Report of main proceedings for 12 April 2002
CBD COP 6
Delegates met in two Working Groups, contact groups and a Plenary session. Working Group I (WG-I) discussed the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation Strategy (GSPC) and reviewed conference room papers (CRPs) on the GSPC and marine and coastal biodiversity. Working Group II (WG-II) discussed cooperation with other conventions, international organizations and initiatives, and the contribution to the ten-year review of Agenda 21, and began considering a CRP on scientific and technical cooperation and the Clearing-House Mechanism (CHM). A Plenary reviewed progress in the afternoon, and contact groups on invasive alien species, access and benefit-sharing (ABS), and the strategic plan also met.
WORKING GROUP I
GLOBAL STRATEGY FOR PLANT CONSERVATION: The Secretariat introduced UNEP/CBD/COP/6/1/Add.2, 12/ Add.4, INF/21, INF/21/Add.1-4 and INF/22. Delegates supported adoption of the GSPC, and many emphasized it as a flexible framework for regional and national priority setting and implementation. Several delegates stressed the voluntary nature of the strategys quantitative targets. BRAZIL highlighted the GSPC as a pilot exercise on target setting within the CBD. SOUTH AFRICA said that the outcome-oriented targets should allow for cost-effective implementation.
Iran, on behalf of ASIA AND THE PACIFIC REGION, supported by many, called for new and additional funds for the GSPC's implementation and highlighted capacity building, with SIERRA LEONE emphasizing biological hotspots. Ethiopia, for the AFRICAN GROUP, stressed people's dependence on plants, advocated linkages to poverty alleviation, and called for GEF funding for the strategy's implementation. INDONESIA emphasized implementation through involvement of villages, and CUBA called for a bottom-up approach in implementation. TONGA emphasized the special needs of small island developing States and GABON stressed ex situ plant conservation.
HUNGARY, supported by many, suggested reference to the European Plant Conservation Strategy and Spain, for the EU, encouraged Parties and governments to develop national and regional targets. NEW ZEALAND suggested that recovery and restoration programmes for threatened plant species comprise a separate target and emphasized management plans for most important invasive alien species within national and regional strategies. TURKEY suggested the strategys eventual extension to other taxonomic groups. MALAYSIA called for action by countries with low as well as high plant diversity. The DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO emphasized difficulties in conserving plants subject to trade.
The BOTANIC GARDENS CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL highlighted its new capacity-building program and funding for a CBD staff position. The COMMONWEALTH SECRETARIAT urged COP-6 to send a strong message on plant conservation to the high level Ministerial meeting and the WSSD. The INTERNATIONAL INDIGENOUS FORUM ON BIODIVERSITY (IIFB) stressed that implementation must ensure the full and fair participation of indigenous peoples. UNESCO noted the value of biosphere reserves in using both ex situ and in situ approaches.
In the afternoon, after informal consultations, the Secretariat presented UNEP/CBD/COP/6/WG.I/CRP.1. Delegates accepted the proposed amendments with several clarifications. Text related to the financial mechanism will be incorporated into the draft decision on financial resources and mechanism.
MARINE AND COASTAL BIODIVERSITY: The Secretariat presented UNEP/CBD/COP/6/WG.I/CRP.2, on the implementation of the work programme on marine and coastal biodiversity. WG-I adopted the proposed decision with minor amendments.
WORKING GROUP II
COOPERATION WITH OTHER CONVENTIONS, INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND INITIATIVES: The Secretariat introduced documents UNEP/CBD/COP/6/15, 1/ Add.2 and INF/15. WG-II Chair Elaine Fisher (Jamaica) noted that COP-7 is requested to endorse the joint work programme with the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the third joint work programme with the Ramsar Convention. The CMS highlighted its activities. Delegates supported the joint work programmes and draft decisions.
CAMEROON, NORWAY, the PHILIPPINES and SOUTH AFRICA supported SBSTTAs recommendation on financial resources. Albania, on behalf of the Central and Eastern European COUNTRIES, and Senegal called for protecting migratory species in their full migratory range. BIRDLIFE INTERNATIONAL asked that migratory species be recognized as a unique element of biodiversity and be integrated into national biodiversity strategies and the CBD work plan. The CZECH REPUBLIC and SLOVENIA urged focus on practical action.
Many called for increased collaboration with the CCD, UNFCCC and CITES. The EU supported workshops involving the three conventions, and, with NIGERIA, highlighted CBD participation in the ongoing UNEP process for streamlining reporting. SWITZERLAND said that the FAO, UNFF, UNFCCC and mitigation measures under the Kyoto Protocol could promote CBD objectives. DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE recommended inviting the UNFCCC to consider CBD work on forests and invasive alien species to avoid creating incentives for replacing primary forests with plantations.
Many highlighted the request for observer status in the relevant WTO bodies, in particular the TRIPS Council. COLOMBIA, MEXICO and TURKEY stressed enhancing cooperation with WIPO through formalizing a memorandum of understanding. NEW ZEALAND and NORWAY called for further collaboration with the International Plant Protection Convention.
CANADA, supported by many, suggested language on harmonizing policies and procedures primarily at the national level to enhance implementation. The NETHERLANDS stressed cooperation, identifying synergies and access to additional financial resources. The IIFB requested indigenous participation in the coordination process between conventions. CITES said conferences of the parties should ensure that their work programmes converge. The GLOBAL BIODIVERSITY INFORMATION FACILITY recommended eliminating barriers to accessing biodiversity data through digitization, participatory mechanisms and capacity building.
CONTRIBUTION TO THE TEN-YEAR REVIEW OF AGENDA 21: The Secretariat introduced documents UNEP/CBD/ COP/6/15 and 1/Add.2. The EU, NORWAY and SWITZERLAND called for a single and consistent message to the WSSD. NEW ZEALAND stressed that the Ministerial Statement, the COP statement and a summary report to the WSSD should be compatible with the strategic plan. The EU supported including concrete action-oriented proposals to generate political will for CBD implementation.
Many stressed the need to address the role of conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in poverty alleviation. CAMEROON added external debt and the fight against diseases. SWITZERLAND and others stressed focus on: CBD collaboration with other multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs); ratification of the Biosafety Protocol; and public awareness and stakeholder involvement.
Delegates highlighted WSSD as an opportunity to renew political commitments and referenced: capacity building; technology transfer; financial assistance; traditional knowledge; sustainable use; and equitable benefit-sharing. PERU stressed integrating biodiversity considerations into all economic and social sectors, and the private sectors importance. NORWAY said biodiversity should be a cross-cutting issue at the WSSD, and prioritized the ecosystem approach, the precautionary principle and increased recognition of MEAs in the WTO system. BANGLADESH proposed references to biodiversity as a cross-cutting issue in national development, impact assessments and the effects of natural disasters on biodiversity. CANADA proposed reference to innovative approaches to sustainable use by rural communities.
SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL COOPERATION AND THE CHM: Chair Fisher presented UNEP/CBD/COP/6/WG.II/ CRP.3 for discussion. The Secretariat provided revised text regarding a CHM focal point for indigenous and local communities, which called for collaboration with such communities to develop communication networks. MOROCCO, with CANADA, proposed adding collaboration with national focal points. BRAZIL opposed the provision. CANADA also suggested reference to information-sharing formats, protocols and standards on ethical issues relating to traditional knowledge. NORWAY proposed reviewing the CHMs role in promoting technical and scientific cooperation for national implementation, and developing guidelines to assist CHM focal points. The NETHERLANDS opposed such guidelines, noting COP-7s consideration of the CHMs assessment.
WG-II Chair Fisher said that discussion would continue on Monday, 15 April.
COP-6 President Geke Faber (The Netherlands) convened an afternoon Plenary, and delegates elected nine out of ten Bureau members for COP-7: Desh Deepak Verma (India); Mahfuzul Haque (Bangladesh); Soumayila Bance (Burkina Faso); Max Kitchell (Australia); Ines Verleye (Belgium); Amb. John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda); Gordana Beltram (Slovenia); and Alexander Shestakov (Russian Federation). The election of one GRULAC member is still pending.
WG-I Chair Peter Schei (Norway) and WG-II Chair Fisher then reported on progress in the working groups. Amb. Ashe reported on progress in the informal group on the budget. He said that agreement on the upcoming biennium budget is still pending and the proposed increase would not be possible. He recommended restraint in establishing new groups, intersessional meetings and workshops.
INVASIVE ALIEN SPECIES: In the introduction, delegates deleted reference to the precautionary approach and emphasized State responsibility as an overarching principle with reference to CBD Article 3 (Principle). They changed the title of Principle 4 to "Role of the State." Delegates agreed on reference to both burden of proof on the proposer of an introduction and to determination of burden by recipient States. Regarding harm, they agreed to refer to "threat to biological diversity" rather than "unacceptable harm." On mitigation of impacts, delegates kept reference to burden of costs of control and restoration measures on those responsible for introduction, and added consistency with national law. On control measures, delegates retained reference to implementation of measures, but did not address reference to intentional introduction.
On Sunday, 14 April, delegates agreed to refer to "guiding principles" rather than "guidelines." Considering use of terms, delegates worked on definitions provided in footnotes to the draft decision and agreed on definitions for alien species, invasive alien species, introduction, and intentional and unintentional introductions. Work continued into the evening.
ACCESS AND BENEFIT-SHARING: Under the guidelines, delegates discussed a proposal on user responsibilities, including an indicative list of actions. With some revisions, including changing text on product approval and certification processes to encourage disclosure of the country of origin in IPR applications, there was general agreement. However, delegates did not agree on inserting examination of alleged contraventions and bracketed the proposal.
Regarding IPR provisions in the draft decision, delegates agreed to language on the disclosure of traditional knowledges origin in IPR applications. Regarding future work on disclosure and a certification system, delegates debated appropriate roles for the CBD and WIPO, with some supporting further discussion by the Working Group on ABS. Delegates also proposed language regarding technology transfer and bracketed reference to inventions. The contact group Chairs will produce a draft text, while the use of terms remains outstanding.
STRATEGIC PLAN: The contact group met in an evening session, agreed on a chapeau, but had difficulty defining the objective and mission.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Reflecting on the first week of COP-6, even multi-person delegations noted difficulties in tracking the extremely busy dawn-to-dusk agenda of working groups, contact groups and "Friends of the Chair." Many delegates saw the benefits of such an approach, noting progress made on some difficult issues within the contact groups, but wondered if the pace could be sustained through the second week.
With discussions on Article 8(j) about to start, indigenous groups were lobbying to have the draft Bonn guidelines forwarded for review to the Working Group on Article 8(j). It remains to be seen if this will be opposed by certain countries, which insist on prior informed consent by the State, but seem biased against prior informed consent for indigenous and local communities.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
WORKING GROUP I: WG-I will convene at 10:00 am in the Prins Willem Alexander Hall to discuss the ecosystem approach, sustainable use and incentive measures. Look for a possible draft text on forest biodiversity.
WORKING GROUP II: WG-II will convene at 10:00 am in the Van Gogh Hall to conclude discussions on scientific and technical cooperation and the CHM. Look for possible draft texts on the strategic plan and on access and benefit-sharing.