Report of main proceedings for 14 March 2001

6th Meeting of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA)

Delegates to the sixth meeting of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) met in two working groups. Working Group I (WG-I) on invasive alien species (IAS) discussed: eradication; mitigation of effects; and the Guiding Principles (GPs). Working Group II (WG-II) discussed: biodiversity and climate change, including cooperation with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); and migratory species and cooperation with the Convention for the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). Both Working Groups formed contact groups, which met in evening sessions, to address the GPs and climate change.


ERADICATION: Piero Genovesi, National Wildlife Institute (Italy), overviewed case studies, highlighting eradication as a conservation tool. Michael Clout (New Zealand) reported on an International Conference on Eradication of IAS and a lunchtime session on island States. Several developed countries highlighted difficulties regarding animal welfare groups. Others noted that naturalized IAS are often resources for local communities. The COUNCIL OF EUROPE distinguished between threatening and harmless alien species. ARGENTINA called for guidelines on naturalized alien species. PERU requested guidelines to distinguish between control and eradication.

MEXICO highlighted problems of coordination between government agencies. ESTONIA and SWEDEN called for monitoring systems for early detection, eradication and control. HUNGARY stressed impact assessments. SRI LANKA supported the Global Invasive Species Programmes (GISP) initiatives. FINLAND and BURUNDI called for information on continental IAS. BURKINA FASO and COTE DIVOIRE stressed responsibility for damage and restoration costs. ECUADOR highlighted the need to involve commercial sectors. GUYANA questioned using one alien species to manage another. Numerous countries provided national examples.

MITIGATION OF EFFECTS: Sean Murphy, CAB International, presented elements for control programs and recommendations on access to information, partnership building, and development of toolkits and strategies. Guy Preston (South Africa) and Yousoof Mungroo (Mauritius) presented case studies on eradication and mitigation efforts. The NETHERLANDS, with NEW ZEALAND, stressed prioritized control of IAS. MALI called for assessment of some IAS utility. SOUTH AFRICA noted the need for cost-benefit analyses of IAS. GERMANY highlighted development of national best practices handbooks. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION called for consideration of the ecosystem approach. SWEDEN requested assessment of socio-economic values, biodiversity impacts and containment. PAPUA NEW GUINEA underscored funding of existing regional and national action plans. BULGARIA stressed control measures over eradication. DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE highlighted funding for GISP.

Delegates also considered and made textual amendments to recommendations on national reports and financial resources.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES: In the afternoon session, delegates heard brief reports on related side-events and evening roundtables. Discussions were based on the original text from COP Decision V/8, a new Chairs text integrating comments from a number of countries, and a non-paper prepared by Canada with Australia, Mexico, South Africa and the US. Delegates debated which text to use, with some noting that the Chairs text weakens the original GPs. Many delegates urged completion of the GPs for submission to COP-6. On the title, some preferred "Guiding Principles" over "Guidelines." Delegates also debated using "alien species," "alien invasive species" or "invasive alien species." Some called for consistency with language in COP Decision V/8. Several countries supported: inclusion of sub-species and genotypes; consistency in terminology; and inclusion of the IUCN definition. Several countries opposed consideration of new principles.

GP-1 Precautionary Approach: Delegates debated whether to use the original text or the Chairs text based on Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration, and whether to include reference to "full" scientific certainty. A few countries supported including reference to risk analysis, with NORWAY expressing reservations. AUSTRALIA suggested applying the precautionary approach to IAS pathways.

GP-2 Three-Stage Hierarchical Approach: SOUTH AFRICA highlighted elements from the Canadian non-paper regarding an integrated approach. SWEDEN proposed consideration of introductions within and between states. FRANCE suggested adding examination of social benefits and costs. Other minor textual suggestions were made.

GP-3 Ecosystem Approach: Delegates debated retaining the original text or using the Chairs revision, allowing for application of the ecosystem approach where relevant. Some countries stated the Chairs proposal was weaker, while others noted its greater flexibility.

GP-4 State Responsibility: Delegates debated whether to use existing text or the Chairs revision, which recognizes States inability to control all risks posed to other States. FRANCE highlighted the focus on State responsibility. CANADA emphasized States cooperation, and proposed titling the GP "Rights and Responsibilities." POLAND proposed combining Guiding Principles 4 and 9 (Cooperation, including Capacity Building). Several countries proposed that States identify potentially invasive species for their territory. Delegates also addressed informing neighboring States of introductions and difficulties in complying with risk analysis requirements.

GP-5 Research and Monitoring: Many delegates supported the Canadian non-paper, which includes undertaking a baseline taxonomic study, while others stressed capacity limitations and called for more flexible language. The SEYCHELLES preferred the original text. SWEDEN, supported by ROMANIA, stressed IAS genetic impacts. AUSTRIA proposed reference to social impacts.

GP-6 Education and Public Awareness: AUSTRIA and JAMAICA supported the original text, while several delegates supported the Canadian non-paper, which includes a chapeau on the importance of public awareness for successful IAS management. ECUADOR suggested deleting reference to local communities. The DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO and SENEGAL called for differentiation of useful alien species.

GP-7 Border Control and Quarantine Measures: Delegates debated amendments regarding capacity limitations, implementation of measures "as far as practicable" and specification of assessments as "scientific." Some delegates supported references to controls within national borders and including species that could become invasive. Some countries supported the Chairs amended text. The FAO stressed harmonization of the term "introduction" with the IPPC.

CONTACT GROUP: A contact group on IAS met late into the evening to finish initial discussions on GPs 8-15, which will be incorporated in a Chairs text for further review.


CLIMATE AND BIODIVERSITY: In the morning, Chair Raed Bani Hani (Jordan) opened discussions, and the Secretariat introduced UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/6/11 and INF/13. In addressing WG-II, Harald Dovland, Chair of UNFCCCs Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), called for a good working relationship between the CBD and UNFCCC, in the form of joint workshops or working groups, noting that this issue will be on the agenda of the resumed COP-6 and SBSTA-14. Many supported establishment of an expert group. NEW ZEALAND and the RUSSIAN FEDERATION said the group should be regionally balanced. The NETHERLANDS underscored inclusion of representatives from various sectors. CANADA suggested the group analyze adaptation measures under the UNFCCC. AUSTRALIA requested the group to report its work to SBSTTA-7. CUBA called for timelines in its terms of reference. The US requested it compile existing information about impact and identify gaps.

Cooperation between the CBD and UNFCCC and their scientific bodies received general support, with many encouraging other relevant organizations engagement, particularly the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The NETHERLANDS underscored a joint work plan for the scientific bodies. NORWAY, SRI LANKA and others emphasized synergies between the two Conventions. SWEDEN proposed a joint workshop with special attention to outstanding issues such as carbon sinks.

The SEYCHELLES, supported by many, expressed disappointment with the lack of urgency regarding climate change, particularly on coral bleaching, calling for immediate actions. BRAZIL proposed a recommendation to UNFCCC COP-6 that urgent measures be taken to mitigate climate change impacts. The SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC stressed measures in desert and semi-desert areas. PALAU underscored the devastating effects of El Nio. TOGO highlighted natural disasters caused by climate change and the importance of rehabilitating ecosystems. COLOMBIA underscored the need for a global scientific analysis of climate change impacts on different components of biodiversity. MONGOLIA drew attention to climate change impacts on animal grazing. KENYA prioritized mangrove ecosystems. BOLIVIA highlighted impacts on natural tropical forests. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION and SWEDEN noted a lack of emphasis on boreal forests. ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA and ARGENTINA cautioned against duplication of tasks. CANADA, with the NETHERLANDS, proposed reference to assessing the impacts of biodiversity loss on climate.

CHINA and POLAND proposed assessing biological loss and mitigation measures. SAMOA cautioned that activities for assessment should not reduce funding to both Conventions. CAMEROON called for capacity building with GEF support. BELGIUM indicated impacts on food security by deterioration of ecosystems. The GEF highlighted relevant programs exploring synergies and combining efforts on climate change and biodiversity, and noted plans for capacity building. UNESCO, the RAMSAR CONVENTION, the CMS, the WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION and IUCN also contributed information on their work. GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL said that the carbon logic of climate change does not recognize biodiversity components and, with FRIENDS OF THE EARTH, stated that tree plantations are not adequate to mitigate climate change impacts.

Contact Group: A contact group on biodiversity and climate change met late into the evening, discussing an informal paper on suggested actions and recommendations by SBSTTA, with particular attention to the composition of an expert group.

MIGRATORY SPECIES: In the afternoon, WG-II heard a presentation by Arnulf Mller-Helmbrecht, Executive Secretary of CMS, on linkages between the CBD and CMS. In response to questions, he indicated that a memorandum of understanding can be used to protect certain species and that the CMS, together with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, affords protection of fish species, including sea turtles. Chair Hani then opened discussion on migratory species and cooperation with the CMS. The Secretariat introduced UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/6/12, Add.1 and INF/15.

Many delegates supported a joint work programme between the CMS and CBD. KENYA and others stressed actions should be undertaken not only by the Conventions but also by Parties and relevant organizations. ECUADOR and COLOMBIA supported a uniform programme with specific timelines. Several countries supported a realistic work programme that would be jointly implemented in a timely manner. Numerous countries recommended integrating migratory species issues into guidelines of regional approaches and national action plans. Many countries emphasized that CBD parties have an obligation to protect migratory species, stressing the need for harmonizing reporting systems.

The UKRAINE called for legislative support on regional environmental networks on migratory species. EL SALVADOR highlighted transboundary analysis, habitat studies and better population dynamics descriptions. MEXICO supported inclusion of case studies in the CHM and submission to scientific bodies of other conventions. BOLIVIA highlighted the neo-tropics. CAMEROON noted the importance of migratory insects to agriculture, and, with COLOMBIA and TUNISIA, called for capacity building and public awareness. BRAZIL proposed language on the need for arrangements to provide financial resources where appropriate and in accordance with CBD Article 20 (Financial Resources). GERMANY emphasized the need to invite bilateral and multilateral financing agencies into biodiversity programmes. The GEF noted mobilization of US $276.9 million for 32 projects as of 2000. BIRDLIFE INTERNATIONAL underscored the roles of Parties and international organizations. The World Commission on Protected Areas of the IUCN offered scientific support. A representative of TULALIP TRIBES (US) emphasized the need to involve indigenous people.


With ample information flowing in from governments, academics, specialized agencies, collaborative projects and NGOs, some delegates observed that SBSTTA has definitely hit its stride for addressing scientific issues. Amid cases of information overload, many are now calling for information to be translated into on-the-ground action addressing the immediate impacts of climate change and invasive species.


WORKING GROUP I: WG-I will meet at 10:00 am to review the Chairs draft text on the Guiding Principles.

WORKING GROUP II: WG-II will meet at 10:00 am to review draft recommendations on scientific assessments, the Global Taxonomy Initiative, biodiversity and climate change and migratory species.

Further information


Negotiating blocs
African Union
European Union
Non-state coalitions