Report of main proceedings for 9 November 1995


Delegates to the second session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-2) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) met for the fourth day of the two-week conference. The Committee of the Whole (COW) met during morning and afternoon meetings and completed preliminary discussions on Articles 6 and 8 (on conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and in situ conservation, respectively) of the CBD and components of biodiversity under threat. COW also commenced consideration of marine and coastal biodiversity, and established four open-ended contact groups.


ARTICLES 6 AND 8 OF THE CBD and COMPONENTS OF BIODIVERSITY UNDER THREAT: URUGUAY encouraged COP to send a clear message to the interim financial mechanism on the importance of Article 6 for the implementation of the CBD. MAURITIUS outlined its national conservation strategy as a small island developing state (SIDS) and called for immediate action on endangered species and expanded access to technology. The EU announced a strategy for the full implementation of the CBD based on the integration of biodiversity concerns into sectoral policies. He underscored the importance of Article 6 as a priority area for financial resources.

The US emphasized its support for paragraphs 1 through 5 and 8(iii) in recommendation I/3 of the SBSTTA report. MALAWI encouraged COP to consider standardized methodologies for identifying components of biodiversity, and to promote donor support for national and sub-regional programmes and capacity-building. SWEDEN underscored sectoral involvement as the cornerstone of its national strategy.

The PHILIPPINES outlined its UNEP-funded national country study which will serve as the basis for national strategies and action plans. He emphasized natural resource accounting methods, community-based initiatives, and human and institutional capacity-building. COSTA RICA indicated a willingness to share its unique experience in tropical ecosystems over the past 25 years. He emphasized the recognition and compensation of IPR of indigenous people as a legal and moral principle. SWITZERLAND emphasized the integration of biodiversity into sectoral policies and encouraged regional workshops in addition to the clearing-house mechanism (CHM) as a medium of data exchange.

DENMARK suggested that developed countries recreate natural habitats that have been lost. SENEGAL called for strategies that include local populations in recognition of the fact that rural populations often suffer from poverty. COLOMBIA suggested SBSTTA revision and expansion of Annex 1 and identification of indicators, among others.

SOUTH AFRICA noted his country's efforts to develop a coherent national policy. CAMEROON called on COP-2 to urge Parties to establish protected areas and management plans for freshwater ecosystems. The NETHERLANDS noted that its national plan was recently submitted to Parliament.

PERU highlighted national efforts for biodiversity and identified projects it has submitted to UNEP for financing, including strengthening regional and national biodiversity centres. AZERBAIJAN noted the need for, in cases of armed conflict, a mechanism to ensure governments comply with CBD provisions. NEPAL stressed linkages between biodiversity strategies and rural poverty alleviation programmes. ARGENTINA called for strong interaction with CITES and for GEF promotion of reforestation.

INDIA noted that many areas with rich biodiversity are under pressure from local populations, and called for efforts to divert their demands to other areas. THAILAND noted national conservation efforts and announced that it will organize an international conference on biodiversity next year. The UK supported COP-2 input to the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) and called for intersessional scientific work on links between biodiversity and forests for consideration by SBSTTA-2 and COP-3.

KHAZAKSTAN emphasized conservation of rare species of plants. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION, on behalf of several Central and Eastern European countries, discussed the seminar on application of biodiversity principles in Eastern and Central Europe. The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), speaking for several NGOs, stressed confronting underlying forces that impede CBD implementation and called for SBSTTA's agenda to include incentives to address these forces.

NORWAY emphasized integrated follow-up to CBD, conservation of plant genetic resources and called on countries to outline obstacles as well as successes in relaying national experiences. INDONESIA called for strengthened South-South and North-South cooperation in the areas of finance and technology, training and education, research and development, and information exchange. UGANDA outlined its national biodiversity strategies and legislation, and expressed hope that potential donors would recognize its environmental efforts despite budget constraints.

IRAN noted that its ratification process is underway and supported the strengthening of GEF assistance. EL SALVADOR noted both the urgent need to put GEF into practice and the impact of extreme poverty on biodiversity.

SWEDEN requested that each COP highlight selected ecosystems and noted the worldwide lack of taxonomic expertise, necessary for bioprospecting and for conservation and sustainable use planning. ZAIRE supports a more flexible funding mechanism in addition to GEF. ICELAND stated that information-sharing is important for implementation of Article 6. BURKINA FASO stated that conservation and sustainable development are linked to poverty eradication. UNESCO described the Man And the Biosphere programme.

CONTACT GROUPS: The CHAIR announced open-ended contact groups in four areas: budget and programme of work, chaired by Peter Unwin (UK); financial mechanism and related issues, chaired by John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda); biosafety, chaired by Effendy Sumardja (Indonesia); and marine and coastal biodiversity, forests and Articles 6 and 8, chaired by A.K. Ahuja (India).

MARINE AND COASTAL BIODIVERSITY (MCB): The SECRETARIAT introduced document UNEP/CBD/COP/2/5 containing recommendation I/8 from SBSTTA to establish an Open-Ended Ad Hoc Panel of Experts on MCB under SBSTTA. The CHAIR asked for recommendations for the report to the Fourth Meeting of the CSD.

The G-77/CHINA supported the expert panel, as did the EU and AOSIS, the last of which requested participation in developing its terms of reference. MAURITIUS noted that MCB is a high priority and protested against all nuclear testing in marine environments.

The EU praised integrated MCB management and noted its agreement with the SBSTTA report. ITALY, later supported by NORWAY and ICELAND, noted the importance of land-based sources of pollution. JAPAN commented that the scope of recommendation I/8 is too limited and entreated COP-2 to provide further elaboration. INDONESIA praised I/8 as relevant to his country's concerns.

NORWAY commented that conservation requires identification of all relevant threats. ICELAND, supported by BELIZE and AUSTRALIA, highlighted deleterious effects of over-capitalization of fishing fleets, and ICELAND also called for review of bioprospecting of deep-sea beds.

The US supported recommendations on integrated area management, over-exploitation of living marine and coastal biodiversity, mariculture, and introduction of alien species, especially as related to the CHM, and establishment of an expert panel. JAMAICA, on behalf of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) countries and NGOs, endorsed SBSTTA's call for national strategies and ICRI's call for action.

MALAWI, supported by GHANA and SENEGAL, recommended integrating inland freshwater with marine and coastal issues for the 1997-98 work programme. AUSTRALIA called for balance between the right to exploit fisheries and the responsibility to keep within ecologically sustainable limits, and for a review of global over-capitalization and government subsidies in fisheries. Later supported by FIJI and AOSIS, she said Australia had made its concerns known to France, China and others that nuclear testing should cease, especially in fragile marine environments, and that a comprehensive test ban treaty should be agreed to by next year. BELIZE said COP-2 should initiate negotiations on principles and best practices for mariculture, building on existing guidelines.

FIJI suggested involving coastal communities and addressing their socioeconomic conditions. He said environmental impact assessments should be applied to marine and coastal policies as well as development projects. The DOMINICAN REPUBLIC requested funding in a high-speed, medium-term window to assure access and participation of communities. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA said the recommendations overemphasized exploitation and conservation without due regard for sustainable use and that those on subsidies extend COP too far into trade implications.

NIGERIA endorsed establishing an ad hoc panel with a duration of 18 months. It should examine existing legislation on marine and coastal management. PERU called for negotiations toward an international protocol on alien species.

URUGUAY supported the panel of experts on MCB as well as work on integrated management of coastal and marine areas. CANADA stressed integrated coastal zone management and suggested examining how CBD complements the mandates of existing mechanisms. NEW ZEALAND called for the ad hoc panel to draw on existing expertise, identify gaps in other programmes and use innovative means of communication. CUBA called for balanced representation from developing countries in the panel. MOZAMBIQUE requested COP to consider the issue of freshwater conservation. SENEGAL noted the need for a framework of cooperation and stressed harmonization of management methods.

WACHI (Indonesian Forum for the Environment), on behalf of many NGOs, recommended a number of actions that COP-2 take to establish an effective process under SBSTTA for MCB issues and to provide input to CSD. The Indonesian BIOFORUM 1995 called for recognition of local and traditional practices in national laws and recognition of traditional marine tenure, as well as holistic handling of land-based pollution.


The Contact Group on the budget met for its first and second meetings on Thursday. General comments, followed by more detailed ones, were offered on the proposed budget. The Secretariat was asked to provide illustrative revisions for consideration at a future meeting.


Corridor talk turned to the issue of access to genetic resources today, with some G-77 delegates overheard expressing concern over the Secretariat's report on this issue as too one-sided. Some delegates and NGOs hinted that a proposal on international certification of transferred genetic resources may be presented by one or more G-77 delegations.


COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE (COW): The COW will resume consideration of marine and coastal biodiversity, and is expected to address the medium-term programme of work during the morning meeting in the Plenary Hall. An afternoon meeting is also expected.

CONTACT GROUPS: The group on the financial mechanism will meet from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm in Room 5 and will begin by addressing the MOU and designation of the institutional structure. The group on the budget and medium-term programme of work will meet from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm in Room 5. The group on biosafety will meet from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm in Room 6. The contact groups are expected to meet on Saturday. The Chair has designated Sunday a day of rest and relaxation.

CREDENTIALS: Delegates are reminded to submit their credentials by Friday. The Chair of the Credentials Committee noted that only 70 out of 120 countries had submitted their credentials as of Thursday. Delegations without credentials may not be able to participate in Monday's vote on the location of the Secretariat.

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