Vol. 9 No. 327
SUMMARY OF THE FIRST MEETING OF THE CBD AD HOC OPEN-ENDED WORKING GROUP ON REVIEW OF IMPLEMENTATION:
5–9 SEPTEMBER 2005
The first meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Review of Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity was convened from 5-9 September 2005, in Montreal, Canada. The meeting was attended by over 200 participants representing governments, UN agencies, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, indigenous and local community groups, academia and industry.
The Working Group was established by the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention, with the mandate to address a range of implementation-related issues, including: progress in the implementation of the Convention and the Strategic Plan and achievements leading up to the 2010 target, particularly at the national level; impacts and effectiveness of Convention processes and bodies; cooperation with other conventions, organizations and initiatives; stakeholder engagement; monitoring, reporting and evaluation processes; and means of identifying and overcoming obstacles to the effective implementation of the Convention.
By the end of the week, the Working Group had adopted nine recommendations on: implementation of the Convention and the Strategic Plan; review of processes; review of the Clearing House Mechanism; review of financial resources and the financial mechanism; review of the global initiative on communication, education, and public awareness; cooperation; private sector engagement; framework for monitoring implementation, and review of work programmes; and national reporting. The recommendations will be forwarded to the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, to be held from 20-31 March 2006, in Curitiba, Brazil.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF REVIEWS OF THE CBD
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), was opened for signature on 5 June 1992, and entered into force on 29 December 1993. There are currently 188 parties to the Convention, which aims to promote “the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.”
COP-4: At its fourth meeting (May 1998, Bratislava, Slovakia), the Conference of the Parties (COP) conducted the first review of the operations of the Convention, and adopted a series of decisions to improve its effectiveness, including a programme of work from the fourth to the seventh COP and a revised modus operandi for the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA).
COP-5: At its fifth meeting (May 2000, Nairobi, Kenya), the COP adopted further changes to improve the efficiency of the operations of the Convention, and requested the development of a Strategic Plan until 2010.
COP-6: At its sixth meeting (April 2002, The Hague, the Netherlands), the COP adopted the Strategic Plan for the CBD, in which parties committed themselves to a more effective and coherent implementation of the three objectives of the Convention, to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national levels as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on earth. The 2010 target is supported by more specific goals and objectives, which address issues of global leadership and cooperation, national implementation, capacity building and stakeholder engagement. The parties decided that the Strategic Plan should be implemented through the CBD work programmes, national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs) and other activities, noting the need to develop better methods to evaluate progress in the implementation of the Convention and the Strategic Plan itself.
WSSD: The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) (26 August - 4 September 2002, Johannesburg, South Africa) adopted the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI), which endorsed the 2010 target in paragraph 44, highlighting, inter alia: integration of the objectives of the Convention into global, regional and national sectoral and cross-sectoral programmes and policies; effective synergies between the Convention and other multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs); and the contribution of all stakeholders to the implementation of the objectives of the Convention.
MYPOW: The Open-ended Intersessional Meeting on the Multi-Year Programme of Work of the CBD COP up to 2010 (MYPOW-2010) (March 2003, Montreal, Canada) considered the WSSD outcome and, in assessing progress in achieving the 2010 target, made recommendations on national reporting processes, national implementation, review, and evaluation. The meeting prepared the MYPOW-2010, in which it was recommended that each COP through 2010 address progress in implementing the Strategic Plan and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and consider refining mechanisms to support implementation.
COP-7: At its seventh meeting (February 2004, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), the COP adopted the MYPOW-2010, and developed a preliminary framework for the future evaluation of progress in the implementation of the Strategic Plan. The framework identifies: seven focal areas for action; indicators for assessing progress towards the 2010 target at the global level; and goals and subsidiary targets to facilitate coherence in the work programmes and provide a flexible framework for setting national targets. The COP established the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Review of Implementation of the Convention (WGRI), and requested the Executive Secretary to inform the WGRI of ongoing work on cooperation between the major biodiversity-related organizations, and to explore options for a flexible framework, such as a global partnership on biodiversity, to enhance implementation through improved cooperation.
SBSTTA-10: At its tenth meeting (February 2005, Bangkok, Thailand), SBSTTA adopted a series of recommendations to COP-8, including on the suitability of various indicators for an assessment of progress towards the 2010 target and the integration of global outcome-oriented targets into the CBD work programmes. SBSTTA-10 invited the WGRI to consider a revised Operational Plan for SBSTTA, and linkages between the process for assessing progress towards the 2010 target and national reporting.
REPORT OF THE MEETING
The first meeting of the WGRI opened on Monday, 5 September 2005. WGRI Chair Letchumanan Ramatha, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Malaysia, speaking on behalf of COP-7 President Dato Sri Adnan Haji Satem, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Malaysia, welcomed participants and called for translating the results of the review into proposals to improve the effectiveness of the Convention.
CBD Executive Secretary Hamdallah Zedan reviewed the objectives of the WGRI (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/1/Add.2), and encouraged participants to undertake a holistic review to overcome challenges, including: translation of the 2010 target into national goals; enhancement of the effectiveness of national reporting; and stakeholder involvement. He also cautioned against overburdening parties, the Secretariat and partner organizations with additional meetings. Noting the finding of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) that biodiversity loss continues at an unprecedented rate, Ahmed Djoghlaf, on behalf of UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer, reaffirmed UNEP’s commitment to support Convention implementation. He also recommended that the WGRI consider strengthening the Convention processes to respond effectively to existing biodiversity trends and achieving the 2010 target. Participants extended condolences to the victims of Hurricane Katrina in the United States and observed a minute of silence.
Kiribati, on behalf of Asia and the Pacific, stressed the implementation difficulties in the region, particularly for Small Island Developing States (SIDS), due to lack of financing, capacity and technology. Tanzania, on behalf of Africa, called for increasing financial resources, and human and technological capacity for national implementation of NBSAPs, and simplifying national reporting. Poland, on behalf of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), recognized the need to improve national implementation through strengthening NBSAPs and reporting procedures. Ecuador, on behalf of Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC), called for proposals to substantively change institutional aspects of the Convention, including additional funding for implementation.
The UK, on behalf of the European Community and its Member States, Bulgaria and Romania (EU), stressed the opportune timing of the WGRI meeting, immediately prior to the 2005 World Summit, and the importance of its task to streamline implementation processes. He said that socioeconomic aspects of biodiversity conservation should be emphasized to increase political support and public awareness for implementation. Canada said the WGRI is a milestone on the path to targeted implementation. Stressing poor public understanding of the biodiversity crisis and its socioeconomic impacts, France reported on the 2005 International Conference on Biodiversity: Science and Governance, and its initiative to start consultations on an independent international scientific body to conduct biodiversity-related scientific assessments and raise awareness (Paris Conference initiative).
Several developing countries reported on experiences and obstacles in national implementation, including lack of resources and capacity, insufficient information exchange, and difficulties in integrating biodiversity concerns into other sectors. Peru stressed the need to involve the private sector in national implementation. Mexico urged reviewing the operation of subsidiary bodies and their voting rules, and aligning CBD activities to achieving the 2010 target. Calling for better integration of biodiversity concerns into the world economy, Colombia requested improving the relationship between the CBD and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
New Zealand emphasized the need to streamline the Convention processes, set clear mandates for subsidiary bodies, and coordinate effectively with other conventions. Noting an increasing mismatch between global priorities set by the CBD and national strategies, Australia called for the prioritization of reporting and tools for evaluation of progress. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported on recent developments in its cooperation with the CBD, underlining the importance of long-term and systematic planning for identifying costs and seeking resources.
COP-5 President Francis Nyenze called attention to the achievements of the CBD, and highlighted its pioneering work on ecotourism and access and benefit-sharing (ABS). COP-6 President Hans Hoogeveen identified future challenges for the CBD, including: developing a balanced international regime on ABS; showing leadership in the development of an international legal instrument on forests; stepping up the commitment to implement the work programme on protected areas; and increasing transparency, efficiency and flexibility of its operations. He praised CBD Executive Secretary Zedan for his leadership and proposed his appointment as Honorary Secretary and as the first ambassador of the Convention for outreach activities. Hoogeveen also expressed concern that the recent appointment of the new CBD Executive Secretary “was not undertaken in consultation with the COP and its Bureau, as required by COP decisions, and disregarded the authority of the COP with regard to the level and term of office.” He requested that a copy of his statement be annexed to the meeting report. Djoghlaf, as representative of the UNEP Executive Director, underscored that the appointment of the CBD Executive Secretary “had been the result of seven months of intensive consultations, in accordance with relevant COP decisions, and taking into account the prerogative of the UN Secretary-General regarding the appointment of senior UN officials at the level of Assistant Secretary-General and above.”
SBSTTA-9 and 10 Chair Alfred Oteng-Yeboah drew attention to SBSTTA’s revised Operational Plan, stressing the need to: improve the quality of SBSTTA’s scientific advice; ensure adequate expertise of participants; and dedicate sufficient time to discuss the results of scientific assessments without providing policy advice. He supported the Paris Conference initiative to consider options for the establishment of an independent international scientific body for biodiversity assessments, and called for new, outcome-oriented formats for national reports and an extension of the WGRI’s operations until 2010.
Delegates then adopted the agenda (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/1) and the organization of work (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/1/Add.1) without amendment. Antonio Matamoros (Ecuador) was elected Rapporteur of the meeting. Matthew Jebb (Ireland) and Sem Shikongo (Namibia) were elected Chairs of Sub-Working Group I (SWG-I) and Sub-Working Group II (SWG-II), respectively.
Plenary reconvened on Monday afternoon to consider progress in the implementation of the Convention and the Strategic Plan and achievements leading up to the 2010 target. From Tuesday through Thursday, participants met in the two sub-working groups. SWG-I focused on the review of: the Convention processes, the Clearing House Mechanism (CHM), financial resources and the financial mechanism, and the global initiative on communication, education, and public awareness (CEPA). It also considered progress in implementation of the Convention and the Strategic Plan. SWG-I Chair Jebb established a drafting group on Thursday to discuss outstanding issues for the review of the Convention processes, which met on Thursday evening. SWG-I finalized draft recommendations and adopted its report (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/SWG.1/L.1 and Add.1) on Friday morning.
SWG-II considered cooperation with other organizations, stakeholder involvement, monitoring progress and reporting processes. SWG-II Chair Shikongo established two Friends of the Chair groups: the first convened on Tuesday evening to discuss indicators for the goals and objectives of the Strategic Plan; the second convened on Wednesday evening to discuss elements to be taken into account in developing the guidelines for the fourth national reports. SWG-II adopted its report (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/SWG.2/L.1 and Add.1) on Thursday. The plenary reconvened on Friday morning to consider other matters, adopt the meeting report and nine recommendations to COP-8, and hear closing statements. This report summarizes discussions and recommendations on each agenda item. Unless otherwise stated, the closing plenary adopted the recommendations with minor or no amendments.
PROGRESS IN IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTION AND STRATEGIC PLAN
On Monday afternoon, the plenary considered a note by the Executive Secretary on progress in, and obstacles to, the implementation of the Convention and the Strategic Plan and achievements leading up to the 2010 target (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/2 and INF.8). Malaysia noted that implementation at the international level has mainly focused on biodiversity conservation, rather than on its sustainable use and benefit- sharing, and expressed concern that the increase in activities under the Convention have not been balanced by available funding. Burkina Faso, India and Namibia called for focusing efforts on ABS. Cuba proposed a reference to CBD Article 1 (objectives) to ensure balanced implementation of the three objectives of the Convention.
Many participants agreed on the need to undertake an in-depth analysis of the Strategic Plan Goals 2 (Parties have improved financial, human, scientific, technical, and technological capacity to implement the Convention) and 3 (NBSAPs and the integration of biodiversity concerns into relevant sectors serve as an effective framework for the implementation of the objectives of the Convention). Colombia cautioned against the limited information available for such a review, due to slow reporting and lack of party submissions. Kenya opposed the option that such a review may be undertaken by a CBD subsidiary body other than the WGRI.
On the COP meetings, the EU noted that improved political support and public awareness are critical to achieving the CBD objectives, including through better integration of the high-level segment into the meetings of the COP. Mexico stressed the need for clarification of the COP voting rule (rule 40 of the Rules of Procedure).
On NBSAPs, Thailand stressed the need to consolidate guidance on NBSAPs before COP-9, while Kenya emphasized updating it in light of recent international developments. Canada called for increased efforts by parties to produce NBSAPs by COP-9, suggesting as a successful model the process of national reporting for the State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources under the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The EU emphasized streamlining national reporting, and, supported by Canada, Algeria and Brazil, requested the Executive Secretary to prepare a report on a “biodiversity support service.” Mexico underscored the need for national strategy updates, and identified the lack of national institutions as an obstacle to national implementation, while Barbados pointed to inadequate staffing and funding. Australia emphasized the need to be more practical in addressing implementation at the national level, and called for bottom-up priority setting and facilitating the production of NBSAPs, national data sets of indicators, and monitoring protocols. Algeria stressed the need for national coordination mechanisms for implementation activities. Zimbabwe called for support to community-level implementation. New Zealand urged focusing on immediate outcomes, through priority setting, addressing barriers to the implementation of NBSAPs, and restraining from additional requests to parties and the Secretariat. Norway cautioned against adding new reporting requirements, as few parties had been able to comply with existing ones.
Tanzania highlighted the importance of technology transfer, implementing national frameworks for biosafety, and, supported by many, strengthening national CHMs. Several developing countries called for increased financial and technical support for the preparation and implementation of NBSAPs, and for the integration of biodiversity concerns into other sectors. Burkina Faso said that Global Environment Facility (GEF) funding should also address development issues, given the links between biodiversity loss and poverty. Mexico, supported by Peru, advocated budgetary provisions for implementing national strategies. Brazil proposed redirecting core CBD and GEF funds to assist in implementing NBSAPs, noting that this meeting was an opportunity to give clear direction to the GEF on financing and capacity building to support implementation. The GEF provided information on CBD-related funding in support of the Convention implementation, the devising of strategies and action plans, and the financing of projects on thematic and cross-cutting issues. Cuba proposed a reference to CBD Article 20.4 stating that implementation by developing countries is subject to the provision of financial resources and technology transfer. Ecuador suggested that WGRI send a request for additional financial resources to all implementing agencies.
UNEP’s Division of Environmental Conventions reported on its work with the CBD and other MEAs to streamline processes, highlight success stories on common implementation issues, and assist national implementation.
This agenda item was then taken up by SWG-I. On Wednesday, SWG-I considered a conference room paper (CRP) containing draft recommendations submitted by the Chair (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/SWG.1/CRP.1), with discussion focusing on: preambular language, technical support to national implementation, future meetings and mandate of the WGRI, and the nature of a standing mechanism for review of implementation.
On preambular language emphasizing that “equal weight” should be given to the implementation of the three Convention objectives, Canada, opposed by the EU, preferred emphasizing the “need to address” the three objectives.
On considering options for technical support to national implementation, such as a technical assistance programme, Canada and Haiti suggested listing FAO among the relevant organizations, with Peru adding the World Conservation Union (IUCN), and Brazil preferring “inviting other organizations, as appropriate.”
On future meetings and mandate of the WGRI, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and others cautioned against preempting a COP decision and suggested bracketing a paragraph recommending that WGRI conduct the in-depth review of implementation of the Strategic Plan Goals 2 and 3 at its next meeting. They requested a separate recommendation noting the importance of a mechanism for the review of implementation of the Convention, in addition to the one on Strategic Plan Goals 2 and 3. Mexico, Cuba, Brazil and others favored retaining the reference, suggesting that the COP may mandate the WGRI or another subsidiary body.
In the afternoon, SWG-1 Chair Jebb presented consolidated text recommending that COP-8 decide to reconvene WGRI prior to COP-9 to conduct the in-depth review of the Strategic Plan Goals. Australia reiterated its request for a separate recommendation regarding the decision on a mechanism for review of implementation of the Convention, proposing to let the COP decide which body should address the in-depth review of implementation of the Strategic Plan Goals 2 and 3. Upon a request by the EU, the references were bracketed.
On Thursday, SWG-I addressed a revised CRP (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/SWG.1/CRP.1/Rev.1). On preambular language on the provision of new and additional financial resources, the EU suggested a reference to a successful replenishment of the GEF. Canada proposed, and delegates agreed, to request the Executive Secretary to prepare, for COP-8 consideration, a proposal on inviting other biodiversity-relevant organizations, such as the FAO, to participate in the Biodiversity Liaison Group. Brazil requested recommending that the COP decide upon concrete measures to conduct the review of the implementation of Strategic Plan Goals 2 and 3. With regard to a review of the improved status of capacity for implementation, Brazil proposed to review the “provision of financial resources, capacity building and technological cooperation” rather than the “status of improved technical capacity.” On guidance for development, implementation and evaluation of NBSAPs, Brazil requested deleting references to mechanisms for priority setting.
On Friday, SWG-I agreed on a draft recommendation on implementation of the Convention and Strategic Plan (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/L.8), without amendments.
Final Recommendation: In its recommendation (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/L.8), the WGRI recommends that COP-8 consider appropriate mechanisms to, inter alia:
The WGRI recommends that the COP adopt a decision to:
In view of the in-depth review, the WGRI also requests the Executive Secretary to, inter alia, develop, for consideration by COP-8, options for the provision of technical support to parties for facilitating the Convention implementation and undertaking, on a voluntary basis, a review of national implementation, and a proposal on inviting other biodiversity-relevant organizations to participate in the Biodiversity Liaison Group.
REVIEW OF PROCESSES
SWG-I considered the review of the impacts and effectiveness of existing processes under the CBD, including COP meetings, SBSTTA, ad hoc technical expert groups (AHTEGs), ad hoc openended working groups (OEWGs), national focal points (NFPs), the Secretariat, work programmes and tools. A drafting group met on Thursday evening to consider outstanding issues. The draft recommendation was further amended in plenary on Friday.
On Tuesday, SWG-I considered a note by the Executive Secretary on the review of impacts and effectiveness of existing processes under the Convention (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/3 and Add. 1-2, and UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/INF/2-4). On COP meetings, Cuba, Argentina, Peru, India and others suggested focusing COP decision making on implementation-related issues. Many parties opposed changing the periodicity of COP meetings prior to COP-10, with some expressing concern that reducing periodicity will undermine the momentum of implementation, and others supporting a proposal by Cuba to review periodicity after COP-10. Mexico, Switzerland and Brazil supported extending periodicity to three years to allow for monitoring progress.
Noting the costs of high-level segments at COP meetings, many delegates supported assessing options for improving their effectiveness. Proposals for improvement included: increasing media awareness; ensuring concrete outcomes and follow-up activities; organization and agenda setting by the COP Bureau; focusing on implementation; and ensuring outcomes are coherent with COP decisions. The EU suggested that an up-to-date list of standard notional costs for Convention meetings be maintained and published on the CBD website, and should cover all costs, including developing country travel.
On the voting rule, Mexico, Côte d’Ivoire, Colombia and others urged finding agreement on the voting rule of the COP, to reduce the risk of formal objections. Canada, Australia and New Zealand supported consensus decision making, with Australia emphasizing that meeting Chairs must be faithful to the consensus principle. Ecuador said the consensus principle should not delay decision making on issues that are broadly agreed upon. Kiribati supported majority decision making, suggesting that different opinions of parties should be reflected in the meeting report.
On COP decisions, several parties supported consolidating past decisions to reduce overlap and repetition. Mexico, supported by Switzerland, suggested that future COPs amend existing decisions to enable better monitoring and facilitate implementation by parties. The EU, supported by Argentina and Mexico, suggested the Executive Secretary publish a list of documents no later than three months before the COP and ensure that all documents are referenced in the annotated agenda. Canada and India suggested preparation of a statement on cost implications when drafting COP decisions. Canada expressed concern about the feasibility of a proposed procedure for priority setting on financial resource allocation by the COP. Argentina suggested that the procedure serve as a guideline for decision making. The EU suggested requesting the Executive Secretary to compile a summary of the budget implications of all suggested COP decisions. Australia emphasized parties’ responsibility for considering workload implications when taking COP decisions, while the EU proposed that the Executive Secretary prepare a series of options for consideration at COP-8 for restructuring the meeting schedule.
Noting detriments to their attendance, many developing countries requested financial support to ensure participation of at least two delegates at all meetings, and Peru requested not holding meetings back-to-back. Many developing countries stressed the importance of regional preparatory meetings prior to each COP, requesting that COP-8 consider the provision of funding in this regard. Australia stressed that Friends of the Chair groups must be open to all interested parties. Cuba, supported by many, proposed developing guidelines for the operation of contact and Friends of the Chair groups.
On SBSTTA, SBSTTA-11 Chair Christian Prip (Denmark) stressed its role in the implementation phase of the Convention, and, supported by many parties, stressed the need for better engagement with the scientific community and adequate selection of SBSTTA delegates. Many called to refocus SBSTTA’s work on the provision of scientific and technical advice, rather than serving as a preparatory meeting for the COP. Suggestions included: reducing SBSTTA’s workload; focusing on monitoring progress towards the 2010 target; enhancing the technical content of recommendations; ensuring that requests to SBSTTA clearly address scientific advice; and preparing a multi-year programme of work for SBSTTA.
The EU and New Zealand opposed revising the SBSTTA modus operandi, with the EU suggesting that the existing modus operandi be annexed to the SBSTTA Operational Plan. The EU suggested requesting the Executive Secretary to consider ways and means for SBSTTA to identify and consider new and emerging issues relating to biodiversity and to engage with the wider scientific community in identifying priority issues for scientific research.
With reference to the Paris Conference initiative, many parties opposed the establishment of an international mechanism for review, scientific assessment and policy advice, with several stressing that this role is fulfilled by SBSTTA. Malaysia said that creation of such a body could lead to increased efficiency of the CBD, and Switzerland proposed exploring the feasibility of such a body.
On AHTEGs, Colombia, Brazil and others called for specific mandates and timelines to be defined prior to their consideration by the COP. Colombia advocated for their regionally-balanced composition, while Brazil requested that experts be selected on the basis of equitable geographical representation. Grenada, Brazil and the EU proposed that terms of reference limit AHTEG’s scope to providing scientific and technical advice and assessments. The EU proposed that AHTEGs be composed of no more than 20 experts rather than 25, and New Zealand proposed 15. New Zealand also called for clear mandates for OEWGs.
On NFPs, many stressed the need to clarify their mandate. Africa prioritized strengthening NFP capacity, enhancing their coordination role and, with Mexico, increasing support to NFPs through the CHM. Thailand said that the relationship between SBSTTA focal points and NFPs should be coordinated and complimentary. Several delegates supported identifying focal points and institutions to facilitate regional cooperation, while others cautioned that their establishment may lead to duplication of work and increased bureaucracy. Kiribati said that regional organizations could serve as focal points for Pacific SIDS, noting the need to involve local communities and the private sector.
On future review of implementation, Sri Lanka, Tunisia and Switzerland supported consideration of a mechanism for implementation. Brazil and Ecuador stressed the need for future intersessional meetings of the WGRI. The EU favored further meetings of the WGRI, but, supported by many, cautioned against the proliferation of meetings under the CBD, with Australia calling attention to financial implications.
Colombia, Switzerland and Malaysia, opposed by many, supported conducting an independent review of Convention processes, with Ecuador noting that a review should be subject to guidance by the COP. The EU favored a “high-level expert review” of the Convention bodies. Thailand proposed to evaluate the Convention tools. The EU suggested the Executive Secretary compile, update and present to the COP lists of existing instruments prior to the development of new principles, guidelines and other tools under the Convention.
On Thursday, SWG-I addressed a CRP on the review of the Convention processes (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/SWG.1/CRP.3). On reducing workload and streamlining Convention processes, the EU proposed that the Executive Secretary prepare options for consideration at COP-8, including implications of changing COP periodicity.
On the Paris Conference initiative, the EU, Canada and Norway supported that WGRI request the Executive Secretary and the SBSTTA Bureau to participate in the initiative, stressing its relevance for the CBD’s work. Concerned about exceeding the WGRI’s mandate, New Zealand, Brazil and Saint Lucia objected, with China cautioning against the additional workload associated with such an involvement. After informal discussions, delegates agreed that the WGRI take note of the Paris Conference outcome and invite the Executive Secretary to report on progress of the initiative to COP-8.
On the COP, instead of recommending that COP-8 agree on the voting rule for the COP, Brazil proposed, and delegates agreed, that WGRI “invite” the COP to come to agreement “as soon as possible.” Delegates also agreed that: a list of standard notional costs, to be developed and maintained by the Executive Secretary, also include the cost implications of actions and partnerships under negotiation; the host country for the COP develop a format for the high-level segment in consultation with the Executive Secretary and the Bureau, as proposed by Brazil; and the ministerial segment raise awareness on biodiversity-related areas and on implementation, as suggested by Mexico and Brazil.
On changing the rule on the composition of AHTEGs in SBSTTA modus operandi, delegates decided to delete reference to the maximum number of experts to be nominated by the Executive Secretary in consultation with the Bureau.
Mexico opposed requesting SBSTTA to identify and consider new and emerging issues. Brazil objected to a reference to the need for regional and subregional coordination in the preparation of meetings. Canada proposed clarifying availability of funding only for NFPs.
On possible future meetings of the WGRI, Australia cautioned against establishing the WGRI as a new permanent process. Chair Jebb proposed that COP-8 consider that, subject to available resources, the WGRI meet once before COP-9.
Concerned about procedural issues impeding progress in OEWG discussions, the Russian Federation urged the development of a modus operandi for OEWGs for consideration at COP-8, rather than COP-9. With Argentina, he stressed the need for clear terms of reference for OEWGs, AHTEGS and technical expert groups. Australia, opposed by many, suggested recommending that COP-8 agree to commence a process to develop a modus operandi for OEWGs. New Zealand proposed requesting the Executive Secretary to maintain a list of requests for intersessional work, and OEWGs to review these requests prior to adoption of draft recommendations. Chair Jebb established a drafting group, which met in the evening, to resolve issues on the modus operandi for OEWGs and the list of requests of intersessional work.
On Friday, SWG-I considered a Chair’s text resulting from the drafting group meeting, recommending that COP-8 consider improving working arrangements for OEWGs, and requesting the Executive Secretary to maintain a list of requests for intersessional work. Concerned about feasibility, the EU and Norway, opposed by Switzerland, Mexico and Argentina, suggested deletion of a request to the Executive Secretary to provide information on cost estimates and timeframes of requests for intersessional work. After deciding to bracket this request, SWG-I agreed on the CRP. When the draft recommendation (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/L.10) was presented to the plenary on Friday, Mexico requested that the Executive Secretary, as well as parties, be encouraged to consider linkages among draft decisions when preparing or considering them. China objected to Brazil’s proposal to invite parties “as appropriate” to identify focal points and institutions to facilitate regional and subregional preparation for meetings of the COP. Delegates agreed to compromise text stating that all parties will identify focal points, but the facilitation of regional and subregional preparation for meetings would be done “as appropriate.” The recommendation was adopted with these and other minor amendments.
Final Recommendation: The recommendation on review of processes (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/L.10) contains recommendations on the COP, SBSTTA, and other matters, and has three annexes: a draft operational plan for SBSTTA; guidance for priority-setting to guide the allocation of financial resources by the COP; and a proposed schedule for the consolidation of decisions and consideration of strategic issues that support implementation in line with the MYPOW-2010.
The WGRI requests the Executive Secretary to, inter alia:
The WGRI also invites the Executive Secretary to report on the outcome of the Paris Conference at COP-8; and recommends that COP-8 consider: improved working arrangements for OEWGs; subject to availability of necessary financial resources, a meeting of WGRI prior to COP-9; the procedure for decision making with a view to reach an agreement on the voting rule as soon as possible; and funding of participation of at least two delegates from developing countries or countries with economies in transition in meetings of the COP and SBSTTA.
On the COP, the WGRI recommends that the COP adopt a decision to, inter alia:
On SBSTTA, the WGRI recommends that COP adopt a decision to:
On other matters, the WGRI recommends that the COP adopt a decision to:
REVIEW OF THE CLEARING HOUSE MECHANISM
On Tuesday, SWG-I addressed a note by the Executive Secretary (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/4 and UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/INF/11 and Corr.1). The EU supported a “user-focused” in-depth review of the CHM by COP-10. Colombia said that the CHM should develop its potential for scientific cooperation and support developing country capacity and technology transfer, and suggested a reference to traditional knowledge with respect to associated patent requests and a link between the CHM and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) International Patent Classification. El Salvador advocated that the CHM ensure technical and scientific cooperation to facilitate technology transfer. Mexico suggested that the Strategic Plan of the CHM be extended from 2009 to 2010.
China called attention to promoting the CHM at the national level. Tanzania, supported by Mali, stressed the importance of financial support to national CHMs, to ensure the exchange of technology, including at the regional and subregional levels. Saint Lucia emphasized strengthening CHM focal points, including through regional networking, to meet the needs of developing countries in the Convention implementation, in particular for ABS.
On Wednesday, SWG-I considered a CRP (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/SWG.1/CRP.2), which was agreed upon with minor amendments.
Final Recommendation: In its recommendation (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/ L.2), the WGRI requests the Executive Secretary to finalize the draft of the second CHM Strategic Plan for submission to COP-8, and recommends that the COP decide to institute a user-focused in-depth review and assessment of the CHM, for consideration at COP-10.
REVIEW OF THE FINANCIAL MECHANISM AND FINANCIAL RESOURCES
On Tuesday, SWG-I addressed a note by the Executive Secretary on the review of financial resources and the financial mechanism (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/5). New Zealand, supported by Canada, Peru and others, opposed consideration of a quantitative target for the provision of external financial assistance by developed countries to biodiversity-related activities. Australia, Cuba and others opposed urging parties to implement the financial sustainability goal of the work programme on protected areas, while Colombia emphasized the need for appropriate funding for protected areas, and the second and third objectives of the Convention.
Canada and Malaysia agreed to an in-depth review of financial resources and the financial mechanism at COP-9, and, with the EU, Cuba, and Peru, supported recommendations stating that parties should determine their own funding priorities. The EU urged developing countries to mainstream biodiversity issues into development strategies to access development assistance funds.
Kiribati suggested that COP-8 request the GEF to revise procedures for the disbursement of funds, and called upon donors to address in the next replenishment the implications of the work programme on island biodiversity. Colombia expressed concern about access to GEF funding by medium-level developing countries. Norway emphasized enhanced cooperation with the GEF to provide practical advice, and Switzerland requested updated guidance for GEF by COP-8. Egypt requested that the GEF activities focus on national implementation, rather than capacity building. Algeria stated that financial resources and the financial mechanism should be considered a permanent agenda item for the COP.
On Wednesday, SWG-I considered an informal Chair’s text on the review of financial resources and the financial mechanism. In a recommendation inviting developing countries to give biodiversity a prominent place in national planning, Africa, Brazil, Grenada and Canada preferred referring to poverty reduction strategy “initiatives” rather than “papers.” China suggested deleting this recommendation, considering it too prescriptive.
China urged developed country parties and other donors to increase their contributions for the GEF third replenishment. Raising concerns about references to official development assistance (ODA), Antigua and Barbuda suggested clarifying that funding should be directed to all three objectives of the Convention.
Canada suggested developing a strategy for resource mobilization in support of implementation activities based on the results of the proposed in-depth review of financial resources and the financial mechanism at COP-9. Canada proposed that the Executive Secretary enter into a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) with financial institutions and development agencies only if so requested.
China suggested deleting reference to the 2005 G8 Gleneagles Summit commitments to increase aid, and the decision of the OECD Working Party on Statistics to collect data on aid targeting the objectives of the Rio Conventions. Brazil, opposed by Switzerland and Norway, requested deletion of the recommendation to explore increasing effectiveness of financial resources through the creation of synergies between the Rio Conventions, stating that discussion of financial mechanisms and cooperation among these conventions should be kept separate.
On Thursday, SWG-I considered a CRP on financial resources and the financial mechanism (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/SWG.1/CRP.5), with discussion focusing on: GEF disbursement procedures, collaboration with the GEF, synergies among conventions, and national biodiversity priorities.
On simplifying GEF disbursement procedures, Canada, Peru and others, opposed by El Salvador and Kiribati, objected to language singling out financing country-driven early action on protected areas. Delegates agreed to compromise language, suggested by the EU, referring to action on protected areas as an example.
On collaboration with the GEF, Canada repeatedly suggested increasing dialogue on ways to more effectively formulate and implement guidance from the COP and reporting the results of this dialogue to COP-8. China proposed referring to the need for Parties to increase their contributions to the GEF. Pakistan, supported by Colombia, suggested that the GEF Chair be invited to provide details of the GEF Resource Allocation Framework.
On increasing the effectiveness of financial resources through synergies between the Rio conventions, delegates agreed that development of these synergies should take into account parties’ priorities and each convention’s scope.
On determining how financial resources are being used to address national biodiversity priorities, Brazil, supported by Mongolia, proposed to specify whether these resources come from the financial mechanism or ODA. China noted that the reference to G8 funding for Africa in the preamble was not biodiversity-related.
On Friday, SWG-I agreed on a draft recommendation on financial resources and the financial mechanism (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/L.9), with minor amendments.
Final Recommendation: In its recommendation (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/L.9), the WGRI recommends that the COP:
The WGRI also requests the Executive Secretary to, inter alia: collaborate with the GEF to formulate, implement and streamline guidance to the financial mechanism and report to COP-8; develop ways to improve the process of review of the financial mechanism for COP-8 consideration; and invite the GEF Chair to provide details of the GEF Resource Allocation Framework at COP-8.
REVIEW OF THE GLOBAL INITIATIVE ON COMMUNICATION, EDUCATION, AND PUBLIC AWARENESS
On Wednesday, SWG-I addressed a note by the Executive Secretary on the review of the global initiative on CEPA (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/6, and (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/INF/10). Canada, Switzerland and Africa supported strengthening work on CEPA, with Africa emphasizing national implementation, including through the CHM and NBSAPs. Grenada proposed a reference to regional and subregional CEPA activities; and Canada to indigenous and local communities, the MA, the 2010 target and the MDGs.
Colombia and Argentina noted that CEPA implementation is undermined by lack of funding, with Colombia highlighting the absence of ABS-related activities in CEPA decisions. Canada, opposed by Antigua and Barbuda, Burkina Faso and Kenya, proposed deleting reference to GEF funding for CEPA priority activities. The GEF clarified that biodiversity projects must include communication strategies to receive funding.
Switzerland, opposed by Antigua and Barbuda, suggested adding a list of stakeholder groups to the intended audiences of CEPA activities. Haiti requested adding donors, and Kiribati specific activities to target audiences. Switzerland and Haiti requested references stating that biodiversity conservation is a precondition for sustainable development and poverty eradication, with Haiti requesting prioritization of poverty eradication.
The EU and Saint Lucia suggested coordination of CEPA activities between biodiversity-related conventions at the national and regional levels, with Brazil drawing attention to the differing mandates and scopes of these conventions. Saint Lucia emphasized communication strategies aiming at behavioral change. Antigua and Barbuda asked that existing partnerships be strengthened and formalized. Brazil emphasized sharing success stories rather than knowledge, and Kenya suggested disseminating good practices.
On Thursday, SWG-I addressed a CRP (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/SWG.1/CRP.4). Canada suggested, and delegates agreed to: provide parties with further opportunity to comment on the CEPA plan of implementation, before forwarding it to COP-8 for in-depth consideration and adoption; invite the GEF and parties to make available the necessary financial resources to implement the identified CEPA priority activities at the national level in support of NBSAPs; and refer to the MA in the list of global initiatives relevant to CEPA work, with which linkages should be explored.
The EU suggested, and delegates agreed to, inserting “potential” priority activities and developing a “short” list of priority activities in the CEPA work programme, to serve as the focus for its implementation. Delegates also agreed to: ensure synergies and avoid duplication with respect to cooperation with other Rio conventions, as proposed by Brazil and the EU; and refer to the need for changes in attitude and behavior to enhance CEPA implementation, as requested by Saint Lucia.
On Friday, SWG-I agreed on a draft recommendation on communication, education, and public awareness, without amendments.
Final Recommendation: In its recommendation (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/L.4), the WGRI requests the Executive Secretary to examine the need for the plan of implementation to involve the participation of indigenous and local communities, and to finalize the list of priority activities for CEPA and the plan for their implementation for in-depth consideration by COP-8.
The WGRI recommends that COP-8 adopt a decision to, inter alia:
On Tuesday, SWG-II focused on a note by the Executive Secretary on CBD cooperation with other conventions and organizations, including the suggested recommendation on the establishment of a global partnership for biodiversity (UNEP/CBD/WG-WRI/1/7 and Add.1-3 and UNEP/CBD/WG-WRI/1/INF/7). Colombia and Cuba stressed the need for CBD cooperation with the WTO and other relevant socioeconomic agreements. The Tebtebba Foundation encouraged strengthening cooperation with other environmental agreements, WIPO and the WTO to increase participation of indigenous peoples in processes where their participation has been limited.
Thailand, supported by Liberia, suggested that the Executive Secretary be more actively engaged in regional partnerships and organizations. Norway stressed that cooperation between conventions should involve related scientific and technical institutions as well as the convention secretariats. Canada advocated the inclusion of indigenous peoples, NGOs, and research groups within liaison groups between conventions. New Zealand emphasized that proposals for cooperation should be pursued on a case-by-case basis, with clear mandates and guidelines provided by the parties.
Reiterating the lack of emphasis on the second and third objectives of the Convention, Malaysia, supported by Cuba and Colombia, recommended that a liaison group on the sustainable use of biodiversity and ABS be formed. Cuba suggested the development of specific action plans for cooperation with other conventions, once MOCs have been concluded. New Zealand wished to discuss the proposal to establish a liaison group on invasive alien species only when parties consider the report of the AHTEG on Invasive Alien Species. Ghana praised the cooperation between CBD and CITES (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/INF/9), expressing support for the development of the CITES strategic vision towards 2010. Thailand welcomed cooperation with biodiversity-related conventions, but noted that outcomes of these partnerships have yet to impact policy making. Canada suggested that FAO be part of the Biodiversity Liaison Group.
On the proposed global partnership for biodiversity, Norway, supported by the EU, cautioned against the creation of new institutional structures, with the EU favoring a flexible and voluntary mechanism. The EU also suggested that the Secretariat study possible arrangements to service the partnership, noting that it is not necessary for the CBD to run it, and that an appendix to the recommendation should include a potential list of invited members, including the UN Forum on Forests, the Commission on Sustainable Development, and the WTO. Canada stressed that any new international mechanism should have clear impacts on implementation at the national level, proposing to involve organizations with long-standing expertise in technical cooperation, to provide support for the development and implementation of NBSAPs. He underlined the need to clarify the relationship between the global partnership for biodiversity and Parties, the COP and other CBD bodies. New Zealand noted the need to address the financial implications and additional activities for the Secretariat before launching the partnership. Worldwide Fund for Nature prioritized defining objectives in terms of specific outputs. The Tebtebba Foundation requested that more than one indigenous peoples’ organization be included in the partnership, to capture a wider variety of views.
On Thursday, SGW-II considered a CRP on cooperation with other conventions, organizations and initiatives (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/SWG.2/CRP.4). On the global partnership for biodiversity, Canada, supported by many, proposed that the Executive Secretary undertake consultations with relevant organizations to provide proposals for the partnership, emphasizing that it should, inter alia: be a bottom-up partner-driven process; facilitate implementation of NBSAPs; facilitate the development of issue-based networks; and be a voluntary alliance. Parties agreed on the need for a flexible framework encompassing a range of options, “such as the global partnership for biodiversity.”
Parties also agreed to delete annexes containing the terms of reference for the global partnership for biodiversity and a list of its potential members, with many noting that they were premature, overly prescriptive, and advocated a top-down approach.
Australia, supported by many, opposed taking into account recommendations from SBSTTA-11 on the establishment of a liaison group on invasive alien species, preferring a general statement on improving cooperation with respect to the Convention work on invasive alien species.
On liaising with other conventions, Colombia requested reference to a priority-setting mechanism for the required financial and human resources. Brazil opposed the development of joint work programmes. Delegates agreed on compromise text requesting the Executive Secretary to liaise with other conventions “with a view to advancing the Convention implementation, in line with COP decisions, including the possibility of developing joint work programmes.”
On cooperation between the CBD and the WTO, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand opposed that an MOC should promote the three objectives of the CBD, with Australia expressing concern about the feasibility of the endeavor. The EU and Colombia opposed, noting the need for stronger cooperation with the WTO. Delegates agreed to request the Executive Secretary to liaise with the WTO “with a view to identify options for closer collaboration including developing an MOC to promote the three objectives of the Convention.”
Final Recommendation: In its recommendation (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/L.5), the WGRI requests the Executive Secretary to consider further means to improve cooperation in Convention implementation at the global, regional and national levels, including with respect to promoting sustainable use and benefit-sharing. The WGRI also suggests that the Executive Secretary undertake consultations with relevant organizations and initiatives, and with indigenous and local community representatives, to provide proposals on a flexible framework among all relevant actors, such as a global partnership for biodiversity, for consideration by COP-8, noting that it should, inter alia:
The WGRI recommends that the COP, inter alia:
The recommendation contains two appendixes on the potential core group members and the potential network members of the global partnership for biodiversity.
PRIVATE SECTOR ENGAGEMENT
On Tuesday, SWG-II focused on a note by the Executive Secretary on ways and means of engaging stakeholders, including the private sector, in Convention implementation (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/8 and UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/INF/5). The EU called for increasing outreach to the scientific community and business and, supported by Zambia, requested a reference to environmental impact assessments as a tool to facilitate contributions from business and industry. Kiribati requested that the Secretariat and SBSTTA provide Parties with guidance and assistance to engage the private sector in the Convention implementation at the national level.
The International Chamber of Commerce listed recommendations to overcome procedural obstacles to greater private sector participation, including: standard use of the term “private sector” instead of “industry”; accommodation of diverse private sector representatives; and publication and enforcement of rules concerning observer participation. He pledged to increase efforts to further educate the private sector about the CBD, to provide a central contact point to the Secretariat, and respond to relevant requests for technical information, case studies and submissions. Recalling a recommendation on private sector engagement at the 2004 World Parks Congress, IUCN offered to share relevant experiences with the CBD Secretariat. Noting that companies in the mining sector are developing biodiversity good practices together with NGO partners, Rio Tinto supported an increased engagement of the private sector in the CBD. Canada and Ghana supported biodiversity valuation models for decision making as a tool for engaging the private sector, while the Russian Federation noted that these models require further study.
On Wednesday, SWG-II considered a CRP on private sector engagement (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/SWG.2/CRP.1), with discussion focusing on tools for assessing the value of biodiversity, biodiversity offsets, and transfer of technology.
Delegates agreed to include tools for biodiversity value assessment as further work that could be developed by business. On the timeline of a request to the private sector to prepare voluntary commitments that would contribute to the 2010 target by COP-8, participants agreed to delete reference to a specific COP meeting.
The EU, supported by Brazil, favored biodiversity offsets as a tool that may facilitate business contributions towards Convention implementation. Noting that this issue is under negotiation in other fora, New Zealand said its inclusion would be premature. The Russian Federation expressed concern that offsets would allow the private sector to cause damage and offset it by providing compensation. Brazil and Canada proposed, and participants agreed, that private sector contributions could be facilitated by further work on developing guidance for potential biodiversity offsets in line with the Convention. China proposed that the Expert Group on Technology Transfer address the role of the private sector. SWG-II agreed on the CRP as amended.
Final Recommendation: In its recommendation (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/L.3), the WGRI enumerates to promote engaging the private sector in Convention implementation, such as: their major impacts on biodiversity; their influence on governments and the public opinion; and their knowledge, technical resources, research and communication skills.
The WGRI notes tools and mechanisms that may be of use in facilitating contributions from business and industry, including: certification schemes based on companies’ biodiversity performance; internationally agreed standards on activities that impact biodiversity; guidance and tools to assist companies in implementing good practice; guidelines for incorporating biodiversity-related issues into existing environmental impact assessments; and private-public partnerships.
The WGRI also notes that contributions from business and industry could be facilitated by further work under the Convention to develop, inter alia: a private sector guide to the Convention; tools for assessing the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services for their integration into decision making; guidance for potential biodiversity offsets, in line with the objectives of the Convention; and guidance on integrating biodiversity into industry standards and certification schemes.
The WGRI recommends that the COP should:
FRAMEWORK TO MONITOR IMPLEMENTATION AND REVIEW OF WORK PROGRAMMES
On Tuesday, SWG-II considered a note by the Executive Secretary on the framework for monitoring implementation of the Convention and achievement of the 2010 target, and for review of thematic work programmes (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/9 and UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/INF/1).
On the framework to monitor implementation, the EU, Colombia and Brazil opposed the removal of focal area 7 (mobilizing financial and technical resources). Canada recommended including global and national reporting mechanisms in the development of the framework. Colombia proposed that SBSTTA-11 complete the review of the framework.
On the proposed guidelines for the review of work programmes, the EU suggested concentrating on the most and least effective elements of each work programme, and cautioned, with Canada, against renegotiating work programmes during their review. Canada also proposed that the review allow for updating in light of new scientific knowledge.
On the proposed indicators for the goals and objectives of the Strategic Plan, the EU, supported by China, Canada and Norway, suggested revising, and requested that a maximum of two indicators be adopted for each goal. The Nature Conservancy and the Conservation Measures Partnership urged parties to consider integrating the existing indicators into a framework that measures the ecological viability, threats and protection status of biodiversity at national, eco-regional, regional and global levels. New Zealand pointed out that indicators at the national level may not be useful at the global level, and suggested measuring global targets through an international analysis. SWG-II Chair Shikongo established a Friends of the Chair group, which met on Tuesday evening to further discuss indicators. The group agreed to reduce the number of indicators, albeit maintaining reservations on the technical feasibility of some of them. It did not agree on whether the additional technical input should be undertaken by the Secretariat or by SBSTTA-11.
On Wednesday, SWG-II considered a CRP on the framework for monitoring implementation of the Convention and achievement of the targets and review of work programmes (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/SWG.2/CRP.3). Delegates debated the need to complete the SBSTTA-10 mandate to review and refine the framework. Stressing that SBSTTA-10 reviewed the indicators but not the goals and targets of the framework, Colombia proposed requesting SBSTTA-11 to complete the review. Concerned that requests to SBSTTA exceed the WGRI’s mandate, delegates agreed that the WGRI “encourage” SBSTTA to fulfill this mandate.
Delegates then debated the need for further work on the list of indicators for the goals and objectives of the Strategic Plan compiled by the Friends of the Chair group on Tuesday evening. The EU, supported by Colombia and Canada, proposed requesting the Executive Secretary to further develop the list, and the AHTEG on Art. 8(j) and the Biosafety Protocol COP/MOP to review the indicators relating to indigenous peoples and the implementation of the Protocol, respectively. The EU also suggested requesting the Executive Secretary to provide information on data availability and usefulness of the proposed indicators, prior to COP-8. New Zealand cautioned against overburdening the Executive Secretary in the lead up to COP-8, calling for language that allows the Secretariat to prioritize different tasks. The EU proposed to “invite” rather than “request” the Executive Secretary to develop the list. Argentina and New Zealand also noted the lack of a mandate for the WGRI to request other CBD bodies to undertake work in this regard, with the Secretariat proposing to refer to the need to develop indicators on indigenous peoples and biosafety. Noting that the CBD COP and the Biosafety Protocol COP/MOP are two independent bodies with different membership, Ghana proposed deletion of references to the COP/MOP from the proposed indicators.
On Thursday, SWG-II considered a revised CRP (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/SWG.2/CRP.3/Rev.1), with discussion focusing on the annexed draft guidelines for the review of the work programmes. Noting the need to assess the adequacy of the work programmes to address major challenges, Ghana proposed references to the MDGs and the JPOI. On steps to follow in revising and updating work programmes, Canada proposed, and delegates agreed, to consider, but not to prioritize, the financial implications of activities. Following other minor amendments, delegates agreed on the revised CRP.
Final Recommendation: In the recommendation on the framework for monitoring implementation of the Convention and achievement of the targets, and review of the work programmes (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/L.7), the WGRI recommends that the COP, inter alia:
The WGRI invites the Executive Secretary, before COP-8, to consult members of the AHTEG on indicators for assessing progress towards the 2010 target, to further develop the list of proposed indicators.
The recommendation includes three annexes on: indicators for assessing progress in implementing the goals and objectives of the Strategic Plan; indicators relevant to the 2010 goals and targets (as contained in SBSTTA Recommendation X/5, Annex II); and draft guidelines for the review of the work programmes of the Convention. Annex III contains draft guidelines for the process of reviewing and, as necessary, revising and updating work programmes, and information, tools and mechanisms to support the review and revisions of work programmes.
On Tuesday, SWG-II focused on a note by the Executive Secretary on ways and means of improving the national reporting process by linking the format more closely with the 2010 target and the goals and objectives of the Strategic Plan, increasing compliance with reporting requirements, and facilitating harmonization with reporting processes in other biodiversity-related conventions (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/10 and UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/INF/6).
Several delegates stressed the need for a shift from activity-based to outcome-based reporting, and to simplify the reporting format as a matter of priority. Australia encouraged the Secretariat to fully involve parties in the development of a new format for national reports. Thailand and Lebanon favored facilitating timely submission of national reports through technical assistance. The EU, with Lebanon and others, requested that the Biodiversity Liaison Group consider harmonizing reporting across the biodiversity-related conventions. The EU, supported by Colombia, Canada and Peru, opposed reference to a voluntary mechanism for peer review of national reporting. Peru and the Russian Federation opposed a proposal to organize regional workshops for the preparation of national reports.
On Wednesday, SWG-II considered a CRP on national reporting (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/SWG.2/CRP.2), with discussion centering on the draft guidelines for the fourth national reports, regional workshops and other ways to facilitate national reporting.
On the draft guidelines for the fourth national reports, Canada suggested that the Executive Secretary develop the guidelines by January 2006 for COP-8 consideration, to allow enough time for parties’ consideration before the COP. SWG-II Chair Shikongo established a Friends of the Chair group, which met in the evening to discuss a partial list of elements to be taken into account in developing the guidelines, as an annex to the recommendation.
On proposed regional workshops to facilitate preparation of national reports, Australia, supported by Brazil, stressed the lack of mandate for the WGRI to make budgetary provisions, and proposed that the WGRI recommend that the COP consider their organization. Brazil proposed that these workshops also involve exchange of experiences on national implementation of NBSAPs, assessment of obstacles in the Convention implementation, and, supported by Canada, facilitation of NBSAP preparation.
Brazil, supported by the EU, suggested that COP-10 base its review of Convention implementation on both the third and fourth national reports. The EU proposed that the Biodiversity Liaison Group develop proposals on harmonizing reporting, with Norway requesting participation of the UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre in this endeavor. Given possible financial implications, New Zealand, supported by Norway, suggested that the Executive Secretary report to the COP on options to facilitate timely submissions of national reports, including on feasibility and costs to provide technical assistance.
Noting its responsibility to operationalize COP guidance, the GEF suggested that the COP invite the GEF to explore and establish expeditious mechanisms for the provision of funds for preparing future national reports.
On Thursday, SWG-II considered a revised CRP (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/SWG.2/CRP.2/Rev.1). Norway opposed requesting the Executive Secretary to report to the COP on the feasibility and cost of providing technical assistance on report submissions.
On the annexed schedule of complementary reports on thematic programmes, Ghana requested noting reports on cross-cutting issues. On the annexed principles and elements to be taken into account in developing guidelines for the fourth national report, Brazil opposed a suggestion that national reports facilitate harmonization of reporting by joint reporting modules with biodiversity-related conventions and other processes. Canada, on behalf of the Friends of the Chair, Switzerland and the EU insisted on reducing overall reporting burdens by having information fulfill multiple reporting requirements. Delegates agreed to compromise text, stating that national reports should facilitate harmonized reporting “where possible.”
Final Recommendation: In its recommendation (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/L.6), the WGRI recommends that the COP, inter alia:
The WGRI also requests the Executive Secretary by January 2006 to develop draft guidelines for the fourth national report and to finalize these guidelines in light of COP-8 decisions, and to identify additional ways and means to facilitate timely submission of national reports.
The recommendation includes two annexes on the schedule of complementary reports on thematic programmes and suggested principles, and elements to be taken into account in developing the guidelines for the fourth national report.
On Friday morning, WGRI Chair Ramatha convened the closing plenary. SWG-II Chair Shikongo presented the report of SWG-II (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/L.1/Add.2), which delegates adopted without amendments. SWG-I Chair Jebb presented the report of SWG-I (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/L.1/Add.1), which delegates adopted with minor amendments.
Rapporteur Matamoros introduced the report of the meeting (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/L.1), with an annex containing COP-6 President Hoogeveen’s statement to the plenary on Monday. Delegates adopted the report with minor amendments, taking note of Algeria’s objection to the inclusion of the annex.
Tanzania, on behalf of Africa, expressed appreciation for the WGRI outcomes and their substantial contribution to achieving the 2010 target, highlighting the revision of NBSAPs, support to national CHMs, review of financial resources, CEPA, and national reporting. Cuba, on behalf of GRULAC, noted that the consensus achieved at the meeting was crucial in the shift of the Convention from policy development to implementation, stressing the importance of achieving its three objectives. The Russian Federation, on behalf of CEE, commended the excellent spirit of cooperation among participants, and expressed support for the continuation of the WGRI on a standing basis.
Kiribati, on behalf of Asia and the Pacific, underscored the role of stakeholders in the achievement of the three objectives of the CBD, and praised the recommendations on: NBSAPs, output-oriented approach to capacity building, support to NFPs, and reduction of intersessional meetings to free resources for national implementation. The EU commended the effective work of WGRI, identifying as key issues for the future of the Convention to focus on national implementation, including protected areas, and streamlining CBD processes. China highlighted the importance of the WGRI recommendations for enhanced implementation, and emphasized the need to prioritize the use of limited resources for implementation at the national level and to improve effectiveness of the financial mechanism. Brazil reported on the preparations for COP-8.
CBD Executive Secretary Zedan congratulated delegates on the progress achieved, as well as for the guidance emerging from the discussions regarding implementation of the Convention and Strategic Plan and achievement of the 2010 target. Chair Ramatha thanked participants for the excellent results, and gaveled the meeting to a close at 1:47 pm.
A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF THE MEETING
To the Montreal media, the first meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on Review of Implementation of the Convention (WGRI) was clearly a crossroads for the CBD on its way towards achieving the target to reach a significant reduction of the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. Similarly, from an insider’s perspective, WGRI represented a much needed opportunity to critically assess where the CBD stands, how much ground it has covered in the past and where it needs to go in the future. By the end of the week, there was broad agreement that there are two crucial, interrelated issues on the road linking policy to implementation: streamlining the Convention processes and providing assistance for national implementation.
This analysis will begin at the crossroads where the CBD currently stands, journey through the WGRI outcomes as “steps in the right direction” to support national implementation and streamline the Convention, and conclude by highlighting the new ideas that emerged from the WGRI discussions to accelerate progress towards the achievement of the 2010 target.
AT A CROSSROADS
Since SBSTTA-10, when the Biodiversity Synthesis Report of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) was released, the CBD has had a scientifically valid confirmation that the world is facing an unprecedented loss of biodiversity and that much remains to be done to tackle the problem. If the MA shows where the CBD stands, the 2010 target, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and the Millennium Development Goals clearly indicate the way forward for the Convention. Now the question is to take a critical look at what the CBD has done in the past and, most importantly, what action is necessary to move forward and achieve the 2010 target. After a decade of policy development, COP-6 initiated a transition of the Convention, its processes, mechanisms and instruments, towards focusing on implementation. Two years later, the WGRI convened as the first body under the CBD explicitly created to review and support this transition.
WGRI delegates came to Montreal with diverse, but somewhat complementary, expectations for what the WGRI needed to accomplish. While a great number of developing countries made it clear that their main concern was to increase assistance and capacity for national implementation, developed countries emphasized the need to streamline processes and consolidate decisions, guidance and instruments in order to free resources currently tied up in a myriad of international activities, to the benefit of national implementation. Over the week, other dividing lines appeared, concerning, for example, procedural issues and the nature of the future review process. However, delegates soon agreed that national implementation and streamlining Convention processes are inevitably linked.
WORKING OUT NATIONAL IMPLEMENTATION
Some obstacles on the well-trodden path to national implementation are all too familiar in the international environmental arena: the need for capacity building, technology transfer and financial resources. Other obstacles that emerged at the WGRI are typical for the CBD: the burdensome format for national reporting; the difficulty in developing, implementing and updating national biodiversity strategies and action plans; and the diversion of financial and human resources from on-the-ground implementation to participation in a plethora of international meetings.
With regard to familiar calls for increased financial resources, the GEF reports that much of the resources allocated to biodiversity projects are left unused clashed with delegates’ complaints about unsuitable eligibility criteria. Indeed, it was for fear of even more complex procedures that many recipient countries fiercely opposed references to creating synergies in the implementation of the three Rio conventions through funding strategies. In the end, the WGRI agreed on an in-depth review of financial resources in order to explore options for the GEF to enhance cooperation between the Rio conventions, balanced by a recommendation to clarify GEF eligibility criteria and facilitate access to GEF funding. On the sidelines, an informal meeting between the EU and the African Group resulted in a commitment to enhance the dialogue between recipient countries and the GEF and its donors for better alignment of resource allocations and funding needs.
Increasing capacity for the completion of national reports was also high on the agenda. The current format for reporting is seen as directly responsible for the delays in the completion of national reports, curtailing the ability to assess national implementation. The WGRI succeeded in identifying a number of measures to address this problem: simplifying the format for the fourth national reports, aligning reporting with the framework for monitoring the Convention’s implementation and progress towards the 2010 target, streamlining reporting under the five biodiversity-related conventions, and organizing regional and subregional workshops to assist countries in report preparation.
In addition, the idea of a proactive structure to support implementation in developing countries resulted in a recommendation on considering options at COP-8 for the “provision of technical support to facilitate and promote implementation, such as a technical assistance programme.” According to some, this could fill the gap left by the decision to discontinue the roster of experts. The recommendation envisages a “potential role” for the Secretariat and other international organizations, such as UNDP, UNEP and FAO. However, some delegates pointed out such a programme, if regionally based, could not only better respond to national priorities for CBD implementation, but also relieve the Secretariat from dealing directly with requests for assistance.
GETTING THE CONVENTION IN SHAPE
Besides absorbing most of the resources for concrete implementation, the plethora of processes, decisions and activities under the Convention has produced a workload at the international level that most parties – including developed countries – are struggling to keep up with. Identifying options for streamlining the overburdened meeting calendar and consolidating the cumulative stock of past, often overlapping or repetitive, decisions are considered critical to improving operationalization of the Convention.
But consensus on the need for streamlining led delegates into the paradoxical situation of having to reduce workloads and prevent further proliferation of meetings while establishing yet another new process, the WGRI itself. Facing the risk of becoming part of the problem rather than the solution, delegates agreed to hold just one meeting of the WGRI before COP-9. This leaves options open as to whether the WGRI would meet again beyond COP-9 and what other Convention body could be charged with continuing the review of implementation.
A procedural controversy over the relationship among the different bodies of the Convention and the intersection of their mandates further complicated debates during the week. Recalling previous CBD meetings, several participants noted that this controversy has the potential to stall negotiations or, at least, spend “costly meeting time” to come to overly cautious recommendations. In an effort to resolve doubts about the mandate and operations of open-ended working groups once and for all, a proposal was put forward to develop a modus operandi for them. While this idea was rejected, WGRI eventually recommended the development of “better working arrangements” and ensuring an effective prior exchange of information among CBD bodies.
FITTING INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS TO OLD PROBLEMS
Another contribution of the WGRI to enable the CBD to meet the 2010 target has been the consideration of two innovative tools in stepping up implementation: the global partnership for biodiversity and private sector engagement.
The idea behind the global partnership for biodiversity was a single, visible system of organized, but flexible, cooperation among different organizations and stakeholders to provide a common focus around the 2010 target. Benefits would include broadening the base of partners for national implementation and raising the profile of biodiversity in other international fora. WGRI delegates did not judge the global partnership for biodiversity as ready for launching and, thus, decided to postpone discussion on its precise terms of reference. However, its time may not be too far down the road, as cooperation among the biodiversity-related conventions and engagement of many of the relevant organizations, such as the FAO, and stakeholders, such as indigenous peoples and NGOs, continues.
Engaging the private sector in the work of the CBD has been warmly welcomed, in consideration of the direct and indirect impacts of business on biodiversity, its potential in fostering the CBD objectives, and its vast and relatively untapped financial and technological resources. Involving the private sector in national implementation could potentially facilitate the response to the chronic need for additional human, financial and technical capacity at the ground level. The business community's involvement in the CBD process is also fundamental in providing guidance on how to translate international obligations directly addressed to States parties into meaningful standards for good management practices for diverse private actors. Although the concrete suggestions presented by the private sector representatives in Sub-Working Group II did not make their way into the relevant recommendation, the WGRI will transmit to the COP a comprehensive list of options for bringing the private sector on board. It is now a question of choosing the most appropriate options, in consultation with all interested parties, as is envisaged in the upcoming Business and 2010 Biodiversity Challenge meeting.
ON THE WAY TO 2010 VIA CURITIBA 2006
If COP-7 and SBSTTA-10 addressed the issue of measuring progress in achieving the 2010 target, by developing a framework for assessing implementation, the WGRI has outlined priority action for the CBD to actually progress on that path.
During the closing plenary, most parties praised the important steps taken by the WGRI towards achieving the 2010 target and lauded the constructive spirit that had marked the week’s deliberations. Yet, in contrast to its mandate of reducing workloads and streamlining the meeting agenda, the WGRI’s recommendations imply a lot of additional work for parties and the Secretariat in the lead up to COP-8: consolidated decisions, analyses of linkages among processes, options for streamlining and priority setting, to name but a few, are expected to be developed by the Secretariat and reviewed by parties before March 2006.
In leaving Montreal, several delegates, therefore, were optimistic that the route chosen by the WGRI will lead towards improved implementation of the Convention and will move a little closer to achieving the 2010 target, but knew, at the same time, that the real message behind this week’s recommendations is “working smarter” towards COP-8 and beyond, in order to effectively translate good intentions and extensive negotiations into an actual reduction of the rate of biodiversity loss.
LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN REGIONAL WORKSHOP ON SUSTAINABLE USE: This CBD technical expert workshop will take place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 13-16 September 2005. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat: tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.biodiv.org/doc/meeting.aspx?mtg=RWSULAC-01
AD HOC TECHNICAL EXPERT GROUP ON BIODIVERSITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE: This CBD technical expert group will convene from 13-16 September 2005, in Helsinki, Finland. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat: tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.biodiv.org/doc/meeting.aspx?mtg=TEGCC-04
HIGH-LEVEL PLENARY MEETING OF THE 60th SESSION OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON THE FOLLOW-UP TO THE OUTCOME OF THE MILLENNIUM SUMMIT: Also referred to as the “2005 World Summit,” this meeting will take place from 14-16 September 2005, at UN headquarters in New York. The meeting is expected to undertake a comprehensive review of the progress made toward the commitments articulated in the UN Millennium Declaration. The event will also review progress made in the implementation of the outcomes and commitments of the major UN conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields. For more information, contact: Office of the President of the General Assembly; tel: +1-212-963-2486; fax: +1-212-963-3301; internet: http://www.un.org/ga/59/hl60_plenarymeeting.html
WORKSHOP ON MARKETS FOR ECOSYSTEM SERVICES: Organized by UNEP’s Division for Policy Development and Law and the Division of Environmental Conventions, the workshop will take place from 10-12 October 2005, in London, England, to provide a forum to consider the salient features of markets for services provided by biodiversity, freshwater and climate regulation. For more information, contact: UNEP Division of Environmental Conventions; tel: +254-20-623-494; fax: +254-20-624-300; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.unep.org/dec/
EXPERTS MEETING ON LIABILITY AND REDRESS UNDER THE CONVENTION: This CBD Experts Meeting will take place from 12-14 October 2005, in Montreal, Canada. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat: tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.biodiv.org/doc/meeting.aspx?mtg=EGLR-01
BUSINESS AND THE 2010 BIODIVERSITY CHALLENGE: Tentatively scheduled from 3-5 November 2005, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, this will be the second “Business and the 2010 Biodiversity Challenge” meeting, aimed at developing ideas for engaging business in biodiversity issues, as a means of working towards the 2010 target. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.biodiv.org/meetings/
RAMSAR COP-9: The ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands will be held from 7-15 November 2005, in Kampala, Uganda. For more information, contact: Ramsar Secretariat: tel: +41-22-999-0170; fax +41-22-999-0169; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.ramsar.org
DIVERSITAS OPEN SCIENCE CONFERENCE: The DIVERSITAS Open Science Conference will take place from 9-12 November 2005, in Oaxaca, Mexico. This Conference will have the theme “Integrating biodiversity science for human well-being.” For more information, contact: DIVERSITAS Secretariat; tel: +33-1-45-25-95-25; fax: +33-1-42-88-94-31; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.diversitas-osc1.org/
CMS COP-8: The eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species will convene from 16-25 November 2005, in Nairobi, Kenya, with the theme “On the Move to 2010.” For more information, contact: UNEP/CMS Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-2401; fax: +49-228-815-2449; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.cms.int
SBSTTA-11: The eleventh meeting of the CBD’s Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice will take place from 28 November - 2 December 2005, in Montreal, Canada. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.biodiv.org/doc/meeting.aspx?mtg=SBSTTA-11
SECOND MEETING OF THE WORKING GROUP ON PROTECTED AREAS: The second meeting of the CBD Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Protected Areas will be held from 5-9 December 2005, in Montreal, Canada. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.biodiv.org/doc/meeting.aspx?mtg=PAWG-02
FOURTH MEETING OF THE WORKING GROUP ON ARTICLE 8(J) AND ABS-4: The fourth meeting of the CBD Ad Hoc Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions will be held from 23-27 January 2006, in Granada, Spain. It will be followed by the fourth meeting of the CBD Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit Sharing, which will convene from 30 January - 3 February 2006. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.biodiv.org/meetings/
NINTH SPECIAL SESSION OF THE UNEP GC/GMEF: The ninth special session of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum will be held from 7-9 February 2006, in Dubai, U.A.E. The major agenda items for UNEP GCSS-9/GMEF are energy and environment and chemicals management. For more information, contact: Beverly Miller, Secretary for UNEP Governing Council; tel: +254-2-623-431; fax: +254-2-623-929; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.unep.org
BIOSAFETY COP/MOP-3: The third meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety will take place from 13-17 March 2006, in Curitiba, Brazil. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514288-6588; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.biodiv.org/meetings/
CBD COP-8: The eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD will take place from 20-31 March 2006, in Curitiba, Brazil. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.biodiv.org/doc/meeting.aspx?mtg=COP-08