and MEXICO preferred to finalize the matrix at this meeting. After lengthy discussions, delegates agreed to develop the matrix for consideration at the second meeting of the Working Group and possible adoption by COP-8.
On an annexed schedule for the review of implementation of the work programme for each COP, CANADA and the EU requested a more comprehensive listing of all activities. SWG-II Chair Orlando Santos (Cuba) suggested, and delegates agreed to, a ï¿½hybridï¿½ system referring to annexed activities and also requesting further input on the main elements to be reviewed. PERU and ECUADOR raised concerns on the lack of a monitoring framework in the schedule for review at COP-8.
GREENPEACE, supported by many, suggested a consultation process involving indigenous and local communities and relevant stakeholders on reporting on work programme implementation.
On financial support for reporting, AUSTRALIA said the Working Group should not make recommendations to multilateral funding bodies and, with CANADA, called for deleting such reference. After much debate and clarification on procedure, delegates agreed to the deletion.
GRENADA supported requesting the Executive Secretary to organize a workshop to preview possible elements for review before the second meeting of the Working Group, and IRAN requested the Executive Secretary to seek funding for this. NEW ZEALAND and CANADA suggested, and delegates agreed, that the workshop be subject to available funding.
SWITZERLAND proposed a new paragraph requesting the Executive Secretary to collect Partiesï¿½ views on proposed content of the evaluation matrix for further consideration at the second meeting of the Working Group.
FINANCIAL RESOURCES: Delegates considered a revised CRP on options to mobilize funding. NEW ZEALAND and AUSTRALIA opposed making recommendations directly to Parties, with AUSTRALIA cautioning against bypassing the COP in the decision-making process. Many delegates pointed to the urgency of matters to be addressed before COP-8, with the EU citing precedence with other CBD working groups taking decisions on intersessional work. NEW ZEALAND suggested, and delegates agreed to, ï¿½invitingï¿½ Parties rather than ï¿½urgingï¿½ them to follow recommendations addressed directly to them. AUSTRALIA reiterated its concerns, but supported a proposal by CANADA to address text to Parties on financing for elements already in the work programme, and separate these from elements addressed to the COP and to the Executive Secretary. CANADA then suggested that bracketed text be forwarded to the COP. AUSTRALIA suggested chapeau language stating the Working Group ï¿½invites Parties and the COP, as appropriate,ï¿½ and opposed a proposal by the EU to extend this language to the whole document.
AUSTRALIA and NEW ZEALAND opposed text on developed countriesï¿½ assessments of their official development assistance (ODA) programmes. GABON, supported by GREENPEACE, proposed language on increasing ODA to PAs. Following lengthy debate, delegates agreed to a compromise text urging developed countries to take reasonable steps to assess ODA programmes in order to make development aid better support PAs.
SWG-II also agreed to request the Executive Secretary to report ï¿½as far as feasible and using existing informationï¿½ on the follow-up on this recommendation at each Working Group meeting.
SWG-II approved the CRP with brackets remaining with regard to perverse subsidies and the Clean Development Mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol for consideration at the Working Groupï¿½s second meeting.
IN THE BREEZEWAYS
Both temperatures and tensions were rising in Montecatini as delegates plunged into high seas PAs. Many participants noted that time was simply not enough to resolve fundamental, albeit highly controversial matters, ranging from built-over-decades country positions on fisheries or the law of the sea to complex legal issues regarding the mandates of various instruments. Those who saw the Canadian proposal for an intersessional expert meeting on ecological criteria for MPA identification as a ray of light in the dark depths of high seas, were frustrated that some countries could not even agree on a process to move forward. Others, acknowledging the complexities of the task, were quick to note that the first meeting could not go much further than identifying issues, options, positions and players.
Meanwhile, many SWG-II delegates expressed exasperation with lengthy discussions on procedural issues laid to rest days ago, while much-needed debate on contentious issues of substance was pushed to the sidelines, in the end remaining bracketed. However, many were pleased with the adoption of the CRP on options to mobilize funding, although the debate continues whether or not the urgency of issues at hand should take precedence over standard procedures.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR
The Earth Negotiations Bulletin report containing a summary and analysis of the Working Group meeting will be available on Monday, 20 June, at: http://www.iisd.ca/biodiv/wgpa/