Report of main proceedings for 30 June 1994

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


Plenary completed discussion of, and adopted, the Rules ofProcedure for the COP, including periodicity of their meetings. TheChair, Amb. Vincente S nchez, then presented his report on theCOP's possible contribution to the next session of the CSD. Inspite of the discussions on the outstanding issues with theextended Bureau, no issues had been resolved by the start of thePlenary. The unresolved issues were left bracketed for the COP toaddress.


Germany had proposed new text to Rule 4, paragraph 4, on theholding of ordinary meetings. For the first three years, theysuggest annual ordinary meetings, after which the frequency ofordinary meetings would be decided by the COP.

Australia withdrew its proposal in Rule 6, paragraph 1,providing for the financial mechanism mentioned in Article 21, toattend as observer. He pointed out that their proposal was promptedby their preference for the mechanism to participate in anunqualified manner under Rule 6, to a qualified manner under Rule7. Under Rule 6, the institution could participate as an observerwithout conditions. However, under Rule 7, a two-thirds majority isrequired and the issue under discussion must be relevant to theinstitution to gain access as an observer.

With regard to Rule 21, the Chair stated that the EU stillhad no instructions from their capitals to increase the bureaumembers to more than 5, as proposed by the Small Island DevelopingStates. Both proposals are in brackets.

The contradictory Rule 35 was amended and approved. Theamended penultimate sentence reads: "The President may inexceptional circumstances and in case of urgency, permit thediscussion and consideration of proposals, amendments to proposals,or of procedural motions even though these proposals, amendments ormotions have not been circulated or have been circulated only thesame day or have not been translated into all the officiallanguages of the Conference of the Parties."

Rule 40, providing for the procedure for making decisionswas the most problematic. There is still no agreement on how thedecisions regarding the financial mechanism (Article 21, paragraphs1 and 2) and protocol (Article 19), would be made. Hence, theSecretariat had included a footnote to provide for the COP to amendthe Rule pursuant to decisions that would be made on the Scales ofAssessment (Financial Rules), which were still unresolved. However,the Netherlands and France noted that this provision wasunnecessary as this Rule does not affect the discussion on scalesof assessment. The footnote was deleted.


Following extensive discussions with the extended Bureau, the Chairproposed the possible preparatory process. The Interim Secretariatwould prepare an input for the COP to consider and decide whetherto forward it to the CSD. To do so, the Secretariat will circulatea one page document today, with proposals on possible content.After the ICCBD's discussion on this document, governments will berequested to forward their written contributions, of not more thantwo pages, not later than 15 August 1994. The Secretariat will alsoaccept Spain's offer to host a workshop/seminar in Madrid inSeptember, attended by not more than 20 experts, and invited intheir individual capacities. On the basis of governmental inputsand the Madrid workshop/seminar, the Interim Secretariat will thenprepare input for the COP. Materials from both processes will alsobe used as information documents for all COP delegates.

Sweden welcomed Spain's proposal and the discussion of providinginput to the CSD during the COP. Especially given that the COP willlikely only deal with technical and administrative aspects,substantive discussion focused on input to the CSD will bewelcomed, particularly by NGOs and the media. Austria expressed hisskepticism that the COP could endorse a substantive document duringtheir brief meeting.

Kenya, while welcoming the Madrid workshop, thought that the outputfrom the Mexico meeting might have been a better basis forrecommendations. Australia stated that the Secretariat's inputshould be concise so that the COP does not engage in protracteddebate. Greenpeace supported the Madrid initiative but hoped thatNGOs would be invited and proposed three possible agenda items forthe meeting: identification of the provision and obligations of theCBD which have direct relevance to the CSD clusters to beconsidered in 1995; identification of the processes by which theCBD could contribute to achieving the conservation and sustainableuse of Biodiversity within these CSD clusters; and provision of theresults of the consultation to the COP.

Cameroon hoped that in view of the small number of participants,regional representation would be ensured. Brazil hoped that NGOsfrom developing countries would be invited, and stated that the COPinput should not duplicate work. At the request of the Philippines,UNEP stated that it would only play an advisory role at theinitiative and request of Spain, and would not be involved inselecting the participants or deciding the agenda. Spain explainedthat: his government would immediately begin consultations withinterested governments; NGOs and UN agencies would be invited;developing country delegates would be funded; and that the meetingwas likely to take place mid-September.


The Chair, Prof. S.K. Ongeri (Kenya), asked the Group to give himtheir blessings on the reports of the items they had considered andfinally succeeded at 9.00 p.m.


The reports were contained in documents UNEP/CBD/IC/2/L.2/Add.1and UNEP/CBD/IC/2/L.2 respectively. They were adopted.


The Secretariat included an amendment proposed by India onParagraph 11 : "In this connection, the provisions ofArticle 25 paragraph 2(c), which provide advice on the ways andmeans of promoting development and/or transferring suchtechnologies, were highlighted." The report was adopted.


The Chair noted that Sri Lanka had made an amendment that had beenomitted on three prior occasions, which was added to the end ofParagraph 3: "One representative drew attention to the possibilitythat in the open environment, LMOs will mutate and change withtime, and raised the need to examine the question of accountabilityin the case of local or national disaster."


Discussion on this issue was arduous as delegates did not engage inan orderly paragraph-by-paragraph reading but rather jumped in anad-hoc manner over the page. Some delegates expressed difficulty inkeeping abreast of all the interventions. The Group ended itsafternoon session unable to complete the issue of Farmers' Rights."Many" hours were spent on ex situ genetic resources and"some" hours in the evening on Farmers' Rights.

EX SITU GENETIC RESOURCES: An amendment was made bythe Secretariat in Item 1 to add: "As Resolution 3recognizes the need to seek solutions to the outstanding matters onaccess to ex situ collections not acquired in accordancewith the CBD and the question of farmers rights within the FAOglobal system for the conservation and sustainable use of plantgenetic resources for food and sustainable agriculture."

In paragraph a Brazil wanted to replace "successful" with"multilateral" and read a statement on behalf of the G-77 andChina: "In this regard, the G-77 and China understand that anymultilateral agreement about ex situ collections shouldrefer to the ex situ collections existing before the entryinto force of the CBD. Such a mechanism should be in line with theprovisions of the Convention and should be properly examined byGovernments for their consideration." Norway noted that theimplications of multilateral arrangements for FAO's arrangementwith the CGIAR were significant. Several delegates sought aclarification about the term "multilateral." It was finally agreedto delete the words, "all kinds of" before the words "exsitu collections...."

There was considerable confusion on paragraph b as manydelegates, including Sweden, the Netherlands, and Greece, on behalfof the EC sought to make amendments. This led the Chair to ask asmall drafting group to prepare new text. The amendment resulted intwo new paragraphs (b) and (c). New Paragraph b: "Manyrepresentatives supported the work of the Commission on PlantGenetic Resources, which is an intergovernmental forum establishedwithin the FAO, in addressing the issue of plant genetic resourcesfor food and agriculture. Reference was made to the negotiationsamong governments for the adaptation of the internationalundertaking on plant genetic resources in harmony with the CBD forconsideration of the issue of access on mutually agreed terms forplant genetic resources, including ex situ collections notacquired in accordance with the convention, as well as, for theissue of realization of Farmers' Rights. The COP should becontinuously informed about the progress in these negotiations. Itwas stressed that the COP should provide guidance to theinterpretation and further development of these issues, there wasstrong general support for the re-negotiation process of theinternational undertaking of plant genetic resources..."

New paragraph c: "Many representatives addressed the issueof ex situ genetic resources of food and agriculture held intrusteeship by the IARCs of the CGIAR. They strongly supported theefforts of bringing these resources under the auspices of FAO anddelegates expressed strong support in finalizing the agreementbetween the FAO and the IARCs as soon as possible...."

Japan wanted to insert one sentence after paragraph cstating: "One representative stressed that the FAO's internationalundertaking on genetic resources could not become in any form, alegal instrument under this Convention because the Convention hasno provision."

Mexico amended paragraph e: "Several delegations pointed outthat farmers or indigenous and local communities were often theoriginal providers of germ plasm to international collections andone delegation expressed the fact that repatriation to countriesdoes not imply repatriation to the original suppliers. This beinga complicated problem, further study should be done on the issue ofrepatriation." Australia replaced "the fact that" with "the view"and added the word "necessarily" before "imply repatriation." TheSecretariat included a new paragraph i and the old (i)becomes paragraph j.

New paragraph i reads: "It was agreed that in order toensure cooperation and complementarity with the work being carriedout by the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources to implementResolution 3 of the Nairobi Final Act, FAO should be invited topresent a progress report on this subject to the first COP."

To the new paragraph j, the Third World Network added, "andsupplied figures showing how it worked to the disadvantage of theoriginal owners of these resources, namely the farmers, theindigenous peoples and the countries of the South, and benefitedthe North in the main. They proposed that the COP give priority indiscussing and determining the status as to ownership, control andrights of ex situ collection of biological materials. Insuch determination, the rights of farmers, indigenous peoples andthe countries originally providing the resources should berecognized and formally established." Brazil wanted to replace"indigenous peoples" with "indigenous people." The report was thenadopted.

FARMERS' RIGHTS: Governments spent some hours in debate onthe Working Group's report on this agenda item. Delegates wanted tomodify certain phrases and add sentences to particular paragraphs,but unlike the debate on ex situ genetic resources,discussions tended to be principally of a procedural and editorialnature. All changes, editorial, procedural and substantive will beavailable in the final report.


The Chair, Mr. Koester, introduced the document, Draft report ofWorking Group II (UNEP/CBD/IC/2/WG.II/L.5), which was a compilationof all of Working Group II's texts, most of which had already beenadopted. After reviewing and making minor amendments to the fewoutstanding paragraphs, the report was adopted. With Working GroupII's work complete Koester was thanked for the skill and humor hehad demonstrated.


PLENARY: The ICCBD's last Plenary is scheduled for 10:00 amto 12:00 noon. The Working Group Chairs will present their Reportsfor adoption by the Plenary.


Negotiating blocs
European Union
Group of 77 and China
Non-state coalitions