Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 09 No. 260
Thursday, 13 November 2003
WEDNESDAY, 12 NOVEMBER 2003
Delegates to the ninth meeting of the Subsidiary
Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-9) of
the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) convened in Working
Group sessions throughout the day. Working Group I (WG-I) addressed
sustainable use, the ecosystem approach, and invasive alien species
(IAS). Working Group II (WG-II) continued discussions on
outcome-oriented targets, and considered Conference Room Papers (CRPs)
on monitoring and indicators, and biodiversity and climate change.
WORKING GROUP I
SUSTAINABLE USE: Practical principles and
operational guidance: Delegates considered recommendations on
practical principles and operational guidance for sustainable use,
including the draft Addis Ababa principles and guidelines (UNEP/CBD/
SBSTTA/9/9 and INF/8). ARGENTINA and BRAZIL called for addressing
sustainable production and sustainable consumption. GERMANY and the
UK suggested adopting the draft principles and the recommendations
without amendment, respectively. AUSTRALIA stressed that sustainable
use is dependent on biodiversity conservation. NORWAY and GERMANY
proposed setting timeframes. MADAGASCAR requested systematizing
research results and promoting cooperation between researchers and
users. FINLAND proposed including a reference to other quality
standards in the operational guidelines. NEW ZEALAND and AUSTRALIA
requested referring to the "precautionary approach" rather than the
"precautionary principle." The EUROPEAN COMMUNITY (EC) agreed, under
condition that reference be made to Rio Principle 15 (Precautionary
Forest biodiversity: Delegates considered
proposals for the prevention of losses caused by unsustainable
harvesting of timber and non-timber forest resources (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/9/
Add.2), and recommendations on the management of forest biodiversity
to derive products and services and benefit-sharing (UNEP/ CBD/SBSTTA/9/9/Add.1).
CANADA and AUSTRIA suggested presenting the recommendations as
lessons learnt, and GERMANY and FINLAND proposed simplifying them.
INDIA called for promoting the long-term interests of indigenous
peoples and ensuring fair and equitable benefit-sharing.
Incentive measures: On proposals for ways and
means to remove or mitigate perverse incentives (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/
9/Add.3 and INF/10), the UK suggested the Executive Secretary
consider the need to further elaborate, refine and advance
methodologies for evaluating biodiversity. ARGENTINA urged an
exclusive focus on the removal of perverse incentives, and MEXICO
stressed the importance of focusing on compensatory policies.
DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE requested making clear, throughout the
documents related to sustainable use, that perverse incentives
undermine biodiversity conservation and sustainable use.
ECOSYSTEM APPROACH: The Secretariat introduced
guidelines on implementing the ecosystem approach and its
relationship with sustainable forest management (SFM) (UNEP/CBD/
SBSTTA/9/8). Jan Plesnik, Co-Chair of the Expert Meeting on the
ecosystem approach, presented the report of the Expert Meeting (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/INF/4).
Gil Shepherd, IUCN, proposed ways to implement and operationalize
the principles on the ecosystem approach.
GERMANY and SWEDEN suggested requesting the
Executive Secretary to assess the implementation of the ecosystem
approach for consideration by SBSTTA prior to COP-9. GERMANY,
SLOVENIA and SPAIN suggested adding a paragraph on the need for
cross-sectoral integration of SFM, and CANADA and FINLAND opposed,
the latter noting that SFM is already significantly broad.
SWITZERLAND said the principles should only be revised if their
practical application reveals such a need. TANZANIA felt it was
premature to forward recommendations to COP-7 on certification and
similar programmes that potentially restrict Parties’ sovereignty.
The NETHERLANDS suggested focusing on facilitating the application
of the principles. The FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION (FAO)
suggested that the CBD develop a case-based knowledge management
system. The ARAB CENTER FOR THE STUDIES OF ARID ZONES AND DRYLANDS
stressed the need to continue collecting data and case studies, and
to build capacity to apply the ecosystem approach.
INVASIVE ALIEN SPECIES: The Secretariat
introduced documents on gaps and inconsistencies in the
international regulatory framework related to IAS (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/15
AUSTRALIA, ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, CANADA, NEW ZEALAND,
and the US reiterated their opposition to COP Decision VI/23 (Alien
species), and asked that all references be deleted or
footnoted throughout the document to record their reservations. NEW
ZEALAND stressed that the Guiding Principles on alien species had
not been adopted, and raised concerns about contradictions with Rio
Principle 15 and the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on
Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. AUSTRALIA and NEW ZEALAND
opposed recommendations welcoming the INF document on IAS, noting
that they had had no time to review it prior to the meeting. NEW
ZEALAND requested, and NORWAY and the EC opposed, removing the
chapeau of the recommendation on trade liberalization and, supported
by ARGENTINA, deleting references to the WTO and negotiations on
bilateral and regional free trade agreements. BRAZIL stressed that
the recommendations should not contain discriminatory trade
Palau, on behalf of the ASIA AND PACIFIC REGION,
supported by NEW ZEALAND, stressed the vulnerability of island
States to IAS and the need for a sustainable funding mechanism and
technical support. SOUTH AFRICA requested references to
unintentional or opportunistic introductions, and to intentional
introductions through trade in species for non-food purposes and
ex situ conservation projects as pathways. The UK recommended
harmonizing the CBD and the International Plant Protection
Convention and, with the SEYCHELLES and NORWAY, requested that pet
trade be added as a pathway.
The PHILIPPINES proposed that tourism be identified
as a non trade-related activity for introducing IAS, and ARGENTINA
identified several technical insufficiencies in the document. CANADA
stressed that prevention efforts should be import-focused, and that
risk assessments must be applied to a range of species. LIBERIA
noted financial constraints to monitoring transboundary trade, and
recommended strengthening regulatory mechanisms at national and
regional levels. INDIA proposed linking CBD efforts with those made
under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of
Wild Fauna and Flora.
The SUNSHINE PROJECT drew attention to the relevance
of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. DEFENDERS OF
WILDLIFE noted gaps, including unidentified inconsistencies between
the CBD and other relevant international legal instruments, and
failure to addressing the risks of communicable diseases.
WORKING GROUP II
WG-II Chair Asghar Fazel (Iran) invited written
comments on Chair’s texts on the synergies between the CBD and the
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and technology
transfer and cooperation.
OUTCOME-ORIENTED TARGETS: Regarding the
Executive Summary on the integration of outcome-oriented targets
into the CBD’s programmes of work (PoWs) (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/ 14),
FINLAND suggested disseminating work on indicators and targets
through the Clearing-house Mechanism (CHM). Concerning text on
maintaining biodiversity goods and services, ARGENTINA requested
referring to the application of best practices. Noting that Parties
cannot decide single-handedly on factors constituting threats to
biodiversity, the UK requested maintaining a list of threats.
UNEP-WCMC, on behalf of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS),
said the CMS will contribute to work on indicators. A representative
of a coalition of NGOs stressed its readiness to contribute to
developing and testing indicators, and supported harmonizing
In the afternoon, Chair Fazel presented a Chair’s
text, inviting written comments in order to prepare a CRP.
Global Strategy for Plant Conservation: The
Secretariat introduced a document on ways to promote the
implementation of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC)
(UNEP/CBD/ SBSTTA/9/14/Add.2). IRELAND, BRAZIL and HAITI asked for
guidance on developing and implementing national targets and, with
MALAYSIA, recommended the nomination of national focal points.
CANADA expressed concern over the practicability of national focal
points, and supported cooperation with FAO on targets for
agricultural biodiversity. MALAYSIA, MEXICO and CANADA noted that
some timelines for implementation are unrealistic, given many
Parties’ limited capacities and financial means. THE GLOBAL
BIODIVERSITY INFORMATION FACILITY described its contributions to
information exchange, training and promotion of partnerships and
In the afternoon, Chair Fazel presented a Chair’s
text on the GSPC, inviting written comments to prepare a CRP.
Inland water biodiversity: The Secretariat
introduced a document on outcome-oriented targets and deadlines for
the implementation of the revised PoW on inland water biodiversity (UNEP/
CBD/SBSTTA/9/14/Add.1). Noting developing countries’ lack of
monitoring capacity, MEXICO proposed that countries identify goals
they are able to monitor. The Philippines, for the ASIA AND PACIFIC
REGION, called for assistance for in situ conservation of
inland water biodiversity. The UK, SWEDEN and NORWAY called for a
review within two years. The NETHERLANDS said COP-7 should review
the targets in relation to other PoWs. The RAMSAR CONVENTION
stressed the need for harmonizing indicators, and WWF proposed
Marine and coastal biodiversity: The Secretariat
presented a document on outcome-oriented targets for the
implementation of the PoW on marine and coastal biodiversity (UNEP/CBD/
The PHILIPPINES and GERMANY proposed taking into
account regional initiatives. GERMANY suggested adding a definition
of marine protected areas (PAs), and ARGENTINA and BRAZIL requested
referring to the significant reduction of the rate of biodiversity
loss, rather than its halt, by 2010.
The PHILIPPINES, ARGENTINA, CUBA, INDONESIA, and
NORWAY said the targets are too ambitious and premature,
highlighting financial and capacity constraints to their
achievements by 2010. BRAZIL said many of the proposed goals and
targets fall outside the CBDï¿½s scope, and SWITZERLAND pointed to the
excessive number of goals, targets and indicators. FINLAND, BRAZIL
and NORWAY proposed establishing a process to further work on
targets, with BRAZIL suggesting adopting the goals and activities at
SBSTTA-9. FAO said process-oriented indicators are more realistic.
MONITORING AND INDICATORS: Chair Fazel
introduced a CRP on monitoring and indicators (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/ 9/WG.II/CRP.1).
Regarding coordination between sets of indicators within the CBD,
CANADA and NEW ZEALAND suggested emphasizing the need to develop
national-level mechanisms for coordination. On the collaboration
between the CBD and other organizations for the development of
indicators, the EC proposed adding a reference to "monitoring." NEW
ZEALAND, AUSTRALIA, BRAZIL and the UK objected, preferring to keep
these concepts separate. Chair Fazel requested consultations on this
issue, and delegates adopted the CRP with other suggested
BIODIVERSITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE: In the
afternoon, the Secretariat presented a CRP on biodiversity and
climate change (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/WG.II/CRP.2) incorporating
amendments proposed by Parties in writing. The document was adopted
with several minor amendments, including a reference to the reports
of UNFCCC workshops on synergies and cooperation with other
conventions and to the IUCN Man and Biosphere Programme. Chair Fazel
suggested informal discussions on a proposal from PERU to refer to
specific projects mitigating the impact of human activity.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Delegates in WG-II whipped through considering the
CRP on biodiversity and climate change. Although there was general
satisfaction with the document, a number of delegates noted that the
documentï¿½s impact will be minimal at most, given that it requests
SBSTTA to merely "develop advice or guidance to promoting synergy,"
rather than develop guidelines.
Although discussions on IAS were expected to rouse
the ghosts of COP-6 that have spooked biodiversity-related
negotiations ever since, many delegates remarked the cooperative
spirit of discussions. Some noted that the Secretariatï¿½s late
distribution of the information document on IAS could have easily
frustrated the good will.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
WORKING GROUP I: WG-I will meet at 10:00 am to
consider Chairï¿½s texts on the ecosystem approach and IAS, and CRPs
on PAs and mountain biodiversity. It will continue discussing these
documents in the afternoon.
WORKING GROUP II: WG-II will convene at 10:00 am
to remove brackets in the CRPs on biodiversity and climate change,
and monitoring and indicators, and discuss CRPs on the GSCP,
outcome-oriented targets, and technology transfer and cooperation.
It will continue discussing these documents in the afternoon.