Report of main proceedings for 13 March 2003

8th Meeting of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA)

Delegates met throughout the day in two Working Groups. Working Group I (WG-I) considered Conference Room Papers (CRPs) on biodiversity and tourism, and mountain biodiversity. Delegates discussed the programme of work on mountain biodiversity in Friends of the Chair and contact groups. Working Group II (WG-II) considered CRPs on inland waters, marine and coastal protected areas, deep seabed genetic resources, mariculture, and dry and sub-humid lands.

WORKING GROUP I

BIODIVERSITY AND TOURISM: Many delegates supported the draft guidelines on sustainable tourism, contained in UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/8/11 (Annex I). NORWAY, supported by AUSTRIA, recommended that the Executive Secretary streamline and make the guidelines more user-friendly after the conduct of pilot projects. SWITZERLAND proposed submitting information voluntarily through the Clearing-house Mechanism, rather than setting up a monitoring system and, with the PHILIPPINES, urged integrating the guidelines into existing national tourism strategies. FINLAND recommended flexible application of the guidelines and UNEP said their adoption would enable pilot projects to start.

The SEYCHELLES stressed the precautionary principle and opposed references to sustainable tourism. CAMEROON and ETHIOPIA called for benefit-sharing and private-public partnerships and, with BANGLADESH and KENYA, for capacity building for local communities. HAITI regretted lack of focus on poverty reduction and eco-tourism. BARBADOS considered light pollution a threat to turtle nesting. TURKEY, supported by NAMIBIA, called for incentives for improving local and indigenous livelihoods.

In the afternoon, delegates considered UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/ 8/WG.1/CRP.4 containing the revised recommendations and guidelines. GERMANY supported the revised draft guidelines. AUSTRALIA and SWITZERLAND suggested deleting a recommendation on review of the guidelines after sufficient pilot testing, while others called for its retention. Delegates finally agreed that the Executive Secretary should develop a users manual and checklists, and produce a streamlined and user-friendly core set of voluntary guidelines on the basis of experience gained. The document was approved as amended.

MOUNTAIN BIODIVERSITY: On the indicative list of technologies, delegates discussed UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/8/WG.I/ CRP.2, which incorporated discussions held in the Friends of the Chair group.

Following proposals by France, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK, delegates debated and finally agreed on revised language to develop a proposal on measures that would facilitate and promote technology transfer and cooperation, and training activities as they relate to mountain biodiversity. FRANCE and SWITZERLAND requested, and delegates agreed, to extend the deadline for submitting thematic reports on technology transfer to 15 June 2003. COLOMBIA stressed that recommendations should remain within the framework of mountain biodiversity and not extend to technology transfer. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION requested capacity building for countries with economies in transition. The document was approved as amended.

In the afternoon, Chair Andren introduced UNEP/CBD/ SBSTTA/8/WG.I/CRP.1/Rev.1 on the work programme on mountain biodiversity as revised by the Friends of the Chair and contact groups. ARGENTINA stressed the need for further focus on indigenous and local communities, in particular those living in developing countries. Algeria, on behalf of the AFRICAN GROUP, suggested adding reference to indigenous and local communities having access to genetic resources and engaging in benefit-sharing arrangements.

IRELAND suggested that the expert group on mountain biodiversity focus on targets and outputs. SWITZERLAND regretted the lack of opportunity for substantial discussion on the work programme and, with GERMANY, suggested an evening session. COLOMBIA and PERU supported an evening session to prepare the terms of reference (TORs) for the expert group. NORWAY and SWEDEN, opposed by AUSTRALIA, suggested meeting before SBSTTA-9 to prepare a programme of work on mountain biodiversity to be submitted to SBSTTA-9. SPAIN suggested a liaison group to compile Parties comments and elaborate a text on the TORs for an expert group. Chair Andren called for a Friends of the Chair group to review the document and prepare TORs for an expert group that would develop the programme of work and report to SBSTTA-9.

SBSTTA OPERATIONS: Delegates considered UNEP/CBD/ SBSTTA/A/WG.1/CRP.3 on the operational plan of SBSTTA. Regarding a reference to the document on assessment of SBSTTA recommendations (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/8/13), AUSTRALIA noted its reservations regarding Decision VI/23 on invasive alien species. CANADA suggested, and delegates agreed, to take note of, rather than endorse, the background document. The CRP was approved as amended.

WORKING GROUP II

INLAND WATERS: Delegates continued discussing UNEP/ CBD/SBSTTA/8/WG.II/CRP.1 on inland waters. Slovenia, on behalf of the CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES, supported by the EC and SPAIN, and opposed by AUSTRALIA, suggested deleting repeated references to trade-related agreements. On guiding principles, CANADA, opposed by the CANADIAN INDIGENOUS BIODIVERSITY NETWORK, requested replacing references to the prior informed consent (PIC) of local and indigenous communities by their "approval." Some delegates recalled other agreements subjecting access to genetic resources to PIC, and noted a difference between seeking approval and PIC. After informal consultations, CANADA agreed to refer to PIC "subject to national laws" throughout the text. Under the goal on preventing the introduction of alien species that threaten inland waters biodiversity, AUSTRALIA agreed to retain wording without referencing Decision VI/23. CANADA suggested preventing the introduction of invasive alien species in the context of restoration and aquaculture development activities.

With regard to low-cost technology and innovative approaches to management, CAMEROON said watershed management goals should not be limited to the use of indigenous species for aquaculture. BURKINA FASO and BRAZIL requested adding the Ramsar Convention Bureau, and its Scientific and Technical Review Panel to CBDs main partners.

Regarding incentives and valuation measures, SLOVENIA requested deleting references to trade and subsidies as perverse incentives. ARGENTINA opposed, and the text remained bracketed. TURKEY proposed to include identification of livelihoods maintenance when designing and implementing incentive measures, and delegates agreed to refer to ecosystem values and functions maintenance instead.

The document was forwarded to Plenary as bracketed.

DRY AND SUB-HUMID LANDS: Delegates discussed UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/8/WG.II/CRP.6 on dry and sub-humid lands. COLOMBIA stressed considering national legislation and establishing the necessary financial and capacity mechanisms for effective implementation of the work programme.

BURKINA FASO suggested including the importance of reducing poverty to combat desertification in the CBD and UNCCD strategies and implementation plans. GERMANY, supported by others, requested that the Executive Secretary facilitate the review of national biodiversity strategies and action plans and their harmonization with UNCCD national action programmes. The document was approved as amended.

MARINE AND COASTAL BIODIVERSITY:

Work programme: Delegates considered UNEP/CBD/ SBSTTA/8/WG.II/CRP.2/Rev.1 on the work programme for marine and coastal biodiversity. They agreed, inter alia, to delete reference to the joint study on deep seabed genetic resources. Regarding the programme element on alien species, the EC proposed a compromise referencing "relevant COP decisions," rather than Decision VI/23. CANADA and the EC supported mention of indigenous and local communities needs in text on enabling activities and partnerships. Noting the need to avoid anticipating the outcomes of the Multi-year Programme of Work meeting, GERMANY requested deleting wording on producing a thematic report to assist reviewing the work programme. On the TORs for an expert group on implementation of integrated marine and coastal area management, the EC emphasized regional initiatives for the review of relevant work. The document was approved as amended.

Marine and coastal protected areas: Delegates considered UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/8/WG.II/CRP.3/Rev.1 on marine and coastal protected areas (MCPAs). TURKEY proposed to subject work on MCPAs to multilateral consent of all countries in the region. Many opposed, noting that neighbouring States consent is not necessary regarding areas falling within national jurisdiction.

In text on MCPAs goals, AUSTRALIA and the EC noted that MCPAs beyond national jurisdiction cannot be subject to national legislation. Delegates agreed to establish MCPAs in accordance with international law and national legislation, and take into account traditional and cultural practices.

BRAZIL proposed language restricting MCPAs networks to national ones. Recalling that the goal was to establish a network of MCPAs falling both outside and within national jurisdiction, AUSTRALIA, the EC and JAMAICA opposed. Compromise was reached on establishing a representative global network of MCPAs "building upon national networks."

ICELAND proposed, and others opposed, including the IUCN management and classification categories. Pending consultation, language on a marine and coastal biodiversity management framework remained bracketed. Following a suggestion by Turkey, delegates debated language on MCPAs beyond national jurisdiction, and agreed to a compromise UK proposal stating that jurisdiction in the high seas is provided for by international law, including UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and regional agreements. SWEDEN, supported by the PHILIPPINES, stressed assistance to Parties to develop systems to make MCPA networks self-sustaining in the medium and long term.

Regarding "learning networks," CAMEROON suggested that test countries represent regions. JAMAICA proposed to take into account the impacts of climate change when addressing threats to MCPAs. Delegates debated language on effective management framework and reached a compromise, adding text on countries selection of the appropriate balance between various types of MCPAs, taking into account the expert groups advice.

FRANCE and the UK proposed including Annex I of UNEP/ CBD/SBSTTA/8WG.II/CRP.3 on the elements of a marine and coastal biodiversity management framework. They suggested changes, inter alia, in the purposes and elements of the framework. CANADA called for text ensuring the protection of indigenous and local communities interests, and their participation in the establishment and management of MCPAs. Delegates accepted the document as amended with a new Annex.

Deep seabed genetic resources: Delegates considered UNEP/ CBD/SBSTTA/8/WG.II/CRP.4 on deep seabed genetic resources. Contact group co-Chair Elaine Fisher (Jamaica) reported on the work of the contact group, highlighting deletion of a recommendation on cooperation within the framework of the International Seabed Authority. PORTUGAL recommended involving the UNESCO International Oceanographic Commission when assessing the status and trends of deep seabed genetic resources. ARGENTINA said it would not put any formal reservations. The document was approved as amended.

Mariculture: The UK suggested that environmental impact assessments should not be mandatory. BRAZIL stressed taking into account special needs of, and difficulties faced by, stakeholders in developing countries. Delegates forwarded UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/ 8/WG.II/CRP.5/Rev.1 on mariculture to Plenary, as amended.

IN THE CORRIDORS

With the meetings end approaching, many delegates expressed disappointment at SBSTTAs failure to adopt a work programme on mountain biodiversity, and at the lack of steam to push the programme ahead. Others noted that the outcome was predictable for an ambitious work programme, when a general framework could have laid the ground for future concrete actions. Swift debates on tourism and biodiversity, and the decision to reconsider SBSTTAs operational plan at the next meeting paled in comparison.

In WG-II, prior informed consent and trade preoccupations spilled into inland waters discussions, leaving some delegates to challenge previous impressions that science and technical matters had finally made a breakthrough in SBSTTA.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

PLENARY: Plenary will meet at 10:00 am in Conference Hall 1 to resolve outstanding issues, consider preparations for SBSTTA-9, and adopt recommendations and the meetings report.

ENB SUMMARY REPORT: The Earth Negotiations Bulletin report containing a comprehensive summary and analysis of this meeting will be available in hard copy on Monday, 17 March, for MYPOW delegates, and online at: http://enb.iisd.org/biodiv/sbstta8/ 

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