Summary report, 11–15 October 1993

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

The first session of the Intergovernmental Committee on theConvention on Biological Diversity (ICCBD) met in Geneva from 11-15October 1993. The meeting was convened by the Executive Director ofthe United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), with the objectiveof preparing for the first meeting of the Conference of the Partiesand ensuring an early and effective operation of the Conventiononce it enters into force. The ICCBD was established in May 1993 bythe UNEP Governing Council.

After a halting start due to procedural problems that resulted fromthe 16-month gap between the last negotiating session for theConvention and this meeting, progress was made in addressing thelong list of tasks mandated to the Committee by the Convention forcompletion before the first Conference of Parties (COP). There werefrank debates about convening a scientific meeting, biosafety, thefinancial mechanism, technical cooperation, national activities,and the rules of procedure for the COP. The ICCBD established twoworking groups, which met throughout the week. Yet, despite severalsessions of substantive debate, the working groups were not able toproduce reports that could be approved by the Plenary. When thereports of the working groups were presented to the Plenary, anumber of delegates expressed concern that they had not seen thedocuments in their final form and, due to the large number ofamendments and changes, could not adopt them at this time. As alast minute solution, the Plenary adopted only two decisions: theestablishment of a scientific and technical committee that willmeet before the next session of the ICCBD and a request to theSecretariat to use the unadopted Working Group reports as guidanceduring the intersessional period.


The Convention on Biological Diversity was opened for signature atthe Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 5 June 1992. As ofthe end of July 1993, 165 countries had signed the Convention andas of 29 September 1993, 31 nations had ratified the Convention. Asa result, the Convention will enter into force on 29 December 1993.The Convention, which is based on a broad ecosystem approach,contains three national-level obligations: to conserve andsustainably use biological diversity and to share its benefits.


The treaty reflects policy and scientific recommendations made overmany years by a number of groups and experts, beginning with theIUCN's Commission on Environmental Law and the IUCN EnvironmentalLaw Centre in the 1980s. UNEP convened a series of expert groupmeetings beginning in November 1988. These meetings led to a newtreaty on biodiversity separate from, but negotiated parallel to,the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development(UNCED). The initial sessions were referred to as meetings of the"Ad Hoc Working Group of Experts on Biological Diversity." By thesummer of 1990, sufficient progress had been made, including thecompletion of studies on various aspects of the issues, that a new"Sub-Working Group on Biotechnology" was established to prepareterms of reference on biotechnology transfer, in situ andex situ conservation of wild and domesticated species;access to genetic resources and to technology, includingbiotechnology; new and additional financial support; and safety ofrelease or experimentation on genetically modified organisms.

The Governing Council of UNEP created an "Ad Hoc Working Group ofLegal and Technical Experts" in mid-1990 to prepare a newinternational legal instrument for the conservation and sustainableuse of biological diversity. It was given the mandate to take"particular account of the need to share costs and benefits betweendeveloped and developing countries and ways and means to supportinnovation by local people." The legal and technical expertsconsidered prior reports while drafting elements of a convention.The Executive Director of UNEP prepared the first formal draftConvention on Biological Diversity, which was considered inFebruary 1991, by an "Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee"(INC). The first INC meeting was also known as the third session ofthe Ad Hoc Working Group of Legal and Technical Experts. Foursubsequent sessions of the INC were held during the next two years,culminating in the adoption of the final text of the treaty inNairobi, Kenya on 22 May 1992.

At the conclusion of negotiations, in an "eleventh hour" decision,Governments adopted Resolution 2 on international cooperation forthe conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use ofits components pending entry into force of the Convention. Thisdocument invited UNEP, at its Governing Council session, toconsider convening meetings of an Intergovernmental Committee onBiological Diversity to consider, among other things: assistance toGovernments in preparation of their country studies; organizationof the preparation of an agenda for scientific and technologicalresearch; the need and modalities for a protocol for the safetransfer, handling and use of modified organisms resulting frombiotechnology; modalities for the transfer of technology; policyguidance for the institutional structure invited to undertake theoperation of the financial mechanism for the period until the entryinto force; development of the policy, strategy and programmepriorities, as well as the eligibility criteria for access tofinancial resources under the Convention; and other preparationsfor the first Conference of the Parties.


In November 1992, UNEP's then Executive Director, Mostafa Tolba,established four expert panels to prepare recommendations onspecific issues for the first meeting of the ICCBD. Copies of thereports from these sessions are available on request from theInterim Secretariat.

Panel 1 - Priorities for Action and Research Agenda:

Thispanel developed a methodology for setting priorities for actionarising out of the Convention. It also recommended an agenda forscientific and technical research and called for an interimscientific and technological advisory committee to be establishedas soon as possible.

Panel 2 - Economic Implications and Valuation of Biological Resources

This panel identified the socio-economic forces thatlead to biodiversity loss. The Panel recommended: identifyingpolicies and incentive systems that work against biodiversityconservation; conducting additional research regarding thepotential of economic instruments to combat biodiversity loss; andassessing the values of biodiversity.

Panel 3 - Technology Transfer and FinancialResources:

This panel concluded that access to information andcapacity building are key to the implementation of the Convention'stechnology transfer provisions. The panel suggested that the ICCBDdevelop guidelines for international cooperation in this regard.Regarding funding arrangements, the Panel suggested that the ICCBDpropose substantive modifications to the GEF. The Panel concludedthat the ICCBD should develop a procedure for estimating the levelof funding needed to implement the Convention.

Panel 4 - Safe Transfer, Handling and Use of Living Modified Organisms Resulting from Biotechnology

This panel concludedthat only the COP can take a decision regarding the creation of abiotechnology protocol. The panel recommended that such aninstrument should only cover genetically-modified organisms andshould aim at preventing and mitigating the consequences ofunintended releases.

An Expert Conference on Biodiversity, held in Trondheim, Norwayfrom 24-28 May 1993, was hosted by the Norwegian Ministry ofEnvironment in cooperation with UNEP. One of the primary purposesof the meeting was to bring together scientists, managers,bureaucrats and policy-makers from 80 countries to provide input toUNEP's preparatory work for the ICCBD meeting. The themes discussedin Trondheim included: ecosystem functions of biodiversity; lossand conservation of biodiversity; marine biodiversity; biodiversityinventory and monitoring; forestry and biodiversity conservation;socio-cultural aspects of biodiversity; the economic aspects ofbiodiversity conservation and use; and the transition fromscientific knowledge to political action.



The opening meeting of the first session of the IntergovernmentalCommittee on the Convention on Biological Diversity was convened on11 October 1993 by UNEP Executive Director Elizabeth Dowdeswell. Inher statement, Dowdeswell called on delegates to address bothsubstance and procedure in the limited time available. She statedthat the critical need to achieve sustainability in the face ofthreats to survival has brought this Committee together on the eveof the entry into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity.Dowdeswell stated that the Convention is a carefully-balancedagreement with far-reaching commitments for all Parties. Not onlywill the Committee need to be tolerant of a wide range ofapproaches for achieving the objectives of this Convention, but theCommittee should also embrace and build strength upon thatdiversity.

Dowdeswell then introduced the new staff of the InterimSecretariat: Angela Cropper, Executive Secretary (Trinidad andTobago); Dr. Arturo Martinez, biologist (Argentina); Dr. JosephMulongoy, biotechnologist (Zaire); Susan Bragdon, lawyer (US);Manab Chakraborty, economist (India); Song Li, financialinstruments specialist (China); and Lone Johansen, communicationsspecialist (Denmark).

Dowdeswell referred to the agenda specified in Resolution 2 of theNairobi Final Act that was designed to achieve internationalcooperation pending the entry into force of the Convention, andnoted that Governments had recognized the need to act immediately.While nations develop strategies and national action plans onbiodiversity, international technical and financial cooperation isneeded to support those activities. The goal for this week is toelaborate ideas on how such international cooperation might best befacilitated. She said that over recent months, the InterimSecretariat had consulted widely with Governments on the issues andhad received a tremendous amount of input. Dowdeswell insisted thatthe ICCBD is not a negotiating forum because the Convention hasalready been negotiated. She said that the challenge for themeeting would be to collect guidance, ideas, comments and concernsfrom Governments to provide the raw material for the development ofspecific proposals for the COP.


Yvonne St. Hill presented areport on the outcome of the three-day Global Biodiversity Forumhosted by the IUCN in Gland, Switzerland, 7-9 October 1993. TheForum, organized by UNEP, the African Centre for TechnologyStudies, the World Conservation Union and the World ResourcesInstitute, included 150 participants from 50 countries. The purposewas to foster an open exchange of views on issues that arefrequently contentious and are currently being negotiated in othermultilateral fora. St. Hill outlined the Forum's keyrecommendations:

  • Participation and Information: Widespread participation of a diversity of stakeholders is essential to biodiversity conservation. Moreover, NGO access to information and formal deliberations, as well as constructive collaboration with the Interim Secretariat, should be encouraged.
  • Finance: A diversity of financial means and funding mechanisms is needed. Without addressing the negative impact of certain patterns of trade and debt on biodiversity, the Convention's well-intentioned, project-oriented financing schemes may be rendered ineffective.
  • Institutional Change: In line with the Convention's comprehensive and community-based approach to ecosystem protection, Governments should restructure and reform national institutions, laws, policies and accounting mechanisms. In addition, Governments should set up multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral national commissions.
  • Intellectual Property Rights (IPR): The potentially negative impact of existing IPRs on biodiversity and their alternatives should be assessed before these regimes are extended. The traditional knowledge embodied in current practices and technologies should also be recognized.
  • Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs): Specific biodiversity criteria should be developed for EIAs, policies and laws. EIA processes should be proactive, precautionary, transparent and participatory. Some countries will require capacity-building in order to conduct EIAs on complex and novel technologies.
  • Biosafety: A biosafety protocol must consider the social, economic, and biological implications of the trade and use of modern, and often experimental, biotechnologies.


Hartwig de Haen addressed the Plenary in commemorationof World Food Day, an annual observance since 1979. The theme for1993 is "Harvesting Nature's Diversity," to emphasize the linkbetween the conservation and sustainable use of biologicaldiversity and food security, sustainable agriculture, environmentalmanagement, and international trade in commodities.

De Haen noted that while the new biotechnologies can enhance theproductivity and diversity of domesticated crops and livestock,there are risks of misuse and accidents in their application. Inaddition, the new biotechnologies may increase, at leasttemporarily, the gap between rich and poor. He proposed greaterinvolvement of developing countries in the responsible developmentand use of appropriate biotechnologies to meet their own needs.

He added that the concept of farmers' rights, introduced by FAOmember nations, recognizes the value of the contribution of farmersand rural communities to the conservation and sustainable use ofgenetic resources and their right to share in the benefits. Heconcluded that mutual responsibility among nations for theconservation, development, management and use of genetic resourcesand biodiversity are essential for future generations. As well,economic incentives for farmers to conserve biodiversity inagriculture are needed.


Amb. Rubens Ricpero, Brazilian Minister of theEnvironment and the Amazon Region, noted the innovative principlesof the Convention, such as the recognition of the intrinsic valueof biological diversity. He said that the extent to whichdeveloping countries will implement their commitments depends ondeveloped countries' implementation of their commitments related tofinancial resources and transfer of technology. He noted that inrelation to the interim financial mechanism, the notion of "globalbenefit" is not reflected in the Convention and that theincremental costs incurred by developing countries in implementingthe Convention bear no relation whatsoever to any measure of globalbenefit. The role of this Committee is to reflect on the criteriato be established by the COP for the developing countries and thefinancial mechanism to be used. He said that there is no room forexotic notions alien to this Convention.


The provisional agenda allowed for less than half of the firstmorning to deal with procedural issues, including the election ofthe Bureau, the adoption of the agenda and programme of work. Thesematters, however, were not easily resolved by the Committee.Despite an attempt by the Secretariat to facilitate informalconsultations between Governments on these procedural mattersbefore the beginning of the session, delegates still needed timefor additional consultations. When all was said and done, almost aday and a half was spent on these procedural matters, at theexpense of discussion on the substantive issues.


The election of officers proved to be difficult forseveral reasons: there had been informal arrangements made in thepast; there was confusion about the nature of the INC Bureau; andconfusion as to what part of the INC Bureau had been formal andinformal. It was agreed that the ICCBD Bureau would include thefive members of the previous INC Bureau and two new members,together with the possibility of additional members. The selectionof their rapporteurs would be left to the Working Groups.

It was agreed that the Bureau consist of the Chair, AmbassadorVincente S nchez (Chile); Vice-Chairs Veit Koester (Denmark), S.K.Ongeri (Kenya), and Georgy Zavarzin (Russian Federation); theRapporteur, Sarfraz Ahmad (Pakistan); and the proposed Vice-Chairof Working Group I, Frantisek Urban (Czech Republic) and theVice-Chair of Working Group II, Balmiki Prasad Singh (India). Atthe first meetings of the Working Groups, Nordahl Roalds"y (Norway)was elected the Rapporteur of Working Group I and Sulayman Samba(Gambia) was elected Rapporteur of Working Group II. With this,Amb. S nchez's all-male Bureau was complete.

RULES OF PROCEDURE: Before passing the gavel to Amb. S nchez,Dowdeswell introduced the proposed rules of procedure(UNEP/CBD/IC/1/2). She noted that they applied only to the ICCBD,and that later in the week one of the working groups would take upthe issue of rules of procedure for the COP. She stated that thesewere the same rules of procedure used during the INC, as modifiedwith technical changes. Dowdeswell said that the decisions of theICCBD are not legally binding, but recommendations only.

Although the majority of the rules of procedure were acceptable,two met with some discussion. France proposed an amendment to Rule28, on proposals and amendments, regarding the translation ofdocuments into all languages. After some discussion, Rule 28 wasmodified to direct the Executive Director to circulate copies ofproposals and amendments to proposals translated into the languagesof the meetings to all participants. It further states that noproposal shall be discussed if it has not been circulated to allparticipants not later than the day preceding the meeting, and thetranslation in the languages of meetings is available at the timeof the meeting.

The other rule that proved to be problematic was Rule 45 onsubsidiary bodies. Several Governments, particularly from theSouth, had privately expressed their unease with the ExecutiveDirector's suggestion to Governments in UNEP/CBD/IC/1/3, "Issuesbefore the ICCBD," that they consider delegating responsibility tothe Bureau or a small steering group regarding the interimfinancial mechanism and establish a subsidiary body on financialarrangements. Brazil, supported by Colombia, on behalf of theG-77, and Malaysia, proposed that rule 45 on subsidiary bodies beamended by adding the word, "during its sessions" to the end of therule that says the ICCBD may establish subsidiary organs. Norwayasked if this change would preclude the establishment of anysubsidiary organs during the intersessional period. The Chairresponded that with this amendment the establishment of subsidiaryorgans would only be valid during sessions of the Committee.

Australia, supported by Sweden, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlandsand Austria, disagreed with Brazil's proposal on the grounds thatit was premature. Australia highlighted the need to first examinethe Committee's programme of work and to identify how best it couldbe accomplished over this week. Sweden stated that Brazil'sproposal raised a policy question rather than one of procedure.Explaining that their concern over intersessional activity wasbased on geographical realities rather than political concerns,Brazil presented compromise text the next day. The new languagewould permit intersessional meetings that would be open-ended andin accordance to the terms of reference to be decided by theCommittee.


The Chair thenmoved to the next order of the day: the annotated agenda and theprogramme of work. Angela Cropper, the Executive Secretary,explained that the revised programme of work had been developedfollowing many informal consultations. The major components of thework in the agenda (UNEP/CBD/IC/1/1/ and Add.1) reflected thepriorities that emerged from these consultations. The agendacontained the following items: election of officers; adoption ofthe agenda; procedural matters and organization of work;preparation for the first meeting of the COP to the Convention, inaccordance with the resolutions of the Nairobi Final Act of theConference for the Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention onBiological Diversity; other matters; and adoption of the report ofthe ICCBD.

At this point, Malaysia took the opportunity to make several keypoints regarding the programme of work. She warned that thismeeting should not be used as an opportunity to rewrite theConvention or to attempt to operationalize it in ways to furtherthe interests of certain groups. She also objected to the InterimSecretariat's overly optimistic analysis of biosafety, noting thatthe precautionary principle alone would preclude reference to the"good safety record." Malaysia proposed that biosafety be addressedin Working Group I and that technical cooperation be transferred toWorking Group II. Brazil supported Malaysia's proposals andreminded the Plenary that the ICCBD is not a scientific forum but,rather, an intergovernmental committee. Sweden also supportedMalaysia's proposal in light of the political nature of the topicof technical cooperation and capacity building.

It was agreed that Working Group I would deal with the conservationand sustainable use, including the full range of importantactivities for reducing the loss of biodiversity, the scientificand technical work between meetings and the issue of biosafety.Working Group II would deal with the institution operating thefinancial mechanism, the characteristics desired in the financialmechanism, a process to estimating funding needs, the meaning of"full incremental costs," the rules of procedures for the COP andtechnical cooperation and capacity building.



With the assistance of UNEP, Nigeria conducted itsfirst country study categorizing flora, fauna and protected areas.In conjunction with UNDP, Nigeria also undertook a limited studyidentifying institutions with the capacity and need for assistanceto promote the sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity.Both the completion of a country study and the development of anational action plan pend further technical and financial support.


In 1992, the country created a national committeefor knowledge on biodiversity. Mexico also seeks to repatriaterelevant information on biodiversity and to begin exploration inunknown areas of the country.


In May 1993, the Danish Parliament unanimouslyapproved the ratification of the Convention and the country ispresently elaborating a national biodiversity conservationstrategy. As part of its follow-up to UNCED, Denmark will graduallyincrease its ODA funding by 50% (from 1 to 1.5% of GNP) until theyear 2002 and hopes this initiative will inspire other developednations in the same direction. Funds will be devoted to bothbilateral and multilateral projects, including the GEF.


The Philippines is the 31st country to ratifythe Convention. Subject to further GEF funding, the country hopesto establish and manage ten priority sites as part of an integratedprotected areas project. As well, the Philippines Council forSustainable Development, recently created to implement Agenda 21,is based on a broad multisectoral and consultative approach.


Convention ratification is in its final stages andthe country is in the process of identifying priority areas for anational plan of action to be in place by the end of 1993. Chilehas already several biodiversity-related projects made possiblethrough numerous donations and multilateral loans.


As one of its original signatories, Peru has alreadyratified the Convention. The preservation of the human species andthe conservation of biological diversity will only be possiblethrough the appropriate implementation of the Convention throughnational legislation that respects and promotes traditionalcultural values. In addition, it is necessary to strengthen thoseecosystems that support indigenous populations. As a priority forinternational cooperation, capacity building is necessary ineducation, information, and the promotion of endogenoustechnologies.


Having ratified the Convention, the Bahamasrecently established an environment ministry and stated its desireto turn its territory into a sustainable development zone. TheBahamas also conducted one of the first country studies and, inconsultation with UNEP, hopes to establish new guidelines forimplementing the Convention. Moreover, the Bahamas supports asub-regional approach to biodiversity issues as well as the use ofsmall island states as models for the sustainable use ofbiodiversity.


Implementation has preceded ratification, whichwill likely be complete by the end of 1993. The Netherlands hasinitiated a study to assess the implications of the Convention forall levels of Government policy. The country will host a Europeanregional conference relating to biodiversity issues in November1993.


Having ratified the Convention in July 1993, Norwayhas already initiated implementation, including the creation of aninter-ministerial group on biodiversity. In May 1993, Norway hostedan expert panel on biodiversity bringing together participants from80 countries, and created fifteen national parks covering 20percent of the country. Regionally, Norway serves as the leadnation for the Nordic Action Plan and, internationally, it isassisting Indonesia in its country study as a step towarddeveloping a national strategy.


Having ratified the Convention in July 1993, Cuba hasalready undertaken initiatives towards implementation, such as theestablishment of 68 protected areas covering 12% of its nationalterritory. It also hopes to conduct a country study in the next fewmonths, pending support from UNEP and other internationalinstitutions.


Ratification is hoped to be achieved by the end ofOctober 1993. In response to Agenda 21, Kenya launched a nationalenvironmental plan in July 1993 and is currently reviewing itsenvironmental laws. Having already conducted a country study onbiodiversity in cooperation with both the UK and UNEP, Kenya madean appeal for funds in order to now develop a national conservationstrategy.


Burundi hopes to ratify the Convention by the endof 1993. In spite of its many demographic difficulties, Burundi hashad a vigorous nature conservation policy for over ten years.Burundi cited the good management of biodiversity as essential toensuring food supply for most of its population and, in this vein,made an appeal for funding.


The process of ratification will likelybe concluded by early 1994. Since UNCED, the Prime Minister hasestablished a committee to address environmental issues, includingbiodiversity. Korea stated its plans to further study the state ofbiodiversity, to expand its protected areas, and to apply EIAs toall socio-economic fields of activity. Korea also emphasized itssupport for equal access to biodiversity and related technologies.


Japan ratified the Convention in May 1993 and ispreparing for implementation, which is pursuant to its entry intoforce. Japan stated the need to share benefits derived formbiological resources in a fair and equitable way.


Describing itself as the only developed countrythat is "mega-diverse," Australia aims to implement the Conventionin proactive manner that ensures conservation while meeting humanneeds through sustainable use. Australia is well-advanced in itspreparation of a national strategy on biodiversity, which has beendeveloped in close consultation with communities, NGOs and theprivate sector.


Saudi Arabia is currently looking atlegislation as it pertains to biodiversity. The Government is alsoestablishing a national committee to protect all genetic resourcesof "economic value" and all threatened species.


Costa Rica noted that progress is mosteffective at the sub-regional level, the country is involved in anumber of international initiatives, including a joint project withthe Netherlands as well as letters of understanding with Kenya,Mexico, the Philippines and Indonesia. Costa Rica called on UNEP tofacilitate country studies by preparing information on capacitybuilding for the next ICCBD meeting.


Having recently ratified the Convention, Germanyhas created a new federal agency for nature conservation. Germanyis ready to provide new and additional resources to the GEF as wellas to commit DM 5 million to assist developing countries inpromptly implementing the Convention. Germany looked to otherdeveloped countries to demonstrate this kind of cooperation.


Stating its goal to transform the country into acenter of environmental excellence, Malaysia outlined its concernsand activities regarding biodiversity. Following UNCED, Malaysia'sPrime Minister hosted a national conference on sustainabledevelopment and, based on this, the development of a nationalstrategy is well under way. Malaysia cited the unhindered movementof scientists through developing countries as an issue of paramountimportance and, in this regard, proposed that a paper exploring theregulation of access to biological resources be tabled fordiscussion at the next session of the ICCBD.


Stating that the country is home to 6.5% of theworld's wild species and one of 12 "mega-biodiversity centers,"India explained that even prior to UNCED it undertook conservationmeasures that are now provisions of the Convention. India is in theprocess of ratifying the Convention and developing a national plan.


The Convention is currently before parliament andawaits ratification. Argentina cited lack of funds, data andlong-term planning as some of the factors responsible for inactionon biodiversity conservation. The country also wants its desire tocollectively define the means of ensuring compliance withConvention.


As one of the original signatories and earlyratifiers of the Convention, Canada stated that a nationalbiodiversity strategy will soon be circulated for broad publicreview. Canada encouraged each country to tailor its strategy tomeet its own needs and stated that, although country studies may bean important first step, they need not be prerequisites for thedevelopment of national strategies. In turn, national strategies,however effective, need not delay implementation of the Convention.To this end, Canada urged UNEP and other potential funders tofacilitate the carrying out of country studies.


Having ratified the Convention in January 1993, Chinais currently elaborating an action plan on biodiversity andreadjusting its socio-economic development in line with theprovisions of the Convention.


With ratification underway, Brazil emphasized theneed for financial resources and technological cooperation. Citingcertain difficulties in its current negotiations with the GEF,Brazil highlighted the Facility's possible limits as a fundingmechanism.


Having ratified the Convention in September1993, New Zealand is currently engaged in an informed andparticipatory process to establish a national strategy onbiodiversity. As an island nation, isolation enhanced itsbiodiversity as well as its vulnerability to foreign species. Inorder to ward against these foreign species, New Zealand passed aBiosecurity Act this year.


Thailand recently established a national committeeon biodiversity as well as a country study subcommittee. A newenvironmental law, enacted in 1992, aims to ensure the protectionof threatened areas. Thailand stated that further initiativesrequire GEF support.


The US Government signed the Convention inJune 1993 but has yet to ratify it. The US aims to incorporatesectoral concerns into conservation ones. The US funds some 124projects in over 60 countries and cited several benefit-sharingprogrammes, including ones involving pharmaceuticals.


While ratification is underway, Sweden's next step,having conducted a country study, will be to develop a nationalaction plan. Sweden frankly admitted that implementation will be achallenge as sectoral activities adapt to the requirements ofbiodiversity conservation. Sweden expressed concern regardingUNEP's "slow down" in mobilizing the GEF to fund country studies.


Aiming at ratification sometime later this year orearly next year, Iceland will undertake a national sustainabledevelopment strategy. The country has recently enacted a new EIAlaw.


Hoping to ratify the Convention by the end of thisyear, Italy is in the preliminary phase of its country study and,internationally, is cooperating with developing countries in thedevelopment of their own studies. Italy stated that one of its keyconservation objectives is to create a common strategy for theMediterranean.


Awaiting ratification, Spain is bound by conservationlegislation at the national and regional levels. Most notably,Spain has offered to host the first COP and its Secretariat and isprepared to meet the necessary costs.


Stating that although this issue requires aninternational effort, the UK emphasized the need for nationalaction and encouraged other EC countries in this direction. Aprogress report on the UK's national plan is currently availableand a final version will be published in December 1993. The UK alsounderscored the importance of bilateral and internationalcontributions, especially for countries "rich in biodiversity butpoor in resources."


Hoping to ratify the Convention by December1993, Bangladesh is currently drafting a national strategy and hasundertaken a widespread tree planting project.


Currently in the process of ratifying theConvention, Estonia underscored its need for both regional andfinancial support.


The country continues its follow-up work toUNCED and is developing an action plan. As a headquarters for UNenvironmental organizations and conferences, Switzerland offered toprovide the conference center for the COP and has asked for theConvention's permanent Secretariat, under the auspices of UNEP, tobe located in Geneva.


Given the close relationship between the conservationof biodiversity and the alleviation of hunger and rural poverty,the FAO was designated as the lead agency for UN systemcoordination in Agenda 21's programme areas of plant and animalgenetic resources for food and agriculture. The FAO is currentlyrevising its policies and priorities and is willing to serve allgovernments in the implementation of the Convention.


As a follow-up to UNCED, UNESCO is emphasizingbiodiversity as one of four cross-sectoral priority themes forresearch and training. UNESCO is committed to improving knowledgeand monitoring of biodiversity through various programmes,including the international network of Biosphere Reserves as wellas elaborating country studies and national action plans.


The representative from the RamsarConvention Secretariat, speaking on behalf of existinginternational environmental convention secretariats, urgedgovernments to sign, ratify or accede to those internationalconventions in the field of environment to which they are eligibleto become parties. He offered support to the BiodiversitySecretariat to avoid duplication of efforts.


The CGIAR fully subscribes to the objectives of the Convention andwill make its expertise, information and databases available forthe further development and implementation of the Convention andother relevant Agenda 21 activities. The CGIAR is particularlyconcerned about access to genetic resources and the status of exsitu collections not covered by the Convention, and would liketo participate in further discussion on these issues.


Measures recentlyundertaken by the EC regarding the protection of biodiversityinclude: the adoption of a "Habitats" Directive, which establishesa common framework for biodiversity conservation; the developmentof a Geographical Information System to monitor the state ofbiodiversity and of natural zones; and the adoption of a set of"severe" procedures for a preventive approach to biosafety. TheCommunity currently devotes almost 20% of its environmental budgetto biodiversity-related projects.


On behalf of several indigenousorganizations throughout the world, the Indigenous Peoples' Caucusstated that indigenous homelands harbor more endangered plant andanimal species than all the world's natural reserves. The Caucuscalled upon Governments to: implement the Convention's statedrequirements that Governments respect, protect and encourage thesustainable traditions of resource use; establish an IndigenousPeoples' Division, staffed by indigenous people, in theSecretariat; and incorporate the indigenous perspective onproperty, ownership and knowledge into Convention issues, such asintellectual property rights and benefit-sharing.


The representative emphasized the needto build women's interests and approaches into the biodiversityagenda and proposed that a women's division be created within theSecretariat.


The Center supports atwo-tier structure for the interim scientific advisory body.Combining both regional and sub-regional representation would allowfor greater participation of all parties. The public should begranted free access to relevant information and full use should bemade of "tele-networks," such as UNEP's Biodiversity InformationNetwork.


Representing over400 affiliated ex-situ microbial resource centres and theirusers, the WFCC offered its collective expertise -- particularly asit involves inventorying, monitoring, and national and propertyrights issues -- in helping to establish appropriate measures.


Working Group I was responsible for addressing the followingsubstantive items:

  • Conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity: the full range of important national activities for reducing the loss of biodiversity; overview of categories of action supported by UNDP, the World Bank and UNEP in recent years; and factors for setting national priorities;
  • Biosafety: simultaneous action on (i) immediate action to enhance biosafety, and (ii) consideration of an international instrument on biosafety; and
  • Scientific and technical work between sessions: tasks to be done prior to the first meeting of the COP by an interim scientific and technical advisory committee (ISTAC) or other designated body; number of members of the body; fields of expertise of members; and selection process for the body.


At the beginning of the discussion on this subject, the Chair, S.K.Ongeri, announced that the objective of this session was to shareexperiences at the national level, and to articulate views andrecommendations for the COP.

REPORTS ON NATIONAL ACTIVITIES: A number of countries,including Colombia, Benin, Costa Rica, Canada, Zimbabwe, Syria,Fiji, and the Cook Islands, described their own national actionplans. Mexico suggested that the biodiversity collections held inNorthern countries should be inventoried. India stated thatinformation sharing should be carried out regarding conservationtools and that ex situ efforts must be further strengthenedto complement the work of developing countries in restoring speciesand degraded habitats.

The US suggested that Articles 6-14 of the Convention provide agood basis upon which to develop national programme and strategies.Morocco called for a global study of sites to be protected. Toachieve the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources,proper in situ conservation in agreement with the localpopulation is needed as a first stage. The second stage involvesthe preparation of national monographs on biodiversity. Ugandaurged the establishment of regional programmes to address sharedbiological resources. Many delegations, including Mozambique andPeru, stated that national implementation is dependent on thecompletion of national inventories. Belgium, on behalf of the EC,noted that all countries need technical support to implement theConvention, and pledged to support each other in the implementationof Articles 6-19. National strategies should deal with incentivesand disincentives for the conservation of biodiversity.


The Chairlisted several factors to stimulate discussion: national strategicframeworks; global impacts of activities; likelihood of success;and scope for public participation. Israel referred to the limitedsuccess of its biodiversity conservation approaches due toinsufficient funding. The Philippines' criteria include: volume ofbiodiversity; percentage of primary forests; level of protectionneeded; level of utilization; and little known ecosystems.

Malaysia's factors included: optimization of economic benefits;food security; protection of unique biodiversity; and enhancementof science, technology, education and knowledge of biodiversityvalue. Indonesia outlined the three guiding principles of its 1993national biodiversity strategy: meeting basic country needs;generating income; and promoting environmental protection. Indiaexpressed its opposition to the exercise of listing priorities,explaining that he was troubled by the expectation that countriesmust produce a list of factors when in fact the issue is dynamicand difficult to quantify. He added that a comprehensive list ofpriorities was dependent on the parties' assurance of funding.Bolivia echoed India's point, stating that the cultural andlinguistic diversity of its society presented obstacles in thesetting of social and economic priorities. Both Bolivia and Perustated that the importance of traditional knowledge must berecognized within national sustainable development strategies.

China's priority criteria included: degree of biodiversity; degreeof threat; number of species; ecosystem diversity; and theeconomic, social and cultural importance of biodiversity. Mauritiusand Tanzania suggested that the amount of ecosystem pressure mustbe assessed and that countries with the most endangered speciesshould receive the highest priority. Uruguay included in itspriority factors: environmental education and the involvement ofthe private sector, as well as both the NGOs and local populations.Lithuania referred to the importance of discussing the role ofmonitoring in national activities. The Marshall Islands echoed theview of other island states that the immediate threat to theirecosystems is climate change. The US prioritized activities toprotect endangered species that would consolidate inventories andother types of data and enable better understanding of ecologicalproblems.

Germany outlined the factors that underlie its national priorities:degree of threat; categorization of species by type and degree ofthreat; monitoring; influence of projects on ecosystems; andsustainability of land use practices. WWF Brazil noted thedifficulties in setting priorities and referred to the importanceof integrating human needs into conservation projects. TheBiodiversity Support Program called on Governments to include theexperience of NGOs, local populations, indigenous communities andlocal governments in their decision-making. Brazil highlighted theimportance of considering country and region-specific factors andstated its concerns with the notion of global benefits.

The Chair later presented a summary of all the ideas for furtherconsideration and, eventually, presentation to the COP. As a numberof delegates were not satisfied with his summary, the Chair thenasked for a small group to reorder the list. The final list, asagreed by the Group, was included in the Working Group's report tothe Plenary (see below).


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. Norway suggested thatthe body should quickly be established and should be of manageablesize, but open to all Governments. Belgium, on behalf of the EC,referred to paragraph 2(b) of the Nairobi Final Act that calls forthe establishment of an interim scientific and technical advisorycommittee (ISTAC) of Government experts to assist in thepreparation of draft guidelines. Belgium proposed establishing arestricted group with representatives of the five regional groupsto make recommendations regarding the ISTAC. Sweden stated thatISTAC's job under Resolution 2(b) is to establish an agenda andarrangements among Governments. Thus, the body should report tothis Working Group.

Some of the opponents of the creation of an ISTAC were concernedabout the terms of reference and composition of the body. Nigeriaagrees with the need for the ISTAC, but maintains that membershipshould reflect geographical balance and the body should be providedwith clear terms of reference. Australia noted 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 first COP.

Costa Rica, the US, and Norway referred to the need to establishISTAC with high calibre scientists and technologists. The Bahamasrecommended including resource economists and others beyond strictscientific and technical experts on the advisory body. The WorldConservation Monitoring Centre reminded the delegates of the urgentneed to address biodiversity loss, and referred to the need forscientific and technical information, traditional knowledge andexperience from indigenous and local communities and NGOs. Mexicocalled for the creation of ISTAC as an open-ended body.


The Chair noted consensus amongdelegations that any subsidiary body should be set up on an interimbasis. He referred to the divergence of views about the size andscope of the body's activities. The UK stated that ISTAC must be ofa manageable size and geographically representative. She alsosuggested that it should be limited to providing advice to the COP.Brazil insisted that the size of the interim meeting should not besmaller than the STAC, when it is established after the firstmeeting of the COP. He noted that the Convention calls for anopen-ended body, a point echoed by Mexico. The UK noted that theopen-ended requirement in Article 25 applies only to the subsidiarybody to be set up under the COP, and not the interim body. The IUCNnoted the many scientific meetings that address biodiversity, andstated that the main objective of the interim meeting would be toassess how this information can be applied to the substantiveissues.

Belgium, on behalf of the EC, said that although they preferred asmall, workable body, they were prepared to demonstrate flexibilityand to accept an open-ended body. The EC's main concern was toproved a manageable agenda and, to this end, they made severalrecommendations that would limit the scope. After furtherdiscussion, it was agreed that there should be one open-endedmeeting with tightly defined terms of reference.


The issues of timing andvenue still remained to be discussed. Indonesia reminded delegatesof the Secretariat's proposed dates for the next session of theICCBD in either January or June 1994. Mexico, having offered tohost the ISTAC meeting, suggested holding it sometime betweenJanuary and March 1994. Norway agreed, pointing out that thescientific meeting should be held at least one month prior to thenext ICCBD session. The Working Group agreed that the Chair shouldraise the matter of timing and venue directly with the Secretariat


Working Group I did not get to the issue of biosafety until thelast day of the session. The US stated that although it supportsthe safe use of biotechnology nationally and internationally, itdoes not believe that a protocol on biosafety is warranted. The USalso emphasized the need for capacity-building as well as mutualand regional cooperation on the matter. Chad highlighted thedifficulties for developing countries in accessing the funds andresearch necessary for ensuring biosafety and called for technologytransfer that is easily accessible and adaptable to the localenvironment and by local users. Chad also supported internationallegislation to control the production, marketing and use ofbiotechnology, taking into account the FAO's Code of Conduct onthis matter.

The Republic of Korea cautioned against the possibility thatbiosafety might be used to serve the interests of certain groupswho are trying to prevent or restrict access to biotechnology.Japan stated that a protocol on biosafety would require furtherdiscussion and clarification and he encouraged the COP to considerthe findings of other international fora dealing with biosafety.Malawi expressed strong support for a protocol, citing theprecautionary approach emphasized in the Rio Declaration.Switzerland suggested that the Secretariat undertake a studyregarding the quick implementation of an interim internationalinstrument on biosafety while allowing sufficient time for thedevelopment of a protocol.

UNIDO emphasized the need for both a biosafety database andtraining in the area of biosafety and risk assessment. GreenpeaceInternational expressed an urgent need for a legally-bindinginternational instrument, citing concern about genetic engineering,which "interferes with the heart of life." Sweden stated thatbiotechnology is an industry with huge potential, but also highrisk and, therefore, the precautionary approach must be adopted.Thailand stated that biosafety guidelines be established withoutdiscouraging biotechnology research and development. Denmark,co-Chair of Expert Panel Four, stated that the Panel's reportprovides an excellent point of departure on biosafety andrecommended that the Panel's conclusions be included in the nextICCBD documents.

Tanzania agreed with the proposal for a protocol but, citing thedelicate nature of the biotechnology issue, suggested postponingfurther substantive discussion until the next session of the ICCBD.India, Tunisia and Syria also supported a protocol. Brazilsuggested the Secretariat collect more data on relatedinternational instruments. The Philippines underscored the urgentneed for a protocol and suggested several priority areas:clarification of modalities; assistance to establish and strengthenthe monitoring of the movement of genetically-manipulatedorganisms; EIA approval of research applications; and mitigatingmeasures in case of accidents.

The Chair then ventured to propose several key areas of consensusbased on the discussion to date: enhancing the capacity ofdeveloping countries in risk assessment, risk management andregulatory oversight; creating a programme to assist thesecountries in establishing guidelines for research and developing inbiotechnology; and setting up an international focal point forinformation exchange to accelerate the process of estimating risk.The US, supported by Japan and Sweden, objected to the Chair's listof areas of consensus, saying that there is no need to reachconclusions at this time. The Chair declared that the issue wouldbe left until the next session of the ICCBD.


The report of Working Group I, as contained in documentUNEP/CBD/IC/1/WG.I/L.1 contains the following recommendations.


The Working Group agreedto submit the following list of proposed activities to theCommittee for its consideration and possible transmission to theCOP:

  • All Parties should conduct country studies, and prepare national biodiversity strategies with the provision of technical, scientific and financial support as needed. The Interim Secretariat should report to the Conference of the Parties on progress (Country studies should not be mandatory or a precondition for provision of financial support for implementation of the Convention);
  • To facilitate access to and exchange of information, it should be made available in computerized form, using existing software. The Interim Secretariat should develop format for data entries and institute regional training programmes on the use of such formats;
  • Financial support should be provided for the purchase of relevant classical literature and other publications;
  • Conservation and sustainable use measures should emphasize the participation of local communities, women and youth, and should improve local standards of living;
  • Regional approaches should be devised, i.e., through workshops and seminars, to address shared concerns;
  • Ex-situ and in-situ programmes should be integrated and should include microorganisms;
  • All existing identified conservation aspects falling under different conventions should be integrated;
  • Restoration of ecosystems, which may include the elimination of alien species, should be considered
  • Capacity-building, including institutional strengthening and human resource development, particularly of taxonomists, should receive greater attention;
  • Conservation of biodiversity outside protected areas should receive greater attention;
  • National legislation should be reviewed to reflect the needs of the Convention;
  • Traditional knowledge should be integrated in modern management practices to conserve biodiversity;
  • Education programmes to raise public awareness of biodiversity issues should be developed; and
  • All parties should designate appropriate protected areas, paying due attention to the management of the surrounding areas.


WorkingGroup I identified the following broad indicative categories offactors to be possibly taken into consideration in the setting ofnational action priorities: ecological (including the extent ofthreatened species and ecosystems, rehabilitation of threatenedhabitats and ecosystems, air and water pollution, atmosphericchanges, deforestation, and disasters); socio-economic and cultural(including population, change in land use, soil degradation, andensuring integration of traditional knowledge); and institutional(including involvement of governmental and non-governmentalorganizations and other groups, adjustments in managementapproaches, capacity for implementation, compliance and monitoring,and level of financial resources).


The WorkingGroup recommended that, before the next ICCBD meeting, the UNEPExecutive Director should convene a scientific meeting to report onseveral issues including: international cooperation and research toimplement the Convention; scientific and technical assessment ofstatus of biodiversity; and state-of-the-art technology.Governments would be able to nominate competent experts. Thereshould be one meeting with tightly defined terms of reference.


Working Group II was responsible for addressing the followingitems:

  • Institution or institutions operating the financial mechanism: characteristics desired in the institution or institutions operating the financial mechanism under the Convention; process for developing an evaluation framework to propose to the COP; process to examine funding needs; and, how to select an institution to operate the financial mechanism upon entry into force;
  • Rules of procedure for the COP;
  • Full incremental costs: meaning of this term in the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity; and
  • Technical cooperation and capacity building: ways of transferring technology relevant to conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, including the clearing house mechanism, and early opportunities for technical cooperation to build capacity in conservation and sustainable use of the components of biodiversity.


One of the responsibilities of theICCBD is to develop an evaluation framework for the use of the COPin determining the policy, strategy, programme priorities andeligibility criteria relating to the access to and utilization offinancial resources under the Convention. In her note to theCommittee on issues to be addressed (UNEP/CBD/IC/1/3), theExecutive Director suggested that Governments consider: proceduresfor transparency in the institution; decision-making structures;and effectiveness of the mechanism in attracting donors. Inaddition, her document suggested the establishment of a subsidiarybody on financial arrangements (SBFA), which was generally viewedby the Working Group as unacceptable.

The beginning of debate on this matter was confused, since manycountries directed their comments toward the GEF, assuming that itwould be the mechanism. After statements that referred directly tothe GEF, the Bahamas suggested that rather than focussingexclusively on the GEF, the Group should enumerate the desiredcharacteristics of the institution. During the second day of debateon this matter the GEF and the institution operating the financialmechanism were distilled from one another by the delegates.


One of the responsibilities of theICCBD is to develop an evaluation framework for the use of the COPin determining the policy, strategy, programme priorities andeligibility criteria relating to the access to and utilization offinancial resources under the Convention. In her note to theCommittee on issues to be addressed (UNEP/CBD/IC/1/3), theExecutive Director suggested that Governments consider: proceduresfor transparency in the institution; decision-making structures;and effectiveness of the mechanism in attracting donors. Inaddition, her document suggested the establishment of a subsidiarybody on financial arrangements (SBFA), which was generally viewedby the Working Group as unacceptable.

The beginning of debate on this matter was confused, since manycountries directed their comments toward the GEF, assuming that itwould be the mechanism. After statements that referred directly tothe GEF, the Bahamas suggested that rather than focussingexclusively on the GEF, the Group should enumerate the desiredcharacteristics of the institution. During the second day of debateon this matter the GEF and the institution operating the financialmechanism were distilled from one another by the delegates.


Japanstressed that the COP should consult with the financial mechanismon arrangements. There was agreement on the need for a cleardivision of labor between the COP and the mechanism to avoidmicro-management. Regarding the legal relationship between the COPand the financial mechanism, Hungary proposed preparing a list ofdesired characteristics as part of a contract with the GEF or anyother mechanism. Tanzania suggested that the mechanism should be anindependent legal entity.

It was agreed to recommend that the Chair of the Committee be usedas a link between the Committee and the GEF in order to conveymessages. Colombia, on behalf of the G-77, stated that this shouldnot preclude the possibility that the ICCBD send policy guidance tothe GEF, as proposed earlier by Finland.


The Chair requested that the delegatescontribute to an indicative list of eligibility criteria. It wasagreed that all developing countries should be eligible for fundinguntil the first COP. Bahamas noted the special conditions dealingwith least developed countries and small island developing States.A definitive list of eligibility criteria was prepared by a smalldrafting group and is contained in the non-consensus draft decision(see below).


The Chair explained that theissue of access of "economies in transition" to the mechanism isnot a matter for the Convention. Brazil noted Expert Panel Three'ssuggestion for an amendment to the Convention regarding this point.Poland called for additional provisions, noting the vital need ofEITs for support to implement the Convention.


Japan, the US, Austria and Canada saidthat no subsidiary bodies should be established. Tunisia, supportedby Mexico, Venezuela and Brazil, suggested establishment of afollow-up body linking the COP and the GEF. Some, includingthe EC, noted that coherence between the two bodies will be amatter of coherence within Governments, since it will be the sameGovernments that will be represented in the COP and in theParticipant's Assembly of the GEF.


Sweden,Belgium, on behalf of the EC, Switzerland, Canada, Japan, the US,Austria and Chile expressed confidence that the GEF would berestructured to ensure its suitability for the Convention. TheChair referred to links to the GEF as "bridge-building." He notedthat the Working Group would want to transmit guidelines to theGEF. Some countries said that guidance from this Group to the firstCOP regarding the mechanism could serve as a signal to the GEF.Malaysia opposed relegating discussions with the GEF to theSecretariat and said the ICCBD should provide it with"instructions" rather than "guidelines."


Many countries felt it was not useful tofocus on the interim period. However, Brazil stated that the GEFshould be provided with criteria for the interim period. TheWorldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) noted that, according to theConvention, the GEF's eligibility as the interim mechanism isdependent on its restructuring, scheduled to be completed byDecember 1994, after the first COP and, therefore, there is nobasis for a decision to be taken on this point.


WWF called for the GEF to bebut one element of the Convention's financing mechanism. TheEnvironmental Defense Fund, on behalf of several NGOs, noted theExpert Panel's recommendation to consider a centralized mechanismwithin the COP, like the Montreal Protocol Fund. Canada spoke ondeveloping countries' access to information and funds from othersources, such as development agencies and regional banks. Afterasking about the relationship of these sources to the COP and theirresponsibility to the Convention, Canada proposed that a meetingbetween multilateral and key bilateral financial institutions andthe ICCBD should occur in context of the next meeting of the ICCBDand that the Secretariat should plan the meeting.


Referring to Article 21, paragraph1, which states that the COP should determine the amount ofresources needed for developing countries to implement to theConvention, the Chair asked delegates for relevant ideas on how toestimate funding needs. He explained that these comments would helpthe Secretariat to prepare a document on this matter for the nextmeeting. Mexico suggested working from the figure of US$3.5 billionfound in the biological diversity chapter in Agenda 21 and thenasked the Secretariat to determine the methodology used to arriveat this figure and other possible methods of assessing necessaryfunding needs. Belgium stated that financial needs can only becalculated based on a knowledge of country strategies. Brazil notedthe intrinsic relationship between incremental costs and the volumeof resources available. He also suggested that the Secretariatstudy the financial benefits to developed countries from theutilization of biodiversity in order to help develop therelationship to the amount of funds that could be transferred todeveloping countries for the purposes of the Convention.

The Working Group agreed in its report to recommend that theSecretariat should be requested to prepare for submission to theCommittee at its next session a study on the various methodologiesused in reaching the figure for financial resources needed to fundmultilateral biodiversity assistance between 1993 and 2000contained in Agenda 21.


On Wednesday afternoon, Finland, on behalfof Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, proposed a draft resolutionregarding the interim financial mechanism(UNEP/CBD/IC/1/WG.II/CRP.1 and Rev. 1). Malaysia took issue withthe implications of the criteria, referring to "conditionalities."The G-77 then tabled its own version of the draft resolution. TheChair requested that the group of some Nordic countries meet withrepresentatives of the G-77 to produce a common list of criteriafor eligibility. This final draft resolution, with bracketedtext representing outstanding issues, was introducedby Colombia, on behalf of the G-77 and China, Finland, Iceland,Norway and Sweden. The G-77 had included a list of eligibilitycriteria, as requested. Although the Chair created a drafting groupto work on the remaining bracketed text, compromise proved elusive.As a result, the Chair decided to include a balanced selection ofparts of the non-consensus draft as a paragraph in the report ofthe Working Group with a note explaining that there had been noagreement.

Elements that were discussed by the drafting group, and appearedunbracketed in the final version, included a request to the GEF tooperate according to the following policy guidelines: nationalpriority status; conservation of vulnerable biodiversity resourcesunder immediate threat; and consideration of alternatives accordingto cost effectiveness or opportunity costs forgone. In addition,the GEF, as the institution structure operating the interimfinancial mechanism, was requested to operate and fund projectsaccording to the following eligibility criteria:

  • Projects from all developing countries that have signed the Convention, upon their request;
  • Projects that help developing countries develop or improve their national strategies, plans and programmes pertaining to the conservation of biodiversity;
  • Projects that are relevant to national priorities and to the Convention;
  • Projects that promote use of local/regional expertise and human resource development in general;
  • Projects that promote capacity building and enhancement;
  • Projects that seek to address basic issues such as poverty/overpopulation which impact adversely on conservation of biological diversity;
  • Projects that promote the sustainable use of biological resources of the countries, including endemism and biodiversity of marine and other aquatic environments; and
  • Projects that include cultivated or domesticated species.

The draft resolution also requested the Chair of the ICCBD toconvey this list to the GEF and invite the GEF to report to thenext meeting of the ICCBD on actions taken to implement the policyguidance and eligibility criteria and on the results of itsrestructuring process. In the absence of consensus within thedrafting group, it was agreed that the G-77 and China draft versionof the document would be attached to the segment of the reportdealing with the work programme for the next session.


The Convention, in Article 20 says that "developed country Partiesshall provide new and additional financial resources to enabledeveloping country Parties to meet the agreed full incrementalcosts to them of implementing measures" of the Convention. It goeson to say that the Conference of the Parties will establish anindicative list of incremental costs. Incremental costs have beendefined by some as the costs of those additional activities in aproject that would be undertaken in order to implement theConvention. Some have defined this to mean the costs of a projectthat would give global benefits, although this interpretation ischallenged by many developing countries.

GEF Administrator Ian Johnson stated that the concept ofincremental costs is key within the Convention and that the mainissue for the GEF is how to apply it in a pragmatic, transparentand reasonable manner. He said that incremental cost, as aphilosophy, is central to the raison d'etre for monetizingadditional finances, at least for many donors. Incremental costs isbut one element of an overall decision-making process to identifyand agree on specific actions. Other elements include guidance fromthe COP on programme priorities and eligibility, technical andsocial viability, and the extent to which the project or activityfits within a country-driven strategic agenda and is integratedwithin a framework of national priorities. Incremental costs shouldnot be confused with incrementalism. Some domestic benefits may bereasonably deducted, others need further consideration. The issueof global benefits must be approached pragmatically and reasonably,as the corollary of global benefits -- domestic benefits -- may beimportant especially where such benefits can be monetized andresult in streams of financial resources.

In the discussion that followed, Johnson stated that when domesticbenefits could be easily "monetized," they would be deducted on acase-by-case basis. Malaysia called "incremental costs" and "globalbenefits" undefinable, and asked if they would be removed from theGEF vocabulary. In response, Johnson justified the concept ofincremental costs as a necessary rule for the allocation of limitedfunds. When asked by Norway about the financing of domesticbiodiversity, he explained that the GEF has not focussed on this.When asked by Costa Rica whether GEF funding was dependent on acountry's ratification, Johnson replied that this was a matter forthe COP.


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 Article 21, dealing with financial matters.Regarding Rule 52 on official languages, Japan requested that theSecretariat provide the Committee with information on how muchmoney would be saved by restricting the number of languages in theCOP. This proposal was dropped after objections from manydelegates, including Colombia, on behalf of the G-77.


The Chair asked the delegates to identify areas where theSecretariat could prepare documentation for the next meeting ontransfer of technology relevant to conservation and sustainable useof biological diversity, including the establishment of aclearing-house mechanism. New Zealand proposed that the Secretariatassess the existing clearinghouses and their relation to the workof the Committee. The representative of the World Industry Councilfor the Environment asked the Committee if they would considerenlisting the support of industry on this Convention. Belgiumsuggested that the Secretariat work with the World IntellectualProperty Organisation (WIPO).


The report of Working Group II was introduced on Friday morning bythe Chair, who said that he had transformed the summaries he hadgiven throughout the week at the conclusion of each topic, intorecommendations of the Working Group.


  • The financial mechanism should meet the requirements of Article 21 of the Convention, which established the financial mechanism in the first place. No further interpretation of this article should be necessary;
  • Channels of communication to the mechanism should be established;
  • There should be clear procedures for processing requests for funding;
  • The need for a regular flow of information;
  • The need for a capacity to respond quickly to funding requirements;
  • The need for cost-effectiveness and efficiency in its operations;
  • Funds should be replenished quickly;
  • Regular advice should be given to the financial mechanism on the resources needed; and
  • There should be possibilities for multiple sources of funding, in which information on practices and eligibility criteria applied by other institutions funding biodiversity-related projects would be relevant, as well as working relationships with these institutions.


The Working Group agreed that theSecretariat be requested to examine the methodologies in order todefine and understand the meaning of the term "full incrementalcosts" and, in light of this examination, provide an indicativelist. The Group further recommended that the list should build oncurrent projects and, to the extent possible, be made incollaboration with organizations such as UNESCO, FAO, theMultilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocolon Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the Secretariat for theFramework Convention on Climate Change, and the GEF.


The WorkingGroup agreed to recommend that the Secretariat: identify existingclearing-house mechanisms and existing mechanisms for informationexchange and report on their expertise; catalogue existingdatabases of relevance to the Convention and identify their gapsand linkages; and examine and report on existing examples andpossible models for national legislation for regulating access togenetic resources, with due attention to its potentiallyconflicting nature and for agreements and other practices forregulating access to genetic resources.


The final Plenary meeting was held Friday afternoon. The first itemof business was the adoption of the agenda that included: 1) thepresentation for adoption of the reports from Working Group I andII; 2) a discussion of the work to be done in the coming monthsincluding the setting of priorities for the documents to beprepared by the Secretariat and their actions; 3) a discussion ofthe next meetings of the ICCBD and the COP, including the dates,venue and suggestions for the agenda; 4) adoption of the report ofthe ICCBD and; 5) statements of Governments and officers. Theagenda was adopted, however, prolonged discussion on the reports ofthe working groups left the ICCBD with no time to address items 2,3 and 5.

During a delay, while a copy of the Working Group II report wasbeing prepared, Ashish Kothari from the Indian Institute of PublicAdministration delivered a statement reflecting a majority viewfrom the NGOs present at the meeting. He expressed concerns thatincluded:

  • Governments have given far too little attention at this meeting to the larger forces causing biodiversity loss, including adverse economic relations;
  • The ICCBD should set up working groups on forestry, fisheries, agriculture, industry and energy by the Interim Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (ISTAC);
  • The ICCBD had not discussed or asked the Secretariat to prepare reports on the effects that international institutions and agreements have on biodiversity;
  • Delegates have overlooked the role of indigenous peoples and other traditional communities and should give legal and administrative recognition to the importance of local communities in the design, implementation and evaluation of programmes and policies; and
  • The "discredited" GEF remains the interim funding mechanism and, in the meantime, Governments should discuss multiple, suitable and diverse funding mechanisms that are democratic, transparent and responsive to community, local and national priorities.

Working Group II's report was transmitted to Plenary first. Mexico,supported by Brazil, insisted that all the amendments made in theWorking Group during the morning be read out. Tanzania, Senegal andNigeria disagreed. After a lengthy debate, the report of WorkingGroup II was reopened and amended. Each mention of the phrase"agreed" was amended to read "agreed to recommend". The oralpresentations of amendments took considerable time and there wasconfusion on the part of some delegates as to the final wording ofthe document. For this reason, it was not possible to reachconsensus on the report of Working Group II. The Chair decided thatthe report would be taken up at the next session of the ICCBD.

Colombia suggested that a similar procedure be taken with thereport of Working Group I. The Chair of Working Group I insistedthat he be allowed to transmit his report, which he read out,including all the amendments. Sweden and Malaysia said that theyneeded time to reflect on the report and suggested that the reportbe adopted with the report of Working Group II at the next session.Brazil and Mozambique urged adoption of the report. The Chairdecided that the report of Working Group I would be adopted at thenext meeting of the ICCBD.

As this decision left both the establishment of the ISTAC and therecommendations for the work of the Secretariat unresolved, theChair made two proposals:

  • The Executive Director will convene a scientific and technical committee in accordance with the terms of reference in paragraphs 14 and 15 of the unadopted report of Working Group I; and
  • Pending formal acceptance of the reports of Working Groups I and II at the next meeting of the Committee, the Secretariat should be guided by their contents in its preparatory work for the second meeting of the Committee, in accordance with the normal procedures of the United Nations.

These proposals were adopted. After delegates adopted the report ofthe ICCBD on its first session (UNEP/CBD/IC/1/L.1), the session wasadjourned.


Although the Secretariat has not been mandatedany tasks by the Plenary, it was instructed to be guided by thecontents of the unadopted working group reports. These include:

  • Preparation of a report on the progress of country studies and the preparation of national biodiversity strategies;
  • Preparation of formats for data entries in order to facilitate information;
  • Institution of regional training programmes on the use of data exchange formats; and
  • Mobilization of funds for workshops on regional approaches;
  • Preparation of a document describing various methodologies that could be used to estimate the financial resources needed to fund multilateral biodiversity assistance;
  • Examination of the relationship between incremental costs to the volume of resources available, the possibility of studying the financial benefits that developed countries derived from the use of biodiversity and that might be made available to developing countries in the form of international cooperation, and the provision of advice to countries intending to prepare biodiversity studies;
  • Invitation to international financial institutions to attend a meeting of the ICCBD to begin to address issues of mutual concern in relation to the implementation of the Committee, including criteria for funding eligibility and modalities for exchange of information between the COP, the financial mechanism under the Convention and other finance institutions and organizations;
  • Redrafting of the rules of procedure for the COP based on the comments in Working Group II;
  • Drafting the financial rules governing the funding of the Secretariat for consideration at the next session;
  • Drawing up a preliminary indicative list of incremental costs, and to look at current or planned projects, in collaboration with FAO, UNESCO, the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol, the Secretariat for the Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the GEF to see how the issue was dealt with and what elements were financed as incremental costs;
  • Examination of the methodologies that could be used to define and understand the meaning of the term "full incremental costs";
  • Identification of existing clearing-house mechanisms and existing mechanisms for information exchange and report on their expertise;
  • Cataloging of existing databases of relevance to the Convention and identifying their gaps and linkages;
  • Examination of the range of appropriate models for technology transfer; and
  • Examination of and reporting on existing examples and possible models for national legislation for regulating access to genetic resources (with due attention to its possibly conflictual nature).


Although the Secretariat has not been mandatedany tasks by the Plenary, it was instructed to be guided by thecontents of the unadopted working group reports. These include:

  • Preparation of a report on the progress of country studies and the preparation of national biodiversity strategies;
  • Preparation of formats for data entries in order to facilitate information;
  • Institution of regional training programmes on the use of data exchange formats; and
  • Mobilization of funds for workshops on regional approaches;
  • Preparation of a document describing various methodologies that could be used to estimate the financial resources needed to fund multilateral biodiversity assistance;
  • Examination of the relationship between incremental costs to the volume of resources available, the possibility of studying the financial benefits that developed countries derived from the use of biodiversity and that might be made available to developing countries in the form of international cooperation, and the provision of advice to countries intending to prepare biodiversity studies;
  • Invitation to international financial institutions to attend a meeting of the ICCBD to begin to address issues of mutual concern in relation to the implementation of the Committee, including criteria for funding eligibility and modalities for exchange of information between the COP, the financial mechanism under the Convention and other finance institutions and organizations;
  • Redrafting of the rules of procedure for the COP based on the comments in Working Group II;
  • Drafting the financial rules governing the funding of the Secretariat for consideration at the next session;
  • Drawing up a preliminary indicative list of incremental costs, and to look at current or planned projects, in collaboration with FAO, UNESCO, the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol, the Secretariat for the Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the GEF to see how the issue was dealt with and what elements were financed as incremental costs;
  • Examination of the methodologies that could be used to define and understand the meaning of the term "full incremental costs";
  • Identification of existing clearing-house mechanisms and existing mechanisms for information exchange and report on their expertise;
  • Cataloging of existing databases of relevance to the Convention and identifying their gaps and linkages;
  • Examination of the range of appropriate models for technology transfer; and
  • Examination of and reporting on existing examples and possible models for national legislation for regulating access to genetic resources (with due attention to its possibly conflictual nature).


The Executive Director of UNEP has beenrequested to convene a meeting of an interim scientific andtechnical advisory committee (ISTAC), which is expected to be heldat least one month prior to the next ICCBD. As there was not timeto fully discuss this matter during the first session of theCommittee, Ms. Dowdeswell is expected to undertake informalconsultations on the date, venue and list of participants. Mexicohas offered to host the meeting sometime between January and March1994.


Again, as there wasinsufficient time, neither the venue or the dates of the nextmeeting of the ICCBD were discussed. The Secretariat has suggestedeither 10-19 March 1994 or 20-30 June 1994, in either Nairobi orGeneva. It is likely that both the Chair of the ICCBD and theExecutive Director of UNEP will hold informal consultations withGovernments on this matter.


The Secretariat's suggesteddates for the first meeting of the Conference of Parties are 28November - 9 December 1994. At any rate, it will have to take placewithin one year of the entry into force of the Convention or, inother words, before the end of 1994.


There are two more meetings scheduled in 1993 to focuson GEF replenishment and restructuring. The next meeting will takeplace from 2-5 November 1993 in Paris and the final meeting isscheduled for 7-10 December 1993 in Cartagena, Colombia. Some ofthe issues that continue be the focus of the restructuringnegotiations include: the legal structure of the GEF (aninternational agreement versus an intergovernmental agreement) andthe constitutive mechanism (a global resolution versus other typesof resolutions/decisions and in what organs); the division of rolesbetween the Participants Assembly and the Executive Council; andvoting procedures. As far as replenishment is concerned, the focusis expected to be on burden sharing, having agreed to a nominal sumat the Beijing meeting last summer (a 3-year replenishment ofapproximately 2-3 billion SDR). This discussion, however, maycontinue to be postponed as many countries have decided that theyare going to concentrate on restructuring now and replenishment canwait.