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Report of main proceedings for 11 November 1996


Delegates to COP-3 heard statements regarding cooperation with other biodiversity-related conventions and the medium-term programme of work during a morning sessionof the COW, and began to consider draft decisions during the evening. Several workingand drafting groups also met to discuss draft decisions.


COOPERATION WITH OTHER BIODIVERSITY- RELATED CONVENTIONS:The Secretariat introduced the documents addressing cooperation between the CBDand other biodiversity-related conventions and processes (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/29, 30,Inf.21, 22, 38-41, 52 and 55). The Chair of the Ramsar Standing Committee noted theneed to strengthen the coordination of policies and actions of biodiversity-relatedconventions and recommended an integrated database. The EU submitted draftconclusions to the Secretariat regarding coordination of work with the Ramsar and Bonnconventions. KENYA said implementation of all biodiversity-related conventions shouldbe mutually supportive. ROMANIA and BULGARIA, on behalf of the CEE countries,sought the establishment of modalities for enhanced cooperation among biodiversity-related institutions and conventions at the international and regional levels. POLAND,NORWAY, CUBA and JAMAICA called for more emphasis on regional cooperation andconventions. AUSTRALIA, MOROCCO, MALAWI, TUNISIA and UNESCO stressedthe need to avoid duplication with other biodiversity-related instruments and institutions.

SWITZERLAND supported adopting the decision on close cooperation with the RamsarConvention. SENEGAL, for the African Group, supported coordination with the Ramsarand Bonn conventions and called for assistance from the GEF. FRANCE said synergywith other biodiversity instruments will prevent fragmentation of financial resources.

DOMINICA highlighted the need to protect marine and coastal biodiversity and, withNORWAY, called for formulation of MOUs with other conventions. CAPE VERDE and TANZANIA urged recognition of the CBD’s relationships to UNCLOS and the climatechange and desertification conventions. JAMAICA called for closer cooperation withUNCLOS. TUNISIA recommended that the COP consider transmitting a declaration tothe Convention to Combat Desertification and ARGENTINA called for an MOU withthis convention. AUSTRIA recommended cooperation with the Intergovernmental Panelon Sustainable Mountain Development. MALAWI said it is not satisfied that the IPF willcover all aspects of forests and biodiversity and proposed that SBSTTA analyze thecomplementarity of other fora addressing biodiversity. MOROCCO called for meaningfulnational policies and proposed a draft COP-3 decision to renew COP-2 decision II/14(convening an open-ended intergovernmental workshop on cooperation with otherinternational conventions).

Representatives of FAO, CITES, the BONN CONVENTION and the WORLD BANKexpressed their commitment to cooperate with the CBD and contribute to theimplementation of its three objectives. OECD said it embraces the goals of the CBD andhighlighted its work on incentives, IPR and biosafety. The INTERGOVERNMENTALOCEANIC COMMISSION emphasized the importance of indicators for assessing andmonitoring biodiversity. UNESCO said it established a focal point for coordination ofbiodiversity issues. UNEP highlighted its efforts to coordinate assessments andharmonize the work of other conventions. The WORLD BANK requested guidance onfinancial innovations, integration of biodiversity into sectoral programmes, and targetedprogrammes for biodiversity.

MEDIUM-TERM PROGRAMME OF WORK: The Secretariat introduced thedocument addressing the review of the medium-term work programme for 1996-97. JohnAshe (Antigua and Barbuda) summarized the progress made in the Working Group hechaired on this issue.

Many delegations called for prioritization of the work programme of the COP and ofSBSTTA. AUSTRALIA said the COP should set a well-focused medium-term workprogramme that takes into account its financial implications. JAMAICA called forprioritization of issues and streamlining of activities to enable developing countries toparticipate more fully. The EU called for a distinction between items that only requireadditional information and those for which clear recommendations need to be submittedto the Parties.

A number of countries identified priority issues: COLOMBIA emphasized a review ofwork done thus far, clarification of how the distribution of benefits fits into the agenda,and the CHM; CHINA highlighted benefit-sharing; PARAGUAY underscored forests,land and marine ecosystems, benefit-sharing, and cooperation with relevant conventions;and CHILE focused on marine biodiversity, CHM implementation, distribution ofbenefits, and agrobiodiversity.

The G-77/CHINA, RUSSIA and JORDAN said SBSTTA meetings should be held in allofficial UN languages. NEW ZEALAND emphasized a thematic approach for SBSTTAand, with the US, reminded delegates that some decisions of COP-2 had not yet beenimplemented. EQUATORIAL GUINEA stated that SBSTTA should meet once per yearto cover all issues and to reduce costs. MOROCCO expressed concern over the size of theSBSTTA agenda.

SINGAPORE asked for guidance on the content of national reports. DOMINICA and ST.LUCIA highlighted the needs of SIDS and supported a Secretariat staff position on thisissue. ST. LUCIA also supported a position for indigenous knowledge issues.WETLANDS INTERNATIONAL offered technical expertise in working with theRamsar Convention and its wetlands database.

MALAWI proposed a special working group on inland freshwater ecosystems to bediscussed at COP-4. ARMENIA called for concrete proposals for implementation and fortranslation of documents.

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE DRAFT DECISIONS: The COW metfor an evening session to review progress on draft decisions. In response to comments byseveral delegations, including AUSTRALIA, RUSSIA and IRAN, the Chair noted thatdraft recommendations with financial implications would be consolidated and addressedunder the draft decision on finance.

Introducing the draft decision on the Clearing-House Mechanism (CHM) (CRP.17), theChair noted a large degree of unanimity. The G-77/CHINA proposed several substantivechanges. The EU reiterated its call for a CHM newsletter. The UK objected to proposedamendments by the G-77/CHINA and NORWAY, and the matter was referred toinformal consultations.

Regarding the draft decision on Implementation of Articles 6 and 8 of the Convention(CRP.12), the G77/CHINA, the EU and CANADA proposed language regarding the UNNorway Conference on Alien Species as it related to Article 8(h). HUNGARY proposedlanguage referring to “legislation” in addition to national plans or strategies. CANADAproposed language that would not limit measurable targets to national plans andstrategies.

Regarding the draft decision on Identification, Monitoring and Assessment (CRP.13), theG77/CHINA proposed wording that encourages the interim financial mechanism “toprovide financial resources to developing countries.” To the draft decision on TechnologyTransfer (CRP.20), the EU proposed a new paragraph encouraging supportive political,institutional and economic frameworks to facilitate technology cooperation.

The Secretariat read out proposed changes to the draft decision on Incentive Measures(CRP.19), including: a preambular paragraph identifying incentive measures as afinancial priority; reference to economic valuation under thematic items of the workprogramme; incorporation of “market and nonmarket values of biodiversity” into plans;and deletion of the reference to priority GEF funding for incentive measures. TheG77/China and the EU agreed with this deletion. NEW ZEALAND and RUSSIAdisagreed. The G77/China added language to the preamble recognizing that incentives arethe responsibility of national governments and the international community.

Draft decisions on Terrestrial Biodiversity (CRP.10), Technology Transfer (CRP.20) andBiosafety (CRP.11) were tabled but the G77/CHINA had not yet considered them. Thedraft decision on IPR (CRP.16) was also tabled but was referred to an informal group.The Secretariat updated delegates on the status of issues for which draft decisions had notyet been formally tabled: Statement to the UNGA Special Session; Access to GeneticResources; SBSTTA modus operandi; Financial Issues, Agricultural Biodiversity;Medium-Term Programme of Work and Budget; Cooperation with Other Biodiversity-Related Conventions and Processes.


FINANCIAL ISSUES: Issues discussed during the Working Group on financialissues included the following. On the G-77/China draft regarding additional financialresources, several delegates recalled their statements to the COW regarding the accuracyof documents on suggestions for funding institutions and additional financial resources(UNEP/CBD/COP/3/7 and 37). They did not support the proposal to take note of theinformation and recommendations contained in those documents. Discussion on themechanism for the review of the effectiveness of the financial mechanism includedwhether an independent consultant should conduct a review or whether informationshould be gathered and reviewed by delegates during COP-4. Delegates discussedwhether the MOU text should contain references to the GEF as the “interim financialmechanism” or not. The Group then examined the preambular paragraphs in the G-77/China (CRP.2) and OECD (CRP.21) drafts regarding guidance to the financialmechanism, and continued into the night.

SPECIAL SESSION OF THE UNGA: The Working Group on the COP’sstatement to the Special Session of the UNGA, chaired by Terry Jones (the Seychelles),based its discussions on CRP.7. Delegates added a subparagraph on terrestrialbiodiversity and forests. Delegates deleted language on the lack of adequate financialresources as a main obstacle to the CBD’s implementation and added the need for “newand” additional financial resources. In a section outlining future challenges, delegatesadded a reference to collaboration with other relevant conventions and a subparagraph onpublic awareness and education programmes. Delegates replaced language on means to“protect” indigenous knowledge with means to “respect, preserve and maintain” thisknowledge, and added a reference to benefit-sharing. The Group finished its work andsubmitted its decision to the COW.

FORESTS: Delegates met to consider the Chair’s draft text on the relationshipbetween the COP and the IPF on matters related to forest biodiversity. Divisive issues inthe debate included the need to distinguish the roles of plantation and natural forests inthe conservation of biodiversity and establishing SBSTTA’s initial programme of work.With regard to SBSTTA, some delegates advocated expanding the programme to addressunderlying causes of loss of biodiversity, alien species introductions, and ecologicallandscape models. In the interest of efficacy, delegates decided to limit SBSTTA’s initialwork programme to devising methodologies for biodiversity conservation as part ofsustainable forest management and analyzing the impact of human activities onbiodiversity loss, but recommended that SBSTTA consider the remainingrecommendations for future action. While delegates welcomed the comprehensive worktaking place under the IPF and acknowledged the cooperation between the IPF and CBD,they sought ways to develop common priorities and a focused work programme for forestbiodiversity. An unbracketed text was forwarded to the COW.


As the meeting began to consider draft decisions, many delegations reflected on theprocess used to develop the decisions. Delegations large and small commented that theorganization of consultations into an array of formal and informal groups influencedtheir ability to participate fully. Several small delegations admitted that they had notexpected to be able to follow the entire drafting process, no matter what approach wasemployed, and reported that they relied on regional group representation and coordinationwith other delegations. Delegates and observers noted that until the COP agenda becomesmore manageable, any negotiating structure will remain challenging.


COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE: The COW is expected to meet during themorning and evening to continue consideration of draft decisions.

GROUPS: Groups on agricultural biodiversity, financial issues and IPR areexpected to meeting during the morning.

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