Report of main proceedings for 14 October 1993

1st Session of the Intergovernmental Committee on the Convention on Biological Diversity (ICCBD)



The Chair provided a summary of the criteria for nationalstrategies, as expressed in Wednesday's reports on nationalactivities. The Chair then asked for brief comments on the list.India requested the addition of population; changes in rainfall orclimate that affect species; disasters; need to integrate human andconservation needs and traditional knowledge in biodiversityconservation; and land use and soil degradation. The Netherlandsadded responsibility for ecosystems and species. Sweden addedgenetic diversity. Indonesia added poverty. Bolivia suggestedgrouping the list into three broad categories. The Chair then askedfor a small group to reorder the list, including Costa Rica aschair and Bolivia, Cuba, Norway, Sweden, India, Indonesia, Malawi,and a representative to be named by the EC. Brazil requested thatthis list not be considered as formal recommendations or decisionsof the Working Group. He reserved the right to keep this issue openin the Plenary, noting that the list included criteria that couldbe considered as pre-conditions for funding. The Chair suggestedthat the list is but a first step that could result in arecommendation to the Plenary if the delegates so wished. Or theissue could be re-discussed in the Plenary. Another option would beto defer it to the next ICCBD.


The Chair next referred to Article 25 and Resolution 2 of theNairobi Final Act that call for a meeting of scientists to advisethe ICCBD up to the first meeting of the COP. All countries couldattend until the COP establishes rules of procedure. Norwaysuggested that the body should quickly be established and should beof manageable size, but open to all governments. Belgium, for theEC, referred to paragraph 2(b) of the Nairobi Final Act that callsfor the establishment of an interim scientific and technicaladvisory committee of government experts to assist in thepreparation of draft guidelines. Belgium proposed a restrictedgroup with representatives of the five regional groups to makerecommendations regarding the ISTAC. Sweden stated that ISTAC's jobunder Resolution 2(b) is to establish an agenda and arrangementsamong governments. Thus the body should report to this WorkingGroup. Some of the opponents of the creation of an ISTAC, such asNigeria, are concerned about the terms of reference and compositionof the body. Australia noted on the other hand, that a number ofscientific issues need to be worked out during the intersessionalperiod to enable the COP to deal with substantive issues. The Chairstated that this committee will set the terms of reference forISTAC if they decide to create such a body. Brazil and India raisedquestions regarding the need for such a body just one year beforethe COP. Costa Rica, the US, and Norway referred to the need toestablish ISTAC with high calibre scientists and technologists. TheBahamas recommended including resource economists and others beyondstrict scientific and technical experts on the advisory body.

The World Conservation Monitoring Centre reminded the delegates ofthe urgent need to address biodiversity loss, and referred to theneed for scientific and technical information, traditionalknowledge and experience from indigenous and local communities andNGOs. Mexico called for the creation of ISTAC as an open-endedbody.

The Chair established a small committee to resolve the question ofwhether to create ISTAC, and if so, to discuss its composition andterms of reference. This group included India as Chair, withNigeria, Malawi, Costa Rica, UK, Indonesia, Bolivia, and Brazil.

The Chair reconvened the afternoon session by introducing therecommendation of the informal group on ISTAC. They requested that,before the next ICCBD meeting, the UNEP Executive Director shouldconvene a scientific meeting to report on several issues including:international cooperation and research to implement the Convention;scientific and technical assessment of status of biodiversity; andstate-of-the-art technology. Governments would be able to nominatecompetent experts.

The Chair noted consensus among delegations that any subsidiarybody should be set up on an interim basis. He referred to thedivergence of views about the size and scope of the body'sactivities. The UK stated that ISTAC must be of a manageable sizeand geographically representative. She also suggested that itshould be limited to providing advice to the COP. Brazil insistedthat the size of the interim meeting should not be smaller than theISTAC when it is established after the first meeting of the COP. Henoted that the Convention calls for an open-ended body, a pointechoed by Mexico. The UK noted that the open-ended requirement inArticle 25 applies only to the subsidiary body to be set up underthe COP, and not the interim body. The IUCN noted the manyscientific meetings that address biodiversity, and stated that themain objective of the interim meeting would be to assess how thisinformation can be applied to the substantive issues.



Discussion resumed on the subject of financial matters. The Chairturned to the item, "the process to estimate funding needs."Referring to Article 21, paragraph 1, which states that the COPshould determine the amount of resources needed for developingcountries to implement to the Convention, the Chair asked delegatesfor relevant ideas on how to estimate funding needs. He explainedthat these comments would help the Secretariat to prepare adocument on this matter for the next meeting. Mexico suggestedworking from the figure of US$3.5 billion found in the biologicaldiversity chapter in Agenda 21 and then asked the Secretariat todetermine the methodology used to arrive at this figure and otherpossible methods of assessing necessary funding needs. Belgiumstated that financial needs can only be calculated based on aknowledge of country strategies. Brazil noted the intrinsicrelationship between incremental costs and the volume of resourcesavailable. He also suggested that the Secretariat study thefinancial benefits to developed countries from the utilization ofbiodiversity in order to help develop the relationship to theamount of funds that could be transferred to developing countriesfor the purposes of the Convention. It was agreed that theSecretariat would prepare a document on the subject of determiningfunding needs for the next meeting.


Article 23.3 states that the COP shall agree on its rules ofprocedure. The Secretariat prepared a draft set of rules forconsideration by this meeting (UNEP/CBD/IC/1/6) based on the rulesof procedure of the Basel Convention and, where appropriate, theClimate Change Convention. The Chair asked delegates to identifyrules requiring substantive changes to enable the Secretariat toproduce a revised draft for the next meeting. The EC noted that thedecision by the COP on the amount of resources needed does notapply to the extent, nature or form of contribution. He suggestedincluding a provision in Rule 40 on voting that would replacemajority with consensus as the basis for decision-making onparagraphs 1 and 2 of Articles 21. Regarding Rule 52 on officiallanguages, Japan requested that the Secretariat provide theCommittee with information on how much money would be saved byrestricting the number of languages in the COP. This proposal wasdropped after objections from many delegates, including Colombia onbehalf of the G-77.


This draft resolution was introduced by Colombia on behalf of theG-77 and China, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. It containedan outline for the strategy, programme priorities and eligibilitycriteria for the interim financial mechanism. The first revision ofthe draft had been introduced on Wednesday by some of the Nordiccountries, and the G-77 prepared their counter-draft on Wednesdayevening. The two drafts were consolidated during informalconsultations on Thursday morning between representatives of thesetwo groups. In her introduction, the delegate from Colombia saidthat the resolution sought to reflect Working Group II discussionson Wednesday. The G-77 had included a list of eligibility criteria,as requested. The Chair created a drafting group composed of theBahamas, Brazil, Malaysia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Colombia, Belgium,Australia, Sweden, Hungary and the US to draft compromise languagefor the remaining bracketed text. However, after meeting throughoutthe afternoon, the group returned to Working Group II without acompromise text. The Chair decided to include a balanced selectionof parts of the non-consensus draft as a paragraph in the report ofthe Working Group with an note explaining that there had been noagreement.


Due to lack of time, the Chair said that the issue of incrementalcosts would be taken up at the next meeting of the ICCBD but thatthe group should propose useful intersessional work to be carriedout by the Secretariat. Switzerland noted the Expert Panel Threerecommendations on this matter. Belgium, on behalf of the EC,suggested looking at existing projects to establish what kind ofelements are financed as incremental costs. The Chair said that thegroup could ask the Secretariat to prepare a draft list ofincremental costs and explore the issue of methodology to be usedin estimating incremental cost.


The Chair asked the delegates to identify areas where theSecretariat could prepare documentation for the next meeting. NewZealand proposed that the Secretariat assess the existingclearinghouses and their relation to the work of the Committee. Therepresentative of the World Industry Council for the Environmentasked the Committee if they would consider enlisting the support ofindustry on this Convention. Belgium suggested that the Secretariatwork with WIPO.


PLENARY: Last night's plenary consisted of countrystatements as well as presentations by international organizationsand NGOs. Today's afternoon Plenary will focus on reports from bothworking groups and may adopt resolutions if consensus has beenreached among regional groups. At the close of Thursday night'splenary, the Chair announced that he would like countries toconsider the Secretariat's suggestions regarding the dates andlocation of the COP (November 28 through December 9, 1994); thenext ICCBD (March 10-19, 1994 or June 20-30, 1994) and, possibly,the ISTAC.

WORKING GROUP I: An informal copy of the ISTAC group'sdocument will be distributed this morning. The report on therearrangement of the Chair's list of priorities was delayed due toconflicts with the meetings of the other small group on ISTAC.However, a revised version will be available this morning.

WORKING GROUP II: The Chair announced yesterday that WorkingGroup II would meet this morning to consider its report. The Chairwill have prepared a "balanced" paragraph in this report thatreflects the work of the non-consensus drafting group on theinterim financial mechanism. Look for debate on this issue.


Negotiating blocs
Group of 77 and China
Non-state coalitions