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Report of main proceedings for 9 October 2012


WG I addressed marine and coastal biodiversity, REDD+ safeguards and geoengineering. WG II continued discussions on implementation of the Strategic Plan and addressed issues related to financial resources and the financial mechanism. An evening contact group discussed REDD+.


MARINE AND COASTAL BIODIVERSITY: The Secretariat introduced the item (UNEP/CBD/COP/11/3, 22 and 23).

Ecologically and biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs): MEXICO, ARGENTINA and JAPAN emphasized that the description of EBSAs is a scientific and technical exercise, and cannot affect states’ rights and obligations under international law or prejudice the work of competent international organizations.

CANADA supported the draft decision, noting that all relevant knowledge bases are taken into account. AUSTRALIA recommended “endorsing” the EBSA workshops’ summary reports and establishing a supplementary process to include them in the repository. JAPAN, CHINA and PERU preferred “taking note” of the reports. NORWAY encouraged including the reports in the repository, distributing them to relevant bodies and improving EBSA descriptions when information becomes available. The EU called for endorsing the reports to stimulate further workshops and further EBSAs’ identification, and urged regional groups to identify marine protected areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) under a new implementing agreement under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). KIRIBATI called for further regional workshops to achieve global coverage.

INDONESIA highlighted including social and cultural criteria in description of EBSAs. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA called for cooperation between the CBD and the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on EBSAs beyond national jurisdiction. GREENPEACE urged parties to endorse the summary reports and request UNGA to urgently address EBSAs’ governance. IUCN urged the COP to invite the UNGA Working Group on marine biodiversity in ABNJ to encourage states and international organizations to respond to EBSA information and report on action taken based on existing international obligations under UNCLOS. The IIFB called for integrating traditional knowledge in EBSA description.

EIA guidelines: CANADA welcomed the revised guidelines on environmental impact assessments (EIA). AUSTRALIA supported “noting” them. NORWAY underscored the need to refine language on flag state responsibility and the role of international organizations. INDIA, COLOMBIA, CHINA and the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC emphasized the voluntary nature of the guidelines, with MEXICO stressing that they do not prejudge the competence of UNGA and the International Seabed Authority. The EU supported taking note of the guidelines, making them available as a reference, and encouraging their use and submission of information following their application. PERU opposed, calling for more consultation under UNGA and regional seas conventions. The US cautioned that the voluntary guidelines use mandatory language and undefined terms.

Other matters: NORWAY supported guidance on: underwater noise, taking into account limited scientific information; and marine debris, taking into account work in other fora. AUSTRALIA called for cooperation with the Convention on Migratory Species on marine debris. The AFRICAN GROUP highlighted ocean governance challenges related to geoengineering and ocean fertilization.

BIODIVERSITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE: The Secretariat introduced the item (UNEP/CBD/COP/11/3, 24 and 25).

REDD+: The AFRICAN GROUP and MALAYSIA supported “taking note” of advice on the application of relevant country-specific biodiversity safeguards and the REPUBLIC OF KOREA preferred “welcoming” it. GRULAC said that countries should develop national safeguard systems according to UNFCCC COP decisions. The EU supported advice on safeguards, highlighting that the COP should consider means of monitoring and assessing the impacts of REDD+ on biodiversity.

BOLIVIA said there is not a common understanding on what REDD+ is, suggesting to either avoid reference to the abbreviation or add reference to the Bolivian Joint Mitigation and Adaptation Mechanism for the Integral and Sustainable Management of Forests as an alternative non-market based approach. EL SALVADOR underscored the need to emphasize both adaptation and mitigation. BRAZIL and INDIA said information on safeguards has to be country-driven. BRAZIL further cautioned that the issue of forests is not reduced to REDD+.

SOUTH AFRICA, NORWAY and SWITZERLAND supported retaining a reference to an indicative list of indicators. BRAZIL suggested deletion, and COLOMBIA said a list of indicators is premature.

Parties discussed a request to the Secretariat to develop further advice. The EU, with many, supported reporting progress to SBSTTA prior to COP 12. INDONESIA favored a mandate for the Secretariat to compile information on potential effects of REDD+ activities on indigenous and local communities. The FAO reported on exploring synergies with the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade initiative. The GLOBAL FOREST COALITION lamented priority attached to REDD+ instead of other forest biodiversity issues.

Geoengineering: GHANA, supported by GRENADA and BOLIVIA, emphasized the precautionary approach and expressed concern about definitions from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). KUWAIT preferred a definition from the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. CHINA affirmed that a geoengineering definition should be developed on the basis of those used by the IPCC and UNFCCC. GRULAC considered discussions on geoengineering premature and a mechanism for its regulation not best placed under the CBD. The PHILIPPINES affirmed that the biodiversity aspects of geoengineering should remain within the competence of the CBD. The GLOBAL FOREST COALITION and the ETC GROUP stated that CBD is the appropriate body to oversee the governance of geoengineering.

GHANA, the EU, ARGENTINA, SOUTH AFRICA, the PHILIPPINES and KUWAIT preferred recognizing the lack of, and a need for, a “comprehensive, science-based, global, transparent and effective framework for those geoengineering concepts that have the potential to cause significant adverse transboundary effects and are deployed in ABNJ and the atmosphere.” NORWAY and the US favored noting that “the need for a comprehensive science-based, global, transparent and effective mechanism may be the most relevant” for such geoengineering. INDIA, supported by BOLIVIA, recommended that application of geoengineering techniques be deferred until more robust scientific understanding and an appropriate legal framework are developed. The AFRICAN GROUP recommended retaining the moratorium and mandating SBSTTA to review the IPCC report on geoengineering due in 2014. BOLIVIA, the GLOBAL FOREST COALITION and the ETC GROUP recommended reinforcing the CBD moratorium by prohibiting open-air experiments.

ARGENTINA, opposed by SOUTH AFRICA, proposed deleting a reference to customary international law being relevant for geoengineering activities but still forming an incomplete basis for global regulation.


STRATEGIC PLAN IMPLEMENTATION AND AICHI TARGETS: Establishment of national targets and NBSAP updating: Argentina called for a strong participatory process when reviewing NBSAPs. IUCN stressed that NBSAPs are essential to integrate biodiversity into broader societal goals. The FAO said its national focal points could contribute to designing NBSAPs.

Monitoring implementation: ARGENTINA expressed concern on some of the indicators. KIRIBATI called for including the source data used for establishing the indicators. UNEP, DIVERSITAS, the GROUP ON EARTH OBSERVATIONS and the GLOBAL BIODIVERSITY INFORMATION FACILITY presented on their work. The IIFB WORKING GROUP ON INDICATORS called for support of community monitoring systems, through partnerships between governments and indigenous peoples. 

FINANCIAL RESOURCES AND MECHANISM: Review of implementation of the Resource Mobilization Strategy: The Secretariat introduced the item (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/4/6/Add.1, UNEP/CBD/COP/11/INF/6 and 7, UNEP/CBD/COP/11/4/Rev.1, 14 and 14/Add.1- 3). In a video message, Pavan Sukhdev, Chair of the high-level panel on global assessment of resources, introduced the panel’s report (UNEP/CBD/COP/11/14/Add.2) underscoring that implementation of some targets requires investment of several hundreds of billions of US dollars.

GRULAC highlighted the need for new, additional, predictable and adequate financial resources, and suggested that national trust funds complement the Convention’s financial provisions by channeling international resources. The AFRICAN GROUP called for a 20% annual increase in international financial flows to developing countries and for clarity on markets, offsets and innovative financial mechanisms. NORWAY underscored the need to combine efforts on resource mobilization, track biodiversity funding, and create enabling conditions. AUSTRALIA opposed setting quantitative targets specific to official development assistance.

CANADA stressed the need to monitor parties’ implementation of the strategy and the importance of national assessments to establish baselines, expressing readiness to discuss targets once parties have completed their data collection process. PERU highlighted the need for capacity building, and ARGENTINA for funding, for countries to undertake national assessments of needs and gaps. JAPAN considered it premature to adopt a baseline and targets at COP 12. KIRIBATI emphasized the importance of agreeing on funding targets at this meeting, noting that available data is sufficient. INDIA explained that setting targets now, even on an interim basis, would build confidence among parties. MEXICO said it would be a “serious mistake” to delay implementation. COSTA RICA called for guidelines for information collection and analysis.

The PHILIPPINES supported adopting the preliminary reporting framework for resource mobilization. BOLIVIA affirmed that the framework’s indicators should also consider collective action taken by indigenous peoples and local communities. Highlighting the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, CHINA noted the framework should be voluntary for developing countries.

GEF: The Secretariat introduced the item (UNEP/CBD/COP/11/4, 8 and 15/Rev.2). Delegates heard reports on GEF’s biodiversity-related activities during the first two years of GEF-5 and the expert panel’s analysis of funding needs for GEF-6.

GEF report: MEXICO proposed a simpler methodology to improve clarity on GEF’s rationale for allocating resources.

Guidance to the financial mechanism: COLOMBIA stressed stable funding for NBSAPs. The PHILIPPINES said national portfolio formulation infringed on states’ sovereignty and should be revised. GHANA, with many, said the COP should request GEF to improve the timeliness of financial support. JAPAN and NORWAY suggested extending the Nagoya Protocol Implementation Fund (NPIF) until COP 12. NAMIBIA and KIRIBATI urged streamlining of GEF processes, with NAMIBIA suggesting calling on GEF to “contract directly through recipients rather than with the usual GEF agents,” for disbursements from NPIF.

Needs assessment for GEF-6: MEXICO supported extending the mandate of the high-level panel. COLOMBIA called for “urging” developed countries to increase their contributions to GEF, and proposed text noting that the lowest estimate of necessary funds for implementation is US$5 billion. JAPAN called for also considering donors’ financial capacity. BRAZIL said the establishment of priorities for GEF-6 should take into account the Strategic Plan and countries’ needs assessments. INDIA highlighted the need to monitor the impact of GEF-6 projects in reaching the Aichi targets. SWITZERLAND cautioned against suggesting a figure and target for GEF-6 replenishment.

NAGOYA PROTOCOL: Janet Lowe (New Zealand) and Fernando Casas (Colombia), Co-Chairs of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Nagoya Protocol (ICNP), reported on ICNP 1 and 2 outcomes. The Secretariat introduced draft decisions (UNEP/CBD/COP/11/6).

NAMIBIA recommended the COP monitor implementation of CBD Article 15 (Access to Genetic Resources) by CBD parties that are not parties to the Protocol. MEXICO stressed that activities to promote the Protocol’s ratification and implementation be funded by the core budget. CAMEROON cautioned against delaying COP 12 to 2015, to increase momentum for ratification.


In the morning, participants who’d made it to Monday’s reception at Gachibowli stadium were still raving about the colorful light show and the feeling of connection that comes from trying out new dance steps with a few thousand other confused but jubilant people. But when the COP settled back into business, it was apparent those synchronized moves had been left on the dance floor; Chairs of both Working Groups struggled to keep interventions brief and the agenda on track.

ABBA’s “Money, money, money” would have been the right soundtrack for key discussions in both Working Groups. In WG II, calls for more “prescriptive” guidance to the GEF encountered the skepticism of those considering the GEF Council as the right forum for discussing funding targets. In WG I, certain participants lamented donors’ “disproportionate influence” over international decision-making on forests, giving priority to REDD+ over other urgent forest biodiversity-related matters, and pointing to donors’ potential to “impose” voluntary guidance on REDD+ safeguards on international funding-recipients.

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