Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 9 No. 278
Friday, 13 February 2004
CBD COP-7 HIGHLIGHTS:
THURSDAY, 12 FEBRUARY 2004
COP-7 delegates met throughout the day in two
Working Groups (WGs). WG-I considered the Strategic Plan, and
progress reports on thematic work programmes. WG-II discussed
Article 8(j) (traditional knowledge), and scientific and technical
cooperation and the Clearing-house Mechanism (CHM). A brief daily
Plenary was held in the afternoon. Contact groups on access and
benefit-sharing (ABS), the programme budget for the biennium
2005-2006, and protected areas (PAs) also convened.
WORKING GROUP I
STRATEGIC PLAN: The Secretariat introduced
documents on the implementation of the Strategic Plan, including
targets and indicators (UNEP/CBD/COP/7/20/Add.1 and 3, INF/22 and
Ireland, on behalf of the EU and Acceding
Countries, Bulgaria and Romania (EU), proposed establishing an
expert liaison group to develop trial indicators. Colombia, on
behalf of GRULAC, recommended balanced participation of governmental
and non-governmental experts.
Regarding the provisional list of goals and
targets, the EU and AUSTRALIA recommended adopting a limited set of
provisional targets and indicators. AUSTRALIA requested that they be
science-based, realistic and non-mandatory. He expressed
reservations regarding quantitative targets and, with NEW ZEALAND
and ICELAND, called for a flexible framework within which national
and regional targets can be developed. The EU and KENYA called for
socioeconomic indicators. SWITZERLAND and CANADA said a monitoring
framework should be adopted provisionally, with CANADA stressing the
need to clarify SBSTTA’s mandate. NORWAY advocated synergies between
international initiatives, and called for science-based quantitative
BRAZIL requested clearer references to
sustainable use and ABS. The MALDIVES and BRAZIL requested
referencing climate change mitigation and, with ARGENTINA, financial
and technical resources. ARGENTINA requested references to
unsustainable consumption patterns. MEXICO said the goals should be
specific and contain only one target and indicator, and BOLIVIA
called for measuring benefit-sharing. INDONESIA requested references
to shared resources. The INTERNATIONAL INDIGENOUS FORUM ON
BIODIVERSITY (IIFB) proposed including indicators on linguistic
WG-I Chair Hans Hoogeveen (the Netherlands)
proposed, and delegates agreed, to establish a contact group.
THEMATIC PROGRAMMES OF WORK: Forest
biodiversity: The Secretariat presented documents on the forest
work programme (UNEP/CBD/COP/7/4, 11 and 17/Add.7, and INF/7 and
Many delegations stressed the importance of
international collaboration, especially through the Collaborative
Partnership on Forests. Saudi Arabia, for the ARAB GROUP, underlined
linkages between the different thematic work programmes. The EU, NEW
ZEALAND and INDONESIA suggested prioritizing forest law enforcement.
FRANCE stressed the need for criteria and indicators for sustainable
forest management (SFM). The EU, CANADA and SWITZERLAND suggested
streamlining forest-related reporting. SWITZERLAND highlighted the
role of the ecosystem approach in SFM.
HAITI recommended that the Ad Hoc
Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on forest biodiversity consider
indirect threats to forest biodiversity. India, on behalf of the
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC GROUP, recommended country-driven
implementation and inter-regional capacity building. CAMEROON
stressed the need to build government capacity. Liberia, for the
AFRICAN GROUP, called for recognizing the role of women, youth and
the elderly in implementing the work programme, and noted
difficulties in electronic consultations for developing countries.
The IIFB called for emphasizing indigenous capacity building and
Dry and sub-humid lands: The Secretariat
presented relevant documents (UNEP/CBD/COP/7/3 and 11, and INF/28 to
30, and 34). The ASIA AND THE PACIFIC GROUP suggested emphasizing
transboundary areas. The ARAB GROUP called for building capacity for
national assessments. The UN CONVENTION TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION (UNCCD)
urged joint efforts to support sustainable livelihoods.
Agricultural biodiversity: The Secretariat
presented relevant documents (UNEP/CBD/COP/7/4, 7 and 11, and INF/6,
14, 15 and 31), including recommendations on genetic use restriction
technologies (GURTs). MALAYSIA cautioned against the potential
adverse impacts of GURTs, and encouraged further research. The
PHILIPPINES called for involving local and indigenous communities.
CANADA called on Parties to ratify the International Treaty on Plant
Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR). INDIA noted the
importance of reporting on domesticated animal genetic resources.
The IIFB called on Parties to effectively
recognize and promote indigenous knowledge, innovations and farming
practices. The ETC GROUP urged developing regulatory mechanisms to
prohibit field testing and commercialization of GURTs. The
INTERMEDIATE TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT GROUP supported calls for a
legally binding agreement on livestock keepers’ rights and a ban on
GURTs. The INTERNATIONAL PLANT GENETIC RESOURCES INSTITUTE stressed
the need to strengthen the relevant knowledge base. FAO outlined its
activities to implement the CBD’s work programmes.
WORKING GROUP II
ARTICLE 8(j): The Secretariat introduced
recommendations of the third meeting of the Article 8(j) Working
Group (UNEP/CBD/COP/7/7). Many delegates welcomed the Working
Group’s outcomes, especially the draft Akwé: Kon guidelines on
impact assessments. The PHILIPPINES invited the COP to consider
making the guidelines binding. The IIFB stressed that prior informed
consent (PIC) is an inherent right of indigenous peoples and not
subject to national legislation. AUSTRIA called for respecting
indigenous territorial rights, noting that they are integral to the
conservation of traditional knowledge and to sui generis
The IIFB, supported by many, called for
developing sui generis systems for traditional knowledge
protection on the basis of customary laws and traditional practices,
with BRAZIL requesting their prioritization. Supported by NAMIBIA,
the IIFB requested that sui generis systems be considered
under the CBD, and not under WIPO. JAPAN said protection of
traditional knowledge through intellectual property rights (IPR) has
to be consistent with IPR regimes. WIPO reported on its efforts to
develop legal and policy options for the protection of traditional
knowledge. Egypt, on behalf of the AFRICAN GROUP, highlighted the
need for national legislation to preserve traditional knowledge.
MALAYSIA, opposed by the EU, proposed to remove
bracketed preambular references to international law in the context
of sui generis systems. Delegates agreed to resolve this
issue through informal consultations.
Regarding GURTs, the IIFB opposed field testing
and commercialization and, with AUSTRIA, called for a precautionary
approach. Supported by the EU, the IIFB requested considering
socioeconomic impacts. NORWAY emphasized that the moratorium on
GURTs mandated by COP-5 remains valid until a new decision is made.
TANZANIA suggested that COP-7 take a position on GURTs’ potential
adverse effects on communities and farmers’ rights. KENYA requested
that a ban be declared. CANADA and INDONESIA said the issue should
be addressed at SBSTTA-10. TURKEY suggested that GURTs be discussed
in the framework of agricultural biodiversity. The ETC GROUP said
delays in considering the AHTEG’s report allow corporations to
further develop a technology jeopardizing food security, and promote
it as a biosafety tool. Delegates agreed to add language expressing
their concerns over GURTs.
The INDIGENOUS WOMEN’S BIODIVERSITY NETWORK, the
IIFB and the SOUTH ASIA INDIGENOUS WOMEN FORUM supported a workshop
on CBD-related issues for indigenous women. The IIFB and NAMIBIA
stressed the need for a voluntary fund for indigenous participation.
Delegates agreed that particular attention be given to funding for
indigenous participation from developing countries, countries with
economies in transition and Small Island Developing States. SPAIN
supported a network of focal points for Article 8(j)-related issues.
The EU stressed the need for enhanced participatory mechanisms for
communities and, supported by AUSTRALIA, for close linkages between
the Article 8(j) Working Group and WIPO. SWITZERLAND
reiterated the need for better cooperation between the Article 8(j)
and ABS Working Groups. The Russian Federation, for the CENTRAL AND
EASTERN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES, suggested a global initiative for
traditional lifestyle conservation. ARGENTINA suggested training
communities to protect their knowledge and negotiate their own
benefit-sharing arrangements. The UN PERMANENT FORUM ON INDIGENOUS
ISSUES called for an international ethics board on bioprospecting to
uphold indigenous rights and PIC.
SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL COOPERATION AND THE CHM:
The Secretariat introduced relevant documents (UNEP/CBD/COP/7/17,
17/Add.1 and Add.6, and INF/3, 4, 5, 11 and 12). IRAN and PALAU
requested the Executive Secretary to organize their regional CHM
meetings. The EU called for strengthening national focal points,
achieving inter-operability, and translating the CHM toolkit. NORWAY
called for targeting further development of the CHM to CBD
implementation, and noted that the recommendations of its
independent review are not reflected in the documentation.
WG Reports: WG-I Chair Hoogeveen and WG-II
Chair Desh Depaak Verma (India) reported on progress made in their
Statements: The FAO said the ITPGR covers
essential parts of agricultural biodiversity, urging Parties to
ratify it. The UN FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE said its
Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice has
encouraged Parties to use the report of the AHTEG on Biodiversity
and Climate Change as a source of information.
PAs: Delegates adopted the work programme’s
elements as recommended by SBSTTA. Regarding the goals, they debated
whether indigenous involvement in PA establishment and management
should be "encouraged" or "enhanced and secured," and agreed on the
latter. On the targets, Friends of the Chair groups were established
to reach compromise on: full and effective indigenous and local
communities’ participation; securing resources to meet PA costs; and
establishing monitoring systems at various levels by 2010.
BUDGET: Delegates initiated discussions on
the Executive Secretary’s report, sanctions for delayed
contributions, the procedure of adoption of the Convention’s and the
Biosafety Protocol’s budgets, and allocation of Convention
activities to the core budget and Trust Fund.
ABS: Participants initiated discussions on
the heavily bracketed terms of reference for the ABS Working Group
that will negotiate the international ABS regime. Informal drafting
groups were formed to suggest revised terms on the process and scope
of the regime.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Half-way through the first week of COP-7, some
delegates feared that the relatively rapid consideration of agenda
items in the two working groups might be offset by prolonged contact
group discussions. Remarking that preliminary statements on PAs on
Tuesday had warranted convening a contact group earlier in the week,
some expressed skepticism about COP-7’s success to adopt a strong
and operational work programme. One delegate noted that the work
programme’s numerous references to the work of the IUCN World
Commission on Protected Areas may become the center of a thorny
On the other hand, while the ABS contact group
spent long hours attempting to reduce the number of bracketed
options on the table, one participant was cautiously optimistic.
Despite noting that the breakthrough was still far away, he said the
group was slowly but firmly getting closer to producing a clear
mandate for the ABS Working Group to initiate negotiations.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
WORKING GROUP I: WG-I will convene at 10:00
am in the Dewan Nerdeka Hall to discuss thematic programmes and
mountain biodiversity. Look for a Chair’s text on the Strategic
Plan, and on the thematic programmes’ progress review.
WORKING GROUP II: WG-II will meet at 10:00 am
in Room TR4 to continue addressing scientific and technical
cooperation and the CHM, and discuss: communication, education and
public awareness; financial resources and mechanism; and national
reporting. Look for the outcome of informal consultations on
outstanding issues regarding Article 8(j), and circulation of a
conference room paper.
CONTACT GROUPS: The contact group on the
programme budget for 2005-2006 will meet at 11:00 am and 3:00 pm in
the VIP Room. The contact groups on ABS and PAs are also expected to