Daily report for 13 November 2003

9th Meeting of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA)

Delegates to the ninth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-9) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) met in Working Group and contact group sessions. Working Group I (WG-I) considered Conference Room Papers (CRPs) on mountain biodiversity, protected areas (PAs), sustainable use, the ecosystem approach, and invasive alien species (IAS). Working Group II (WG-II) discussed CRPs on monitoring and indicators, biodiversity and climate change, outcome-oriented targets and technology transfer and cooperation. A contact group met in the evening to finalize the draft programme of work (PoW) on PAs.


MOUNTAIN BIODIVERSITY: The Secretariat presented a CRP on mountain biodiversity (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/WG.I/ CRP.1). Regarding characteristics and problems that the PoW should focus on, PERU, opposed by MALAYSIA, requested a reference to the fragility of mountain ecosystems to climate change, affecting glaciers and deserts in particular. Delegates agreed.

Regarding ways of reducing the impacts of inappropriate land-use practices, delegates agreed to refer to planning or management mechanisms, such as ecological, economic and ecoregional planning, and bioregional and hazardous area zoning. Delegates agreed that actions to prevent and mitigate the negative impacts of key threats include maintaining agricultural and other land-use activities, according to international law, known to contribute to the maintenance of mountain biodiversity.

Regarding slope and soil instability, delegates agreed to delete references to agroforestry and the density and diversity of the vegetation cover. On deforestation, while ITALY opposed deleting a reference to "illegal logging," RWANDA and the SOLOMON ISLANDS proposed referring to "unauthorized harvesting." Delegates agreed to refer to "fragmentation and unsustainable harvesting."

On strengthening indigenous and local community capacity, GERMANY, the EUROPEAN COMMUNITY (EC) and NORWAY opposed deleting a reference to the Bonn Guidelines on Access and Benefit-sharing, while LIBERIA and BRAZIL opposed their inclusion. Delegates maintained the reference with added qualification on their voluntary nature. PERU said indigenous peoples have the right to access genetic resources and need capacity building regarding their use. ARGENTINA opposed recognizing access rights, and proposed to focus on benefit-sharing only. Delegates agreed.

Regarding assessment and monitoring, delegates agreed to refer to ecological services provided by all land management systems. On improving information management, delegates agreed to promote open access to information as considered appropriate by Parties. Regarding public education, INDIA proposed enhancing awareness about the importance of mountain biodiversity among policy makers and planners.

PROTECTED AREAS: The Secretariat presented a CRP on a draft PoW for PAs (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/WG.I/CRP.2). Several developing countries noted the need to discuss the conceptual framework of the PoW before examining the PoW itself. Delegates agreed to consider the titles of the programme elements and goals, recognizing many developing countries concern about references to a global system of PAs and ecological networks.

Delegates agreed that Programme Element 1 should address actions for planning, selecting, establishing, strengthening and managing PA systems and sites. Delegates agreed that the programme elements first goal would address national and regional systems of PAs integrated into a global network, as a contribution to globally-agreed goals.

After debating the scope of the goal on international cooperation on PAs, delegates agreed that the goal would address transboundary PAs, regional networks and collaboration between neighboring PAs along national boundaries.

Under Programme Element 2 on governance, participation, equity and benefit sharing, HAITI suggested introducing a section on definitions. CANADA requested a specific reference to indigenous and local communities in the goal on stakeholder participation.

Under Programme Element 3 on enabling activities, BRAZIL supported referring to national, rather than global, systems of PAs. Delegates agreed not to add any aims to the goal on communication and public awareness.

ECOSYSTEM APPROACH: Delegates adopted a CRP on further elaboration, guidelines for implementation and relationship of the ecosystem appraoch with sustainable forest management (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/WG.I/CRP.6) with minor amendments.

INVASIVE ALIEN SPECIES: Regarding the CRP on IAS (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/WG.I/CRP.7), delegates agreed to invite relevant CBD Parties and other governments to support national and regional decision making and rapid responses through science-based risk analysis, alert lists, diagnostic tools and capacity development. Following discussions, delegates agreed on steps to be taken if the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on IAS identifies the need for standards or other measures, and adopted the CRP with the proposed changes.

SUSTAINABLE USE: Regarding the CRP on practical principles, operational guidance and associated instruments for sustainable use (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/WG.I/CRP.4), delegates agreed to state that, in the case of threatened species, where applicable and appropriate, non consumptive sustainable use strategies should be favored. The CRP was adopted as amended.

Delegates adopted the CRPs on the management of forest biodiversity, sustainable use to derive products and services and benefit-sharing (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/WG.I/CRP.5) and on proposals for ways and means to remove or mitigate perverse incentives (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/WG.I/CRP.3) with minor editorial amendments.


MONITORING AND INDICATORS: Reporting on informal consultations on the CRP on monitoring and indicators (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/WG.II/CRP.1), AUSTRALIA said delegates agreed on a paragraph encouraging collaboration between the CBD and other organizations to facilitate the development of national-level indicators and monitoring systems, that countries can draw upon, if they so wish. The CRP was adopted as amended.

BIODIVERSITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE: Regarding the CRP on biodiversity and climate change (UNEP/CBD/ SBSTTA/9/WG.II/CRP.2), PERU suggested referring to mitigation projects as an option to deliver environmental and social benefits in text on facilitating national-level coordination. The CRP was adopted with this amendment.

OUTCOME-ORIENTED TARGETS: Delegates adopted a CRP on the integration of outcome-oriented targets into the PoWs of the CBD (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/WG.II/CRP.4) with minor editorial amendments.

Global Strategy for Plant Conservation: Regarding a CRP on targets for the GSPC (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/WG.II/CRP.3), delegates approved a broader definition of biodiversity. On the list of indicators, the EC proposed including the distribution of selected species, while ARGENTINA and MEXICO requested deleting a reference to poor peoples livelihoods in relation to ecosystem goods and services. ECUADOR and BRAZIL, supported by GREENPEACE, requested, and delegates agreed, to add a paragraph on the legal implications of the CBDs and other multilateral environmental agreements mandate.

TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AND COOPERATION: WG-II Chair Asghar Fazel (Iran) invited comments on a CRP on a draft PoW for technology transfer and cooperation (UNEP/CBD/ SBSTTA/9/WG.II/CRP.5). COLOMBIA and MEXICO, supported by AUSTRALIA and CANADA, requested, and delegates agreed, to refer to CBD Articles 16 (Technology transfer), 17 (Information exchange), 18 (Cooperation) and 19 (Biotechnology) in the chapeau of the PoW. The US, COLOMBIA and ARGENTINA requested a reference to the development of innovative partnerships to facilitate enabling environments.The EC and others requested reference to environmentally sound technologies.

On cooperation, delegates decided to refer to regional and international, rather than north-south and south-south, cooperation. Delegates agreed that technology transfer refers to "transfers of technology from developed to developing countries as well as countries with economies in transition, as well as among developing countries." On enabling environments for technology transfer, delegates approved a suggestion by ARGENTINA to refer to facilitating "policy frameworks" rather than "environments." Regarding support for implementation, BRAZIL requested, and delegates agreed, to include the Global Environment Facility as main actor for support.

Colombia, on behalf of the GROUP OF LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN, with CANADA, expressed concern over references to traditional knowledge, noting the lack of intellectual property regimes for indigenous knowledge. They requested deleting the reference or including text on prior informed consent and benefit-sharing. After informal consultations, delegates agreed to delete all references to transfer from indigenous people to other users, and footnoting that the issue should be dealt with under CBD Article 8(j) (Traditional knowledge). On creating enabling environments, CANADA proposed, and delegates accepted, a paragraph on identifying community-based opportunities for the development of sustainable livelihood technologies for local application.

Regarding synergies on information systems to give access to existing technologies, INDIA suggested developing common software. Delegates agreed to refer to the use of common formats, standards and protocols. On proposals for enhancing the Clearing-house Mechanism as a central mechanism for information exchange, ARGENTINA proposed a trial period followed by a review. On the development of guidelines for the use of information exchange systems, CANADA requested, and delegates agreed, referring to "advice and guidance" rather than "guidelines." Regarding the development of national information systems, delegates agreed to refer to cooperation with the Secretariat and among Parties.

On risk assessment, delegates agreed on text referring to the preparation of transparent impact assessment and risk analyses of the potential benefits, risks and associated costs of introduced technologies, including new technologies for which risks are not yet known. The CRP was adopted with these amendments.

Delegates then adopted WG-IIs report (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/WG.II/L.1 and L.1/Add.1) with minor amendments.


The contact group, which was mandated to consider the targets and activities of the draft PoW on PAs and related recommendations, considered the targets listed under each goal. References to ecological networks and the rights of indigenous peoples were controversial. While some delegates wanted to define these concepts, it was agreed that their definition be determined by national legislation and practice. Negotiations on the recommendations continued into the morning.


Protracted consideration of the CRP on mountain ecosystems in the morning did not bode well for WG-Is remaining workload, and was, in fact, the beginning of a bottleneck of a pile of CRPs to be adopted in one short day. Delegates reached a stalemate during discussions on the draft PoW on PAs, with some commenting that greater involvement of delegates in the drafting process could have spared them the gruelling late night contact group session.

Commenting on the draft PoW for technology transfer, a delegate pointed with irony to the absence of any representative from Parties benefiting from technology transfer during the Friends of the Chairs discussions on Wednesday evening.

The lack of response from the floor to Chair Fazels request for scientific advice on indicators, left some delegates commenting on the increased political character of SBSTTA negotiations since COP-6.


WORKING GROUP I: WG-I will convene from 10:00-11:00 am to finalize the draft PoW on PAs and adopt WG-Is report.

PLENARY: Closing Plenary will meet from 11:00 am-1:00 pm to address preparations for SBSTTA-10 and 11, and consider other matters. It will reconvene from 3:00-6:00 pm to adopt the report and hear closing statements.

ENB REPORT: The Earth Negotiations Bulletin report containing a summary and analysis of this meeting will be available online on Sunday, 16 November, at http://enb.iisd.org/biodiv/sbstta9/.         

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