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Highlights for Wednesday, 30 November 2005

Participants to the eleventh meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-11) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) continued to meet in two working groups (WGs) throughout the day. WG-I considered: invasive alien species (IAS); sustainable use; guidance to promote synergy; and a draft recommendation on the Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI). WG-II addressed: review of the implementation of the work programmes; marine and coastal biodiversity; inland water ecosystems; and two draft recommendations on refinement of the framework of the goals and targets. The contact group on goals and targets met briefly in the evening.

Above photos: WG-I Chair Annemarie Watt (Australia) (left) confers with an informal group negotiating text on the mobilization of financial and technical resources for maintaining collections of biological specimens. 

Working Group I:


The SECRETARIAT OF PACIFIC REGIONAL ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME (SPREP) stressed threats from IAS to food security and health.

Above photo: Liz Dovey (SPREP)

DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE highlighted the potential of joint work plans.

Above photo: Stas Burgiel (Defenders of Wildlife)


CHINA warned against synergy’s use as a pretext for reducing the total financial input to developing countries.

Above photo L-R: Lei Cai, Han Yingda and Weixue Cheng (China) 

PAKISTAN called for research on the carbon sequestration potential of species and ecosystems.

Above photo: Shahzad Jehangir (Pakistan)

PERU supported the development of pilot projects involving joint actions for meeting the objectives of the Rio Conventions.

Above photo: Maria Luisa Del Rio Mispireta (Peru)

AUSTRIA underscored the role of the Joint Liaison Group of the Rio Conventions.

Above photo:
Gabriele Obermayr (Austria)

NEW ZEALAND said the CBD should focus on practical advice regarding adaptation activities.

Above photo: Jonathan Curr (New Zealand)

The UK welcomed the informal joint meeting of SBSTTA-11 and the UNFCCC’s Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice.

Above photo: Karen Dickson (UK)


Delegates met in two parallel informal consultations to broker compromise text on the establihsment of a special fund for addressing capacity-building needs and on assisting developing countries to obtain, collate and curate biological specimens. 

The GEF requested that the meeting report reflect his concern that the language of the recommendations overstepped the Memorandum of Understanding between the GEF Standing Committee and the CBD COP.

Above photo: Mario Ramos (GEF)

Working Group II:


KIRIBATI called for a moratorium on deep seabed activities beyond national jurisdiction.

Above photo: Nenenteiti Teariki-Ruatu (Kiribati)

GHANA proposed requesting the UN General Assembly and UNCLOS to resolve the legal impediments to establishing high seas marine protected areas (MPAs).

Above photo: Alfred Oteng Yeboah (Ghana)

COLOMBIA highlighted degradation of coastal ecosystems and marine macrofauna.

Above photo: Ana María Hernández Salgar (Colombia)


UN FORUM ON FOREST  (UNFF) highlighted collaboration between CBD and UNFF, in particular regarding using common indicators and streamlining forest-related reporting. Many emphasized taking into account the outcomes of UNFF-6 in February 2006.

Above photo: Catalina Santamaria (UNFF)

TANZANIA for the AFRICAN GROUP called for capacity building.

Above photo: Rawson Piniel Yonazi (Tanzania)


Above photo L-R: Halldor Thorgeirsson, UNFCCC SBSTA Coordinator; Chair of the UNFCCC SBSTA and Christian Prip (Denmark); co-chaired by Abdullatif S. Benrageb (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya); CBD Executive Secretary Hamdallah Zedan and Jo Mulonggoy, CBD SBSTTA Secretary.

Above photo L-R: View of the joint infromal meeting of the UNFCCC/CBD; Abdullatif S. Benrageb (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) in a conversation with CBD Executive Secretary Hamdallah Zedan

An informal joint meeting and reception for participants in CBD SBSTTA-11 and in the 23rd meeting of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held in the evening. The meeting was co-chaired by Abdullatif S. Benrageb (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) (above center), Chair of the UNFCCC SBSTA and Christian Prip (Denmark) (above left) Chair of CBD SBSTTA.

CBD SBSTTA Chair Prip highlighted the history of cooperation between the UNFCCC and CBD, the accomplishments of the CBD Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on biodiversity and climate change, with contributions by UNFCCC, and the fourth meeting of the Liaison Group of the Biodiversity-related Conventions, held in October 2005 in Bonn, Germany.

UNFCCC SBSTA Chair Benrageb underscored the unique occasion for the two Conventions to come together and discuss the interlinkages between climate change and biodiversity. He noted the two Conventions’ underlying common objective, sustainable development, and identified relevant areas to identify synergy between the two processes, particularly regarding adaptation.

CBD Executive Secretary Hamdallah Zedan (above right) paid tribute to the life and work of the UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Joke Waller-Hunter, who passed away on 14 October 2005. He said there are many opportunities to implement climate change adaptation and mitigation activities in a mutual beneficial way. He noted that a series of natural disasters have underscored the critical role of healthy ecosystems in reducing the impacts of extreme weather events.

Outi Berghäll (Finland), Co-Chair of the CBD AHTEG on interlinkages between biodiversity and climate change, stressed that both adaptation and mitigation activities may have negative impacts on biodiversity, and noted that the climate community has a good awareness of the biodiversity-related implications of climate change.

Robert Watson (World Bank), Co-Chair of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) and Former Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, presented the process and findings of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, particularly with regard to biodiversity and climate change. While the MA found that climate change has not been a major threat to ecosystems in the last 50 years, it projected that climate change is likely to be a major threat to biodiversity over the next 50-100 years.

Braulio Dias (Brazil), Member of the AHTEG on interlinkages between biodiversity and climate change, presented the main outcomes of the AHTEG meetings. He stressed that diversity is an important property of nature, and gives it the capacity to resist and adapt to change, and noted that, while climate change is a major driver of biodiversity loss, biodiversity management can contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Halldor Thorgeirsson, UNFCCC Secretariat Coordinator, acknowledged the excellent cooperation between the CBD and UNFCCC Secretariats and highlighted that synergies start at the national level. 

The UK, on behalf of the EU with the support of BULGARIA and ROMANIA, underlined the importance of the Joint Liaison Group for the Rio Conventions and welcomed the collaboration of the Ramsar Wetlands Convention. He called for building on the informal joint meeting through closer collaboration in the future, especially in the exchange of scientific information. 

Abvove photo: David Warrilow (UK)

SWITZERLAND called for a dialogue between the UNFCCC and the CBD on potential joint actions for implementing the MA’s conclusions. 

Above photo L-R: Beat Nobs and Robert Lamb (Switzerland)

CANADA stressed the importance of coordination at the national level to reduce overlap and duplication in implementing treaties. 

Above photo: David Brackett (Canada)

AUSTRIA expressed a strong expectation for tangible deliverables on adaptation activities coming out of the joint session. 

Above photo: Klaus Radunsky (Austria)

FRIENDS OF THE EARTH INTERNATIONAL (FOE) and the GLOBAL FOREST COALITION highlighted disynergies, stressing the risk that climate change mitigation strategies will lead to massive biodiversity destruction. She called on both SBSTTA and SBSTA to analyze these risks and broaden the mandate of the AHTEG to analyze new and emerging threats to biodiversity. 

Above photo: Simone Lovera (FOE)

AUSTRALIA noted the importance of respecting the mandate of each convention. With respect to adaptation, she welcomed biodiversity expertise but cautioned against biodiversity issues getting ahead of the UNFCCC process. 

Above photo: Elizabeth Peak (Australia)

The SECRETARIAT TO THE RAMSAR CONVENTION ON WETLANDS emphasized the role of wetlands in climate change and underscored the complex nature of the global sea and land matrix. 

Above photo: Peter Bridgewater (Ramsar Convention)

This service was prepared in cooperation with the CBD Secretariat


CBD Secretariat
SBSTTA-11 documents
Global Biodiversity Outlook 
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment  
UNFCCC Secretariat 
UNCCD Secretariat
Ramsar Secretariat

Links to ENB coverage

ENB coverage of COP-7
ENB coverage of SBSTTA-10
ENB coverage of WGPA-1

ENB archives of biodiversity meetings


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