Vol. 9 No. 333
SUMMARY OF THE ELEVENTH MEETING OF THE
SUBSIDIARY BODY ON SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVICE TO THE
CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY:
The eleventh meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-11) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) met from 28 November- 2 December 2005, in Montreal, Canada. Over 600 participants attended the meeting, representing parties, UN agencies, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, indigenous and local community groups, academia, and industry. Delegates to SBSTTA-11 adopted 14 recommendations on a range of issues, which will be forwarded to the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the CBD, to take place from 20-31 March 2006, in Curitiba, Brazil.
SBSTTA-11, as a preparatory process for COP-8, considered a wide range of strategic, scientific and technical issues for the implementation of the Convention, with particular focus on dry and sub-humid lands biodiversity and the Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI). It further refined the goal and targets regarding access and benefit-sharing adopted by COP-7, and provided guidance on sustainable use, and on promoting synergy among activities addressing biodiversity, climate change, land degradation and desertification. Consideration of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and the second Global Biodiversity Outlook further enhanced the scientific base for the implementation of the Convention.
However, debates on issues such as marine and coastal biodiversity, access and benefit-sharing, incentive measures, and invasive alien species proved to be difficult, and, as a result, some of the recommendations remain bracketed. Many believed that this is largely due to the underlying political sensitivities of these issues, including those related to national sovereignty over natural resources, trade, and genetic resources. These issues are considered to be serious challenges facing the SBSTTA, making many wonder whether this scientific and technical body should ever have included these highly-politicized issues on its agenda.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CBD
The Convention on Biological Diversity, negotiated under the auspices of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), was opened for signature on 5 June 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 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.”
The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the governing body of the Convention. It is assisted by Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, which is mandated, under CBD Article 25, to provide the COP with advice relating to the Convention’s implementation. To date, the COP has held seven meetings, and convened one extraordinary meeting (ExCOP).
COP 1-4: Prior to the ExCOP, the COP held four meetings (November-December 1994, Nassau, the Bahamas; November 1995, Jakarta, Indonesia; November 1996, Buenos Aires, Argentina; and May 1998, Bratislava, Slovakia), and adopted decisions on, inter alia: the establishment of the Clearing-House Mechanism (CHM); the designation of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) as the interim financial mechanism; the designation of Montreal, Canada, as the permanent location for the Secretariat; and cooperation with other biodiversity-related conventions. The COP also established ad hoc open-ended working groups on biosafety and on CBD Article 8(j) (traditional knowledge), as well as an expert panel on access and benefit-sharing (ABS). Thematic programmes of work were adopted on: inland water ecosystems; marine and coastal biodiversity; agricultural biodiversity; and forest biodiversity.
ExCOP: The ExCOP (February 1999, Cartagena, Colombia) convened to adopt the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. Agreement was not reached, and the meeting was suspended. Following three sets of informal consultations to resolve outstanding issues, the ExCOP resumed in January 2000 in Montreal, Canada, and adopted the Protocol. The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety addresses the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms (LMOs) that may have an adverse effect on biodiversity, with a specific focus on transboundary movements. The Protocol entered into force on 11 September 2003, and, to date, has been ratified by 129 countries.
COP-5: At its fifth meeting (May 2000, Nairobi, Kenya), the COP adopted a programme of work on dry and sub-humid lands, and decisions on: the ecosystem approach; ABS, including the establishment of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group; invasive alien species; sustainable use; biodiversity and tourism; incentive measures; the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC); the Convention’s operations; the GTI; the CHM; financial resources and mechanism; identification, monitoring and assessment, and indicators; CBD Article 8(j); education and public awareness; impact assessment; and liability and redress.
SBSTTA-7: The SBSTTA’s seventh meeting (November 2001, Montreal, Canada) reconsidered and expanded the programme of work on forest biodiversity, and adopted recommendations on: agricultural biodiversity, including the International Pollinators Initiative; the GSPC; incentive measures; indicators; sustainable tourism; and environmental impact assessments.
COP-6: The sixth meeting of the COP (April 2002, The Hague, the Netherlands) adopted the revised programme of work on forest biodiversity, as well as guiding principles for invasive alien species, the Bonn Guidelines on ABS, and the Strategic Plan for the CBD. Decisions were also adopted on: the GSPC; the GTI; the ecosystem approach; sustainable use; incentive measures; liability and redress; the CHM; financial resources and mechanism; cooperation with other conventions and international initiatives; a contribution to the ten-year review of Agenda 21; CBD Article 8(j); and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
SBSTTA-8: On its major theme for discussion, mountain biodiversity, the eighth meeting of SBSTTA (March 2003, Montreal, Canada) adopted the structure of a proposed programme of work. It also adopted recommendations on: inland water ecosystems; marine and coastal biodiversity; dry and sub-humid lands; biodiversity and tourism; and the SBSTTA’s operations.
SBSTTA-9: The ninth meeting of SBSTTA (November 2003, Montreal, Canada) considered elements of work programmes on protected areas, and on technology transfer and cooperation. Delegates also adopted recommendations on, inter alia: biodiversity and climate change; monitoring and indicators; and incentive measures.
COP-7: The seventh meeting of the COP (February 2004, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) adopted three work programmes on: mountain biodiversity; protected areas; and technology transfer and cooperation. Decisions were also adopted on: biodiversity and tourism; monitoring and indicators; the ecosystem approach; biodiversity and climate change; sustainable use; invasive alien species; the Strategic Plan; inland water ecosystems; marine and coastal biodiversity; ABS; Article 8(j), including the Akwé:Kon Guidelines on impact assessments; incentive measures; communication, education and public awareness; scientific and technical cooperation and the CHM; financial resources and mechanism; and national reporting.
COP/MOP-1: The first meeting of the COP serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (COP/MOP-1) (February 2004, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) adopted decisions on: decision making by parties of import; capacity building and the roster of experts; handling, transport, packaging and identification of LMOs; information sharing and the Biosafety Clearing-House; liability and redress; compliance; and the medium-term COP/MOP programme of work.
SBSTTA-10: The tenth meeting of SBSTTA (February 2005, Bangkok, Thailand) developed a work programme on island biodiversity, and confirmed the suitability of various indicators for an assessment of progress towards the 2010 target of significantly reducing the biodiversity loss rate. It also, inter alia: provided advice on the integration of global outcome-oriented targets into the Convention’s work programmes; recommended steps for the review of implementation of the GTI programme of work; proposed options for a cross-cutting initiative on biodiversity for food and nutrition; and refined proposals for the application of ways and means to remove or mitigate perverse incentives.
COP/MOP-2: The second meeting of the COP serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (COP/MOP-1) (May/June 2005, Montreal), achieved a number of successful steps towards the Protocol’s implementation, including decisions on capacity building, and public awareness and participation, and constructive discussions on risk assessment and risk management, including agreement to establish an intersessional technical expert group. Nevertheless, the meeting did not adopt a decision on the detailed requirements of documentation of LMO-FFPs “no later than two years after the date of entry into force of this Protocol.”
SBSTTA Chair Christian Prip (Denmark) opened the SBSTTA-11 on Monday morning, 28 November 2005, stressing the need for: parties to contribute quality information for a proper assessment of implementation; sectoral integration of biodiversity concerns; and promoting synergies at the national level. He reminded delegates of the possibility of providing options, rather than bracketing text, when consensus is elusive.
CBD Executive Secretary Hamdallah Zedan highlighted SBSTTA’s role in strengthening the scientific basis of the Convention. Noting that SBSTTA-11 is his final meeting as CBD Executive Secretary, he outlined the Convention’s major achievements, including: rapid progress in operationalizing access and benefit-sharing (ABS) provisions; adoption of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety; and recognition of the role of biodiversity for human well-being and poverty alleviation.
Bakary Kante, on behalf of UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer, stressed the 2010 target to significantly reduce biodiversity loss, UNEP’s work in supporting the CBD, and the importance of ecosystem services.
Statements were also made by: the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA), the UK for the EU, Tanzania for the African Group, Iran for Asia and the Pacific, Poland for Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), and Saint Lucia for the Latin America and Caribbean Group (GRULAC).
Delegates elected Chaweewan Hutacharem (Thailand) as Rapporteur of the meeting. The SBSTTA-11 Bureau comprises the following members, in addition to its Chair and Rapporteur: Alfred Oteng-Yeboah (Ghana), Claudine Ramiarison (Madagascar), Asghar Mohammadi Fazel (Islamic Republic of Iran), Bozena Haczek (Poland), Shirin Karryeva (Turkmenistan), Jorge Ernesto Quezada Diaz (El Salvador), Michael Andrew (Saint Lucia), and Anne Marie Watt (Australia). The election of new regional representatives to the Bureau of SBSTTA-12 and 13 was postponed pending regional consultations.
Delegates agreed to establish two working groups, and elected Annemarie Watt (Australia) as Chair of Working Group I (WG-I) and Claudine Ramiarison (Madagascar) as Chair of Working Group II (WG-II). Delegates decided to: address synergy among desertification, land degradation and climate change activities in WG-I; hear keynote presentations in WG-II; and discuss the vision, mission, and goals and targets of the work programmes on dry and sub-humid lands, mountain, and forest biodiversity in WG-II, together with the review and further refinement of the goals and targets contained in the provisional framework. The provisional agenda (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/1) and the organization of work (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/1/Add.1) were approved as amended.
During the week, the plenary convened on Monday morning to take note of progress in implementation of the CBD work programmes and to consider the second Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-2). It reconvened on Friday afternoon to conclude its work. The two working groups met from Monday afternoon to Friday morning. This report summarizes discussions and recommendations on each agenda item, following their consideration in plenary, working and contact groups.
PROGRESS REPORT ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CBD WORK PROGRAMMES: On Monday, delegates took note of the progress reports on the implementation of the thematic and cross-cutting work programmes (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/2 and 3, and INF/9 and 10).
SECOND GLOBAL BIODIVERSITY OUTLOOK: The agenda item was considered in plenary on Monday and Friday. On Monday, the Secretariat introduced the draft GBO-2, including an executive summary (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/6 and INF/14). On Friday, the Secretariat introduced the draft recommendation submitted by Chair Prip, which was adopted with minor amendments. Many countries stressed the need to refine indicators, including their relation to benefit-sharing, performance evaluation, and calculation. Several parties called for making the GBO accessible to a non-technical audience and local communities.
Recommendation: In the final recommendation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/L.2), SBSTTA welcomes the draft GBO-2 and invites the Executive Secretary to take into account the comments provided by delegations during SBSTTA-11 in finalizing it for publication prior to COP-8. It emphasizes that GBO-2 should address the three objectives of the Convention in a balanced way, and enable a critical evaluation of the indicators identified in Decision VII/30 (Strategic Plan) and refined in Recommendation X/5 (GBO), and their usefulness for assessing and communicating progress towards the 2010 target. SBSTTA also invites the Executive Secretary to collaborate with relevant organizations to elaborate a short list of concrete scenarios and response options to meet the 2010 target. It requests the Executive Secretary, in preparation for GBO-3, to take into consideration the lessons learned from the use of national reports and indicators for the goals and targets in GBO-2. It recommends that the COP: encourage parties to ensure the widest possible dissemination of GBO-2; invite UNEP to use relevant parts of GBO-2 in future editions of its Global Environment Outlook (GEO); and request the Executive Secretary to make available information and analyses used in GBO-2 as an input to GEO-4.
WORKING GROUP I
GLOBAL TAXONOMY INITIATIVE: On Monday, the Secretariat introduced the document on the in-depth review of the implementation of the work programme for the GTI (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/5) and elements of planned activities for the new work programmes (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/5/Add.1). On the basis of discussions held, Chair Watt prepared a draft recommendation, which was addressed and approved with few amendments on Wednesday. On Friday afternoon, the closing plenary adopted the draft recommendation with an amendment proposed by Cameroon, on behalf of the African Group, to invite governments and organizations to facilitate the integration of taxonomic information on nationally held collections in regional and global databases and information systems.
While a number of parties supported completion of national taxonomic needs assessments, discussions focused on the need for capacity building, and financial and human resources to support taxonomic research and national GTI focal points. Delegates specifically addressed: mobilization of financial and technical resources for maintaining collections of biological specimens; the possibility of establishing a special fund for taxonomic capacity building for developing countries; assistance for institutional infrastructure to adequately curate biological specimens; and facilitation of information exchange. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) requested that the meeting report reflect its concern that the language of the recommendation overstepped the Memorandum of Understanding between the GEF Council and the CBD COP, as only the COP has the competence to address specific requests to the GEF.
Recommendation: The final recommendation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/L.3) includes both the recommendation on the in-depth review of the implementation of the GTI work programme, and an annex on additional planned activities.
SBSTTA recommends that COP-8:
SBSTTA also recommends that the COP urge parties to: establish GTI national focal points; undertake or complete national taxonomic needs assessments; and contribute to regional and global taxonomic needs assessments, and to the implementation of the planned activities of the GTI work programme. The COP is also recommended to invite parties to promote taxonomy and related research, develop and implement capacity-building activities, mobilize financial and technical resources to assist developing countries, and promote cooperation and networking.
SBSTTA also recommends that COP-8 request the Executive Secretary to: continue collaborating with relevant conventions, organizations and initiatives; undertake activities demonstrating the importance of taxonomy for the general public; and include the GTI in the joint work plan between the secretariats of the CBD and the International Plant Protection Convention. COP-8 is asked to request the GEF to continue supporting the implementation of the planned activities, consider development of simplified procedures for GTI-related proposals, and provide financial resources for GTI national focal points. The additional planned activities in the annex address the work programmes on mountain biodiversity, IAS, PAs and island biodiversity.
INVASIVE ALIEN SPECIES: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced the main conclusion and recommendations from, and the report of, the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on gaps and inconsistencies in the international regulatory framework in relation to IAS (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/16 and INF/4). Discussion in WG-I continued on Wednesday. On the basis of discussions, WG-I Chair Watt prepared a draft recommendation, which was considered during an informal session on Thursday evening, and was finally approved by WG-I on Friday morning. One issue remained unresolved. On Friday afternoon, the closing plenary adopted the recommendation, including a bracketed reference to the outstanding issues related to Decision VI/23 (IAS).
During discussions, delegates stressed the importance of homogenizing IAS terminology, and the need for national-level capacity building. Debate focused on: the need for additional funding for capacity building; cooperation with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); and a proposal by Australia to note the outstanding procedural and substantive issues related to Decision VI/23 (IAS).
On Friday morning, based on a compromise proposal presented by Japan and Cameroon, delegates agreed to recommend that the COP consider the need for the provision of additional funding by the financial mechanism for developing countries to prevent or minimize the risk of IAS. Regarding cooperation with the UNFCCC, the UK presented compromise text, and delegates agreed to request the Executive Secretary to communicate the recommendations on IAS to the UNFCCC Secretariat, to facilitate their consideration, as appropriate, by UNFCCC parties in framing and implementing the Convention’s decisions.
Australia elaborated on its proposal to note the reference in the AHTEG report to the outstanding procedural and substantive issues related to Decision VI/23. Recalling the adoption of the Decision at COP-6 despite Australia’s formal reservation, Argentina, New Zealand and Chile supported the Australian proposal. Norway and the European Community (EC) opposed, with Norway underscoring discussion of the issue by the UN Legal Office, and the EC noting that the reference in the AHTEG report reflected the view of only two of its participants. Jamaica said the COP, not SBSTTA, should deal with the issue.
The proposed insertion was not resolved during the closing plenary, and the recommendation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/L.13) was adopted with the bracketed text. New Zealand formally stated its support for Australia’s proposal, while Jamaica recorded in the meeting’s report its disappointment that delegates were not given the opportunity to fully address this issue in plenary. The EC put on record that the bracketed paragraph should not be in the recommendation.
Recommendation: In the final recommendation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/L.13), SBSTTA asks COP-8 to recognize the importance of: capacity building for addressing the various pathways for the introduction and spread of IAS; collaboration among international bodies and instruments, as well as among relevant sectors; and information sharing. It also recommends that COP-8: consider the need for the provision of additional funding by the financial mechanism; urge parties to notify potential importing countries of relevant information about species that are subject to export and may be potentially invasive; and request the Executive Secretary to consult with relevant international bodies and instruments on the lack of international standards covering IAS, as well as to communicate the recommendation to the UNFCCC Secretariat to facilitate its being taken into account by UNFCCC parties in framing and implementing the UNFCCC decisions.
On conveyances as pathways for IAS, SBSTTA recommends that COP-8 invite: parties to share national experiences through the Clearing House Mechanism (CHM); and relevant bodies and institutions to further study conveyance pathways and to conduct risk assessments for potential future introductions. It also recommends that COP-8 encourage training of border control officials and development of regional guidance for particular conveyances as pathways for IAS.
On aquaculture/mariculture, it recommends that COP-8: encourage regional bodies and conventions to consider developing cooperative arrangements and certification schemes; and urge parties to ratify and implement, among others, the 1997 UN Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses, and the FAO Code of Conduct on Responsible Fisheries.
On ballast water, it is recommended that COP-8 invite the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans to support implementation of the International Convention on the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, and urge parties to: ratify this Convention; address domestic translocation of ballast water in their national legislation; and increase communication and coordination between national agencies responsible for the CBD and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Regarding marine biofouling, particularly hull-fouling, it is recommended that COP-8 encourage: implementation of controls at the national level; harmonization of national legislation within regions; and consideration of the issue at the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee, the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, and the UN Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea.
On civil air transport, the recommendation encourages collaboration between the CBD Secretariat and the Secretariat of the International Civil Aviation Organization. On military activities, it encourages promotion of good practice by governments and development of guidance and codes of practice by UN bodies.
On emergency relief, aid and response, it urges governments and donors to take measures to prevent and minimize the introduction and spread of IAS. On international development assistance, it urges parties to consider national controls or codes of practice.
On scientific research, SBSTTA recommends that the COP: urge parties to raise awareness among scientific organizations of existing measures, and put in place measures to prevent or minimize associated risks; encourage relevant organizations to develop codes of practice; and emphasize the need for taxonomic studies to deal with IAS.
On tourism, the COP is recommended to decide to consider, as appropriate, in its future work relating to sustainable tourism, the issue of tourism as a pathway for IAS.
Regarding action or lack of action to address the spread of IAS, the COP is recommended to urge parties to share information on domestic occurrences of alien species that may be invasive elsewhere, and to be proactive in preventing the introduction and spread of IAS within their territories.
Regarding inconsistency of terminology, SBSTTA recommends that COP-8 request the Executive Secretary to compile a glossary of terms used in various forums, and to make it available through the CHM.
Other issues addressed include: pets, aquarium species, live bait, live food and plant seeds; biocontrol agents; ex situ animal breeding programmes; inter-basin water transfer and navigational canals; and unintended protection of IAS. Regarding preparations for the in-depth review at COP-9, the COP is recommended to request the Executive Secretary to consolidate decisions on IAS, review their implementation and report to SBSTTA. A paragraph noting the reference, in the report of the AHTEG, to the outstanding procedural and substantive issues related to Decision VI/23, remains bracketed.
INCENTIVE MEASURES AND VALUATION TOOLS: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced documents regarding positive incentive measures and valuation tools (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/8 and 9, and INF/9, 11 and 15). Following consultations in an informal group, Chair Watt prepared a draft recommendation, which was addressed in an informal session on Thursday evening and in WG-I on Friday morning. Following further informal consultations, the closing plenary was presented with two recommendations on: application of tools for valuation of biodiversity and biodiversity resources and functions (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/L.15); and incentive measures (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/L.16). The plenary adopted both recommendations, as amended in the informal consultations, with remaining unresolved issues regarding valuation tools.
Many delegates noted difficulties in applying incentives in developing countries, while others focused on non-monetary incentives. Switzerland cautioned against distortions in competition and market discrimination and, with Australia, stressed the need for mutual supportiveness with other international agreements. Many stressed that incentives should be adaptable to local conditions.
Delegates debated a recommendation regarding the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations on environmental goods and services, with China, Argentina, New Zealand and Brazil opposing to communicating to the WTO the importance of enhanced market access for biodiversity goods and services. Other areas of disagreement included: the preparatory process for the in-depth review of the Convention’s work on incentive measures; encouraging strengthening of mechanisms that build capacity; inviting financial support for national capacity; and encouraging research on mechanisms that ensure benefit-sharing from positive incentive measures, for the recognition and reward to indigenous and local communities, including women, that maintain customary sustainable use systems.
On Friday, Chair Watt introduced a draft recommendation organized into three sections with annexes corresponding to each section. On the preparatory process for the in-depth review, Sweden suggested a request to the Executive Secretary to prepare, in a transparent and inclusive manner, the in-depth review of work on incentive measures for COP-9 consideration with a view to proposing options for a future work programme. The Swedish proposal also provided for the Executive Secretary, in doing so, to take into consideration key challenges in implementing existing work, key gaps in the work completed to date as well as positive and negative experiences gathered, and options for mechanisms to progress future work, and for deleting the annex associated with that section. Delegates could not reach agreement, and several paragraphs remained bracketed.
The Secretariat then presented the amendments to the section and annexes on valuation tools agreed upon during the informal meeting, including bracketed text on research activities and inclusion of cultural values. WG-I agreed to approve the document and forward outstanding issues for plenary consideration. An informal group met at lunchtime to attempt resolution of outstanding issues.
During the closing plenary, Argentina requested that a footnote clearly reflect that the Chair’s text annexed to the recommendation on incentive measures does not include negotiated text.
Recommendations: The recommendation on valuation tools (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/L.15) includes an annex on options for the application of tools for valuation of biodiversity and biodiversity resources and functions.
SBSTTA recommends that COP-8 take note of the options in the annex, and invite parties to take, in accordance with their national policies and legislation, their capacity and international obligations, these proposals into consideration when considering the application of methods for assessing the changes of the value of biodiversity resources and functions.
SBSTTA recommends that COP-8: consider the establishment of a process of systematic analysis and information exchange among CBD parties; encourage organizations and initiatives to extend capacity building and training on biodiversity valuation; invite institutions that support web-based information systems and databases on valuation to fully include cases on biodiversity valuation; and invite funding institutions to identify gaps and needs to support building or enhancing national capacity. COP-8 is recommended to request the Executive Secretary to: continue the compilation of information on methods for biodiversity valuation; and explore with relevant organizations options for cooperative activities, as well as options for innovative tools for biodiversity assessment and valuation.
The bracketed request to the Executive Secretary addresses preparation of a study on how monitoring of biodiversity resources and functions can support the implementation of valuation tools and positive incentive measures. Other bracketed recommendations refer to: strengthening research activities; supporting the participation of indigenous and local communities to facilitate the inclusion of cultural values in work on biodiversity valuation; and inviting funding institutions to support research activities.
The annex addresses issues relating to: valuation tools; institutional considerations; capacity building and training; and further research. A table includes main valuation techniques, adapted from the MA.
The recommendation on incentive measures (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/L.16) includes an annex containing the Chair’s text on optional proposals on the application of positive incentive measures and their integration into relevant programmes, policies or strategies. The recommendation includes sections on the review of work on incentive measures under the Convention, and the application of positive incentive measures and their integration into relevant programmes, policies or strategies.
On the review of work on incentive measures, SBSTTA recommends that COP-8:
On positive incentive measures, SBSTTA calls on COP-8 to:
take note of the Chair’s text in the annex;
invite parties to take the proposals in the Chair’s text into consideration when considering the voluntary application of positive incentives;
encourage relevant organizations and initiatives to strengthen research activities and capacity-building mechanisms, and extend training on the design, implementation and review of positive incentive measures; and
invite funding institutions to support the building or enhancement of national capacity.
COP-8 is finally recommended to request the Executive Secretary to: initiate a coordinated effort to study options and associated costs for the design of incentive measures and mechanisms; continue the compilation of information on positive incentive measures; and continue to follow the WTO negotiations on the reduction, or elimination, of tariff and non-tariff barriers to environmental goods and services.
The Chair’s text in the annex includes considerations on: design of positive incentive measures; institutional requirements; policy integration; awareness raising and the generation and sharing of information; financing; and scientific, technical and human capacity building.
GUIDANCE FOR PROMOTING SYNERGY: The Secretariat introduced the document on guidance for promoting synergy among activities addressing biodiversity, desertification, land degradation and climate change (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/18) in WG-I on Wednesday. The Chair’s text was considered on Thursday afternoon and approved, except for one outstanding paragraph on joint activities with the UNFCCC, which was referred to informal consultations and approved on Friday morning. The closing plenary adopted the recommendation with minor amendments.
Heikki Toivonen (Finland), Co-Chair of the AHTEG on Biodiversity and Adaptation to Climate Change, presented the AHTEG report (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/INF/5). Delegates debated: whether SBSTTA should endorse, welcome or note the AHTEG report and its guidance as an initial step in the design and implementation of climate change activities that interlink across biodiversity, and a request that the Secretariat transmit the AHTEG report to relevant bodies of the UNFCCC, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
Many parties emphasized the need for capacity building to bring about these synergies at different levels, and underscored the role of the Joint Liaison Group of the Rio Conventions, with some supporting the development of pilot projects involving joint actions for meeting the objectives of the Rio Conventions. Several delegates welcomed the informal joint meeting of SBSTTA-11 and the UNFCCC’s Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice. After extensive discussions on the wording of an invitation to the UNFCCC and the UNCCD COPs to collaborate with the CBD, delegates agreed to recall a similar invitation in Decision VII/15 (biodiversity and climate change).
Recommendation: In the final recommendation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/L.9), SBSTTA welcomes the AHTEG report and notes its climate change adaptation framework for biodiversity as a useful approach for the preparation of national strategies and plans. It notes several knowledge gaps identified in the report.
SBSTTA requests the Executive Secretary to:
It further recommends that COP-8:
SUSTAINABLE USE: The Secretariat introduced relevant documents (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/17, and INF/6 and 21) on Wednesday. A draft recommendation was introduced and approved by WG-I on Thursday. A revised recommendation was adopted by the closing plenary.
Regarding the use of terms, many delegates opposed opening discussion on terms already defined in the Convention. On indicators relevant to sustainable use, delegates urged reference to developing countries’ regional efforts, and stressed the need for traditional knowledge indicators. Colombia stressed application of the Addis Ababa guidelines to promote agro-biodiversity in urban areas.
Delegates also discussed a request to the Executive Secretary to take note of initiatives on developing indicators for sustainable use, and the EC proposed that SBSTTA encourage new initiatives and processes on development of indicators.
Recommendation: The final recommendation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/L.8) addresses: use of terms; adaptive management and monitoring; indicators; case studies; and regional workshops on sustainable use. An annex contains the provisional list of ongoing initiatives and processes on the development of indicators on sustainable use. In the recommendation, SBSTTA:
MILLENNIUM ECOSYSTEM ASSESSMENT: On Monday, the Secretariat introduced documents on the implications of the MA findings for the future work of the Convention, the summary for decision makers of the Biodiversity Synthesis Report, as well as the Biodiversity Synthesis Report (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/7 and Add.1, and INF/22). Discussion in WG-I continued on Tuesday. A draft recommendation was addressed on Thursday, and approved following lunchtime informal consultations. On Friday afternoon, the closing plenary adopted the recommendation with editorial amendments.
Neville Ash, MA Secretariat, outlined the MA, the largest-ever international assessment of the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being. He highlighted: unprecedented rates of biodiversity loss leading to a decline in ecosystem services, especially for the poorest; and the need for additional efforts to achieve the 2010 target. Discussion focused on the issues that the MA finds most significant in terms of their impacts on biodiversity and consequences for human well-being, with delegates debating the list of issues warranting urgent attention.
Delegates also highlighted the need for financial resources to implement the MA findings and debated: reference to the consultation process established by the 2005 Paris Biodiversity Conference; reference to unsustainable patterns of production and consumption; and the need for another integrated assessment of biodiversity and ecosystems. Regarding the consultation process established by the 2005 Paris Biodiversity Conference, France and others supported the reference, while GRULAC, China, Australia and others opposed it, with Brazil underscoring the need to strengthen SBSTTA rather than establish a parallel science mechanism. As a compromise, delegates agreed to recommend that COP-9 consider options for improving availability to SBSTTA of scientific information and advice on biodiversity, taking into account results of other relevant processes.
Recommendation: In the final document (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/L.5), SBSTTA recommends that the COP welcome the MA reports and take note of the main findings of the Biodiversity Synthesis Report. It further recommends that the COP urge parties to:
It also recommends that the COP request the Executive Secretary to develop proposals on regionally-based response scenarios for SBSTTA consideration.
The COP is further recommended to: consider the MA findings in the implementation and future review of the CBD work programmes; consider, at its ninth meeting, the need to review and update targets as part of the process of revising the Strategic Plan; and invite the financial mechanism to identify gaps and needs in relation to existing financial resources to meet the unprecedented additional efforts needed.
It recommends that the COP note in particular the urgent need to address the issues that the Assessment finds most significant at the global level, including land use change, overfishing, desertification and drylands degradation, drivers of change to inland water ecosystems, increasing nutrient loading in ecosystems, IAS and the impacts of climate change. It recommends that the COP request SBSTTA to: take note of the linkages between biodiversity and relevant socioeconomic issues and analyses; draw upon the lessons learned from the MA process; and contribute to the evaluation of the MA for consideration at COP-9. COP-9 is further recommended to consider the need for another integrated assessment of biodiversity and ecosystems, taking into account the future plans of the GBO, the outcomes of UNEP GEO, and SBSTTA scientific assessments. SBSTTA also recommends that COP-9 consider options for improving availability to SBSTTA of scientific information and advice on biodiversity, taking into account results of other relevant processes.
WORKING GROUP II
KEYNOTE PRESENTATIONS: Nick Davidson, Ramsar Convention, briefed participants on the CBD-related outcomes of Ramsar COP9, which was held in November 2005 in Kampala, Uganda. He cited resolutions on, inter alia: wetlands and poverty reduction; prevention and mitigation of natural disasters; further scientific and technical guidance for the Convention’s implementation; and rapid assessment of biodiversity of inland, coastal and near-shore marine wetlands. He highlighted the role of the Ramsar Convention as the lead implementation partner for the CBD’s work on inland and coastal wetlands.
Jan Valkoun, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, presented on biodiversity, land degradation and poverty alleviation in dry and sub-humid lands. He noted widespread poverty in drylands and the importance of dryland biodiversity for nutrition, health, and livelihoods. He highlighted overgrazing, land reclamation and urbanization as major factors of biodiversity degradation, and outlined solutions for dryland biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation, including: access to technological, policy and institutional options, local community involvement and capacity building.
REFINEMENT OF THE FRAMEWORK OF THE GOALS AND TARGETS: Discussions on options for the refinement of the framework of the goals and targets in Annex II to Decision VII/30 (Strategic Plan) began in plenary on Monday, when Colombia raised its concern regarding the goal and targets on access and benefit-sharing (ABS) (Goal 10) of the provisional framework. SBSTTA Chair Prip proposed convening informal consultations to address this issue, but several delegations preferred establishing a contact group. Delegates continued deliberations on Goal 10 in WG-II from Tuesday to Friday, in a Friends of the Chair group on Tuesday, and a contact group on Wednesday and Thursday, which prepared a compromise text. A revised recommendation was approved by WG-II on Friday morning, and was adopted by plenary on Friday afternoon.
Discussions focused on Goal 10 (benefit-sharing) and its targets 10.1 (transfer of genetic resources) and 10.2 (benefit-sharing). Colombia, supported by GRULAC and opposed by Switzerland, Norway, Canada and the EC, suggested replacing the term “transfer” by “access” in target 10.1, stating that the fair and equitable benefit-sharing arising out of the use of genetic resources should be in line with the relevant CBD provisions. The Friends of the Chair group proposed five options on the target 10.1 language, as well as a second option for Goal 10, broadening its language to include access to genetic resources. Delegates debated ways to proceed with the draft recommendation, agreeing to finalize it in a contact group.
Under the chairmanship of Asghar Mohammadi Fazel (Iran), the contact group reached a compromise, agreeing to delete Goal 10 from the text of the draft recommendation and replace the existing targets by new ones. Delegates debated a reference to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR) proposed by Norway, eventually compromising to remove it from the ABS targets on the understanding that it would be addressed in the draft recommendation on the vision, mission and goals for the work programmes on dry and sub-humid lands, mountain and forest biodiversity.
Recommendation: In the final document (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/L.12), SBSTTA recommends that COP-8 note that Goal 10 of the provisional framework had been reviewed by SBSTTA-11, and that SBSTTA recommends the following new targets replace the existing targets in Goal 10 in Annex II to Decision VII/30:
VISION, MISSION AND GOALS OF THE WORK PROGRAMMES ON DRY AND SUB-HUMID LANDS, MOUNTAINS AND FOREST BIODIVERSITY: Delegates considered jointly the vision, mission and goals of the work programmes on dry and sub-humid lands, mountains and forest biodiversity, including draft outcome-oriented targets (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/4/Add.2, 10 and INF/23), in plenary on Monday and in WG-II from Tuesday to Friday. A contact group, chaired by Alfred Oteng-Yeboah (Ghana), also met late into the night on Thursday to finalize the recommendation, which was approved by WG-II on Friday morning, and adopted in plenary on Friday afternoon.
In WG-II, many emphasized the need to align terminology with the CBD’s objectives and Strategic Plan, and proceeded with the review of the proposed vision, mission and goals across the work programmes.
Concerning the vision, references were made to: fair and equitable benefit-sharing, poverty alleviation, and local and indigenous communities. Delegates stressed the need to ensure consistency in targets on ecosystem and species conservation across the work programmes. They also debated references to, inter alia, species of socioeconomic value, unsustainable consumption, and forest fires.
The main contentious issues were:
Relevant sections of the recommendation’s annex remain bracketed. The recommendation was adopted as amended and bracketed.
Recommendation: The final document (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/L.14) contains three sections addressing each of the work programmes (dry and sub-humid lands, forest and mountain biodiversity) and an annex. SBSTTA requests the Executive Secretary to prepare an information document for COP-8 on the status and application of, and relationship among:
The recommendation further:
The annex contains the vision, mission and goals of the three work programmes, presented in a table format. Targets 4.3 and 9.2 remain bracketed. The table contains two footnotes, stating that: targets under Goal 9 (socio-cultural diversity of indigenous and local communities) will be further reviewed following consideration by the Working Group on Article 8(j); and not all CBD parties are parties to the ITPGR.
INLAND WATER ECOSYSTEMS: Delegates discussed this agenda item (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/12 and Add.1, and 11/13) in WG-II on Wednesday. A draft recommendation was introduced and approved by WG-II on Thursday, and adopted in plenary on Friday without amendment.
Many supported enhanced collaboration between the Ramsar Convention and the CBD, stressed the need to streamline reporting on the work programme’s implementation, but opposed establishing an AHTEG. Delegates debated a reference, proposed by Spain and opposed by Argentina, to cultural values in the criteria for the designation of Ramsar sites and guidelines for their application, and agreed to defer this matter to SBSTTA-12.
Recommendation: In the final document (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/L.6), SBSTTA requests the Executive Secretary to:
It further recommends that COP-8:
FOREST BIODIVERSITY: The Secretariat introduced relevant documents on the review of implementation of the expanded work programme on forest biodiversity (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/14 and 15, and INF/2, 3, 12 and 13) on Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday, WG-II considered two draft recommendations on: the review of the expanded work programme on forest biodiversity, and the consideration of matters arising from the implementation of Decision VI/22, paragraph 19 (initiate actions in support of the implementation of the expanded work programme on forest biodiversity), which were approved on Thursday and Friday, respectively. The plenary adopted the both revised recommendations on Friday.
The UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) highlighted collaboration between the CBD and UNFF, in particular regarding using common indicators and streamlining forest-related reporting. Delegates stressed: compiling best practices on the sustainable use of forest biodiversity and equitable benefit-sharing; strengthening collaboration with the Collaborative Partnership on Forest (CPF); forest law enforcement; capacity building; and extending the mandate of the AHTEG on the review of implementation of the work programme. Ghana highlighted impacts of genetically modified (GM) trees, and the Federation of German Scientists proposed a moratorium on their commercialization, until further research is conducted.
Implementation of the expanded forest biodiversity work programme: Delegates agreed to move paragraphs relating to targets and indicators to the draft recommendation on the vision, mission and goals for the work programmes on dry and sub-humid lands, mountain and forest biodiversity. On the AHTEG’s proposal in the annex, delegates agreed to specify that the review should address: the status of, and trends in, forest biodiversity; effectiveness and constraints of the expanded work programme; and further consideration of actions in support of the implementation of the expanded work programme.
Recommendation: In the final recommendation on the review of implementation of the expanded work programme on forest biodiversity (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/L.7), SBSTTA welcomes the second and third meeting reports of the AHTEG.
SBSTTA also recommends that COP-8:
The annex to the recommendation contains the AHTEG’s proposal on the review of implementation of the expanded work programme on forest biodiversity, structured in two sections: sources of information; and technical components of the review.
Consideration of matters arising from the implementation of paragraph 19 of Decision VI/22: Discussion focused on: collaboration with stakeholders; compilation of lessons learned; references to governance and trade; and impacts of GM trees. Canada, opposed by Germany, suggested removing a reference to governance and trade in a recommendation inviting parties and international and non-governmental organizations to provide relevant information. The Secretariat clarified that Decision VI/22 has reference to forest law enforcement and related trade.
Recommendation: In the final recommendation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/L.10), SBSTTA recommends that the COP urge parties and invite international organizations and NGOs to provide information on forest law enforcement and related trade and its effects on forest biodiversity. SBSTTA also recommends that the COP request the Executive Secretary to:
SBSTTA also recommends that the COP:
MARINE AND COASTAL BIODIVERSITY: The Secretariat introduced this agenda item (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/11) on Wednesday. A draft recommendation was considered on Thursday and Friday. WG-II Chair Ramiarison established a drafting group on Thursday, which presented its outcomes to WG-II on Friday. A revised recommendation was adopted by plenary on Friday.
Discussion focused on: technical options for the protection of deep seabed genetic resources beyond national jurisdiction; and a legal framework for regulating relevant activities.
Delegates debated reference to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as a legal framework for regulating activities in marine areas beyond national jurisdiction, with some noting SBSTTA should not address legal issues. Following lengthy discussions in the drafting group, delegates agreed to state that UNCLOS regulates such activities.
On proposed technical options for the deep seabed genetic resources beyond national jurisdiction, some delegates stressed that the UN General Assembly and the Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) are the appropriate fora to address these issues. They added that the options prejudice the outcomes of the upcoming UN Ad Hoc Informal Working Group on Marine Biodiversity beyond National Jurisdiction. Others stressed the CBD’s role in protecting marine resources beyond national jurisdiction. Kiribati and Palau called for a moratorium on deep seabed activities beyond national jurisdiction. Many supported the establishment of marine PAs, while China and Thailand considered the matter premature. Ghana proposed requesting the UN General Assembly and UNCLOS to resolve the legal impediments to the establishment of high seas marine PAs. The drafting group agreed that: a preliminary range of options for the protection of deep seabed genetic resources beyond national jurisdiction may include, inter alia, the establishment of marine PAs and prohibition of detrimental and destructive practices in vulnerable areas; and there is a need for further work in developing these and other options, in particular within the UN framework. The compromise text contains a footnote, stating that some delegations considered that these issues should not be considered within the CBD framework.
Several delegates emphasized knowledge and awareness raising on deep seabed biodiversity, and called for facilitating developing countries’ access to information and technology on deep seabed exploration. China stressed conservation and sustainable use of marine resources within national jurisdiction. The African Group stressed potential threats by bioprospecting and, with the EC, urged applying the precautionary principle.
Recommendation: In the recommendation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/L.11), SBSTTA takes note of the assessment of status and trends of, and threats to, deep seabed genetic resources beyond national jurisdiction contained in the background document, and requests the Executive Secretary make available this scientific information to the UN Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group. It also recommends that the COP:
SBSTTA Chair Prip opened the closing plenary on Friday afternoon, outlining work done by the two working groups.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS: Delegates elected the following as new Bureau members for SBSTTA-12 and 13: Rawson Piniel Yonazi (Tanzania) to replace the representative from Ghana; Joel Miles (Palau) to replace the representative from Iran; Angheluta Vadineanu (Romania) to replace the representative from Poland; and Spencer Thomas (Grenada) to replace the representative from Saint Lucia.
ADOPTION OF WORKING GROUPS’ REPORTS: WG-I Chair Watt presented the draft report of WG-I (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/L.1/Add.1), and Alfred Oteng-Yeboah (Ghana), on behalf of WG-II Chair Ramiarison, presented the draft report of WG-II (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/L.1/Add.2). The plenary adopted both reports without amendment.
PREPARATION FOR SBSTTA-12 AND 13: The Secretariat introduced the draft provisional agendas for SBSTTA-12 and 13 (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/11/19). Argentina and Mexico stressed the need to improve the SBSTTA process, and the UK emphasized the need to ensure outreach to the scientific community. The provisional agendas were adopted without amendment.
Items for in-depth review at SBSTTA-12 are: the ecosystem approach, IAS, and incentive measures, and for SBSTTA-13: agricultural and forest biodiversity, and the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. The two meetings are also expected to consider strategic issues for evaluating progress on supporting implementation of the Convention, and other scientific and technical issues, as determined by the COP.
PREPARATION FOR COP-8: Noting the CBD’s Rio origins, Brazil, the host country of COP-8, reported on the preparations for the COP, highlighting the Ministerial Segment, which will focus on mainstreaming biodiversity into major sectoral policies. A video on Brazil’s biodiversity was screened.
ADOPTION OF SBSTTA-11 REPORT: Rapporteur Hutacharem presented the report of SBSTTA-11 (UNEP/CBD/SBSSTA/11/L.1), which was adopted without amendment.
CLOSURE OF THE MEETING: Hamdallah Zedan, CBD Executive Secretary, highlighted intersessional preparatory activities for COP-8. He said the informal joint meeting between SBSTTA and its UNFCCC counterpart has enhanced the understanding of environmental problems facing the two conventions.
SBSTTA Chair Prip praised Zedan’s contribution to major achievements of the CBD. Tanzania, on behalf of the African Group, the UK, on behalf of the EU, Saint Lucia, on behalf of GRULAC, Malaysia for the COP-7 presidency and Poland, on behalf of the CEE, paid tribute to Zedan and welcomed new CBD Executive Secretary Ahmed Djoghlaf, with the African Group and the EU pledging their support to and cooperation with the new Executive Secretary. Canada presented a token of appreciation to Zedan, thanking him for his leadership in advancing the CBD.
The African Group called for funding for the second PA working group meeting to be convened before COP-8 and global solidarity on actions to achieve the 2010 target. China outlined areas for improvement for SBSTTA, including focusing on its mandate. The EU called for actions on the ground. Iran, on behalf of the Asia and the Pacific region, stressed the need for cooperation between developed and developing countries. Mexico expressed concern over SBSTTA’s operations with regard to providing necessary tools for the COP to take decisions on the implementation of the Convention.
Greenpeace, on behalf of NGOs, noted that SBSTTA, rather than providing scientific advice, had to deal with underlying political agendas, and called for SBSTTA to recommend urgent action based on existing scientific data.
SBSTTA Chair Prip thanked delegates and gaveled the meeting to a close at 8:30 pm.
A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF SBSTTA-11
Delegates to the eleventh meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-11) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) were faced with a heavy agenda and tasked with preparing several substantive recommendations for consideration at the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-8), scheduled to begin in March 2006 in Curitiba, Brazil. As delegates poured out from the meeting venue into the chilly winter air in Montreal late on Friday night, many considered debates on unresolved issues such as invasive alien species (IAS), incentives, or marine biodiversity as being merely “on hold” until the COP. This brief analysis will discuss the progress achieved, and positions presented, at SBSTTA-11 on these and other key issues, through the lens of three overarching themes: synergies with the broader international framework; capacity building; and large-scale science assessments.
NO CONVENTION IS AN ISLAND
Convening concurrently with the first Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), just a few blocks away, SBSTTA-11 did more than simply follow the intense media and policy focus on Kyoto developments. In fact, this proximity offered a unique opportunity to hold an informal joint meeting between SBSTTA and its UNFCCC counterpart – the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice – on Wednesday evening. Nonetheless, most saw this unprecedented event as merely an opportunity to initiate contact, and one delegate qualified it as “a timid encounter after 13 years of non-communication.” In discussing the promotion of synergy among activities addressing biodiversity, desertification, land degradation and climate change, specific recommendations relating to synergy with the UNFCCC were most contentious. In particular, Australia opposed a Swiss proposal to invite the UNFCCC to suggest joint activities, and the final compromise only extends such an invitation to the CBD COP. Similarly, in an overview of gaps in the international regulatory IAS framework, several parties warned against the use of IAS in afforestation and reforestation projects, and highlighted the implications of incentive schemes under the UNFCCC. The final recommendation on IAS does not include any reference to these concerns, apart from a request to forward it to the UNFCCC Secretariat. Amidst parties’ divided views on interlinkages with the UNFCCC, observant participants pointed out that the best indicator of synergy is carrying out joint activities and not just cross-referencing other processes in documents.
The review of the work programme on inland waters biodiversity illustrated the rich potential of such synergetic collaboration. Many commended the work of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands as lead partner on this issue, prompting some to press for similar roles for the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and the UN Forum on Forests in implementing, respectively, work programmes on dry and sub-humid lands and forest biodiversity. On marine issues, several parties were reluctant to take action, pending the outcome of the early 2006 meeting of the UN Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group on Marine Biodiversity beyond National Jurisdiction, pointing to uncertainty regarding the respective mandates of CBD and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. However, SBSTTA did agree to forward scientific information on deep seabed genetic resources to this UN Working Group.
Just as incentive measures (more specifically subsidies) proved to be problematic at SBSTTA-10 earlier this year, incentives once again took center stage once Working Group I finally broached negotiations on a recommendation on positive incentive measures and valuation tools late Thursday evening. Despite further negotiations before and during the closing plenary, several areas of disagreement persisted at the meeting’s close. Throughout these deliberations participants disagreed over the implications of SBSTTA’s decisions on non-monetary positive incentives for negotiations under the World Trade Organization (WTO), with some fearing that these would mask agricultural subsidies in developed countries. Eventually, SBSTTA agreed to simply follow WTO negotiations on the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers to environmental goods and services. Several observers lamented that this perpetuates the pattern of allowing trade rules to override biodiversity considerations.
SEEKING RESOURCES FOR IMPLEMENTATION
Capacity building was another recurring theme across most SBSTTA-11 agenda items, with developing countries seeking the resources to assist them in carrying out the recommendations relating to so many of CBD’s work programmes, including implementing findings of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) and training border control agents to prevent the import of invasive alien species. Even in the debate on synergies, China pointed out that increased coordination should not serve as a pretext for reducing assistance.
More notably, during discussions on the Global Taxonomy Initiative, developing countries, and in particular the African Group, pushed for the establishment of a special fund geared specifically to address not only the lack of trained taxonomists, but also the retention of existing expertise in the field, and parties did agree to emphasize the need to explore the possibility of establishing such a fund. In addition, a compromise was reached on mobilizing financial and technical resources to assist developing countries, including those that are megadiverse, in managing collections of biological specimens.
On this same topic, and in relation to other agenda items such as sustainable use, SBSTTA also prepared recommendations that the COP make specific requests to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to meet capacity needs, prompting concerns that SBSTTA may be overstepping its mandate. Surprisingly, the uncertainty surrounding the fourth replenishment of the GEF (which was not finalized, as originally scheduled, in late November) was never explicitly acknowledged during these debates, and overall the marked lack of consideration of budget implications of SBSTTA recommendations is perhaps the most visible testament to SBSTTA’s operation as a primarily scientific body in setting priorities.
Throughout the week, many interventions underscored the role of SBSTTA as first and foremost a scientific body, emphasizing its role as a conduit of scientific information to the COP. In addition to the recently completed MA, which concludes that biodiversity is being lost at unprecedented rates and identifies drivers of this loss, delegates also reviewed the draft executive summary of the second Global Biodiversity Outlook, and acknowledged the ongoing process of UNEP’s Global Environment Outlook.
The importance of monitoring progress in implementing the CBD’s work programmes on dry and sub-humid lands, forest, and marine biodiversity and lack of reliable data in some cases also came to the fore in the protracted discussions on the provisional framework for goals and targets, which is inextricably linked to the development of indicators for assessing the CBD’s success. In the opening plenary, Colombia requested the reexamination of the framework’s Goal 10 (benefit-sharing), which was met with an impassioned call from SBSTTA Chair Christian Prip (Denmark) not to reopen other aspects of the framework carefully negotiated at COP-7. In the end, parties renegotiated the targets within Goal 10, striking a balance between access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their use. However, this contributed to the reopening of the targets on trade in endangered species and on rights of indigenous and local communities during discussions on the vision, mission and goals of the work programmes, and the refinement of goals and targets of the provisional framework has yet to be put to rest.
SBSTTA welcomed the MA and incorporated its output in the preparation of many agenda items, including options for valuation tools. However, several participants complained that SBSTTA devoted too much time to discussing the wording and relevance of specific MA findings. One party even noted that this constituted renegotiating the work of more than a thousand prominent scientists. In addition, in discussing whether COP-9 should review the need for another integrated assessment of biodiversity and ecosystems, deep divergences arose when it came to also considering the outcome of the multi-stakeholder consultation process on options for a scientific mechanism for biodiversity advice arising from the January 2005 Paris Biodiversity Conference. Several parties from Latin America and the Caribbean opposed the consideration of another science mechanism for biodiversity, warning this would weaken SBSTTA, while many others emphasized the need for reliable science as the basis for SBSTTA decisions and called for SBSTTA to be open to the best sources of scientific advice. Furthermore, during the closing plenary, Mexico called for COP-8 to reexamine SBSTTA’s mandate so that it can provide the necessary tools for achieving the 2010 target.
PREPARING FOR CURITIBA
Delegates face busy months ahead, with yet more intersessional meetings feeding into COP-8 preparations. Many have noted the increasing proliferation of CBD working groups and technical expert groups, and it is likely that COP-8 will have to address what one observer called the CBD’s “unsustainable growth.” It is also likely that the meeting halls in Curitiba will be buzzing with familiar debates, especially on access and benefit sharing, marine protected areas, incentives and forest biodiversity. As for SBSTTA’s future, several factors are likely to come into play at Curitiba and beyond. These include potential developments arising from the consultative process on a biodiversity scientific mechanism, the “changing of the guard” in the CBD Secretariat, as Ahmed Djoghlaf assumes the office of Executive Secretary in the new year, and last but not least, discussions on the CBD’s review of implementation and any ensuing changes to SBSTTA’s modus operandi.
SIXTH WTO MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE: The sixth ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization will be held from 13-18 December 2005, in Hong Kong, China. It aims to settle a range of issues that will shape the final agreement of the Doha Development Agenda. The conference will be preceded by numerous formal and informal preparatory meetings and events. For more information, contact: WTO Secretariat; tel: +41-22-739-5111; fax: +41-22-731-4206; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/minist_e/min05_e/min05_e.htm
ITPGR WORKING GROUP ON LEGAL MATTERS AND THE FUNDING STRATEGY: The Open-ended Working Group on the rules of procedure and the financial rules of the Governing Body, compliance, and the funding strategy of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, will convene from 14-17 December 2005, in Rome, Italy. For more information, contact: José Esquinas-Alcázar, CGRFA Secretary; tel: +39-6-570-54986; fax: +39-6-570-53057; e-mail: Jose.Esquinas@fao.org; internet: http://www.fao.org/ag/cgrfa/ico1.htm
THIRD GLOBAL CONFERENCE ON OCEANS, COASTS AND ISLANDS: This Conference, which will be held from 23-28 January 2006, at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, aims to provide a review of progress achieved and obstacles faced in the implementation of international targets on oceans, coasts, and small island developing States, especially those related to the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, the Millennium Development Goals and the CBD. For more information, contact: Dr. Miriam Balgos, Gerard J. Mangone Center for Marine Policy, University of Delaware; tel: +1-302-831-8086; fax: +1-302-831-3668; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.globaloceans.org/paris3/index.html
FOURTH MEETING OF THE WORKING GROUP ON ARTICLE 8(J): 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. 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=WG8J-04
ABS-4: The fourth meeting of the CBD Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit Sharing will convene from 30 January - 3 February 2006, in Granada, Spain. 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=ABSWG-04
NINTH SPECIAL SESSION OF THE UNEP GC/GMEF: The ninth special session of UNEP’s Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum will be held from 7-9 February 2006, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 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: email@example.com; internet: http://www.unep.org
UNFF-6: The sixth session of the UN Forum on Forests will be held from 13-24 February 2006, at UN headquarters in New York. This meeting will seek to reach conclusion on issues that were unresolved at UNFF-5. For more information, contact: Elisabeth Barsk-Rundquist, UNFF Secretariat; tel: +1-212-963-3262; fax: +1-917-367-3186; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.un.org/esa/forests
SECOND MEETING OF THE WORKING GROUP ON LIABILITY AND REDRESS IN THE CONTEXT OF THE BIOSAFETY PROTOCOL: The second meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on liability and redress in the context of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety will meet from 20-24 February 2006, 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=BSWGLR-02
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: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.biodiv.org/doc/meeting.aspx?mtg=MOP-03
4TH WORLD WATER FORUM: LOCAL ACTIONS FOR A GLOBAL CHALLENGE: The fourth World Water Forum will be held from 16-22 March 2006, in Mexico City, Mexico. For more information, contact the Secretariat; tel: +52-55-51-74-4480; fax: +52-55-51-74-4722; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.worldwaterforum4.org.mx
The eighth meeting of the CBD Conference of the Parties 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;