IUCN Congress Bulletin


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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (iisd)


Vol. 39 No. 10
Saturday, 20 November 2004



Global Synthesis Workshops, Sponsored Workshops, Conservation Platforms, Knowledge Marketplace Roundtables and Future Dialogues sessions were held throughout the second day of the World Conservation Forum. Two High-Level Roundtables convened to focus on issues relating to conservation and development cooperation, and transboundary water governance in the Mekong region.


Editor’s note: IISD’s coverage of the World Conservation Forum focused on the Global Synthesis Workshops, a number of other sessions, and the High-Level Roundtables.


Global Synthesis Workshops were held in the morning and the afternoon to continue deliberations on the four Forum Themes of: ecosystem management; health, poverty and conservation; biodiversity loss and species extinction; markets, business and the environment.

ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT: The “High-Seas Planning Board”: Addressing by-catch and deep sea trawling impacts: Chaired by Despina Symone, European Bureau for Conservation and Development, this session comprised three presentations that addressed the impacts of by-catch, and three presentations that considered deep sea trawling and protection of deep sea biodiversity and ecosystems.

Tom Hawkins, Regional Advisory Council for the North Sea, provided an overview on impacts of by-catch on the marine environment and stressed the importance of involving fishermen in efforts to reduce fish mortality from by-catch.

Nicolas Pilcher, Marine Research Foundation, demonstrated that trawl fishing is a major cause of mortality of sea turtles and other marine mammals, and stressed the need for immediate and concerted action.

John Croxall, BirdLife International, highlighted the threat of extinction for albatross and petrels, noting that surface and bottom long-lining fishing practices account for a great number of birds killed annually.

Noting the threat to unique high-seas habitats caused by unregulated fishing, Alex Rogers, British Antarctic Survey, underlined high ecological values of seamounts, such as their rich biodiversity and high levels of endemic species.

Lisa Speer, Natural Resources Defense Council, drew attention to the governance gap in high seas protection, and advocated adopting a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling until legally-binding regimes to protect deep sea biodiversity from bottom trawling are adopted and implemented.

Stating that the fishery industry is willing to engage in dialogue and cooperate on protecting seamounts, Javier Garat, FEOPE, said the fishery industry does not support general bans on bottom trawling, preferring a case-by-case approach instead.

Following the presentations, participants discussed the need for new global governance for the high seas.

Making ecological networks into a socio-economic reality: Chaired by André van der Zande, Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, this session comprised three presentations that focused on the implementation of ecological networks, and the application of the ecosystem approach to protected areas conservation.

Marina Cracco and Angela Andrade, IUCN Regional Office for South America, shared experiences on the implementation of the ecosystem approach to ecological corridors in South America and emphasized the importance of social and cultural aspects of conservation.

While underlining positive experiences of national implementation programmes for ecological networks in Estonia, Kalev Sepp, Estonian Agricultural University, said that the prospects of developing ecological networks is not very promising due to the complexity of the methodology, and low interest of local stakeholders.

Marianne Kleiberg, The Nature Conservancy, spoke on the successful implementation of ecological network planning in the Gulf of California, Mexico. She highlighted the importance of new conservation strategies and instruments such as no-take zones and the creation of public and municipal protected areas. She said successful implementation requires creativity in planning and involvement of a broad portfolio of stakeholders.

Following discussions on the challenges and opportunities of developing ecological networks, participants concluded that while there is no single solution to implementing sustainable ecosystem management, the ecosystem approach provides a framework for addressing these challenges and understanding the relationship between social, economic and ecological aspects of the environment.

HEALTH, POVERTY AND CONSERVATION: Health and environment: Robert Bos, World Health Organization (WHO), moderated this workshop, which comprised five presentations, each followed by a brief discussion.

Twisuk Punpeng, Thailand’s Department of Health, presented a study that identified key needs for linking the environment and health sectors, highlighting impact assessments, economic evaluations and analyses, and interaction and communication between scientists, policymakers and civil society.

Highlighting the IPCC Third Assessment Report as evidence for climate change, Alexander van Hildebrand, WHO, discussed extreme weather-related health effects, water- and food-borne disease, and vector- and rodent-borne diseases as some of the health impacts of climate change.

Robert Bos highlighted how Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) can help to identify and protect vulnerable groups, as well as create cost effective interventions. He said the HIA provides a comprehensive framework for assessing human health impacts in the context of nature conservation and stressed the importance of strategic alliances between health and environment authorities as a component in HIA capacity building.

Richard Friend, IUCN, provided an overview of a participatory assessment examining the role of aquatic resources in rural livelihoods. Noting that poorer people tend to be more reliant on aquatic resources and fishing, he emphasized the need for food security and poverty alleviation strategies to address aquatic resources management.

Thomas Kristensen, Danish Bilharziasis Laboratory, noted the cycle between poverty, unsustainable use of natural resources, and ill health. Emphasizing that human health is not only the responsibility of the health sector, he underscored the need to involve other sectors such as infrastructure, transport, health, and education.

In the discussions, participants addressed: linkages between health and environment; scope of HIAs; strengthening the production of aquatic resources; and the impact of dams on health. Following the discussions, Bos suggested five draft recommendations that sought to enhance collaboration between WHO and IUCN.

Conservation and poverty reduction strategies: Chaired by Peter Hazlewood, UNDP, this session comprised a keynote address and five presentations focusing on whether Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) are opportunities for conservation.

In his keynote address, Warren Evans, World Bank, noted progress in mainstreaming environment in PRSPs and stressed that improving the analytical framework would enable more informed decision-making by ministries of finance and planning.

Bea Coolman, WWF, stressed that civil society organizations require additional financial resources, as well as capacity to “upstream” poverty and environment issues in PRSPs.

Ruzika Muheto, Tanzania’s National Environment Management Council, stressed the importance of broadening the participation of organizations in the natural resource sector in the PRSP process, particularly in its preparation and implementation.

Audrey Gadzekpo, University of Ghana, provided an overview of Ghana’s experience in formulating its PRSP and called for bold decisions addressing the environmental dimension of poverty reduction, including: addressing the land tenure system; strengthening the Environmental Protection Agency and Environment Ministry; and decentralizing environmental decision-making processes.

Khawar Mumtaz, Shirkat Gah Women Resource Centre, emphasized the difficulty of integrating poverty and conservation issues into Pakistan’s PRSP and said poverty reduction can present “excellent analysis and not excellent solutions.” She suggested local government involvement to facilitate the success of PRSPs.

Dao Xuan, UNDP, described a new initiative in Viet Nam aimed at strengthening government capacity to integrate environment and poverty reduction goals into policy frameworks. He highlighted the initiative’s three main components, namely: policy analysis, monitoring and advocacy; policy development and implementation between ministries; and sector coordination and partnerships.

In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed, inter alia, the need to: highlight positive examples of integrating conservation into PRSPS; include both bottom-up and top-down approaches; engage civil society; and involve ministries of planning and finance.

BIODIVERSITY LOSS AND SPECIES EXTINCTION: Medicinal species loss: risks and threats: This workshop comprised a keynote address and two sessions that focused on risks and threats respectively. Eric Chivian, Harvard Medical School, presented on how human health depends on medicines from natural sources. He discussed medicinal species that are important in treating human diseases and that foster understanding of human physiology. He concluded that human dependence on nature for medicine, rather than its ethical or economic value, will encourage people to safeguard biodiversity .

Chaired by Alfred Oteng-Yeboah, Species Survival Commission (SSC), the first session focused on the risks of losing medicinal species. Jeff McNeely, IUCN, elaborated on how some species provide humans with health, psychological and research benefits.

Henk van Wilgenburg, Rainforest Medical Foundation, said destroying or changing animal habitats, particularly in tropical ecosystems, could lead to more infectious disease outbreaks. He concluded that biodiversity conservation is the best means of preventing such outbreaks.

Vinay Tandon, Winrock International, presented the risks that the loss of medicinal plants poses to human health and livelihood security in South Asia. He said the revitalization of local health traditions holds the key to affordable health in the region.

Chaired by Vinay Tandon, the second session focused on the threats posed to medicinal species.

Bob Hunt, University of British Columbia, presented on the use of marine organisms in traditional and allopathic medicine. He concluded that sustainable use of marine medicinal species is possible if reasonable use and effective management is fostered.

Patrick Maundu, International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, presented an African perspective on the threats to medicinal species. Noting that at least 30% of Africans depend solely on traditional medicine for their health care, he said medicinal species are important sources of income, nutrition and aromatherapy.

Pushpam Kumar, Institute of Economic Growth, discussed economic values and emerging threats of medicinal species. He said the value of medicinal plants can be increased if prospecting is informed by traditional or local knowledge.

Medicinal species loss: options, lessons learned and ways forward: Chaired by Wendy Strahm, SSC, this session comprised presentations on options for the conservation and sustainable use of medicinal species, and a panel discussion on lessons learned and ways forward in the conservation of medicinal species. Samuel Lee, TRAFFIC, presented an overview on the trade of medicinal species.

Hartmut Vogtmann, German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, presented practice standards and performance criteria for the sustainable collection of wild medicinal and aromatic plants. He stressed the importance of the equitable sharing of benefits arising from the sustainable use of medicinal plants.

Madhav Karki, Canada’s International Development Research Center, presented community-driven practices of medicinal plant conservation in South Asia. He identified benefits sharing, intellectual property rights and livelihoods as important challenges in community-based initiatives. He stressed the importance of integrating traditional and modern health systems through wise use of science and local knowledge.

Kate Sanders, World Society for the Protection of Animals, introduced a forensic tool to control the illegal trade of bear products.

Panel discussion moderator Ranjith Mahindapala, IUCN, identified recurring themes from the presentations such as poor inventories, community-based approaches and prioritizing in situ conservation for medicinal species.

Giovanni Ginatta, Biocomercio Sostenible Ecuador, stressed the importance of establishing alliances throughout the production chain of medicinal species to ensure that consumers, producers and other stakeholders ensure a fair and equitable market.

Anura Sathurusinghe, Sri Lanka’s Forest Department, said the role of stakeholders in the production chain must be clear.

Noting the implications of medicinal species cultivation on its genetic variability, Leaman said that ex situ conservation of these species is not a panacea. She closed the discussion by saying that many questions remain unanswered concerning, inter alia, the population status and sustainable harvest levels of medicinal species.

MARKETS, BUSINESS AND THE ENVIRONMENT: International trade: friend or foe of biodiversity?: This workshop comprised three presentations and a discussion session. Moderator Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, urged participants to focus on developing creative ways to harmonize the international trade regime and nature conservation.

Meenakshi Raman, Friends of the Earth International, said the shift towards sustainable consumption and production expected after UNCED in 1992 has not yet materialized. She noted that the agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) fosters monopoly, enables privatization of natural resources, and leads to biopiracy. She noted that a fundamental change in the “economic order” was needed for environmental considerations to be mainstreamed into trade issues.

Ernst-Ulrich von Weizsäcker, German Bundestag Committee on Environment and Nuclear Safety, said that some multilateral environment agreements (MEAs), such as CITES, the Basel Convention, the Montreal Protocol and the Biosafety Protocol, are anti-trade regimes. He concluded that trade is essentially a “foe of the environment.” He suggested applying the precautionary principle, certification, and labeling as instruments to transform trade into a friend of the environment.

Simon Upton, OECD Round Table on Sustainable Development, observed that the unsustainable exploitation of resources is the enemy of biodiversity, not trade. He noted that most trade negotiators are not prepared to discuss the environment.

In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed: instruments to harmonize trade and environment; the impacts of MEAs on trade; and the need to identify catalysts of unsustainable consumption.

Ecosystem for sale in an unequal world: Moderated by Ricardo Bayon, independent consultant, this session comprised three presentations and a discussion session, focusing on the benefits that businesses can bring to biodiversity conservation by creating new environmental markets.

Gerardo Segura, Mexico’s Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, elaborated on a Mexican environment service programme aimed at protecting hydrolic services by granting temporary payments to forest owners willing to conserve their forests; and at promoting the development of markets for environmental services. Segura outlined several environmental and economic criteria for selecting priority watersheds and compensating forest owners. He highlighted results achieved through the programme, such as reducing the intensity of logging in protected areas and promoting indirect benefits like investments in FSC certification and improved forest management.

Wayne White, US Fish and Wildlife Service, elaborated on a Californian conservation banking initiative that constitutes a land account that can be drawn from to compensate adverse environmental impacts from development. He said large habitat areas need to be set aside in order to compensate for impacts on species. He highlighted that conservation banks are a valuable tool for recovering endangered species and conserving their ecosystems.

Kerry ten Kate, Insight Investment, outlined programmes undertaken by mainstream investors to account for biodiversity in their decision making processes. Recognizing that biodiversity poses a risk and an opportunity for corporations, she underscored that implementing best practices in biodiversity conservation can improve business success.

In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed issues relating to: limited financial resources for conservation programmes; the importance of regulation and monitoring in promoting new biodiversity markets; the application of economic tools in encouraging businesses to engage in biodiversity offsets; the dangers that biodiversity offsetting can pose to ecosystems; and the need for regional sustainable development frameworks to promote biodiversity conservation.


MANAGING WATER RESOURCES FROM THE RAMSAR CONVENTION: This evening session was chaired by Peter Bridgewater, Ramsar Convention Secretary General. Bridgewater described the issues addressed by the Ramsar Convention and the challenges ahead. Ernesto Enkerlin, Conamp Mexico, briefed participants on Mexico’s progress of implementation of the Ramsar Convention. In a video presentation, Franck Riboud, Danone President, elaborated on the ongoing Danone-Ramsar partnership and Danone/Evian’s contribution of €1 million towards support for the Ramsar Convention. Mok Mareth, Cambodia’s Environment Minister, stressed how important wetlands are for Cambodia’s economy and culture. Joyce Winchel, US State Department, underscored the importance of public-private partnerships and highlighted the relevance of land degradation and forestry impacts on wetlands. Mafabi Paul, Uganda’s Ministry of Water, Lands and Environment, announced that the ninth Conference of the Parties (COP-9) to the Ramsar Convention will take place in Kampala, Uganda in November 2005, and expressed Uganda’s hope that COP-9 will produce a declaration on water, people and sustainability. The session closed with the movie “The Turtle People.”


CUSTOMARY LAW AND COMMUNITY CONSERVED AREAS - INDIGENOUS INITIATIVE: Chaired by Aroha Te Pareake, New Zealand, this afternoon session, included presentations by indigenous peoples from Peru, Ecuador, the Philippines and Ghana. Pareake presented the outcomes from the first customary law and protected areas workshop, held at the Vth World Parks Congress. She defined customary law as customs and traditions that govern morals and behavior. Alejandro Argumedo, Peru, said that many ecological principles are congruent with, or are the source of, customary practices. He also elaborated on the Indigenous Seed Protocol and the Tuber Genetic Bank initiatives. Rodrigo de la Cruz, Ecuador, underscored that societies based on economic growth are intrinsically �non-environmental.� He also stressed that conflicts are not primarily between indigenous peoples and conservationists, but between indigenous peoples and extractive industries. Victorino Saraway, Philippines, illustrated the conflict between the Talaandig people and the Mt. Kitanglad protected area, established on their ancestral sacred lands. He also elaborated on Batasan, Talaandig�s customary law. Paul Kuruk, Ghana, focused on recognition of customary law in African countries.

DAMS AND DEVELOPMENT: RIGHTS AND RISKS APPROACH TO STAKEHOLDER PARTICIPATION: Chaired by Jeremy Bird, independent consultant, this evening session focused on implementing the �rights� and �risk� approach to stakeholder participation, first proposed in the report of the World Commission on Dams. Larry Haas, independent consultant, presented an overview of the rights and risk initiative. He said the initiative will prepare operational guidance for participation, including guidance notes, pilot testing at basin and project levels, and knowledge networks. The session also heard from: Apichart Anukularmphai, Thailand�s Water Resources Association, who shared stakeholder practices and experiences in Thailand; Na�g Cozannet, French Development Agency, who addressed the importance of participation from a donor perspective; Marc Goichot, WWF, who presented innovative solutions for improving the development process with a case study on the Ta Trach reservoir in Viet Nam; and Wooching Um, Asian Development Bank (ADB), who addressed how the ADB works with governments to facilitate stakeholder participation in infrastructure projects.


DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION AND THE ENVIRONMENT: INVESTING IN NATURE: PRIORITY OR AFTER-THOUGHT? Co-hosted by Minister Suwit and Yolanda Kakabadse, this morning roundtable was moderated by Mohammed El-Ashry, former Chair/CEO of the Global Environment Facility, and comprised a lead presentation and breakout discussion groups, which reported back to the session.

In their opening remarks, speakers addressed the overall decline in ODA trends and the need to develop strategies to reverse these trends, while creating an enabling international environment for sustainable development. Speakers also highlighted the need to address the linkages between poverty and environment and ensuring harmony between the positive and negative forces of globalization. They also noted the need for appropriate policy and legal frameworks to guide development cooperation flows. The lead presentation addressed the future options for conservation finance and development cooperation. On future strategies, the presenter: proposed allocating 25% of all ODA to forest areas; highlighted the need for property rights and appropriate tenure systems; stressed the importance of strong institutions and appropriate legislation; and urged the development of markets for ecosystem services.

Participants then held deliberations in five breakout groups and reported back to the session. In the discussion, participants highlighted many issues, including the importance of: linking poverty eradication and biodiversity conservation; focusing on the root causes of poverty; ensuring donor coordination; creating government policies to guide development cooperation flows; structuring conservation efforts to maximize community benefits; working with the business community; reaching out to faith-based organizations; prioritizing the devolution of decision-making processes, planning and implementation strategies; applying the principles outlined in the Monterrey Consensus; and linking development cooperation with the climate, biodiversity and desertification conventions. Among the new proposals for development cooperation, participants suggested: upstream and downstream compensation schemes; debt reduction for restoration and conservation programmes; payment schemes for ecosystem services; a tax system and a tradable permit scheme for protected areas; carbon sequestration; cultural endowments; ecolabeling; and public-private partnerships.

USING WATER, CARING FOR ENVIRONMENT: CHALLENGES FOR THE MEKONG REGION: Co-hosted by Minister Suwit and Achim Steiner, this afternoon roundtable was moderated by David Thomas, ICRAF - The World Agroforestry Centre, and comprised four presentations, a breakout discussion session and a wrap-up session. In their opening remarks, speakers drew attention to the need to manage increasing demands for water and to address issues of equity and sustainable resource management, noting that the Mekong region is home to millions, many of whose livelihoods depend on the river basin.

The first presentation provided an overview of the Salween River basin, highlighting its cultural and biological diversity, and the socioeconomic challenges and geopolitical considerations of making decisions on issues such as dam construction.

The second presentation focused on the Tonle Sap, highlighting growing pressures on its hydrology, biodiversity and fisheries. The speaker underscored the need for multi-country, multi-scale and multi-perspective approaches to managing the lake�s resources.

The third presentation elaborated on the opportunities and impacts of inter-basin transfers, noting that while such transfers have existed for a long time, the scale, technology and resource exploitation level at which transfers are currently carried out have significantly increased. The speaker highlighted several �dos and don�ts� of transfers, recommending, inter alia: accounting for downstream users; avoiding technology fascination; informing, negotiating and compensating affected parties; and considering environmental impacts.

The fourth speaker outlined a UNDP programme aimed at protecting biodiversity of the Mekong Basin wetlands and livelihoods through collaboration. He stressed the need to consider wetlands in infrastructure developments, underlining the role of wetlands in providing livelihoods and ensuring nutrition and food security.

Participants then held deliberations in breakout groups and reported back to the session. In the discussions, participants highlighted: the need for good governance based on the principle of inclusivity; integrated approaches to planning, implementation and monitoring; the use of integrated water resource management practices; basin-level planning methods and transboundary impact assessments; strengthened frameworks for collaboration and cooperation; enhanced donor coordination; and the need to ensure transboundary management of dams.

The IUCN Congress Bulletin is a publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), publishers of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin � <enb@iisd.org>. This issue is written and edited by Karen Alvarenga, Ph.D.; Robynne Boyd; Bo-Alex Fredvik; Miquel Mu�oz; Prisna Nuengsigkapian; Richard Sherman; and Sarantuyaa Zandaryaa, Ph.D. The digital editors are David Fernau and Diego Noguera. The editor is Lynn M. Wagner, Ph.D. <lynn@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James �Kimo� Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. Funding for coverage of this meeting has been provided by IUCN with assistance from the World Bank. The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in other publications with appropriate academic citation. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists (ASCII and PDF format) and can be found on the Linkages WWW-server at <http://enb.iisd.org>. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 212 East 47th St. #21F, New York, NY 10017, USA.