Earth Negotiations Bulletin

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 A Reporting Service for Environment and Development Negotiations

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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Vol. 09 No. 151
Tuesday, 16 May 2000

MONDAY, 15 MAY 2000

On the first day of CBD COP-5, delegates heard opening remarks, elected officers, adopted the agenda and addressed pending issues. Reports were delivered on behalf of regional preparatory workshops, international institutions, SBSTTA-4 and 5, the Working Group on Article 8(j), the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the Intersessional Meeting on the Operations of the Convention (ISOC).


OPENING REMARKS: President of COP-4, László Miklós (Slovakia), welcomed delegates and overviewed the CBD’s achievements during the intersessional period, particularly the Cartagena Protocol, SBSTTA’s progress, the ISOC, the Panel of Experts on Access and Benefit-Sharing and the Working Group on Article 8(j).

Hamdallah Zedan, Executive Secretary of the CBD, noted that the intersessional meetings and activities on biosafety, benefit-sharing, traditional knowledge, dryland and agricultural biodiversity, and review of the financial resources and mechanism have laid a solid foundation for the CBD’s future development. He also noted the forthcoming ten-year review for the implementation of Agenda 21 and associated conventions.

Klaus Töpfer, UNEP Executive Director, noted challenges facing Africa, including conflicts and poverty, and encouraged investment in sustainable development rather than in managing conflicts once they arise. He urged awareness of the relationship between poverty and biodiversity. He lauded the finalization of the Cartagena Protocol and noted the signing ceremony to be held on 24 May.

Daniel arap Moi, President of Kenya, welcomed COP-5 delegates to Nairobi and noted that biodiversity is a vital resource for socioeconomic development and for the long-term well-being of communities. He stressed that the COP should focus on the development of a work programme for the implementation of the Cartagena Protocol, access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing (ABS), biodiversity in dryland ecosystems and sustainable use. President Moi signed the Cartagena Protocol, making Kenya its first signatory.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS: COP-4 President Miklós nominated Francis Nyenze, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources of Kenya, as the President of COP-5, who was then elected by acclamation. Regional groups announced their representatives to the COP-5 Bureau: Phocus Ntayombya (Rwanda) for the African Group; A.H. Zakhri (Malaysia) and Manal Al-Dulaimi (Kuwait) for the Asian Group; Mariangela Rebuá (Brazil) and Elaine Fisher (Jamaica) for the Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (GRULAC); Gordana Beltram (Slovenia) and Ilona Jepsen (Latvia) for the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEE); and Marina von Weissenberg (Finland) and Peter Schei (Norway) for the Western Europe and Others Group (WEOG). Peter Schei was elected as Chair of Working Group I and Elaine Fisher as Chair of Working Group II.

ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA: COP-5 President Nyenze introduced the provisional agenda (UNEP/CBD/COP/5/1). BRAZIL, supported by COLOMBIA, proposed including discussion on global plant conservation under the agenda item on cross-cutting issues. The NETHERLANDS proposed, and it was agreed, that this be discussed with the sub-item on alien species. ARGENTINA called for discussion of the Cartagena Protocol in a working group. It was noted that the Protocol would be discussed in Plenary.

PENDING ISSUES: President Nyenze noted that no agreement had been reached and suggested that informal consultations continue. Further discussion was postponed to the next COP.

REGIONAL MEETING REPORTS: Zedan recalled that COP-4 had requested regional meetings be held on the implementation of the Convention, but regretted that this was not possible due to budgetary constraints. He noted that regional preparatory meetings were convened in the Pacific Islands, Africa and Europe. The COOK ISLANDS, on behalf of the Pacific Island Parties, overviewed the Pacific Island workshop, which developed recommendations on ABS, indigenous knowledge and regional capacity developing needs. She asked the COP to recognize the need for continuing assistance for such meetings.

ALGERIA, on behalf of the African Group, underscored Africa's commitment to biodiversity conservation despite its lack of means for implementation, and stressed the importance of implementing Article 8(j) in accordance with local community needs.

ZIMBABWE presented a report of the fifth Global Biodiversity Forum for Southern Africa, held in Harare. Meeting participants shared national experiences with CBD implementation; developed recommendations on the work programme on dry and sub-humid lands, sustainable use and issues related to ABS and traditional knowledge; and made recommendations for future activities.

On behalf of the European region, LATVIA noted that the intergovernmental conference "Biodiversity in Europe," held in Riga, addressed: agricultural biodiversity; sustainable use, including tourism; biodiversity indicators, monitoring and reporting; scientific and technical cooperation and the CHM; financial resources and mechanism; and CBD implementation and regional cooperation.

BRAZIL, on behalf of GRULAC, and IRAN, on behalf of the Asian Group, regretted that regional consultations before COP-5 could not be held due to lack of funds. NIGERIA, on behalf of the G-77/China, called for new and additional financial resources, and stressed that issues such as financial resources, technology transfer and capacity-building be fully dealt with at COP-5.

INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS’ STATEMENTS: The FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION underlined the role of biodiversity in fighting hunger and malnutrition, reported on ongoing cooperation with the CBD and expressed interest in collaboration, particularly on forest biodiversity and alien species. The RAMSAR CONVENTION highlighted progress achieved in developing synergies with the CBD and underscored the need to translate this collaboration into action in the field. He expressed hope that COP-5 would endorse the proposed joint work plan for 2000-2001. The WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION highlighted its activities in four areas related to intellectual property and biodiversity: ABS; protection of traditional knowledge; access to and transfer of technology relevant to sustainable use of biodiversity; and scientific and technical cooperation in the sustainable use of biodiversity. UNESCO highlighted its continued assistance to the CBD, including: elaboration of principles and operational guidance for the ecosystem approach; provision of information related to thematic programmes; and design of a global initiative on biodiversity education and public awareness. Regarding the Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI), he called for accelerating the process and funding for taxonomic efforts and new North-South and South-South linkages. The CONVENTION ON MIGRATORY SPECIES (CMS) addressed its complementarities with the CBD. He noted the GEF's approval of two medium-sized projects among the CBD, RAMSAR and CMS, and drew attention to a study on the complementarities between the CBD and CMS (UNEP/CBD/COP/5/Inf/28).

The fifteenth GLOBAL BIODIVERSITY FORUM summarized its key conclusions, including that the COP should: recommend full integration of monetary and non-monetary goods and services of biodiversity into poverty alleviation strategies; ensure national biodiversity strategies and action plans take full account of the needs of the poor; ensure full and effective participation of indigenous peoples in the CBD’s work on ABS; ensure that resource country measures are complemented by those of user countries; and adopt strong work programmes on agrobiodiversity and drylands. The INTERNATIONAL INDIGENOUS FORUM recommended: the continuation of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Article 8(j); the full participation of indigenous peoples in all processes of the CBD, including COP-5; coordination of the CBD’s work on traditional knowledge with other international organizations; recognition of the fundamental role of women; support for an indigenous peoples’ CHM; and support for a moratorium on all bioprospecting activities in indigenous peoples’ territories until appropriate legislation is in place.

REPORTS OF SBSTTA: SBSTTA-4 Chair A.H. Zakhri (Malaysia) introduced the meeting’s report and recommendations (UNEP/CBD/COP/5/2). He stated that SBSTTA-4 addressed: SBSTTA’s programme of work; terms of reference for expert groups; the GTI; status and trends of terrestrial biodiversity; alien species; technologies for plant gene expression; environmental impact assessments; and sustainable use, including tourism. He also noted SBSTTA’s improved effectiveness in bridging the gap between researchers and policy-makers.

SBSTTA-5 Chair Cristián Samper (Colombia) noted SBSTTA-5’s report and recommendations (UNEP/CBD/COP/5/3). He drew attention to the meeting’s priority issues: the programme of work for dryland biodiversity; agricultural biodiversity; the ecosystem approach; biodiversity indicators; sustainable use; guidelines for the second national reports; and ad hoc technical expert groups. He also proposed strengthening SBSTTA’s work, through: streamlining its agenda; intersessional mechanisms for scientific assessments; better use of the CHM; and strengthened relationships with other conventions and international scientific processes.

REPORT OF THE WORKING GROUP ON ARTICLE 8(J): SPAIN introduced the Report of the Working Group on the Implementation of Article 8(j) and Related Provisions (UNEP/ CBD/COP/5/5), and reported that the meeting made recommendations on ways and means to protect traditional knowledge, the Group’s work programme and measures to strengthen cooperation among local communities at the international level.

REPORT ON THE STATUS OF THE CARTAGENA PROTOCOL: Ambassador Philémon Yang (Cameroon), Chair of the Bureau of the open-ended ad hoc Intergovernmental Committee for the Cartagena Protocol (ICCP), introduced the ICCP's work plan prepared by the Bureau, and invited the COP to endorse it. He said the proposed work plan addresses issues to be considered at the first meeting of the Parties to the Protocol (MOP-1), and activities central to its operation. ARGENTINA asked for further consideration of the work plan and called for prioritization of capacity-building and development of the biosafety CHM over identification and implementation. COLOMBIA said identification and implementation are equally important. TURKEY stated that decision-making procedures under Articles 5 (Pharmaceuticals) and 6 (Transit and Contained Use) of the Protocol should not be addressed at ICCP-1. PORTUGAL, on behalf of the EU, welcomed the draft work plan for the ICCP. The EUROPEAN COMMISSION suggested that clarification of the ICCP mandate could be more useful than negotiation of the work plan.

AUSTRALIA highlighted the importance of capacity-building and proposed forming a group to finalize a better focused work plan. IRAN expressed concern over the emphasis on the private sector for providing capacity-building. MALAWI emphasized the need for capacity-building with regard to biotechnology. INDONESIA underscored private sector contributions to strengthening capacity.

CANADA stressed that a CHM must be established prior to MOP-1 of the Protocol. SWITZERLAND identified as priorities the CHM's establishment, development of a coordinated programme to assist in capacity-building and preparations for MOP-1. FRANCE noted that the first ICCP meeting will take place from 11-15 December 2000 in Montpelier.

REPORT OF THE ISOC: COP-4 President Mikl�s introduced the ISOC's report (UNEP/CBD/COP/5/4), which concentrates on two main tasks: preparation for and conduct of COP meetings; and further work on ABS with a focus on the Expert Panel�s.


As delegates geared up for substantive discussions at COP-5, the breezeways buzzed over what the key areas of debate might be. Along with talk of how access to genetic resources and its sub-items would be addressed, discussion also arose over the Cartagena Protocol and which Parties would and would not sign during the meeting. The debate engendered over the ICCP�s work plan had some delegates wondering whether the implementation of the Protocol would prove as difficult as its negotiation.


PLENARY: Plenary will meet at 10:00 am in Conference Room 2 to hear reports on the GEF, the Panel of Experts on ABS and the administration of the Convention and the Trust Fund. Further guidance on how discussions will proceed on the Cartagena Protocol is also expected.

GUIDELINES FOR ABS: A luncheon workshop on developing international guidelines for ABS will be held from 1:00-3:00 pm in Conference Hall 1.

IUCN RECEPTION: A reception for IUCN members will be held from 6:00-8:00 pm in the UNEP Fountain Area.

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin � <> is written and edited by Chango Bai <>, Stas Burgiel <>, Laura Ivers <>, Jessica Suplie <> and Elsa Tsioumani <>. The Digital Editors are Andrei Henry <> and Nabiha Megateli <>. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. <> and the Managing Director is Langston James "Kimo" Goree VI <>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Canada (through CIDA and DFAIT), the United States (through USAID), the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape (SAEFL), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Commission (DG-ENV). General Support for the Bulletin during 2000 is provided by the German Federal Ministry of Environment (BMU) and the German Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation (BMZ), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Environment of Austria, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment of Norway, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Environment of Finland, the Government of Sweden, the Government of Australia, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and BP Amoco. Logistical support has been provided at this meeting by UNEP. The Bulletin can be contacted by e-mail at <> and at tel: +1-212-644-0204; fax: +1-212-644-0206. IISD can be contacted by e-mail at <> and at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada. The opinions expressed in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and other funders. Excerpts from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications only and only with appropriate academic citation. For permission to use this material in commercial publications, contact the Managing Editor. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists and can be found on the Linkages WWW server at The satellite image was taken above Nairobi �2000 The Living Earth, Inc. For information on the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, send e-mail to the Managing Director at <>.

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