Report of main proceedings for 11 October 2012
CBD COP 11
WG I addressed: sustainable use; the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC); biofuels and biodiversity; invasive alien species (IAS); and incentive measures. WG II considered operations of the Convention, and biodiversity and development. The Friends of the Chair group on the financial mechanism met throughout the day. Contact groups on Article 8(j) and resource mobilization met in the evening.
WORKING GROUP I
SUSTAINABLE USE: The Secretariat introduced the item (UNEP/CBD/COP/11/2 and 29). The RUSSIAN FEDERATION, INDONESIA and others supported strengthening the application of the Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines. GRULAC, JAPAN, NEPAL and others supported recognizing the usefulness of the Satoyama Initiative as a platform to establish synergies among landscape-level initiatives. AUSTRALIA considered it premature to limit references to one specific platform and preferred retaining reference to its “potential” usefulness.
COLOMBIA stressed the need to include TK in the development of national plans and policies. On engaging others in developing alternatives to unsustainable management, ICELAND opposed including reference to the fishery sector.
The RUSSIAN FEDERATION underscored that sustainable wildlife use includes both tropical and non-tropical areas. FAO volunteered as the convener of the proposed collaborative partnership on sustainable wildlife management. On the “transfer” of access, rights and the responsibility to sustainably manage wildlife resources to ILCs “whenever possible,” the IIFB, supported by ETHIOPIA, suggested that ILCs who can deliver sustainable solutions “should have access to these resources and be sufficiently empowered.” TRAFFIC, with the IIFB, suggested: “adopting,” rather than “welcoming,” the revised recommendations of the Liaison Group on Bushmeat; integrating them into NBSAPs; and identifying specific national focal points for bushmeat.
GSPC: The Secretariat introduced the item (UNEP/CBD/COP/11/3). Several delegations supported the draft decision. PERU called for support to national efforts to increase knowledge on flora diversity. THAILAND suggested encouraging countries and partners to identify holders of specimens and associated information, and assist them in making the information accessible with their consent. CANADA noted certain reservations regarding the annexes, but expressed willingness to accept the draft decision. BRAZIL stressed the need to take into account specific national conditions. ETHIOPIA pointed to the need for taxonomic capacity building and “predictable” financial support for GSPC implementation. The GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR PLANT CONSERVATION expressed willingness to provide technical assistance at national and regional levels. Chair González Posse proposed, and delegates agreed, to record reservations in the meeting report and accept the draft decision as transmitted by SBSTTA.
BIOFUELS AND BIODIVERSITY: The Secretariat introduced the item (UNEP/CBD/COP/11/3). Several supported the draft decision, with EL SALVADOR, NIGER, SWITZERLAND and SOUTH AFRICA stressing the relevance of the precautionary approach.
QATAR expressed concern about: loss of food crops; uncertainty in measuring indirect impacts; social and economic impacts on ILCs; and water scarcity; and proposed clarifying that the decision was non-binding. KUWAIT proposed text emphasizing potential impacts on food security. BOLIVIA questioned the potential of biofuels to mitigate climate change, and highlighted concerns regarding food security and subsidies leading to monocrops. ETHIOPIA proposed requesting the CBD Secretariat and other relevant organizations to compile practical examples of both positive and negative impacts. Chair González Posse proposed, and delegates agreed, to note reservations in the meeting report and accept the draft decision as transmitted by SBSTTA.
IAS: The Secretariat introduced the item (UNEP/CBD/COP/11/2, 28 and INF/33 and 34). Many supported renewing the CBD application for observer status in the Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) of the World Trade Organization (WTO), with the EU, supported by SOUTH AFRICA, proposing to invite the SPS Committee to favorably address the application. The PHILIPPINES suggested adding that adequate international standards “take into account SPS Agreement Article 9.2 that require importing countries to reconsider SPS measures that create difficulties for developing countries.”
BRAZIL emphasized the practical and non-prescriptive nature of the proposed toolkit on IAS. ARGENTINA queried the compatibility of a toolkit with WTO law.
MEXICO, SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS and GRENADA highlighted impacts of the invasive lionfish. PACIFIC ISLANDS called for technical assistance at the sub-regional level in utilizing international standards. INDONESIA supported increasing cooperation among international bodies working on IAS. INDIA underscored the need to monitor trade agreements that may pose a threat to biosecurity. SWITZERLAND proposed focusing on measures to control and eradicate prioritized IAS after minimizing risks, in achieving Aichi Target 9 (IAS). COLOMBIA suggested including public health considerations in the future.
JAPAN opposed, and the INTERNATIONAL PLANT PROTECTION CONVENTION (IPPC) supported, requesting IPPC to, inter alia, invite its members to broaden their sanitary and phytosanitary measures for plant protection in marine, terrestrial and freshwater environments. ARGENTINA cautioned this proposal should be based on adequate risk assessments.
GTI: The Secretariat introduced the item (UNEP/CBD/COP/11/2). Delegates adopted the decision as submitted by SBSTTA.
INCENTIVE MEASURES: The Secretariat introduced the item (UNEP/CBD/COP/11/3 and INF/10). The EU emphasized that: incentives can help deliver the Aichi targets in the most cost-effective way; biodiversity funding needs must also be addressed through green economy and innovative funding mechanisms; the report on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) should be used to review NBSAPs; and that the EU is committed to mainstreaming biodiversity in reforming its agricultural and fisheries policies. GRULAC pointed to regionally-uneven distribution of perverse incentives, calling for eliminating developed countries’ agricultural and fisheries subsidies; and expressed support for payment for ecosystem services if they result in conservation and sustainable use.
CANADA underscored the need for additional efforts on non-market values of biodiversity. AUSTRALIA, supported by NEW ZEALAND, recommended ensuring harmony with relevant international obligations. BRAZIL proposed taking into account the adoption at Rio+20 of the 10-year programme on sustainable production and consumption patterns. COLOMBIA emphasized both economic and non-economic values, noting TEEB’s limited focus on cost-effectiveness. Chair González Posse proposed, and delegates agreed, to agree on the draft decision as transmitted by SBSTTA.
WORKING GROUP II
FINANCIAL MECHANISM: BELGIUM reported on Wednesday’s meeting of the Friends of the Chair on the issue, noting consideration of a non-paper on guidance to the financial mechanism. He said participants addressed language on timeliness of financial support from GEF and the need for increased financial contributions, without reaching agreement.
COOPERATION: On business and biodiversity, ECONEXUS said that adoption of biodiversity safeguards rests with governments and should not be left to business; SEARICE stressed that voluntary standards should not be prioritized over binding regulations; and UNEP-WCMC drew attention to its best policy guidance for integrating biodiversity ecosystem services into standards (UNEP/CBD/COP/11/INF/59). FAO drew attention to World Food Day on 16 October focusing on agricultural cooperatives.
OPERATIONS OF THE CONVENTION: Periodicity of meetings and retirement of decisions: The Secretariat introduced the item (UNEP/CBD/COP/10/10 and Add.1, and INF/1). Most delegates, including the AFRICAN GROUP, BRAZIL, INDIA, the EU and SWITZERLAND, called for maintaining the current biennial schedule for COP meetings, with many highlighting the need to maintain momentum for implementation and that the predominant factor for decision making should not be financing. JAPAN called for further discussion at COP 12.
The EU opposed retiring elements of Decision VII/5 regarding work by UNGA on genetic resources of the deep seabed in ABNJ. The CBD ALLIANCE called for no retirement of decisions, especially text on genetic use restriction technologies.
Existing and additional mechanisms: The Secretariat introduced the item (UNEP/CBD/COP/11/2, 19 and 19/Add.1, and INF/3 and 51).
IPBES: NORWAY suggested adopting a mechanism to define how CBD can make requests to IPBES. MEXICO called for SBSTTA to identify means of communication with IPBES. TIMOR-LESTE called for clear criteria regarding IPBES membership. JAPAN and CHINA cautioned against duplication of work. INDIA suggested that SBSTTA be mandated to make requests to IPBES. JAPAN and CHINA preferred the COP make requests to IPBES. The INDIAN BIODIVERSITY FORUM cautioned that IPBES is unnecessary, as the problem lies not in lack of information but in lack of political will.
New and emerging issues: Delegates discussed three bracketed options in SBSTTA recommendation XII/12: not adding any new and emerging issues to SBSTTA’s agenda (option 1), which was supported by AUSTRALIA, CANADA, THAILAND, CHINA, ARGENTINA, NEW ZEALAND and BRAZIL; initiating an information-gathering process for consideration of synthetic biology by SBSTTA before COP 12, on the basis of the precautionary approach (option 2), which was supported by BOLIVIA, GHANA, NORWAY, the PHILIPPINES, ECUADOR, the AFRICAN GROUP and PAKISTAN; and noting that the process for identifying new and emerging issues needs refinement and that SBSTTA 16 was not able to make a decision, and requesting a synthesis report for SBSTTA consideration before COP 12 (option 3), which was supported by SWITZERLAND, the EU, JAPAN and KUWAIT.
CHINA suggested that the issue could be discussed under the Biosafety Protocol. BOLIVIA, the PHILIPPINES, ECUADOR, GABON and several NGOs supported text urging parties to ensure that products of synthetic biology are not released into the environment or approved for commercial use until there is adequate scientific basis for such activities. NORWAY, NEW ZEALAND and BRAZIL favored deletion.
BIODIVERSITY AND DEVELOPMENT: The Secretariat presented the item, including the Dehradun recommendations (UNEP/CBD/COP/11/4, 33/Rev.1, 33/Add.1, and INF/4 and 40). Many welcomed the recommendations and supported continuation of work in an AHTEG. JAPAN and AUSTRALIA preferred “taking note” of the recommendations. JAPAN, opposed by GUATEMALA, said poverty eradication does not fall within the Convention’s scope. BOLIVIA, with VENEZUELA and CUBA, opposed the market-based approach in the recommendations, and called for consistency with the Rio+20 outcome.
The EU acknowledged the role of ABS in contributing to poverty eradication, with INDONESIA and TUNISIA highlighting the potential of the Nagoya Protocol. GABON called for mainstreaming the Aichi targets into the post-2015 development agenda. SENEGAL supported inviting stakeholders to provide information on best practices for mainstreaming biodiversity into poverty eradication plans. KENYA called for holistic strategies to address poverty and biodiversity concerns.
BRAZIL called for referencing language from the Rio+20 outcome document stressing the importance of indigenous peoples in the achievement of sustainable development. PAKISTAN called for capacity development of ILCs to help eradicate poverty. The IIFB suggested recognizing the contribution of TK and adding reference to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The WOMEN’S ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION noted women face unequal access to natural resources, land, technology and credit.
IN THE CORRIDORS
By Thursday, the COP managed to complete a first reading of all its draft decisions. “The pace has picked up … we even adopted a few decisions today!” commented a surprised seasoned participant. This came at the price, however, of not re-opening text transmitted by the CBD subsidiary bodies even in the face of specific objections from delegations. The well-informed commented that time and money invested in intersessional work in an era of austerity call for avoiding the renegotiation of (preliminary) agreed text. On the other hand, some lawyerly types wondered whether the practice of pushing through agreements with multiple reservations attached would decrease the uptake of the CBD COP decisions at the national level.
Meanwhile, the difficult issues at COP 11 clearly emerged from the packed agenda: in addition to the predictable finance-related items, deliberations on geo-engineering and synthetic biology suggest that the Convention still needs to find its niche when it comes to the implications of cutting-edge technology. An eternal optimist commented, “at least we set aside enough time to deal with them.”