Summary report, 12–16 November 2001

7th Meeting of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA)

The seventh session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-7) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) met from 12-16 November 2001, in Montreal, Canada. Over 515 participants from 113 governments, joined by representatives from intergovernmental, non-governmental, academic and indigenous organizations, attended the meeting. Delegates met in two working groups. Working Group I , focusing on forest biodiversity, held general discussions on a recommendation addressing bushmeat and status, trends and threats, as well as on a work programme with elements on: conservation, sustainable use and benefit sharing; institutional and socioeconomic enabling environments; and knowledge, assessment and monitoring. Working Group II considered and prepared recommendations on agricultural biodiversity, including the International Pollinators Initiative, the plant conservation strategy; incentive measures; indicators; and environmental impact assessment.

The forest work programme proved to be a considerable undertaking, which will require extensive intersessional work on actors, timeframes and process indicators. Overall, delegates were pleased with the substance of the final outputs, while noting that the challenge ahead is prioritization of activities within the forest work programme. Delegates also appreciated Working Group IIs expedient discussions on agricultural biodiversity, the plant conservation strategy, incentives, indicators, and environmental impact assessment. The recommendations from SBSTTA-7 will be forwarded to the sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-6), to be held from 8-19 April 2002, in The Hague, the Netherlands. The task for COP-6 will be to make the necessary political decisions to ensure effective implementation of the work of the SBSTTA and other intersessional processes under the Convention.


The CBD, negotiated under the auspices of UNEP, was opened for signature on 5 June 1992, and entered into force on 29 December 1993. To date, 182 countries have ratified the Convention. The three objectives of the CBD are to promote "the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources."

COP-1: The first meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-1) took place from 28 November - 9 December 1994, in Nassau, the Bahamas. Key decisions by COP-1 included: adoption of the medium-term work programme; designation of the permanent Secretariat; establishment of the Clearing-House Mechanism (CHM) and SBSTTA; and designation of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) as the interim institutional structure for the financial mechanism.

SBSTTA-1: SBSTTA-1 met from 4-8 September 1995, in Paris, France. SBSTTA-1 delegates produced recommendations on: SBSTTAs modus operandi; components of biodiversity under threat; access to and transfer of technology; scientific and technical information to be contained in national reports; contributions to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) meetings on plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA); and marine and coastal biodiversity. SBSTTA-1 requested flexibility to create: two open-ended working groups to meet simultaneously during future SBSTTA meetings; ad hoc technical panels of experts as needed; and a roster of experts.

COP-2: The second meeting of the COP was held from 6-17 November 1995, in Jakarta, Indonesia. Major outcomes of COP-2 included: designation of the permanent location of the Secretariat in Montreal, Canada; establishment of the Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group on Biosafety; adoption of a programme of work; designation of the GEF as the continuing interim financial mechanism; and consideration of marine and coastal biodiversity.

SBSTTA-2: SBSTTA-2 met from 2-6 September 1996, in Montreal, Canada. The meeting produced recommendations on: monitoring and assessment of biodiversity; approaches to taxonomy; economic valuation of biodiversity; access to genetic resources; agricultural biodiversity; terrestrial biodiversity; marine and coastal biodiversity; biosafety; and the CHM.

COP-3: At COP-3, held from 4-15 November 1996, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, delegates adopted decisions on, inter alia: elaboration of work programmes on agricultural and forest biodiversity; a Memorandum of Understanding with the GEF; an agreement to hold an intersessional workshop on Article 8(j) regarding traditional knowledge; an application by the Executive Secretary for observer status to the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Committee on Trade and the Environment; and a statement from the CBD to the Special Session of the UN General Assembly to review implementation of Agenda 21.

SBSTTA-3: At SBSTTA-3, held from 1-5 September 1997, in Montreal, Canada, delegates considered the implementation of the CHM's pilot phase, and formulated recommendations on: biodiversity in inland waters; marine and coastal biodiversity; agricultural biodiversity; forest biodiversity; biodiversity indicators; and participation of developing countries in the SBSTTA.

COP-4: At its fourth meeting (COP-4), held from 4-15 May 1998, in Bratislava, Slovakia, the COP adopted decisions on: inland water ecosystems; marine and coastal biodiversity; forest biodiversity; agricultural biodiversity; implementation of the CHM's pilot phase; implementation of Article 8(j); national reports; cooperation with other agreements, institutions and processes; activities of the GEF; incentive measures; access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing (ABS); public education and awareness; and the long-term work programme.

SBSTTA-4: During its fourth meeting, held from 21-25 June 1999, in Montreal, Canada, delegates made recommendations on: SBSTTAs work programme; the Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI); guiding principles to prevent the impact of alien species; control of plant gene expression; sustainable use of terrestrial biodiversity; incorporation of biodiversity into environmental impact assessment, and approaches and practices for sustainable use of biological resources, including tourism.

ISOC: The Intersessional Meeting on the Operations of the Convention (ISOC) met from 28-30 June 1999, in Montreal, Canada, to consider preparations for and conduct of COP meetings. ISOC also held discussions on: ABS; ex situ collections acquired prior to the Convention's entry into force; and the relationships among intellectual property rights, relevant provisions of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, and the CBD.

ExCOP FOR THE CARTAGENA PROTOCOL ON BIOSAFETY: The first Extraordinary Meeting of the Conference of the Parties for the Adoption of the Protocol on Biosafety to the CBD (ExCOP) was held from 22-23 February 1999, in Cartagena, Colombia, following the sixth meeting of the CBD's Biosafety Working Group (14-22 February 1999). The meeting was suspended as Parties were not able to reach agreement. Following three informal consultations, the resumed session of the ExCOP was held from 24-28 January 2000, in Montreal, Canada. Delegates adopted the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which addresses the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms (LMOs) that may have an adverse effect on biodiversity, with a specific focus on transboundary movements. It establishes an advance informed agreement procedure for imports of LMOs, incorporates the precautionary principle and details information and documentation requirements. To date, 106 countries have signed the agreement, with seven ratifications.

SBSTTA-5: The SBSTTAs fifth session met from 31 January - 4 February 2000, in Montreal, Canada. SBSTTA-5 developed recommendations on, inter alia: inland water biodiversity; forest biodiversity; agricultural biodiversity; marine and coastal biodiversity, including coral bleaching; a programme of work on dry and sub-humid lands; alien species; the ecosystem approach; indicators; the pilot phase of the CHM; the second national reports; and ad hoc technical expert groups.

COP-5: At its fifth meeting (COP-5), held from 15-26 May 2001, in Nairobi, Kenya, the COP adopted decisions on: dry and sub-humid lands; the ecosystem approach; access to genetic resources; alien species; sustainable use; biodiversity and tourism; incentive measures; the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation; the GTI; scientific and technical cooperation and the CHM; identification, monitoring, assessment and indicators; and impact assessment, liability and redress. A high-level segment on the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, including a Ministerial Roundtable and a special signing ceremony, was convened during the second week of the meeting.

SBSTTA-6: The sixth meeting of the SBSTTA took place from 12-16 March 2001, in Montreal, Canada. SBSTTA-6 featured a streamlined agenda with a focus on invasive alien species and emphasis on providing background information through presentations, side events, roundtables and additional documentation. Recommendations were adopted on the use of: ad hoc technical expert groups; marine and coastal biodiversity; inland water ecosystems; invasive alien species; scientific assessments; the GTI; biodiversity and climate change; and migratory species.

ABS-1: The Ad Hoc Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing was established by COP-5 to develop guidelines and other approaches for ABS. The first meeting of the Working Group was held from 22-26 October 2001, in Bonn, Germany. Delegates developed a set of draft international voluntary guidelines (Bonn Guidelines); identified draft elements for an action plan for capacity building; considered approaches other than guidelines; called for an open-ended workshop on capacity building for ABS; and produced recommendations on disclosure of PIC, country of origin and use of traditional knowledge in patent applications.

ITPGRFA: Final negotiations on the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) (formerly the International Undertaking) were held from 30 October to 3 November 2001, in Rome, Italy. The FAO Council, and an Open-ended Working Group met to resolve outstanding issues following the agreement's adoption by the sixth Extraordinary Session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (June 2001, Rome, Italy). On 3 November 2001, the draft treaty was submitted to the FAO Conference, where it was adopted by a vote of 116 in favor, zero against and two abstentions. The ITPGRFA establishes a multilateral system for facilitated access to a specified list of PGRFA, balanced by benefit-sharing in the areas of information exchange, technology transfer, capacity building and commercial benefit-sharing.


On Monday, 12 November, SBSTTA Chair Jan Plesnk (Czech Republic) opened the meeting by outlining the main theme of forest biodiversity, commending the work of the ad hoc technical expert group and stressing the need for practical action.

Paul Chabeda, on behalf of UNEP Executive Director Klaus Tpfer, expressed concern over the underlying causes of biodiversity loss and called for development of effective and implementable incentives measures. He underscored the crucial role that SBSTTA-7 and COP-6 will play in shaping the CBDs involvement in the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). CBD Executive Secretary Hamdallah Zedan outlined recent developments, including: the draft Bonn Guidelines on ABS; adoption of the ITPGRFA; and progress of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Cartagena Protocol (ICCP). He reviewed work by the ad hoc technical expert groups and joint work with other international institutions.

Delegates adopted the provisional agenda (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/ 7/1) and the proposed organization of work. They elected Grace Thitai (Kenya) as rapporteur and Paula Warren (New Zealand) and Lily Rodriguez (Peru) as Chairs of Working Groups I and II, respectively.

ORGANIZATION OF WORK: Plenary met on Monday, 12 November, to hear keynote presentations and consider progress reports on ad hoc technical expert groups, assessment processes, biodiversity of dry and sub-humid lands, and sustainable use. Plenary reconvened on Friday, 16 November, to adopt recommendations from the working groups and to address other organizational matters. Both working groups met from 13-15 November.

Working Group I discussed a recommendation on the forest work programme, status and trends, bushmeat, forest fires and climate change, as well as the specific elements of the work programme on forest biodiversity. To assist its work, Working Group I also formed a number of contact groups, which met throughout the week. Working Group II considered and produced recommendations on: agricultural biodiversity, including the International Pollinators Initiative; the plant conservation strategy; incentives; indicators; and environmental impact assessment.


KEYNOTE PRESENTATIONS: Two keynote presentations were heard in Plenary on the issues of biodiversity and human health, and on targets for the CBDs implementation. Eric Chivian, Director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard Medical School, said that linkages between biodiversity and human health have so far been largely ignored in the CBDs work. He stressed that human health depends on biodiversity and discussed: medicine from natural sources and species contribution to medicinal research; the relation between biodiversity destruction and the spread of diseases; biodiversity and food production; and policy options.

Peter Wyse Jackson, Director of the Botanical Gardens Conservation International, reviewed the need for specific, measurable and realistic targets in the CBDs implementation. He discussed integrating into the CBD Strategic Plan issues related to evaluation processes and establishing criteria for performance assessments. He said that targets could provide useful reference points for monitoring progress and for generating public support behind priority issues, while stressing that they need to be developed through consensus. He stated that targets present demanding but realistic challenges to the global community and noted an increasing trend to incorporate targets into strategic and other plans adopted for biodiversity conservation at national, regional and international levels.

In Plenary, delegates considered reports on: ad hoc technical expert groups; assessment processes; dry and sub-humid lands; sustainable use; and the strategic plan.

AD HOC TECHNICAL EXPERT GROUPS: During Plenary on Monday, 12 November, the Secretariat introduced the reports of the ad hoc technical expert groups (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/2) on marine and coastal protected areas; mariculture; forest biodiversity; and dry and sub-humid lands. Several countries noted the need for biogeographical representation, problems with participation and the need for transparency. During Plenary on Friday, 16 November, the draft recommendation was approved without substantive debate.

Final Recommendation: The recommendation (UNEP/CBD/ SBSTTA/7/L.2) notes the Executive Secretarys report on the status of the ad hoc technical expert groups.

ASSESSMENT PROCESSES: To improve the quality of the advice provided by SBSTTA, SBSTTA-6 recommended development of methodologies and identification of pilot studies for scientific assessments. On Monday, 12 November, Robert Watson, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), reviewed a technical paper on climate change and biodiversity, which addresses: observed and projected changes in climate and terrestrial and marine ecosystems; mitigation and adaptation options; and information and assessment gaps. He highlighted impacts of species migration, reassembly of ecosystems, changes in productivity and vegetation, and mitigation measures.

The progress report on work undertaken by the Executive Secretary, and on global assessment processes (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/3) includes: the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA); Global International Waters Assessment; FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment; FAO State of the Worlds Plant and Animal Resources; World Water Assessment Programme; and the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The European Community (EC) highlighted the importance of regional and national assessments and called for criteria on including external assessments within the CBD process. The Netherlands proposed, and Argentina objected to, external assessments performed by an expert group, whose advice would be sent directly to the COP. Brazil stressed SBSTTAs role in promoting assessments to reduce uncertainties and called for mechanisms to involve the scientific community. China said assessments should focus on human activities to guide development of national policies. Norway stressed the importance of credibility and acceptance.

Watson, as Co-Chair of the MA, outlined the MAs history, organizational structure, conceptual framework and timelines leading to completion in 2004. He explained that the MA is multi-scalar, from the village to the global level, and is designed to build capacity, provide information to and support for the CBD, the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD) and the Ramsar Convention.

On the MA, Brazil recommended that SBSTTA support the initiative and also highlighted the importance of assessments for the recent conclusion of negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The EC proposed an amendment to address work at national and regional levels to provide financial assistance for developing countries participation in the MA. Regarding evaluations related to invasive alien species, New Zealand called for refinement of a proposed assessment of their impacts to better reflect the priority areas for action identified by SBSTTA-6. The US stated that the Global Invasive Species Programme should have the flexibility to address priority ecosystems and the Secretariat noted lack of data for a pilot project on cost-benefit analyses of managing invasive alien species.

The closing Plenary on Friday, 16 November, adopted the recommendation with minor amendments.

Final Recommendation: The recommendation (UNEP/CBD/ SBSTTA/7/L.3): approves the procedure being used to carry out ongoing assessments through the use of ad hoc technical expert groups; agrees to keep and periodically revise the procedure; welcomes the MA approach, in particular; and calls for nominations for the MA expert working groups.

DRY AND SUB-HUMID LANDS: On Monday, 12 November, delegates reviewed the joint work programme on dry and sub-humid lands carried out by the CBD and the CCD. The Secretariat introduced the background document (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/4), which reviews the status of the joint work programme. The CCD Secretariat highlighted a liaison group recommendation calling for projects at the national and local levels to assess the value of drylands. The UNFCCC Secretariat stressed the value of information sharing among the UNFCCC, the CCD and the CBD. Colombia noted the lack of reference to Latin American and Caribbean countries, and called for a more balanced work programme. Uganda suggested prioritizing case studies on dryland biodiversity valuation and enhancing capacity building for developing project proposals for GEF funding. Argentina said capacity building should focus on integrated policy making. Birdlife International said national processes are insufficiently linked and called for integration of national biodiversity strategies and action plans with CCD activities.

During the closing Plenary on Friday, 16 November, the draft recommendation was adopted with an amendment suggested by Tanzania that an ad hoc technical expert group meet before COP-6.

Final Recommendation: On dry and sub-humid lands, the final recommendation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/L. 4) emphasizes the importance of the synergy between the CBD, CCD, UNFCCC and other appropriate bodies; urges the convening of an ad hoc technical expert group; and requests information dissemination through the CHM on workshops, case studies and pilot projects.

SUSTAINABLE USE: On Monday, 12 November, regarding sustainable use, delegates reviewed progress on development of practical principles, operational guidance and associated instruments, as set out in document UNEP/CBD/ SBSTTA/7/5. Regarding draft guidelines prepared by a workshop on biodiversity and tourism held in the Dominican Republic in June 2001, Colombia, Cuba and Mexico noted the need to refine and expand them for application to all ecosystems. The EC, Germany and New Zealand said the guidelines could only be submitted to the tenth meeting of the Commission on Sustainable Development a draft, and they should be further considered and approved by the COP.

Uganda stressed there should also be national and local guidelines. Malaysia noted that mountain and upland systems should be included. China suggested transmitting the guidelines to other tourism-related organizations for comments. The International Support Center for Sustainable Tourism expressed concerns that there was no meaningful involvement of indigenous peoples in the process of developing the guidelines.

On Friday, 16 November, the closing Plenary considered draft recommendations on sustainable use and on sustainable use and tourism. Costa Rica said that the organization of a proposed workshop on sustainable use should be transparent, with Colombia urging further implementation of COP decision V/24, on cross-cutting issues. The draft recommendations were adopted with the amendments.

Final Recommendations: Regarding sustainable use (UNEP/ CBD/SBSTTA/7/L.5), SBSTTA takes note of progress made and encourages Parties to support organization of an additional meeting to synthesize the results of previous workshops. On sustainable tourism (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/L.6), the recommendation requests the Executive Secretary to submit the guidelines set out in Annex I for consideration at the second meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the World Summit on Sustainable Development and to invite comments, and submit the guidelines to the preparatory process for the World Summit on Ecotourism. SBSTTA is requested to review the guidelines before COP-7. The guidelines in Annex I address management processes, with an emphasis on a multi-stakeholder approach, notification processes related to tourism development, public education, and capacity building. Annex II contains recommendations for future work related to the guidelines.

STRATEGIC PLAN: On Monday, 12 November, delegates considered the results of a workshop on the CBD Strategic Plan held in May 2001 in the Seychelles and summarized in UNEP/CBD/WS-StratPlan/5/2. The topic will be considered by the Open-ended Intersessional Meeting on the Strategic Plan, National Reports and Implementation of the Convention (MSP) scheduled for 19-21 November 2001. The proposed plan (UNEP/CBD/MSP/2) includes a mission statement, vision, operational goals and action plans, focused on reversal of trends in biodiversity loss, reduction in incidence and impacts of unsustainable use, equitable sharing of benefits from use of genetic resources and traditional knowledge, and cross-cutting operational goals.

New Zealand emphasized the need to focus on implementation and to identify critical issues. Colombia and Cuba noted inadequate attention to sustainable use, equitable distribution and transfer of technology, and stated that the goals were not viable for most developing countries. Canada stressed the importance of information exchange and ABS and, with Norway, stated that SBSTTA could make significant contributions in the area of scientifically appropriate targets. Brazil stated that the plan should provide a scientifically sound baseline to determine whether targets are meaningful and also urged focus on enhancing international cooperation.


Working Group I discussed a recommendation on the forest biodiversity work programme, as well as its three elements on: conservation, sustainable use and benefit sharing; institutional and socioeconomic enabling environment; and knowledge, assessment and monitoring. The working group formed a number of contact groups to assist in its work, including: one on 13 November, to address the structure of the work programme; one on 14 November, to address the work programme element on knowledge, assessment and monitoring; two on 15 November, to address programme elements on conservation, sustainable use and benefit-sharing, and on enabling environments; and one on 16 November, to review the overall balance and consistency among the programme elements. Working Group I Chair Warren also welcomed written comments from delegations at numerous points to facilitate work.

Working Group I engaged in a number of procedural discussions, including which of the background documents to use as a starting point and the best means for addressing all of the issues in a comprehensive manner. There was significant overlap in discussions on issues related to both the work programme and the overall SBSTTA recommendation. Given time constraints, the working group was not able to detail actors, timeframes and process targets for the work programme elements, and some issues, such as climate change, were only discussed within the contact groups.

On Tuesday, 13 November, there were two keynote presentations. Jos Joaquin Campos, Tropical Agriculture Research and Higher Education Center, discussed the management of goods and services from neotropical forests in Costa Rica. He highlighted: innovative financial mechanisms to capture benefits of sustainable forest management (SFM); management guidelines to address both timber and non-timber forest products (NTFPs); national standards for SFM; and use of incentives over control measures.

Robert Nasi, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), addressed sustainable harvest of NTFPs, noting differences in perceptions regarding the use and importance of NTFPs. He highlighted the bushmeat crisis, calling for establishment of a UN bushmeat task force and captive breeding programmes.

Chair Warren outlined the process for discussions on forest biodiversity and the Secretariat introduced documents: UNEP/CBD/ SBSTTA/7/6, the report of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Forest Biodiversity (AHTEG); UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/7 on consideration of threats to forest biodiversity, including climate change, forests fires and harvesting of non-timber forest resources such as bushmeat; UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/8 on elements for the possible expansion of the work programme; and UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/8/Add.1, a proposal by the SBSTTA Chair on how to discuss the work programme. Gordon Patterson (UK) and Ian Thompson (Canada), Co-Chairs of the AHTEG, reviewed the groups report, mandate, and outputs on status, trends and gaps in knowledge.

GENERAL DISCUSSION: On Tuesday, 13 November, after the general presentations on the AHTEG report, Chair Warren convened a contact group to discuss the overall structure of Working Group Is recommendations. The group discussed a framework incorporating goals, objectives and activities with relevant implementing actors, timelines and process targets. Delegates then made general comments on how to proceed. The EC, with the Netherlands, said that the work programme should include targets, timetables, main actors and indicators of progress. A number of delegates expressed concern about linkages with the existing work programme from COP Decision IV/7. In response, Chair Warren suggested that the Secretariat analyze differences and overlaps in the intersessional period and provide a report to COP-6.

In discussions on status, trends and threats, Colombia supported developing indicators. Brazil called for a balanced approach towards all forest types, and recommended that forest targets address means of implementation, including provision of financial resources and technology transfer. Argentina called for assessment of sustainably managed forests. Costa Rica highlighted conversion of primary forests to plantations. France addressed forest networks, corridors and restoration. Delegates also discussed non-timber forest resources, forest classification systems and cooperation with relevant international organizations. Brazil and Malaysia proposed that illegal harvesting of forest products be discussed within the broader context of illegal trade in genetic resources. Greenpeace International highlighted the plight of ancient forests.

Acknowledging several statements recommending that Working Group I focus on the work programme and COP guidance, Chair Warren proposed that the working group note the AHTEGs work on status, trends and threats, contained in UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/6.

Chair Warren then called for comments on the unsustainable harvest of bushmeat. The EC preferred a joint work programme with other institutions instead of a task force. The Russian Federation noted bushmeat-related problems in temperate and boreal forests. Colombia highlighted the responsibilities of consumer countries. Cameroon, with Senegal, stressed the need for alternative sources of protein. Senegal noted the need for breeding programmes and financial resources. Chair Warren noted she would consult informally on developing a draft provision on bushmeat, which she introduced on Wednesday, 14 November. Responding to the draft, Belgium suggested broadening the focus to cover unsustainable hunting of forest animals, and Kenya called for collaboration with other relevant agreements and institutions.

Delegates debated whether to establish a liaison group or an expert group without resolving the bushmeat issue. Chair Warren then convened informal consultations, which took into account relevant discussions on the work programme elements addressing unsustainable harvesting.

On Thursday, 15 November, in a brief afternoon session, Working Group I discussed a general draft recommendation addressing: the AHTEGs work on status, trends and threats; the COPs consideration of the work programme; and bushmeat. Regarding the AHTEG, the working group reformulated language on acknowledging its report and work on status and trends. Regarding the work programme, the Netherlands proposed having COP-6 decide on priorities, including definition of targets, timeframes and actors. Colombia suggested adding progress indicators. Germany proposed inviting the Secretariat to present SBSTTAs deliberations to the second meeting of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF), which was questioned by Malaysia given lack of COP review. Switzerland proposed that the CBD assume the role of lead agency on biodiversity within the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF).

On Friday, 16 November, during the Plenary discussion, delegates considered a revised draft recommendation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/ CRP.1). Noting that the COP should set priorities, Brazil and Colombia opposed, while many others supported, using the AHTEG to suggest priorities. Belgium, with others, formulated compromise language allowing for party submissions on potential priorities for a report by the Executive Secretary. New Zealand proposed text on national level coordination. With regard to bushmeat and associated text in the work programme, delegates agreed to a proposal by Belgium, Colombia and Norway requesting the Executive Secretary to establish a liaison group on non-timber forest resources, with a focus on bushmeat, whose work will be considered by SBSTTA. With several other minor edits and additions, the text was adopted.

PROGRAMME OF WORK ON FOREST BIODIVERSITY: The work programme includes three programme elements: conservation, sustainable use and benefit sharing; institutional and socioeconomic enabling environment; and knowledge, assessment and monitoring.

Conservation, Sustainable Use and Benefit-sharing: On Tuesday, 13 November, Chair Warren invited general remarks on the programme element. Several countries claimed a bias towards conservation and a lack of emphasis on sustainable use and benefit-sharing. Several others advocated a focus on the ecosystem approach. The FAO, supported by many, called for synergies with the CBD and the UNFF through the CPF, with the US highlighting the CBDs role as the lead international body on biodiversity and forests. Ghana offered, and many welcomed, holding a workshop to share experiences and enable synergies and cooperation among CPF members. Germany supported integration of the proposals for action from the Intergovernmental Panel and Forum on Forests (IPF/IFF) into national biodiversity strategies and action plans while Norway linked with national forest programmes, Cuba stressed the importance of environmental education, public awareness and the involvement of local communities, and Haiti called for attention to capacity building.

On Wednesday, 14 November, delegates agreed to consider the programme element based on the AHTEG report (UNEP/CBD/ SBSTTA/7/6). Brazil, with Nigeria, called for reference to benefit-sharing. Several countries reiterated that the ecosystem approach should be an overarching principle in the forest work programme, and El Salvador, Nigeria and Senegal highlighted its use in restoration of degraded forests. Sweden, with the Seychelles, requested clarification of the relationship between the ecosystem approach and SFM. The Netherlands proposed reporting on Parties experiences with implementing the ecosystem approach. The US proposed reference to forest fragmentation, infrastructure development and invasive species dynamics. Countries also proposed reference to capacity building, pilot studies and workshops on the ecosystem approach. A representative of the Bonaparte and Little Shuswap Indian Bands called for full integration of Article 8(j) and methodologies, criteria and indicators reflecting social values and indigenous concerns. The Global Forest Coalition outlined targets regarding underlying causes on national analysis and policy reform, consumption and production patterns, and financial institutions.

Noting the slow rate of progress, Chair Warren requested delegates to submit written comments on the work programme. In the afternoon, Working Group I reviewed proposed changes from the morning discussion, as well as written comments provided to the Chair. Germany proposed a new objective on establishing a representative network of protected areas incorporating the prior informed consent of indigenous and local communities. Belgium proposed reference to the draft Bonn Guidelines on ABS. Greenpeace International called for prioritizing global targets.

On Thursday, 15 November, the working group split into two contact groups. The contact group on conservation and sustainable use met throughout the day. The programme element was re-titled to include benefit-sharing. Delegates discussed objectives and activities, and recommended promoting collaborative work with other members of the CPF. Specific proposals were made regarding credible voluntary forest-certification systems and case studies on SFM. Regarding conservation of forest genetic diversity, delegates discussed and modified text relating to effective and equitable information-sharing systems, and strategies on in situ and ex situ conservation and sustainable use. Specific activities discussed related to, inter alia: diversity of forest genetic resources; action plans for forest ecosystems deemed most vulnerable; and ABS. Regarding regulations for controlling use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), participants deleted text referring to the Cartagena Protocol, noting that it was not yet in force. Participants also agreed to place a general reference to capacity building in the work programmes chapeau.

On protected area networks, delegates discussed, inter alia: establishment of networks; assessment, adequacy and efficacy of existing networks; and participation by and respect for local and indigenous communities. On forest fires, delegates discussed: best practices; fire as a management tool; and risk assessment and early warning. Delegates also highlighted the need to mitigate impacts of pollution, such as acidification and eutrophication. Some noted that combating pollution is beyond the work programmes scope. Discussing forest fragmentation and conversion of forests, delegates proposed establishing ecological corridors, and promoting environmental and social impact assessment prior to conversion. On invasive alien species, delegates discussed prevention, mitigation and reference to invasive genotypes.

In the evening a second contact group addressed issues of desertification and unsustainable harvesting. After noting previous suggestions to delete the section on desertification, delegates discussed objectives and activities related to coordination and the CBD joint work programme with the CCD. On unsustainable harvesting, the group noted a proposal on the establishment of a CPF liaison group on NTFPs and briefly addressed, inter alia, harvesting practices.

On the morning of Friday, 16 November, a contact group met to review all the programme elements, assess their consistency and balance, and make numerous textual changes.

During the final Plenary discussions in the afternoon, delegates continued to make a number of minor edits. Based on suggestions by Belgium, Colombia and Norway, delegates agreed to retain text regarding a liaison group to facilitate a joint work plan with relevant CPF members on sustainable harvesting of NTFPs, while modifying associated language within the recommendation on forest biodiversity (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/CRP.1). Delegates also debated references to model species and ecotourism, ultimately retaining both references.

Institutional and Socioeconomic Enabling Environment: On Wednesday, 14 November, Chair Warren opened discussion on the programme element, based on the AHTEG report (UNEP/CBD/ SBSTTA/7/6). Colombia stressed capacity building as an overarching objective. Regarding fire prevention and the effects of fire on biodiversity loss, Mali and Sweden noted fires importance in some ecosystems, while Brazil called for deleting the reference. Brazil also suggested broadening language on illegal logging to include illegal exploitation, trade and consumption of timber, non-timber resources and genetic resources. Belgium noted the importance of halting import of illegal timber. Regarding certification, Cameroon said that certification is not feasible for many countries in the short term. Finland noted its use as a voluntary, market-driven tool, stressing the importance of third party auditing. The EC opposed a proposal to delete reference to mitigation of economic distortions.

On Thursday, 15 November, a contact group met throughout the day to review goals, objectives and activities. Regarding the goal on the institutional enabling environment and language on integration of forest biodiversity into policies and programmes, the group discussed: reference to donor bodies and poverty reduction strategy papers; national formulation of policies and priority targets; ecotourism and recreational activities; monitoring and assessment; SFM; and the ecosystem approach. Delegates also addressed integration of biodiversity concerns into regional programmes, while questioning references to trade and the externalization of national problems.

The group debated language on synergies with other forest processes, reporting mechanisms, strategies for resource provision, sectoral policies, and forest fire prevention plans. Regarding causes of biodiversity loss, delegates referenced lessons learned in mitigation, early warning systems, and distinctions between global and national underlying causes. The group debated language on good governance, permanent forest estates, land tenure and resource rights, the Bonn Guidelines on ABS, illegal logging and associated trade, performance bonds in forest concessions, codes of conduct for forest practices, certification schemes and chain of custody, and capacity building.

Regarding the goal on socioeconomic failures and distortions, the group discussed: elimination of perverse incentives; means to balance local costs with global benefits; compatibility of national laws and international trade measures with forest conservation and sustainable use; analyses of consumption and production; and forest subsistence economies. The group also made numerous textual and organizational changes.

During Plenary discussions on Friday, 16 November, Kenya proposed, and delegates accepted, deletion of reference to enforcement actions with regard to relevant national measures to address illegal logging. Argentina proposed, and delegates agreed to delete reference to economic benefits of forest biodiversity with regard to case studies on the impacts of illegal exploitation and trade in timber and non-timber forest products.

Knowledge, Assessment and Monitoring: On Wednesday, 14 November, Chair Warren opened discussion on the programme element based on the report of the AHTEG (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA7/ 6). Colombia proposed inserting knowledge in the elements title and consideration of ecological and socioeconomic factors using the ecosystem approach, which Australia questioned. With regards to classification systems, delegates debated the feasibility of developing a harmonized system, a new reference to international standards and protocols, and language on socioeconomic and cultural components.

The US called for integrating forest biodiversity data collection into existing forest monitoring and assessment activities. Burkina Faso and Cameroon supported regular forest inventories with adequate financial resources. Brazil suggested shifting the focus from inventories to monitoring. Several countries called for language emphasizing synergies with other organizations. A contact group was convened during the evening to integrate the proposals and amend text.

On the morning of 16 November, a contact group met to review all the programme elements. During Plenary discussions in the afternoon, delegates accepted a proposal by New Zealand to reformulate language on development and implementation of criteria and indicators to reflect their development at the national, regional and international level. Delegates also made a number of minor edits.

FINAL RECOMMENDATION: The final text (UNEP/CBD/ SBSTTA/7/CRP.1) welcomes the AHTEGs report and recommends adoption of an expanded work programme, which identifies actors, timeframes, ways and means, and indicators of progress targets. It recognizes the critical value of primary forests, urges governments to incorporate work programme elements into their national biodiversity and forest plans and programmes, and invites Parties to foster cooperation with the UNFF. It addresses the possibility of an international network to monitor the impact of climate change on forests, and requests the Executive Secretary to establish a liaison group on non-timber forest resources with a focus on bushmeat. It invites CPF members to explore integration of non-timber forest resources in inventory and management; invites the FAO, the International Tropical Timber Organization and others to address biodiversity in their fire assessment activities; and references community-based approaches to managing forest fires and non-timber forest resources.

The recommendation also requests the Executive Secretary, using the AHTEG, to provide a report to COP-6 identifying: relevant elements of the work programme in Decision IV/7 taking into account the work of the UNFF; and potential actors, timeframes, ways and means and indicators of progress for implementation. Finally, it welcomes an offer by Ghana to host a workshop on collaboration among the CBD, UNFF and CPF, and notes an upcoming meeting on the harmonization of forest-related definitions.

Work Programme: The annex to the recommendation (UNEP/ CBD/SBSTTA/7/CRP.1/Add.1) consists of goals, objectives and activities grouped under three programme elements: conservation, sustainable use and benefit sharing; institutional and socioeconomic enabling environment; and knowledge, assessment and monitoring.

The chapeau calls for consideration of, inter alia: focus on priorities; participation of indigenous and local communities and respect of their rights and interests; the need for synergies; capacity building and financial, human and technical resources; and incorporation of activities into strategies and programmes.

Conservation, Sustainable Use and Benefit-sharing: A goal on applying the ecosystem approach includes activities on:

  • clarifying the approachs conceptual basis;
  • developing guidance;
  • identifying indicators;
  • selecting suitable forest management practices;
  • developing and implementing participation mechanisms for stakeholders in ecosystem-planning and management;
  • developing a network of forest areas demonstrating the ecosystem approach;
  • promoting research and assessments; and
  • promoting activities to minimize impacts of forest fragmentation.

On the prevention and mitigation of negative impacts of invasive alien species introduction, activities call for: developing and implementing strategies, including risk assessments, quarantine regulations and containment and eradication programmes; and for improving knowledge of invasive alien species. Regarding impacts of pollution, activities include: increasing understanding; supporting monitoring programmes; promoting reduction of pollution levels; and encouraging management techniques that reduce impacts. An objective to mitigate impacts of climate change calls for, inter alia, monitoring and research, development of response strategies, maintenance and restoration of biodiversity, and assessments of conservation and sustainable uses contribution to international work relating to climate change.

An objective regarding mitigation of the adverse effects of forest fires includes activities related to:

  • identifying policies, practices and measures addressing causes and reducing impacts;
  • promoting understanding of the role of forest fires and underlying causes;
  • promoting use of management tools and practices;
  • risk assessment and early warning systems; and
  • strategies to avoid negative effects of sectoral programmes and policies.

To address the loss of natural disturbances necessary to maintain biodiversity, it is suggested to mimic such disturbances. On activities to prevent and mitigate losses due to fragmentation and conversion, activities include directives to: encourage the creation of private reserves; establish ecological corridors; promote cost-benefit analysis of development projects and implement measures addressing causes and reducing impacts.

Restoration of forest biodiversity in degraded forests and plantations is supported by activities calling for: implementation of restoration practices in accordance with the ecosystem approach; restoration with the aim of restoring ecosystem services; and databases and case tudies. On conservation of endemic and threatened species, activities include determination of the status and conservation needs, and the impacts of forest practices; and development and implementation of conservation strategies and adaptive management systems. Regarding adequate and effective protected forest area networks, activities include:

  • assessing the adequacy of protected areas and identifying gaps and weaknesses;
  • establishing adequate and effective networks of protected areas with participation of indigenous and local communities and respect for their rights;
  • establishing restoration areas to complement the network;
  • revising existing networks; and
  • assessing the efficacy of protected areas.

To promote the sustainable use of forest resources, activities outlined include:

  • support for activities involving traditional forest-related knowledge;
  • programmes and initiatives that address sustainable use;
  • incorporation of socioeconomic and cultural values in forest management and practices;
  • cooperative work with other CPF members;
  • encouragement for implementation of voluntary third-party credible forest-certification schemes;
  • case studies to illustrate on-ground delivery of good and services through SFM; and
  • development and enforcement of laws.

Activities to prevent losses caused by unsustainable harvesting of timber and NTFPs include: establish a liaison group with an associated workshop to facilitate a joint work plan with relevant CPF members to bring harvesting of NTFPs, particularly bushmeat, to sustainable levels; promote alternatives to firewood; develop legislation; and encourage and assist importing countries to prevent illegal import not covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES).

To enable indigenous and local communities to develop and implement adaptive community-management systems, activities include:

  • provision of incentives to generate market access;
  • strengthening capacity to resolve land rights and land use disputes;
  • management practices using traditional forest-related knowledge;
  • maintenance of cultural diversity; and
  • education and awareness programmes on traditional uses.

Regarding strategies for conservation and sustainable use of forest genetic diversity, activities include:

  • assess diversity of forest genetic diversity;
  • select the most threatened forest ecosystems based on forest genetic diversity and develop action plans;
  • improve understanding of patterns;
  • develop measures on ABS on forest genetic diversity;
  • monitor developments in biotechnology and develop and enforce regulations; and
  • complementary in situ and ex situ measures to ensure conservation of forest genetic diversity.

Activities to promote fair and equitable sharing of benefits resulting from the utilization of forest genetic resources and associated knowledge include: establish mechanisms to facilitate sharing; strengthen capacity to negotiate benefit-sharing arrangements; and dissemination of information.

Institutional and Socioeconomic Enabling Environment: Under the programme elements on an institutional and socioeconomic enabling environment, the objective on improving the understanding of the various causes of forest biodiversity loss includes activities on: carrying out analyses of direct and underlying causes; implementing their recommendations; and reporting back through the CHM. Parties, governments and organizations are to integrate biodiversity conservation and sustainable use into forest and other sectoral policies and programmes, through activities such as:

  • formulating policies and adopting priority targets;
  • streamlining reporting between different forest-related processes;
  • harmonizing policies at regional and subregional levels; and
  • coordinating and seeking synergies between CBD, UNFF and other CPF partners, including establishment of Memoranda of Understanding.

Regarding good governance, forest-related laws, tenure and planning systems, activities include:

  • developing measures to secure sufficient permanent forest area;
  • resolving land tenure and resource rights and responsibility;
  • incorporating provisions of the CBD into forest-related laws;
  • protecting traditional knowledge and values;
  • developing legislation, administrative or policy measures of ABS for forest genetic resources, taking into account the draft Bonn Guidelines;
  • submitting case studies and research on the role of performance bonds in forest concessions; and
  • developing and applying environmental and socioeconomic impact assessment methods prior to land conversion decisions.

An objective to combat illegal logging and exploitation, calls for, inter alia: provision of information; evaluation and reform of legislation; codes of conduct for logging companies; tracking and chain of custody systems; and case studies on the impacts of illegal logging and trade.

To mitigate economic failures and distortions that lead to decisions that result in loss of forest biodiversity, activities include:

  • development of mechanisms to ensure equitable sharing of costs and benefits;
  • development of valuation methodologies and incorporation of values into planning and management;
  • incentives;
  • elimination and reform of perverse incentives; and
  • analyses on current and predicted production and consumption patterns.

An objective to increase public education, participation and awareness is supported by activities such as: public awareness campaigns; specific information and training actions; and development of awareness among consumers, forest owners, logging contractors and land owners.

Knowledge, Assessment and Monitoring: In the final text of the programme element on knowledge, assessment and monitoring, activities on global to regional forest classification include: review and adopt a minimum forest classification system; inventory forests at least every ten years; and review and contribute to standard forest definitions in cooperation with the UNFF and CPF. Regarding national forest classification systems and maps, activities include: review of existing systems; development and application of revised forest ecosystem classification systems; and use of adapted technology such as the global information system (GIS). Activities on development and implementation of criteria and indicators include developing and selecting criteria and indicators, and using them for assessment reporting in 10-year intervals at the minimum.

On research programmes regarding the role of forest biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, activities include developing and supporting research on, inter alia: critical thresholds; forest ecosystem restoration techniques; and current forest management practices. To improve infrastructure for data and information management, activities include developing a strategy and databases.


Working Group II met from 13-15 November, to review reports and produce draft recommendations on agricultural biodiversity, the plant conservation strategy, incentive measures, indicators and environmental impact assessment (EIA).

AGRICULTURAL BIODIVERSITY: On Tuesday, 13 November, delegates considered document UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/9 on progress in the work programmes implementation, including sections on assessment, adaptive management, capacity building and mainstreaming; and UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/9/Add.1 on the International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable use of Pollinators. The FAO described the organizations work on: soil biodiversity (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/INF/11); animal genetic resources (UNEP/ CBD/SBSTTA/INF/12 and 13); pollinators; genetic use-restriction technologies (GURTs); and plant genetic resources. The International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI) reported on an international symposium on managing biodiversity in agricultural ecosystems, sponsored by the CBD, IPGRI, and the United Nations University, which took place immediately preceding SBSTTA-7 in Montreal, and which addressed three main themes: crop and livestock genetic resources; associated biodiversity and agro-ecosystem service; and landscape, scale and global change. Poland, on behalf of the FAO Intergovernmental Technical Working Group on Animal Genetic Resources, requested support for the first report on the state of the worlds animal genetic resources.

Many delegates supported the suggested recommendations in the progress report. Germany stressed the need for an interim report prior to COP-7 containing a synthesis of studies and reports, and analyzing gaps. South Africa noted lack of information dissemination on GURTs. Sweden urged the CBD Executive Secretary to obtain observer status in the WTO Committee on Agriculture. UNEP drew attention to its ongoing projects on agriculture, trade and the environment.

On the international pollinators initiative, Germany called for broadening the scope beyond agricultural ecosystems and, with South Africa, requested inclusion of the effects of GMOs and invasive alien species. Finland and Sweden supported coverage of all terrestrial ecosystems, with reference to forest ecosystems.

On Thursday, 15 November, delegates considered a Chairs text (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/WG.II/CRP.1), which reflected previous discussions. Regarding implementation of the work programme, Colombia made reference to preventing impacts of agriculture on biodiversity, and called for case studies on the proposed soil biodiversity initiative. Canada and the Netherlands noted the adequacy of existing information. Colombia said that the SBSTTA Bureau should be consulted on report formats. Mexico requested that case studies on agricultural biodiversity be made available through CHM.

In the final Plenary on Friday, 16 November, delegations adopted the draft recommendation with minor amendments.

Final Recommendation: The recommendation (UNEP/CBD/ SBSTTA/7/L.9) states that COP-6 should adopt the proposed steps for further implementation of the work programme and the reporting schedule contained in Annex I. It invites Parties to submit case studies to the CHM on their experiences with agricultural biodiversity; and to consider establishing an international initiative for the conservation and sustainable use of soil biodiversity, as a cross-cutting initiative within the work programme. It also invites Parties to provide thematic reports before COP-7, and to adopt a reporting format.

On the international pollinators initiative, it recommends that COP-6 adopt and review the plan of action. On animal genetic resources, it recommends that COP-6 encourage Parties to participate in developing the FAOs first report on the state of worlds animal genetic resources.

On the ITPGRFA, it recommends that COP-6 appeal to States to sign and ratify the Treaty, and requests the Executive Secretary to cooperate with the Secretariat of the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

The recommendation contains two annexes. Annex I contains proposed steps for the further implementation of the work programme and sets out programme elements and activities, expected outputs, actors and partners, status and milestones. It also includes a reporting schedule. Annex II is the plan of action for the International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Pollinators. The plan of action sets out objectives and four major elements: assessment, adaptive management, capacity building, and mainstreaming.

GLOBAL STRATEGY FOR PLANT CONSERVATION: On Tuesday, 13 November, delegates discussed document UNEP/CBD/ SBSTTA/7/10, which reviews relevant existing initiatives and proposes a plant conservation strategy. Many called for integration of the ecosystem approach and inclusion of lower taxa and fungi. Ghana, on behalf of the African Group, noted the need to refine the strategy and increase flexibility for objectives and targets. Colombia suggested identifying plants threatened with extinction, emphasized national inventories, and stressed the need to identify technical and financial organizations that could support implementation. Togo and Botanical Gardens Conservation International stressed capacity building for implementation at the national level. Australia and Denmark called for further taxonomic research.

Canada stressed that the strategy should be a framework rather than a CBD work programme. Brazil called for involvement of the botanical community and Namibia of indigenous and local communities. Japan, Portugal and the UK stressed the strategys contribution to coordination and synergies among existing activities. Costa Rica called for establishing a coordination mechanism with other relevant initiatives. The EC suggested development of the strategy by the CBD Secretariat prior to COP-6.

Regarding objectives, many delegates said more balance is needed between in situ and ex situ conservation, prioritizing in situ. The Council of Europe highlighted the European Plant Conservation Strategy, which was welcomed by many as a model for regional action. Many delegates said that the targets needed amendment. Jamaica, Japan and the Seychelles said the targets were unrealistic and should be revisited. Spain, supported by others, called for inclusion of national red lists for endangered plants and national strategies. The UK and others said prioritization should be done at the national level. Switzerland, supported by New Zealand, stressed that targets should address ecosystems and habitats as well as traditional knowledge.

On Thursday, 15 November, delegates discussed a Chairs draft (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/WG.II/CRP.2). On the suggested recommendation, Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica and the Seychelles called for incorporating the strategys implementation into existing CBD work programmes to avoid overburdening Parties. Canada, with Spain, suggested that language on the Executive Secretarys refinement of the targets quantitative elements include consultation with relevant international initiatives. Colombia and Spain called for Parties participation in the intersessional activities. Portugal said intersessional work should not be confined to quantitative elements. On the strategy, Norway suggested restructuring objectives to stress the ecosystem approach. Regarding general principles, Costa Rica proposed adding enhancement of national initiatives and inventories. Australia called for biogeographical representation of actors involved in the strategy.

On Friday, 16 November, the closing Plenary adopted the document with some minor changes.

Final Recommendation: The final document (UNEP/CBD/ SBSTTA/7/L.10) contains recommendations and the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. It references relevant ongoing international and regional initiatives, stresses national actions and priorities, and recommends that the COP, inter alia:

  • consider the strategy for adoption;
  • invite relevant international organizations to adopt its global targets;
  • emphasize capacity building;
  • consider the need for financial support for the strategys implementation;
  • review the progress made at COP-8 and 10;
  • consider the strategy as a pilot approach with a possible wider application to other CBD areas; and
  • request SBSTTA to take the strategys targets into consideration in its periodic reviews of the CBD work programmes.

The recommendation also requests the Executive Secretary to refine the quantitative elements of the targets and analyze the opportunities for implementing the strategy through the CBDs thematic and cross-cutting work programmes, as well as through existing relevant initiatives.

The Global Strategy for Plant Conservation includes sections on: objectives; rationale, scope and general principles; the strategy as a framework; and further work required for its development and implementation. The strategy aims to halt the continuing loss of plant diversity, providing a pilot exercise for target setting, acting as a means for the implementation of the CBDs thematic work programmes, and establishing a framework for harmonizing relevant initiatives. Its sub-objectives include: understanding, documenting, conserving and sustainably using plant diversity; promoting education and awareness; and building capacity.

General principles include: applying CBD provisions on ABS; building upon traditional knowledge; applying the ecosystem approach; adopting a multidisciplinary approach; and strengthening initiatives on national inventories.

The strategy proposes a set of 16 global targets for the year 2010 to provide a framework for policy formulation and a basis for monitoring, stressing that national targets may vary from country to country. Measures needed for implementation include: development of national targets and their incorporation into relevant plans; supportive funding activities; clarification of activities for each target and development of sub-targets; development of regional components; and involvement of a range of actors and collaboration with relevant stakeholders.

INCENTIVE MEASURES: On Wednesday, 14 November, Working Group II considered a note prepared by the Executive Secretary and the report of the workshop on incentive measures for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity (UNEP/CBD/ SBSTTA/7/11 and Add.1).

The EC and New Zealand stressed non-economic incentive measures, and some others suggested further examination of existing ones. Namibia highlighted incentive measures for local and indigenous communities. Venezuela said that limitations imposed by the WTO should be considered. China said that incentive measures should contribute to reducing poverty. Mexico and Spain highlighted technology transfer and ABS. Argentina noted that agricultural land set-aside schemes and organic farming payments should not be considered as positive incentives, while the EC claimed that set-aside schemes improve biodiversity, and, with Kenya and South Africa, supported organic farming payments. The World Bank and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) noted ongoing work in regard to information exchange, capacity building and payment for environmental services.

On the proposals for design and implementation, many countries stressed prioritizing assessment of perverse incentive measures and obstacles for their removal. Denmark suggested compiling case studies on perverse incentives for presentation at COP-6 and the WSSD. France said that incentive measures should be present in all national strategies. Switzerland said specific institutions were necessary for implementation. Eritrea stressed capacity building, and Antigua and Barbuda called attention to specific needs of small island States.

On the suggested recommendations for cooperation, Belgium and the Netherlands supported creating an inter-agency coordination committee. Costa Rica suggested that the UNFCCC prioritize incentives addressing deforestation. Slovenia noted that joint work plans with other conventions should focus on incentives.

On Thursday, 15 November, delegates considered a Chairs text contained in UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/WG.II/CRP.3. Colombia, on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC), said that incentive measures should be consistent with national legislation and international obligations. Belgium called on Parties to submit case studies and best practices to COP-6. Denmark made reference to removing and mitigating the negative impacts of perverse incentives. The Netherlands noted that incentive measures could be used at all relevant spatial scales. The Philippines made reference to alleviation of poverty.

On Annex I (Proposals for the Design and Implementation of Incentive Measures), Antigua and Barbuda said that incentives should not be used to increase the cost of living, and, with Jamaica and Guyana, stated that property rights should not be a prerequisite to their effective implementation. On Annex II (suggested recommendations for further cooperation on incentive measures), South Africa and Portugal opposed prioritization of ecosystems.

In the closing Plenary on Friday, 16 November, delegations considered a draft recommendation. Under Annex II, South Africa reiterated its concern about prioritizing ecosystems and proposed amended text, which was accepted. On guidelines for selecting appropriate and complementary measures, Guyana and the Netherlands suggested changes to a reference to property rights. The draft recommendation was adopted with these amendments.

Final Recommendation: The final text (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/ L.11) recommends that COP-6 consider and endorse the proposals for the design and implementation of incentive measures and the suggested recommendations for further cooperation on incentive measures, contained in Annexes I and II. It invites Parties to submit case studies and best practices on incentives and their implementation, which should be made available before COP-6.

Annex I sets out various approaches to the design of incentives, in particular including the ecosystem, sectoral and precautionary approaches. It also sets out provision of capacity building and support for facilitating implementation, such as physical and human capacity, institutional mechanisms, stakeholder involvement and funding.

Annex II references: information; the involvement of stakeholders, including indigenous and local communities; capacity building; valuation; interlinkages between multilateral environmental agreements; linking biodiversity to macro-economic policies; categories of incentive measures; ecosystem focus; pilot projects/case studies/workshops; the role of international organizations; and financial support.

INDICATORS: On Wednesday, 14 November, Working Group II considered document UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/12, on designing national level monitoring programmes and indicators. Many delegates expressed disappointment on the level of progress, urging continued work. On development of indicators, Germany suggested inclusion of evaluation and early warning indicators. Sweden and Canada suggested reference to freshwater ecosystems. Belgium and Switzerland said indicators should be closely linked to CBD thematic areas. New Zealand said global indicators were inappropriate, underlining national ones. Brazil noted that indicators could not be implemented without baselines due to differences in country conditions. New Zealand supported continued work in a liaison working group. Argentina and Mexico called for financing for the work. Birdlife International, FAO, OECD and UNEP/World Conservation Monitoring Centre highlighted their work in this regard.

On Thursday, 15 November, Chair Rodriguez presented a draft text (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/WG.II/CRP.5) for consideration. Many countries said that the liaison group should be formed based on both UN regional and biogeographical groups. New Zealand, supported by Belgium, said the list of available and potential indicators should be quantitative and qualitative. The Philippines said that regional approaches should be based on mutual acceptance by countries within a region. With a number of other minor amendments, Working Group II approved the text. In the closing Plenary on Friday, 16 November, delegates considered a draft recommendation and adopted it with a reference to the Montreal Process on Criteria and Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests suggested by Argentina.

Final Recommendation: The final text (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/ L.13) recommends that the COP request the Executive Secretary to report on the development of indicators in all the thematic areas and cross-cutting issues to the SBSTTA prior to COP-7. It also requests the Executive Secretary to convene an expert group meeting to further work on: principles for developing national-level monitoring and indicators; a set of standard questions for developing national-level indicators; and a list of available and potential indicators based on a conceptual framework that incorporates qualitative and quantitative approaches.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT: On Wednesday, 14 November, delegates discussed document UNEP/ CBD/SBSTTA/7/13 containing draft guidelines for incorporating biodiversity considerations into environmental inpact assessments and strategic environmental assessments (SEA). The International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA), followed by many, highlighted the draft guidelines as an important first step, which requires further elaboration. Several delegations supported establishing a work programme in collaboration with IAIA. Eritrea, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda highlighted the need for capacity building. Australia, Switzerland and the US called for expansion of public participation.

The EC questioned the inclusion of both environmental and socioeconomic concerns in the EIA definition. The US suggested using COP language on environmental concerns and interrelated socioeconomic, cultural and human health aspects. Canada called for involving indigenous people, incorporating traditional knowledge and forwarding the discussions results to the Working Group on Article 8(j). Switzerland stressed links with national biodiversity strategies and action plans.

On Thursday, 15 November, delegates discussed a Chairs text (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/WG.II/CRP.4). Eritrea and Namibia suggested a reference to other means of communication in addition to the CHM. Delegates debated reference to the precautionary principle/ approach. New Zealand noted COP language on the precautionary approach and the EC accepted the reference, but stressed they consider it to be a principle of international law.

On Friday, 16 November, the closing Plenary discussed document UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/L.12. The EC suggested refined language regarding the EIA definition. Delegates accepted the amendment and adopted the document.

Final Recommendation: The final document (UNEP/CBD/ SBSTTA/7/L.12) includes: recommendations; the draft guidelines for incorporating biodiversity-related issues into EIA and SEA legislation; questions pertinent to screening; the screening criteria; an indicative list of environmental functions derived from biodiversity; and a checklist on scoping for the identification of projects impacts on biodiversity components.

The final text recommends that the COP endorse the draft guidelines and identify ways and means for their further development, and request the Executive Secretary to: prepare a work programme in collaboration with IAIA and other relevant organizations; disseminate relevant information and prepare proposals for the guidelines further development; and forward the draft guidelines to the meeting of the Working Group on Article 8(j).

The draft guidelines contain definitions of EIA and SEA, EIA stages, and sections on:

  • purpose and approach, with reference to the objective of providing general advice, the ecosystem approach, and relevant national, regional and international legislation;
  • biodiversity issues at EIA stages, including: screening; scoping; impact analysis and assessment; consideration of mitigation measures; the environmental impact statement; review; decision-making; and monitoring and environmental auditing;
  • incorporation of biodiversity considerations in SEA; and
  • ways and means, including capacity building, legislative authority, participation, incentives and cooperation.

Annex I outlines questions pertinent to screening for genetic, species, and ecosystem diversity. The screening criteria (Annex II) address the cases where: the EIA is mandatory, providing an indicative list of activities at the genetic, species and ecosystem levels; the need for, or the level of, EIA is to be determined; or no EIA is required.

Annex III contains an indicative list of environmental functions derived from biodiversity, namely production, carrying, processing and regulation, and signification functions.

The checklist on scoping (Annex IV) for the identification of projects impacts on biodiversity components addresses their composition, temporal and spatial structure, and key processes at the genetic, species and ecosystem levels.


The closing Plenary met briefly in the morning on Friday, 16 November and again in the afternoon. Regional groups presented nominations for two-year terms to the SBSTTA Bureau. Delegates elected Alfred Oteng-Yeboah (Ghana), Joseph Toussaint (Haiti), Asghar Fazel (Islamic Republic of Iran) and Linda Hedlund (Sweden). The continuing Bureau members include Dehui Wang (China), Paula Warren (New Zealand), Peter Straka (Slovakia) and Lily Rodriguez (Peru). Chair Plesnk noted that Alfred Oteng-Yeboah is expected to serve as Chair of SBSTTA-9 and 10.

Delegates considered draft provisional agendas for SBSTTA-8 and 9, outlined in document UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/14, and agreed that Montreal would host the next two meetings, with final dates still to be determined. Canada, noting that the theme for SBSTTA-9 is protected areas, suggested that SBSTTA meet after a conference in South Africa on parks and protected areas in September 2003.

Delegates adopted a recommendation on the Global Biodiversity Outlook (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/L.15), commending the Secretariat on its publication and setting the next publication date for 2004. Delegates considered draft recommendations and adopted the report of SBSTTA-7 (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/L.1).

Working Group II Chair Rodriguez presented Working Group IIs report (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/L.7), which was adopted. Delegates considered, discussed and adopted recommendations on: agricultural biodiversity; the global strategy for plant conservation; incentives; indicators; and EIA. In the afternoon, Working Group I Chair Warren introduced the results of work on forest biodiversity. Delegates adopted Working Group Is report (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/L.8) and addressed the recommendation and the contents of the work programme. Both were adopted after some discussion.

Delegates considered the Chairs text on topics for the COPs future work (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/7/L.14). At the suggestion of Argentina, supported by New Zealand, a theme on "biosecurity" was changed to "biosecurity as an instrument to control invasive alien species." Regarding island biodiversity, some suggested adding coastal, faunal and floral island biodiversity, with others opposing the addition. After lengthy discussion, delegates agreed to keep the recommendations original text. Topics include: restoration and rehabilitation of degraded ecosystems and recovery of rare and threatened species; biodiversity and human health; biosecurity as an instrument to control invasive alien species; the role of biodiversity in natural disaster prevention and relief; island biodiversity; and biodiversity of urban and peri-urban areas.

At the conclusion of the Plenarys substantive work, Chair Plesnk, CBD Executive Secretary Hamdallah Zedan, and many countries made closing statements of appreciation. Greenpeace International urged the delegates to convince their governments to set targets addressing forest biodiversity. In his closing comments, Chair Plesnk said the meeting had addressed complex issues important to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and hoped that biodiversity would profit from SBSTTA-7. The Chair gaveled the meeting to a close at 6:30 pm.


At the beginning of SBSTTA-7, delegates faced significant pressure to develop an action-oriented, comprehensive work programme on forest biodiversity, while addressing other substantive issues, ranging from agricultural biodiversity to indicators and incentives. After marathon sessions on forest biodiversity and steady progress on other issues, most delegates were pleased with progress made. While early SBSTTAs have been criticized for serving as mini-COPs, pre-negotiating political issues, the last two SBSTTA agendas have been so overwhelming as to sideline many of the more political issues. SBSTTA-7 was no exception, as the sheer amount of work, specifically with regard to the forest work programme, helped to avoid extended and unfruitful debates that have long paralyzed progress in the international forest arena. While many participants also noted that SBSTTA has generally proved effective in its modus operandi of gathering, filtering and synthesizing information from a wide range of inputs for COP consideration, several noted that this function was put to the test in the consideration of the arguably most important thematic area of forest biodiversity. In this regard, while SBSTTA stumbled procedurally, it made significant progress substantially, and assuredly provided some lessons learned for future meetings.

This brief analysis will examine the main agenda items discussed at the meeting, reflecting on issues of process and substance, and then will look at the major challenges facing COP-6 in April 2002.


Perhaps the largest obstacles to the discussions on forest biodiversity were not political, but procedural. The mandate given SBSTTA on forests was huge, and on the first day some expressed doubts that they would even get through the work programmes three elements, their respective actors, timeframes, process targets and prioritization, as well as issues of forest fires, bushmeat and climate change. One of the results was an overcompensation of efforts to streamline discussions. With four background papers and the results of an early contact group all with slightly different approaches, most thought the aphorism of too many cooks spoiling the broth as quite propos. The problem of an unmanageable workload was further compounded by missing and/or incorrect drafts, computer crashes, and alleged communication breakdown among the Chairs, Secretariat and Bureau. Increasing fatigue after three days of late night sessions did not help. Pondering the meaning of text debated three and four times over (e.g., "harmonize the diversity of forest genetic resources"), some delegates highlighted the need for distance to get a sense of the forest for the trees.

Procedural issues aside, most were pleasantly surprised at the depth of the discussion and the ease with which delegates were able to address potentially controversial issues relating to trade, illegal harvesting, indigenous rights and underlying causes of forest biodiversity loss. Reflecting on the meager results of past CBD discussions, most especially COP-4s research-oriented programme of work, participants noted that the floodgates on substantive matters had opened. Some suggested that this reflected a shift in the CBDs status among intergovernmental forest processes, with many acknowledging the ineffectiveness of the IPF/IFF/UNFF in addressing forest biodiversity issues. This was underscored by requests that the CBD assume the lead role on forest biodiversity within the CPF. Even Greenpeace International refrained from delivering its golden chainsaw award, stating that if delegates could implement their 100+ activities, then the pressures on forest biodiversity would be greatly alleviated.

This remark reflected a significant underlying concern, as delegates questioned whether the amount of substance within the draft work programme would be its greatest weakness. Most agreed that the difficult task would now be prioritization and beyond that, establishing meaningful targets to ensure that whats on paper becomes a reality on the ground. Use of the Secretariat and the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Forest Biodiversity hopefully will provide guidance in this task, although many governments maintained that the tough political questions are the sovereign domain of Parties. Most assume that COP-6 will prune back the work programme, with differing levels of concern as to how far.

Regarding substance, several delegates viewed the language on conservation and restoration within the context of the ecosystem approach as some of the strongest yet, while also highlighting specific recognition of the importance of primary forests. Also of significance were activities relating to illegal harvesting, socioeconomic causes of biodiversity loss, third-party independent certification and sustainable forest management. However, some lamented that important issues had fallen through the cracks. While bushmeat entailed a high level of debate during three working group sessions, discussions on climate change were relegated to the late hours of a Thursday evening contact group. Such criticisms aside, SBSTTA-7 was a remarkable first step in moving towards an action-oriented work programme, and it is now the COPs even greater task to put that programme into motion.


In contrast, discussions on other substantive issues proceeded fairly smoothly, producing an extraordinary amount of outputs, with which delegates were generally pleased. Participants also commended the well-structured discussions and the constructive atmosphere, where compromise was reached without major difficulties. However, given the number and importance of the substantive matters, and bearing in mind that a number of initiatives, proposals, case studies and reports should have been produced and implemented before COP-6, some delegates could not help but worry about the workload ahead for both the Secretariat and the Parties.

Detailed guidelines should help countries to draft and implement EIA legislation and incorporate biodiversity concerns into existing legislation. Discussion on agricultural biodiversity benefited from the previous weeks international symposium on agricultural biodiversity, which had significant inputs on issues such as pollinators, animal genetic resources and soil biodiversity. The new International Treaty on PGRFA got its deserved attention, as delegates already started requesting collaboration with its Interim Committee. Many delegates considered the specific targets of the plant conservation strategy as one of the most important achievements of the meeting, highlighting a turn towards practical action. However, others expressed concern about overburdening developing country Parties rich in biodiversity, and stressed the need for streamlining the process, especially since the anticipated capacity-building activities have been subsumed within a plethora of other priorities.

On incentive measures, contention did arise when participants debated their design and implementation, with some saying national legislation and conditions were a major concern and others calling for globally accepted, standard measures. Some warned that failing to fully consider discrepancies in countries social and economic situations could transform incentives into disincentives.


Looking ahead, the obstacles presented at SBSTTA-7 will also be the challenges for COP-6, especially in managing a heavy agenda. The COP will not only have to address the issues forwarded from SBSTTA-6 and 7, but also the outputs of other intersessional processes, including the Ad hoc Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing, the meeting on the Strategic Plan, and the Working Group on Article 8(j). Implementation activities, the gamut of advisory bodies and collaboration with other intergovernmental processes are rapidly increasing in an almost exponential fashion. This creates further challenges in streamlining management and ensuring that the COP maintains a level of political control.

COP-6 is tasked to address: four priority issues (forest biodiversity, alien species, access and benefit-sharing, and the Strategic Plan, national reporting and operations); a review of implementation in four thematic work programmes; six cross-cutting issues; three mechanisms for implementation; two items on cooperation; and the budget. The challenge for the COP will be to maintain its focus, otherwise, delegates may face two weeks of round-the-clock negotiations simply to get through the agenda. Reflecting on the issues that hindered SBSTTAs consideration of forests, some participants highlighted the need for extreme planning and foresight from the Secretariat and COP Bureau on how to efficiently structure the meeting and manage the number of inputs and background documents to facilitate, not complicate, discussions. However, while the enormity of the task has its risks, it also presents COP-6 with a significant opportunity to make great strides in addressing some of the most pressing political, ecological and socioeconomic threats to biodiversity.


WORKSHOP ON PREDICTING BIODIVERSITY IN EUROPEAN LANDSCAPES: MAPPING, PATTERNS, INDICATORS AND MONITORING: This workshop will take place from 18-20 November 2001, in Vienna, Austria. For more information, contact: Simone Matouch; tel: +43-1-586-2877-21; fax: +43-1-586-2877-9; e-mail:; Internet: 

OPEN-ENDED INTERSESSIONAL MEETING ON THE STRATEGIC PLAN, NATIONAL REPORTS AND THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY: This meeting will take place from 19-21 November 2001, in Montreal, Canada. For more information, contact: the CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail:; Internet:

12TH SESSION OF THE FAO PANEL OF EXPERTS ON FOREST GENE RESOURCES: This meeting will take place from 21-23 November 2001, in Rome, Italy. For more information, contact: the FAO Forest Resources Development Service; fax: +39-06-5705-5137; e-mail:; Internet:

WORKSHOP ON PROTECTED FOREST AREAS, MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON THE PROTECTION OF FORESTS IN EUROPE: This meeting will take place from 28-30 November 2001, in Koege, Denmark. For more information, contact: Lena Yadlapalli; tel: +43-1-710-77-0220; fax: +43-1-710-77-0213; e-mail:; Internet:

EUROPEAN WORKSHOP ON CLIMATE PROTECTION AND CONSERVATION OF BIODIVERSITY: This workshop will take place from 10-12 December 2001, in the Isle of Vilm, Germany. It is organized by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation. For more information, contact: Jutta Stadler; tel: +49-38-301-86130; fax: +49-38-301-86150; e-mail:

AD HOC WORKING GROUP ON THE INTERLINKAGES BETWEEN BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE: This meeting is scheduled to take place in January 2002, in Helsinki, Finland. For more information, contact: the CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail:; Internet: 

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE IMPACTS OF AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT: This conference will take place from 4-7 February 2002, in San Jos, Costa Rica. For more information, contact: the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT); e-mail:; Internet:

AD HOC INTERSESSIONAL WORKING GROUP ON ARTICLE 8(j) OF THE CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY: This meeting is scheduled to take place from 4-8 February 2002, in Montreal, Canada. For more information, contact: the CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail:; Internet: 

SECOND MEETING OF THE UNITED NATIONS FORUM ON FORESTS: This meeting will take place from 4-15 March 2002, in San Jos, Costa Rica. For more information, contact: Tiina Vhnen; tel: +1-212-963-3262; fax: +1-212-963-4260; e-mail:; Internet:

SIXTH CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE CONVENTION ON BIODIVERSITY/CARTAGENA PROTOCOL MOP-1 or ICCP-3: CBD COP-6 will take place from 8-26 April 2002, in The Hague, the Netherlands. This gathering will also serve as the First Meeting of the Parties or the third meeting of the ICCP of the Cartagena Protocol. For more information, contact: the CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail:; Internet:

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