Report of main proceedings for 27 June 1994

2nd Session of the Intergovernmental Committee on the Convention on Biological Diversity (ICCBD)


Amb. S.E.M. Arezki Cherfa (Algeria), Chair of G-77 and China, spokeon the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the G-77. Given thedramatic upheavals in international relations, it was remarkablethat the Group could maintain its cohesion and solidarity. UNEP'sExecutive Director Elizabeth Dowdeswell noted that the creation ofthe G-77 has served to give life to the principle of universality.

REPORT OF WORKING GROUP I: The Chair, Prof. S. Ongeri(Kenya), reported on the progress made on the following agendaitems: 4.1.5 on the Clearing-house mechanism for technical andscientific cooperation has been finalized; 4.1.3 on the selectionof a component international organization to carry out thefunctions of the Secretariat of the Convention is ninety percentcomplete (Document L.1. Add.1); 4.3.2 (now 4.3.3) on the SubsidiaryBody, on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice and 4.2.2on the consideration of, the need for, and modalities of a protocolon biosafety, which was advanced for discussion last week, areavailable as CRP.3 and CRP.4, respectively.

REPORT OF WORKING GROUP II: The Chair, V. Koester reportedthat Working Group II had discussed all agenda items referred toit. Due to the complexity and highly political nature of manyitems, two Contact Groups have been convened. The first Group isaddressing agenda item 4.1.2 (previously 4.1.3) and the second isaddressing items 4.1.5, 4.1.6 and 4.1.7 (previously 4.1.6, 4.1.7,and 4.1.8). Both groups are still negotiating.

REPORT OF THE INFORMAL WORKING GROUP ON RULES OF PROCEDURE:The Group, comprising 14 countries, met under the Chair of PatrickSz‚ll of the UK to scrutinize document UNEP/CBD/IC/2/3. The changesare reflected in document UNEP/CBD/IC/2/3/CRP.3. Some of thepending issues are: Rule 6.1 on whether to include the financialmechanism referred to in Article 21 of the Convention as anobserver; Rule 21, paragraph 1 on the size of the Bureau; Rule 40,paragraph 1 providing for decision-making either by consensus or bya two-thirds majority; whether this last proposal should also applyfor other protocols; and a reduction in the number of workinglanguages, from six to three. Agreement was reached on severalissues including; the COP's periodicity of meetings; representationand presentation of credentials; the voting procedures for theBureau members; and the quorum necessary to start a meeting.

ORGANIZATION OF WORK: Amb. S nchez introduced theorganization of work for the second week as contained in documentUNEP/CBD/IC/2/1/Add.2/Rev.2, which was adopted without debate.

ADOPTION OF THE REPORT OF THE FIRST WEEK OF THE ICCBD: TheRapporteur, J. Hussain of Pakistan, introduced his draft report ascontained in documents UNEP/CBD/IC/2/L.2, UNEP/CBD/IC/2/L.1/Add.1and UNEP/CBD/IC/2/L.2/Add.2. Hussain asked the delegates to readthrough the documents and bring any translation problems to theattention of the "Friends of the Rapporteur." With minor amendmentsby the Secretariat, the documents were adopted.


The Group continued to discuss UNEP/CBD/IC/2/WG.1/ L.1/Add.1. onthe selection of a competent international organization to carryout the functions of the Secretariat. There were lengthydiscussions on paragraph 6 on the Swedish proposal that theSecretariat be established jointly by a consortium of agenciesnamely, UNEP, FAO, UNESCO, UNDP and DPCSD. Canada, supported byFrance, presented another option that one organization be chosenwith other agencies possibly participating and being represented inthe Secretariat. The relative merits and demerits of "might" ,"should", and "may be considered" were debated at some length.Canada supported by the US recommended the deletion of "and beingrepresented" in its proposal which was accepted. Debate onParagraph 7 revolved around whether or not there wasconsensus on the proposition made by one representative to discussthe process by which the COP might evaluate and select theorganization(s) that will carry out the functions of theSecretariat. The US proposal to begin with "The working group didnot follow up on the proposal by one representative...," wasadopted. Paragraph 8 on the choice of organization for theSecretariat, without prejudging its location, was accepted.Paragraph 9 on the pros and cons of co-location wasaccepted. Paragraph 10 on the Committee recommending aperiodical review of the performance of the Secretariat by the COPwas also discussed. Australia and India pointed out theinconsistency between the review of the Secretariat and the reviewof an organization. It was agreed to let the COP choose otheralternatives, including another organization, if necessary.Paragraph 11 on the functioning of the Interim Secretariatuntil the first COP, and some time beyond that, was accepted withone minor change.


The Group started the third paragraph-by-paragraph reading ofdocument UNEP/CBD/IC/2/WG.I/CRP.3. A recurrent problem was whetherall the inputs, including the contentious ones, should bereflected, as the Report will also be forwarded to the COP. Onlythe first eight paragraphs were discussed and adopted. Paragraph1, calling for the SBSTTA to provide the COP and its subsidiarybodies with scientific, technical and technological advice, wasadopted. Paragraph 2 notes that the success of the COP willdepend largely on the advice and competence of the SBSTTA. As such,the SBSTTA should be an agenda item for the first meeting of theCOP. Paragraph 3 outlines the Group's organization of workon this subject as follows: functions of the SBSTTA; guidelines forits operation; and the multidisciplinary nature of the Body.

FUNCTIONS OF THE SUBSIDIARY BODY: In paragraph 4 theCommittee recognizes the comprehensiveness of the InterimSecretariat's note on the functions of the SBSTTA. However, it isnecessary for the COP to identify initially the priorities for theSBSTTA and to review periodically its performance. Paragraph5 provides for the SBSTTA to draw its future work from thereport of the Mexico meeting, UNEP/CBD/IC/2/11, and on the Agendaof the Scientific and Technological Research, UNEP/CBD/IC/2/Inf.2.The Group recommends that the latter document should be annexed tothe former, and that both documents should be forwarded to the COP.The Committee should submit a set of priority tasks of the SBSTTAto the COP, consisting of sub-paragraph (a), (c) and (d) of theConvention.

After a 45-minute debate, the Group amended Paragraph 6 torecommend that the SBSTTA should provide scientific and technicaladvice, including policy issues related to scientific and technicalprogrammes and international cooperation in research anddevelopment, but not other policy issues. Furthermore, it shouldhave no direct relationship to the financial mechanism of theConvention. Paragraph 7 calls for the SBSTTA to respond to,but not anticipate, the needs of the COP and, under the guidance ofthe COP, to identify emerging issues.

GUIDELINES FOR ITS OPERATION: Pursuant to protracted debateand severe facilitation by the Chair, agreement on several issuesin Paragraph 8 was reached. Sub-paragraph (a) callsfor the COP rules of procedure to be adapted to suit the SBSTTA.Sub-paragraph (b) recommends the possibility of an annual,possibly back-to-back meeting with that of the COP, or a meetingwell in advance of the COP to allow the SBSTTA to prepare andcirculate its report. After 20 interventions, the chapeau ofsubparagraph (c) now reads: "It was recommended that theSBSTTA is to be composed of government representatives and open toparticipation by all Parties, in accordance with Article 25 of theConvention. Some representatives expressed concern over the size ofthe body since it might compromise the effectiveness of its work.The following options were explored as possible suggestions forstructuring the SBSTTA to facilitate its work..."



The Contact Group addressing agenda items 4.1.5, 4.1.6 and 4.1.7,completed its discussion of the programme priorities beingdeveloped to give direction to the institutional structureoperating the financial mechanism. A list of 13 programmepriorities was developed. This Group completed discussion lateMonday night. Eight of these were agreed. These are paragraphs:i - projects that have national priority status; ii -development of national strategies; iv- identification andmonitoring of biodiversity components, in particular those underthreat; v- capacity building and/or strengthening thepreparation of national reports; vii - projects that promotethe sustainability of project benefits and that may haveapplication elsewhere; viii - activities that leverage otherfunds; x - projects that strengthen the involvement of localpeople; xi - coastal and marine resources under threat,arid, semi-arid and mountainous regions; and xi-bis, nowxii - projects aimed at the conservation and sustainable useof endemic species. Some of the more controversial discussionfocused on the following paragraphs.

Paragraphs iii and xi, strongly supported by SmallIsland States, prioritize "coastal and marine resources underthreat." Some developed countries did not want reference made toany particular geographic area. Others noted that only coastal andmarine resources "under threat" are prioritized and thereforeshould not be of concern to States without coastal areas. Theagreed text in paragraph xi includes reference to coastaland marine resources, however, paragraph iii remainsbracketed.

The majority of time was spent discussing paragraph vi,which lists the development and transfer of technology as aprogramme priority. This was supported by the G-77 and China.However, the developed countries, while agreeing that technologytransfer is an important goal of the CBD, do not agree that itshould be a programme priority for financial support under theConvention. Again, no compromise was reached and the G-77 andWestern European and Others Group (WEOG) groups will each providetheir own texts to the Chair. Both texts will appear bracketed inthe report forwarded to the COP. Confusion surrounding the term"opportunity costs foregone" has resulted in paragraph ix remainingbracketed. A delegate suggested that to forego costs, means thatcosts are not incurred, whereas this paragraph addresses issues ofcosts incurred by local communities. Several developing countriesinsisted that "opportunity" remain even if "foregone" was removed.However, other countries expressed a lack of understanding of theterm "opportunity cost" and the paragraph remains bracketed.

Paragraph xii, which prioritizes "projects aimed atconservation and sustainable use which contribute to theeradication of poverty," was a highly controversial item. Manydeveloping countries insisted that the reference to poverty remain,as it is a key underlying cause of many threats to biologicaldiversity. However, several developed countries, whileacknowledging the link between poverty and threats to biodiversity,argued that the CBD does not have poverty eradication as apriority. The paragraph remains bracketed.

Discussion then began on agenda item 4.1.6 (previously 4.1.7), theinstitutional structure to operate the financial mechanism. Thefive items to be addressed during this discussion include:selection of institution; policies, strategies and eligibilitycriteria of the mechanism; amount of financial resources; voluntarycontributions; and intersessional arrangements. The Chair's draftdocument on the institutional structure and its policies was thendiscussed in informal groups. It recommends that the GEF remain theinterim financial mechanism and that a survey of other financialinstitutions that can manage voluntary contributions be undertakenby the Secretariat. It outlines several recommendations concerningthe policies and strategies relating to access to, and utilizationof the financial resources. After the informal groups providedcomments (in private) to the Chair, the session was closed.

CONTACT GROUP ON FINANCIAL RULES OF THE SECRETARIAT: TheGroup chaired by Mr. Uppenbrink (Germany) addressed agenda item4.1.2 (previously 4.1.3) on the draft financial rules for theSecretariat of the CBD. Several important issues remain unresolvedand the results will be presented in Tuesday's meeting of WorkingGroup II. The basis of contributions, whether they will bevoluntary or mandatory, is still undecided. Additionally, themethod for choosing a scale of assessment has not been agreed.Alternatives include consensus or voting by qualified majority.


PLENARY: The Plenary reconvenes this morning to discuss theDraft Agenda for the first COP, preparation of the third session ofthe CSD and the Rules of Procedure for the COP.

WORKING GROUP I: After the Plenary, the Group will completeconsideration of the SBSTTA, and then embark on the report onbiosafety, UNEP/CBD/IC/2/WG.I/CRP.4. The Group will then consideragenda item 4.2.3, Ownership of, and access to ex situgenetic resources and item 4.2.4, Farmers' rights and rights ofsimilar groups. An evening session is expected.

WORKING GROUP II: The two Contact Groups will continueduring the morning. The Working Group II will meet in theafternoon.