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Daily report for 2 February 2000

5th Meeting of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA)

During the morning, delegates met in Working Group One to consider alien species and marine and coastal biodiversity and Working Group Two to discuss sustainable use. Plenary met in the afternoon where delegates considered ad hoc technical expert groups, and reviewed the Chairs draft recommendations on cooperation with other bodies, and the pilot phase of the Clearing-House Mechanism.


ALIEN SPECIES: The Secretariat introduced document (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/5/5). NEW ZEALAND, supported by several countries, requested inter alia, that: the Secretariat work with the Global Invasive Species Program (GISP) to further elaborate the guiding principles for SBSTTA-6; the Secretariat develop an options paper for future work; and national activities not be delayed in the interim. SWITZERLAND stressed that recommendations be immediately enforceable and be capable of integrating the results of GISP. Several countries supported cooperation with other bodies, including the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), International Maritime Organization, CITES and the Ramsar Convention. CANADA proposed a gap analysis of relevant existing legal instruments. The FAO highlighted the IPPC's relevance regarding definitions and plant and pest control. The US expressed concern regarding the move toward legally binding measures. Several developing countries stressed the need for capacity-building for public awareness, monitoring, training, control measures, database development, technology transfer and regional programmes.

GERMANY, the REPUBLIC OF KOREA and the US supported the development of alien species lists or databases. ZIMBABWE, SENEGAL and the BARCELONA CONVENTION called for increased regional cooperation. NORWAY, COLOMBIA and MEXICO suggested reference to the International Biodiversity Observation Year (IBOY) under DIVERSITAS. NORWAY and FINLAND called for a global assessment on a thematic basis. PORTUGAL and SWITZERLAND called for standardized terminology. FINLAND proposed including alien species in national reports and indicators development. GERMANY proposed reference to liability and redress. COTE D'IVOIRE highlighted the ability to specify responsibility, while CANADA and HONDURAS noted problems with assessing state responsibility. COLOMBIA and MEXICO called for more language on quarantine measures. AUSTRALIA supported incorporating the "polluter pays" principle. TURKEY called for language on risk assessment. BRAZIL stressed issues of containment and problem management. The INTERNATIONAL CENTRE OF INSECT PHYSIOLOGY AND ECOLOGY stressed clarification of responsible national agencies and their roles. KENYA stressed consideration of LMOs as alien species and of the Biosafety Protocol in SBSTTA's work program. PORTUGAL supported inclusion of biogeographic and multi-disciplinary approaches. IRELAND emphasized trans-location within States, and CHAD and MALAWI stressed consideration of transboundary ecosystems. UGANDA supported development of sub-regional strategies and action plans. The EC and BRAZIL requested language on sub-species and varieties. The COMMONWEALTH SECRETARIAT called for relevant linkages with the Global Taxonomy Initiative. GAMBIA noted threats to food security.

Chair Mary Fosi (Cameroon) formed an informal drafting group.

MARINE AND COASTAL BIODIVERSITY AND CORAL BLEACHING: The Secretariat introduced the document (UNEP/ CBD/SBSTTA/5/7). Regarding coral bleaching, the WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION welcomed cooperation with SBSTTA on the issue. The SEYCHELLES welcomed reference to the primary role of climate change, and to the need for funds to address causes and socio-economic consequences, but expressed disappointment on the requirement for more research, given the need for immediate action. The UK suggested further collaboration with relevant international bodies. JAMAICA proposed a research programme on socio-economic impacts of coral reef bleaching, and with NORWAY, stressed the need for the UNFCCC subsidiary bodies to address coral bleaching. NORWAY also referred to the situation of deep sea coral reefs. Regarding marine and coastal biodiversity, SENEGAL stressed the relation between tourism and marine biodiversity. GAMBIA emphasized local involvement and establishment of coastal protected areas. Chair Fosi said discussions will continue during tomorrows session.


SUSTAINABLE USE: The Secretariat introduced the document (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/5/13). The REPUBLIC OF KOREA stressed that sustainable use activities be considered in national policies. ZIMBABWE said the document should support enhancement, incentives and promotion, instead of control and regulation, and supported by AUSTRALIA, suggested establishing a liaison group. COLOMBIA, NIGERIA and TOGO suggested an ad hoc group of experts taking into account social sciences and cross-cutting issues, such as welfare, gender and employment. CONGO and ZAMBIA underlined involving local and indigenous communities' sustainable use practices. EL SALVADOR also noted the importance of socio-economic aspects. NAMIBIA requested strengthening of: direct benefits for local communities in education programmes and capacity-building for policy-makers; cooperation between scientists and policy-makers; and collaboration on sustainable use schemes between countries sharing a common resource. AUSTRALIA noted that the current task is to develop strategic means for implementation. PORTUGAL and the RUSSIAN FEDERATION suggested different analytical levels, such as political systems and biogeographical areas. AUSTRALIA, GERMANY and BRAZIL said work should not be duplicated. BRAZIL, supported by the NETHERLANDS, stressed the interlinkage of sustainable use concepts and the ecosystem approach, and the importance of economic valuation, stakeholder participation, indicator development and benefit-sharing. BRAZIL and ECUADOR stressed integration of cultural aspects. Regarding case studies, BRAZIL favored integration of bottom-up and top-down approaches, and with NEW ZEALAND, stressed a higher profile for biodiversity role in carbon sequestration. SWITZERLAND and the CEE submitted a number of specific proposals regarding conservation and the concept of sustainable use. The UK supported ZAMBIA's priority to integrate sustainable use into national strategies and sectoral policies and noted inconsistencies with regard to benefit-sharing. NORWAY stressed the urgent need for conceptual progress. ECUADOR, supported by AUSTRALIA, the NETHERLANDS, NEW ZEALAND and MADAGASCAR called for involving IUCN and other bodies with expertise. SRI LANKA asked for case studies to promote awareness and use of locally developed indicators. TOGO stressed the need to establish adaptive management with all partners. ROMANIA recommended complementary legislation between neighboring countries for transboundary zones. GUINEA asked to include poverty alleviation. Chair David Brackett (Canada) established a contact group on sustainable use.


SBSTTA-5 Chair Cristin Samper (Colombia) requested regional group nominations to the SBSTTA Bureau. Elections proceeded by acclamation.

AD HOC TECHNICAL EXPERTS GROUPS (TEG): The Secretariat introduced the document (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/5/15). Regarding TEGs, NEW ZEALAND, supported by NORWAY, the NETHERLANDS and the US, requested standard guidelines that accompany terms of reference (TORs) for specific TEGs, including appointment of members, assessment of scientific credibility, expected outcome, interaction with other bodies and pre-conditions for the use of a TEG. NEW ZEALAND, supported by NORWAY, stated that a TEG requires a significant assessment. NORWAY stressed the importance of outreach to the scientific community, acceptance and follow-up on recommendations. GERMANY proposed that SBSTTA should be able to decide on the establishment and the TORs of TEGs and, with ECUADOR, SWEDEN, CAMEROON and KENYA, stressed gender balance in TEGs.

Regarding the rosters, GERMANY and NORWAY requested flexibility and continuous updating, and with CHINA and CANADA suggested using the national focal point. CANADA emphasized the inclusion of indigenous experts. HAITI and KENYA asked for hands-on experts. TANZANIA and NAMIBIA stressed that access to the CHM roster disadvantages countries without proper capacity.

Concerning the TORs of the TEGs on marine and coastal protected areas and mariculture, NEW ZEALAND supported by the US, JAPAN and CANADA, requested more detailed instructions; regular progress reports; and mechanisms for interactions with Parties. Given the joint work plan with Ramsar, most countries stated that an expert group on inland waters biodiversity is not necessary.

SWEDEN, SWITZERLAND, ECUADOR, CAMEROON, KENYA, the NETHERLANDS and CONGO supported the establishment of a TEG on forest biodiversity. NEW ZEALAND and AUSTRALIA supported the establishment of a forest TEG, which should perform a gap analysis on the CBD viz-a-viz other relevant bodies. The UK, FINLAND, JAPAN, CANADA asked for clearly defined TORs. AUSTRALIA proposed strengthen cooperation with other bodies, including the International Tropical Timber Organization. NORWAY stressed the need for a process to start assessing the status and trends of forests, but credibility of the forest TEG has to be ensured. SWITZERLAND proposed language on collaboration with the UNFCCC to include biodiversity in carbon sequestration mechanisms. ECUADOR called for the inclusion of social and economic experts. The NETHERLANDS proposed a broader TEG on the ecosystem approach addressing one thematic area at a time, starting with forest biodiversity. BIONET on behalf of three NGOs, urged moving beyond assessments to action and that regional and subregional cooperation could identify priorities.

NIGERIA suggested a TEG on sustainable use. CAMEROON suggested a TEG on drylands. NORWAY suggested waiting for the experience of the other TEGs. Chair Samper established a contact group to draft recommendations.

COOPERATION WITH OTHER BODIES: Chair Samper invited delegates to consider the Chair's draft recommendation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/5/CRP.1). NORWAY suggested exploring ways of collaboration with the Millennium Assessment, and following suggestions by the NETHERLANDS, delegates came up with a new formulation. NORWAY also proposed reference to the IBOY and consulted with UNESCO to draft text. SWITZERLAND proposed mention of the Global Biodiversity Assessment and the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol within the context of forest biodiversity. The SEYCHELLES then asked for specific reference to coral reefs. SLOVENIA suggested reference to the joint work plan with the Ramsar Convention. The EC noted that some CBD Parties are excluded from the Ramsar Convention, thereby blocking them from parts of the implementation. The NETHERLANDS suggested reporting this issue to the COP. Chair Samper called interested Parties into drafting consultations.

CLEARING-HOUSE MECHANISM (CHM): Delegates considered the Chairs draft recommendation (UNEP/CBD/ SBSTTA/5/CRP.2) and proposed changes resulting from discussions of an informal working group. NEW ZEALAND stated that the Informal Advisory Committee of the CHM should not be open-ended and that its terms of reference and duration should be clarified by COP-5. Responding to the NETHERLANDS requested deletion of a reference to repatriation of information through the CHM, NORWAY stated that the intent was to facilitate access to information and not necessarily to components of biodiversity. Chair Samper consulted a small group to clarify existing language. The NETHERLANDS suggested deleting a reference to the Biosafety Clearing-House, stating that it is outside SBSTTA's jurisdiction.


NGOs have literally moved in the corridors in order to influence SBSTTA recommendations. Many grumbled that "access" to the Plenary has restricted the "benefit-sharing" of these sessions. NGO #0918 mused that perhaps there just wasnt enough substance to comment on.


Working Group One: WG-1 will meet at 10:00 am to continue discussions on marine and coastal biodiversity and coral reefs. A draft text on agricultural should be tabled.

Working Group Two: WG-2 will meet at 10:00 am to review draft recommendations on the ecosystem approach and indicators.

Look for some "negotiated time" for an un-scheduled Plenary to continue work on the Chairs draft recommendations.

Further information