Daily report for 2 December 1994



In the afternoon, the Chair of the COP, Dr. Dumont, announcedthat Cameroon would not be able to serve on the Bureau and thatMs. T.C. Idiatou (Guinea) had been selected as Rapporteur. TheAsian Group nominated China as the second representative on theBureau. The Chair noted that after extensive regionalconsultations, agreement had been reached on the selection of theChair of the SBSTTA. Dr. J.H. Seyani (Malawi) would serve asChair of SBSTTA for 1995 and Dr. P. Schei (Norway) would serve asChair in 1996.


AGENDA ITEM 6.6 — FINANCIAL RULES: The Secretariat introducedUNEP/CBD/COP/1/10 entitled “Draft Financial Rules GoverningFunding of the Secretariat.” The Chair noted three unresolvedissues: the scale of assessments to be applied; brackets on thedraft rules, particularly those dealing with the decision-makingon budgetary matters; and the assignment of a trustee to managethe secretariat’s funding. Algeria, on behalf of the G-77 andChina, said that any assignment of a scale of assessments mustconsider the economic difficulties of developing countries andthe principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. Hesaid the guarantee clause in Article 20, paragraph 4 should bethe basis of any discussion. Germany, on behalf of the EU, saidthat UNEP should be the trustee for the Secretariat, butsuggested that the COP could call for proposals from otheragencies. The EU prefers: assessment Formula I, including a 2.5percent assessment on the EU for administrative costs; Rule 3Afor the financing of the Trust Fund; and Rule 15A on decisions.Japan said while it is ready to support the budget of theSecretariat, it does not assume any legal obligation tocontribute to the Secretariat’s budget, and requested the word“voluntary” in the text. He favored Formula I for assessments andsupported UNEP as trustee. Canada, supported by the US,preferred: Formula I; consensus decisions; and UNEP as thetrustee as part of its duties as the Secretariat organization.The US also supported Japan’s call for voluntary contributions.Australia called for mandatory assessments, based on the capacityto pay, to assure predictable funding and endorsed Formula I,UNEP as trustee and Rule 15A. New Zealand suggested seekingconsensus under Rule 3 by making a minor amendment to Rule 3A,and supported Formula I and 15A. Brazil recommended mandatorycontributions, UNEP as trustee, and Rule 15B with a two-thirdsmajority.

AGENDA ITEM 7—SUBSIDIARY BODY ON SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL ANDTECHNOLOGICAL ADVICE: The Secretariat introduced documentUNEP/CBD/1/11. Delegates were asked to consider terms ofreference, organizational and procedural matters, date and venueof its first meeting, and financial arrangements. Algeria, onbehalf of the G-77 and China, reiterated the extreme importanceattached by developing countries to the SBSTTA as the mainimplementing body after the COP. Due regard should be given togeographic representation and full participation by developingcountries. The SBSTTA should concentrate on specific matters andexamine ways to facilitate the transfer of technology, as well asaccess to eco-technologies for developing countries. Indiaemphasized that technology transfer should be given due priorityin the SBSTTA, the programme of work, and the clearing-housemechanism. Germany, on behalf of the EU, said that prioritiesshould be set according to the medium-term programme of work toprevent overburdening the SBSTTA, adding that its advice shouldbe purely scientific, technical and technological. He recommendedspecialized panels to ensure efficiency, but objected to the needfor a steering committee to meet more often than the entireSBSTTA. The US suggested the SBSTTA should be open-ended, andthat its panels should consist of a variety of experts. Malaysiarecommended that the SBSTTA should: undertake scientific work onprotocol issues such as biosafety and the movement of germplasm;develop criteria for sustainable use; and review threats tobiodiversity. Brazil, supported by Colombia, suggested that itshould only ask for advice on national reports, and that reportproduction is the responsibility of each country Party. He addedthat the SBSTTA’s terms of reference should mention protection ofindigenous lifestyles and practices. Sweden said it is too earlyto establish terms of reference, but that the SBSTTA shouldexamine priorities for a clearing-house and promotion oftechnical and scientific cooperation. The UK said the SBSTTA’smain objective should be to establish a scientific baselineagainst which future assessments could evaluate the Convention’seffectiveness. New Zealand suggested that the SBSTTA should:communicate with national agencies rather than individualexperts; develop a specific priorities list; be cost-effective;and avoid creating burdensome reporting requirements. Japan saidthat the SBSTTA’s terms of reference are too specific but that itshould establish panels focusing on specific priority issues.China suggested the SBSTTA should provide the COP with scientificinformation and advice to promote technology transfer.

AGENDA ITEM 10 —BUDGET FOR THE SECRETARIAT OF THE CONVENTION:Algeria, on behalf of the G-77 and China, said that theSecretariat is the keystone for the implementation of theConvention and that it required the necessary level of financialresources, particularly for preparatory work for COP-II. Heproposed that the Interim Secretariat prepare a comparative notebased on the precedents set by other Conventions to provide aclearer picture of budgetary needs. Canada raised the need forbudgetary flexibility, a secretariat that was not top-heavy innature, and linkage between the host organization and location ofthe secretariat. Germany, on behalf of the EU, said that costsshould be reduced and the budget for 1995 should be based on thebudget of the Interim Secretariat. Australia said the draftbudget was consistent with: the needs of the medium-termprogramme of work; the prompt start of the SBSTTA; and theprovision of information to Parties. Japan said that the proposedbudget of $6 million was high and recommended that personnel bestreamlined and the number of working languages be reduced inSBSTTA. Spain said that the discussion of the location of theSecretariat and the extension of the Interim Secretariat wasimportant. Switzerland reiterated his Government’s offer to housethe secretariat free of charge, at least until 1998 and itswillingness to provide substantial support for the secretariatbeyond its obligations as a Party to the Convention. Swedenquestioned who would finance the 1995 budget that will actuallybecome operational in a few weeks. Norway supported a budget thatwould maximize the secretariat’s effectiveness and urged forrealistic figures. UNESCO affirmed its offer to provide, free ofcharge, several full or part time UNESCO staff in severalsubstantive areas. FAO said that it was prepared to second abiodiversity and agriculture programme officer at its ownexpense. China supported Brazil that no developing country shouldcontribute more than the developed countries.

AGENDA ITEM 8— PREPARATION OF THE PARTICIPATION OF THE CONVENTIONON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY IN THE THIRD SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ONSUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT:The Secretariat introduced the documentUNEP/CBD/ COP/1/12. Algeria, on behalf of the G-77 and China,stressed the importance of cooperation between the COP and theCSD. He added that the focus of the COP report to the CSD shouldbe on substantive issues, such as resource mobilization andtechnology transfer. Michael Monaghan of the Interim Secretariatread a statement on behalf of Mr. Nitin Desai, USG for PolicyCoordination and Sustainable Development. Desai noted that the104 ratifications indicate the survival of the spirit of Rio. Hecalled for the closest possible cooperation between the DPCSD andthe Convention at both the interagency level and the policy andcoordination level within ECOSOC. Ghana said that the SBSTTAshould contribute to the work of the CSD’s Ad Hoc Working Groupon Biodiversity. Canada supported the need for a separateconvention on forests. Zimbabwe said that the CSD should nottreat biodiversity in a compartmentalized way and that theimportance of benefit-sharing within nations must be highlighted.Germany on behalf of the EU, recommended that the COP shouldreport on 3 items: significance of the Convention; current stateof its implementation; and its relationship to Agenda 21.Australia noted that the conservation and sustainable use offorests will be critical to achieving the objectives of theConvention. Samoa said that the Programme of Action of SmallIsland States depends on regional cooperation and that thisaspect should be reflected as well. Spain noted that the reportof the experts workshop held in Madrid should be included in thereport. The UK recommended that the medium term programme of workbe reflected in the report to the CSD. Kenya requested thatprogress be reported on: mobilization of sufficient financialresources by the COP; the issue of technology transfer; andcapacity building. The Netherlands and Finland said that theforest principles will be further elaborated on in a possibleconvention on all types of forests to be discussed by the CSD in1995. They recommended that this issue be dealt with by the CSDand not within the Convention. Colombia said that the third CSDshould help the COP in the development of a biosafety protocol.Sweden said that once the SBSTTA was established, the Conventioncould provide valuable input to the CSD. He referred to FAO’scontributions in the area of forests. The IUCN questioned how theCOP will address the forests issue. He added that the COP’sstatement should reflect a willingness to coordinate not onlywith the CSD but with other convention processes as well. The WWFcalled for additional reference to those activities to which theCSD should give priority in order to promote the implementationof the Convention. These include the issues of consumption andtrade patterns and their impact on biodiversity. He added thatthe COP should establish an intersessional working group onforests.


Three contact groups met Saturday late into the evening toresolve several issues: 6.1, 6.2, 6.3: The contact groupcoordinated by Antigua and Barbuda, on agenda items 6.1 (Policy,strategy, programme priorities and eligibility criteria), 6.2(Institutional structure to operate the financial mechanism ) and6.3 (List of developed country Parties and other Parties ) met todiscuss the progress made on informal consultations held withrepresentatives from regional/interest groups. The contact groupwill continue informal consultations and will reconvene on Mondayto discuss the results. 6.5, 6.6, 9, 10: The contact groupcoordinated by Mauritania finished work on agenda item 6.5(Selection of competent international organization) and discussed6.6 (Financial rules governing funding of the Secretariat) withmany difficult issues still to be resolved including the natureof contributions. Progress was made  with many outstanding issuesin item 9 (Medium-term programme of work). The group did agree toestablish an ad hoc working group to consider the need for andmodalities of a biosafety protocol. The group met late Sunday tocomplete work on item 10 (Budget for the Secretariat). 6.4, 7,8: The contact group coordinated by Canada completeddiscussions on agenda items 6.4 (Clearing-house mechanism) and 7(SBSTTA). The group agreed that the Interim Secretariat shouldprepare a study to assist the COP in the establishment of theclearing-house mechanism. The group read through item 8(Preparation of the participation of the Convention in the thirdsesssion of the CSD). Delegates agreed to delete references tomarine ecosystems, but agreed to refer to the relationshipbetween poverty and biodiversity. One of the key outstandingissues is the relationship of the COP to CSD forests discussions.NGOs were allowed to observe all contact groups except for thegroup that dealt with the medium-term work programme.


Despite the heated debate on the GEF earlier this week, manydelegates have remarked on the increased degree of conciliationand pragmatism that has characterized this COP. Last week showedan emerging spirit of willingness to move from rhetoric to theconcrete action needed to ensure effective implementation.Indeed, the fact that delegates were ready to resolve preliminaryprocedural items as quickly as they did, evidenced a willingnessto get down to the real substantive business of the COP, such asthe determination of the medium-term work programme, thedesignation of the permanent secretariat, the susidiary bodies,and resolution of the issues pertaining to the financialmechanism. While governments are not as polarized as they were inNairobi, they have one very short week available to them to reachconsensus on some very difficult issues before the COP. Concernshave been raised about the extremely small number of OECDministers (8 out of 67) who will be participating in the high-level segment of the COP, despite the large attendance expectedfrom G-77 Ministers. Some have questioned whether the proportionis indicative of the relative degree of political will that canbe expected in the implementation phase.


CONTACT GROUPS: Since the Committee of the Whole has completedits work, the contact groups will be able to meet this morning toresolve outstanding issues. The SBSSTA is expected to meet thismorning at 10:00 am to discuss its draft agenda. GEF: An informalbriefing on the GEF will be held in the Eleuthra Room from 1:00 -2:45 pm.

Further information


National governments
Negotiating blocs
Asian Group
European Union
Group of 77 and China
Non-state coalitions