Daily report for 6 December 1994

CBD COP 1

CONTAC T GROUPS

Agenda Items 6.4, 7, and 8: The contact group chaired by Canadacompleted its work on Tuesday morning. The last items to beconsidered were the completion of the draft provisional agendafor SBSTTA’s first meeting in September, 1995 and the list ofitems that the COP will convey to the CSD. The group chosepriority items from the draft medium-term work programme as thebasis for the agenda for the SBSTTA’s first meeting. These arethe matters for which advice from the SBSTTA is required by thesecond COP. They include: the components of biodiversity underthreat and the action to be taken; ways and means to promotetechnology transfer; scientific and technical information to becontained in national reports regarding implementation;contribution of the Convention to the preparation of the 1996International Technical Conference on the Conservation andUtilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture;and conservation and sustainable use of coastal and marinebiological diversity. On the list of items to be conveyed to theCSD, the group agreed to remove the reference to work on theprotection of traditional knowledge and indigenous and localcommunities since the matter will not be taken up by the COPuntil 1996. The group did agree, however, to add a statement thatfuture work in this area should be coordinated with the relevantbodies. The group added a new reference to the establishment ofthe SBSTTA and a new reference to work relevant to biodiversityrelated conventions, other agreements and processes of relevance.

Agenda Items 6.5, 6.6, 9 and 10: The contact group chaired byMauritania met all day in a closed meeting  to finalizeconsultations on the remaining issues. In particular, extensivenegotiations were conducted on financial rules governing fundingof the Secretariat, the budget for the Secretariat, the medium-term work programme and biosafety.

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE

After a full day of consultations, the twelfth and finalCommittee of the Whole meeting  was convened at 11:30 pm onTuesday to adopt the draft decisions of the three contact groups.

Agenda Items 6.1, 6.2 and 6.3: The first item considered was theissue of financial resources and the mechanism, contained indocument UNEP/CBD/COP/1/CW/L.10/Rev.1. The Chair, Mr. V. Koester(Denmark) requested the coordinator of the contact group, Dr. J.Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) to discuss the draft decisionsubmitted by the contact group for consideration by theCommittee. Dr. Ashe drew the attention of delegates to thedocument and its three annexes: Annex I on policy, strategy,programme priorities and eligibility criteria for access to andutilization of financial resources; Annex II on the list ofdeveloped country Parties and other Parties, which voluntarilyassume the obligations of developed country Parties; and AnnexIII on interim guidelines for monitoring and evaluation ofutilization of financial resources by the GEF. He noted that thedraft decision before the Committee represented hours of informal and formal consultations, as well as the views of allregional and other interest groups. He said that it was acarefully drafted document and that the contact group hadunanimously adopted the decision and its annexes. The decisionand its annexes were adopted without objection.  The Chairpointed out that Annex II of this draft decision has been adoptedwith the understanding that the list of developed country Partiesand other Parties will be reviewed and adjusted at COP-II. Healso noted that the draft decision UNEP/CBD/COP/1/CW/L.1submitted by the G-77 and China had been withdrawn. The Chaircongratulated the group and its coordinator for the positiveresults and acknowledged that these agenda items were among themost sensitive and difficult issues addressed and that theiradoption is a major step forward for the Convention’simplementation.

Agenda Item 8: The contact group coordinator Dr. A. Lazar(Canada) introduced UNEP/CBD/COP/1/CS/L.9, which contains thegroup’s draft decision. Representing the first statement by theCOP to an outside body, Lazar said that the COP’s statement tothe CSD contains an important message, one which emphasizes thecross-cutting nature, the breadth and the goals of theConvention. He added that the statement to the CSD reflects thepassion that lies behind the Convention as well as the mainconcerns and priorities of governments. It describes theConvention as an instrument that has initiated a new eraconcerning access to genetic resources and that is intimatelyrelated to other issues facing the CSD. The statement alsounderlines the COP’s interest in and enthusiasm for working withother bodies whose interests are complementary to its own. Basedon the final decision regarding the medium-term work programme,the statement specifies four areas where the COP intends to takeimmediate action. Because the work programme has deferredprotection of traditional and indigenous knowledge and practicesto 1996, this topic was not included as an area for immediateaction. Brazil noted that while it had joined the consensus onthe statement, it sincerely regretted that the COP could not senda clear message to the CSD that it would start work on protectingthe knowledge of indigenous and local communities. He urged thataction on this issue should begin at COP-II. The draft decisionwas adopted without objection. The Chair noted that the statementwould be communicated to the CSD by the Plenary Chair, Dr. IvyDumont.

Agenda Item 6.5: The Chair invited Mr. M. El-Ghaouth to introducedraft decision UNEP/CBD/COP/1/CW/L.5/Rev.1 on the selection of acompetent international organization to carry out the functionsof the secretariat of the Convention, as well as the draftdecision UNEP/CBD/COP/1/CW/L.13 on the support to the secretariatby international organizations. The coordinator said that themembers of the contact group had made considerable efforts incompleting their work on the document. He suggested two factualoral amendments to L.13, which were accepted. After the decisionswere adopted, the Chair congratulated UNEP on its designation tocarry out the functions of the Secretariat and welcomed theoffers of support from FAO, UNESCO and other internationalorganizations.

Agenda Items 6.6 and 10: Mr. El-Ghaouth introduced the draftdecision UNEP/CBD/COP/1/CW/L.12 on the budget, without the threeannexes, which were considered in the following order: Annex II,then I and then III. Mauritania announced that the draft decisionwas adopted by consensus within the contact group and thereforerecommended its adoption by consensus in the Committee of theWhole. He noted that the issue of scale of assessments (referredto in paragraph 5 of the draft decision, as well as paragraphs 4and 15 in annex I) was the subject of protracted and difficultdebate within his contact group. Brazil highlighted thedifficulty of adopting such a decision without an establishedscale of contributions and proposed postponing adoption of thisdraft decision until such specification. The Chair explained thathe had been entrusted with conducting informal consultations onthis matter and that the draft decision would indeed be adjustedaccordingly for adoption by the final plenary. He suggestedbracketing paragraph 5 (regarding contributions) and adopting therest of the draft decision. While Brazil accepted this solution,he noted that there were similar problems with paragraphs 4 and15 in annex I. Despite Brazil’s expressed discomfort withapproving paragraphs that remain the subject of substantiveconsultation, the Committee adopted the decision with a bracketedparagraph 5. Regarding Annex II (proposed budget for 1995 andindicative budget for 1996), Brazil, later supported by Colombia,Sweden, Chile, India and Peru, expressed concern that the 1995figures did not reflect the decision to hold a one-week meetingof the SBSTTA (with a servicing cost of US$350,000). Germany, onbehalf of the EU, cautioned against opening this item up fordiscussion since the EU had refrained from raising certainreservations. In the spirit of compromise, and given thesensitive nature of the issue, the Chair suggested that Brazil’sconcern be noted in the report so that it might be considered asfuture adjustments regarding activities were made. AlthoughBrazil expressed regret that the first important decision of theCOP was threatened by bureaucratic considerations that could beconstrued as a lack of desire towards implementation, the annexwas adopted.

Regarding Annex I (draft financial rules for the administrationof the Trust Fund for the Convention), Mauritania requested theChair to comment on the results of his consultations on bracketedtexts in paragraphs 4 and 15. The Chair indicated that hisinformal consultations to date were insufficient to allow for asolution in time for the Committee of the Whole, but that aresolution was possible in time for the final Plenary. The USexplained that since agreement on paragraph 3 (a) had beenreached, conforming technical changes to paragraphs 4 and 15should also appear once the brackets were removed. On thisunderstanding, the Chair suggested that Annex I be adopted withthe scale of contributions still under consideration. Again,Brazil expressed dismay at adopting text that remains the subjectof substantive discussion. Regarding Annex III (scale ofcontributions), Mauritania requested that the Chair continue toundertake consultations on this matter and report the results tothe final Plenary of the COP.

Agenda Item 9: Mr. El-Ghaouth introduced the draft decisionUNEP/CBD/COP/1/CW/L.11 and its annex on the medium-term programmeof work. El-Ghaouth said that the contact group had adopted thedraft decision but that negotiations were continuing betweenBrazil and the US on the item related to intellectual propertyrights. He recommended that the Committee adopt the decision andthat the Chair continue consultations. He added that it was theunderstanding of the contact group that the EU was duly entitledto designate a participant in the open-ended ad hoc group ofexperts on the modalities for a biosafety protocol. Colombianoted that there was no bracketed text covering the issue ofintellectual property rights and requested that he participate inthe intellectual property rights discussions. India also asked toparticipate. The decision was adopted on the understanding thatthe Committee would authorize the Chair to hold consultationswith the US and Brazilian delegations on intellectual propertyrights and that the results of the consultations will be includedin his report to the Plenary. The Chair also noted thatUNEP/CBD/COP/1/CW/L.2 and L.6 are understood to be withdrawn.

Agenda Item 13 — Adoption of the Report of the COP: TheRapporteur presented UNEP/CBD/COP/1/L.2 and /add.1. Colombiaquestioned why the report only lists the delegations whoparticipated without any reference to the actual views expressedby those delegations. The Chair explained that: the report wascompiled under instructions from the Bureau; that the reportwould be action-oriented rather than merely containing statementsby delegations; and that the Committee had earlier agreed to thisformat for the report. The document was adopted.

UP FROM THE BEACH

For those who participated in the final Plenary of INCD-5, whichstarted at 4 am and ended long after the sun rose in Paris, thisfinal Committee of the Whole session had an eerie sense of “dej-vu all over again.” Difficult finance discussions, which extendedlate into Tuesday evening, delayed the final Committee of theWhole session by several hours. The meeting, which was due tostart at 8:00 pm , was only convened at 11:30 pm. Manyanticipated an all-night session. However, the requirement forroom preparations for this morning’s high-level ministerialsegment necessitated vacating the conference room as soon aspossible, thus forestalling any possibility of debate extendinginto the early hours of Wednesday morning. Despite the good newsthat delegates could look forward to the first real night ofsleep in several days, the general mood at the start of thisfinal Committee session was relatively sober. Notwithstanding thesignificant progress that had been made on financial resourcesand mechanism, the SBSTTA and the clearing-house mechanism,discussions in the contact group concerned with the Secretariatbudget and its location and the medium-term work programme haveproved to be extremely difficult. With several matters leftoutstanding from that group, many delegates feared a heatedexchange in the Committee of the Whole, especially in light ofthe anticipation that Spain would press for a vote on thelocation issue. Several delegates commented that notwithstandingthe absence of agreed rules of procedure on the voting issue,such a move would be unprecedented and could potentially sour thepositive note on which this first COP was expected to end.Meanwhile, NGO representatives were disappointed that forestshave been expunged from the medium-term work programme. Concernwas raised that the issue of the biosafety protocol has beendiverted into a lengthy process of “considering the need for, andmodalities of a biosafety protocol,” with no end processenvisaged. Another concern was that the work of the SBSTTA hasdropped any consideration of the expertise of traditionalknowledge holders in indigenous and local communities asenvisaged by Article 25 (1) and 8 (j) of the Convention.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

PLENARY: The Ministerial Segment begins this morning at 10:00 am.Expected speakers for today include the Bahamas, Algeria (onbehalf of the G-77), India, Canada,Switzerland, China, the US, Malaysia, Finland, Indonesia, SriLanka, Ghana, Senegal, Mauritius, Pakistan, Colombia, Uganda,Grenada, Philippines, Mongolia, Seychelles, Kazakhstan, Malawi,Micronesia and Brazil.

SLEEPY PEOPLE: Look for bleary-eyed participants, many of whomwere up until after 2:00 am for the third consecutive night.

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