Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 09 No. 237
Thursday, 18 April 2002
CBD COP-6 HIGHLIGHTS:
WEDNESDAY, 17 APRIL 2002
The Ministerial roundtable discussion met in the
morning and afternoon to discuss the CBD’s contribution to the WSSD
and COP-6’s priority issues. Working Group I (WG-I) met briefly in
the afternoon to review progress on forests. Working Group II
considered Conference Room Papers (CRPs) on: education and public
awareness; cooperation with other conventions, international
organizations and initiatives; the strategic plan; Article 8(j); and
implementation and operations of the Convention. Contact groups on
forest biodiversity and financial resources and mechanism
Approximately 120 Ministers and heads of
delegations attended the Ministerial roundtable. Wim Kok, Prime
Minister of the Netherlands, stressed links between poverty
eradication and sustainable development, and the need for immediate
and concrete action to achieve the WSSD’s goals. Representatives
from the parallel Youth Conference emphasized deforestation and
restoration of primary forests, opposed patenting of genetic
resources, and noted Agenda 21’s commitment to youth participation.
COP-6 President Geke Faber (the Netherlands) noted COP-6’s progress,
including adoption of the Bonn guidelines, the guiding principles on
invasive alien species, and the strategic plan. CBD Executive
Secretary Hamdallah Zedan underscored the impacts of trade,
agriculture, lack of partnerships and fragmented decision-making on
biodiversity loss. President Faber invited comments on the draft
Ministers thanked the Dutch government for
hosting the meeting. Highlighting the CBD’s role for achieving
sustainable development and the need for a strong commitment, they
agreed on sending a clear message to the WSSD through a concise and
focused declaration. Many Ministers stressed the link between
poverty alleviation, biodiversity conservation and sustainable use.
One country suggested listing causes of environmental degradation,
including poverty, unsustainable consumption and production
patterns, unequal distribution of wealth, external debt, and global
trade, while another emphasized the effects of war.
Several Ministers underscored integrating
biodiversity into all policies, with some requesting CBD observer
status in the WTO, and others supporting language emphasizing the
cross-cutting nature of biodiversity. One country emphasized basing
environmental policies on proper scientific data. Many Ministers
supported a 2010 year-target to stop and reverse biodiversity loss,
with developing countries and small island developing States
emphasizing their specific needs. Several countries emphasized the
importance of coral reefs and one country suggested developing
restoration programmes as a 2010-target. Marine and coastal
biodiversity was suggested as a priority for COP-8. Some countries
called for regulation of use of genetic resources. One country
condemned biological weapons. Countries urged ratification of the
Many Ministers supported referencing ethics in
the declaration. Several countries called for identification of
responsibilities, with one emphasizing sharing the costs of
biodiversity loss. Ministers emphasized technical and technological
transfer and capacity building and creation of partnerships, and
called for synergies with other international organizations,
including cooperation with the UNFF, UNCCD and UNFCCC. Some
countries shared domestic and transboundary experiences on forests,
invasive alien species and protected areas.
Ministers supported the GEF’s replenishment and
many called for additional financial resources for developing
countries and economies in transition. One country suggested
stronger wording on official development assistance targets. Several
Ministers emphasized the need for public participation and
involvement of society as a whole, including indigenous people,
youth and women. Some Ministers called for an international legal
instrument on ABS and recognition of community rights. Education,
awareness raising and sharing of knowledge were also noted.
Ministers called for reference to a detailed action-oriented forest
work programme, with specific targets and mechanisms for
implementation and monitoring through a working group. Some
countries also suggested reference to illegal logging and trade in
bio-resources. Several countries called for holistic forest
management, commitments to stop deforestation and evaluation of
non-timber forest services. One country suggested that market prices
should reflect the value of biodiversity.
Many Ministers supported an offer by Malaysia to
host COP-7 in 2004. President Faber closed the meeting and suggested
informal consultations to resolve outstanding issues on forests. A
morning session will be held to consider a revised declaration.
WORKING GROUP II
EDUCATION AND PUBLIC AWARENESS: Chair Elaine
Fisher (Jamaica) welcomed comments on UNEP/CBD/COP/6/ WG.II/CRP.8.
NORWAY requested a funding provision for the programme element on
capacity building. With this and other minor amendments, delegates
adopted the document.
COOPERATION WITH OTHER CONVENTIONS, INTERNATIONAL
ORGANIZATIONS AND INITIATIVES: Delegates discussed UNEP/CBD/COP/6/WG.II/CRP.4/Rev.1
and agreed to change the deadline on submitting views regarding
cooperation between the scientific subsidiary bodies of the CBD and
the UNFCCC to 30 May 2002. TURKEY proposed adding agricultural
biodiversity to cooperation with the UNFCCC, and the EU proposed a
new section highlighting cooperation with CITES. Delegates also
added preambular language on cooperation with conventions and
organizations referenced in other COP-6 decisions.
On reference to the Biosafety Protocol and WTO
agreements, delegates agreed to emphasize the need for mutual
supportiveness. Delegates discussed language on referencing WIPO and
work on ABS and Article 8(j) and agreed to reference intellectual
property issues arising from ABS and Article 8(j). Delegates then
adopted the CRP.
STRATEGIC PLAN: Delegates addressed UNEP/CBD/COP/
6/WG.II/CRP.7. Contact group Co-Chair David Brackett (Canada)
highlighted a pending issue regarding the review of implementation,
noting two options under the section on review and alternative
decision language. Many delegates supported the decision language,
which requests the Executive Secretary to develop a proposal for
future evaluation of implementation progress for consideration at an
inter-sessional meeting. ARGENTINA, AUSTRALIA, BRAZIL and CHILE
opposed the text, stating that implementation rests upon national
efforts. Following informal consultations, delegates agreed to
request the Executive Secretary to provide information at an inter-sessional
meeting, for consideration of the future evaluation of progress in
the implementation of the Convention and the strategic plan. The
objective on a public awareness strategy for the Biosafety Protocol
was also amended upon AUSTRALIA’s suggestion, and the strategic plan
was adopted. The NGO CAUCUS highlighted the lack of a vision
statement and of in situ conservation, and stressed the need
for an effective review system.
ARTICLE 8(j): Delegates addressed UNEP/CBD/COP/6/
WG.II/CRP.9. Regarding bracketed language on prior informed consent
(PIC) of indigenous and local communities, WG-II Chair Elaine Fisher
(Jamaica) introduced a proposal by Australia, Canada, Jamaica,
Malaysia, New Zealand and the US stating that where a national legal
regime requires consultation or PIC, the assessment process should
consider whether such consultation has taken place or such PIC has
been obtained. COLOMBIA called for the full and effective
participation of indigenous communities as the basis of their PIC.
The EU with COLOMBIA, ECUADOR, NORWAY and the INTERNATIONAL
INDIGENOUS FORUM ON BIODIVERSITY maintained the principle of
Due to concerns of several Latin American
countries regarding traditional knowledge databases, delegates
agreed to examine the feasibility of establishing mechanisms to
protect traditional knowledge. CANADA objected and proposed deleting
SWITZERLAND, supported by CANADA, proposed
clarifying preambular language regarding IPR and ABS, the Doha
Declaration and the TRIPS Agreement, and adding explicit reference
to TRIPS Article 71 (Review and Amendment). Opposed by NICARAGUA and
GABON, SWITZERLAND proposed introducing the concept of
benefit-sharing instead of compensation.
The EU and CANADA opposed holding two
intersessional meetings of the Working Group on Article 8j.
ARGENTINA proposed financing of regional and national workshops.
CANADA recommended that WIPO address disclosure of origin and
dispute settlement regarding IPR. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION, supported
by TURKEY, introduced reference to small indigenous groups into the
outline of the composite report.
Chair Fisher convened a "Friends of the Chair"
group to address outstanding issues.
IMPLEMENTATION AND OPERATIONS OF THE CONVENTION:
Delegates considered UNEP/CBD/COP/6/ WG.II/CRP.2/Rev.2. LATVIA
and the EU supported, while ARGENTINA, AUSTRALIA and CANADA opposed,
retaining a bracketed provision on proposals for a system to monitor
CBD implementation. Delegates decided to repeat agreed language from
the strategic plan stating that the Executive Secretary would
provide information at an inter-sessional meeting. With these and
other minor amendments, delegates adopted the CRP.
FOREST BIODIVERSITY: A contact group met in
the morning, and after reporting back on progress to a brief
afternoon session of WG-I, it continued its work in the evening. On
a proposal to highlight a subset of the work programme's activities
for initial efforts at the regional and international levels, some
delegates said that international actions should be initiated on the
basis of countries' priorities, arguing that the proposal prejudges
national priority setting. Delegates finally agreed to request the
Executive Secretary to initiate a number of actions to address
"initial focus areas which are identified as important first steps
towards implementation of regional and international activities" of
the work programme.
Delegates debated at length language establishing
an ad hoc technical expert group on forests as part of a
follow-up process to the work programme. Delegates did not agree on
the process, timing or duration of the group, the scope of its tasks
or whether it would report to SBSTTA or directly to the COP. The
issue of finance and a proposed target for the work programme also
FINANCIAL RESOURCES AND MECHANISM: Delegates
addressed a Chairï¿½s text on additional financial resources and
decided that the Executive Secretary should take the lead over the
GEF to develop a global initiative on banking and biodiversity, and
gather information regarding conservation trust funds and negative
impacts of external debt. Delegates agreed that the GEF should make
information on biodiversity investments available and explore
co-financing and other creative financing modalities, while the OECD
should provide data on financial flows relating to the CBD. They
deleted reference to the Conservation Finance Alliance and
assessment of financial needs of developing countries.
In the evening, delegates accepted revised
preambular text on additional financial resources to implement the
strategic plan and on welcoming the outcome of the UN International
Conference on Financing for Development. The group decided that the
Executive Secretary should: address donor coordination; explore
cooperation on the need to centralize information on
biodiversity-related funding activities; and follow up on WSSD
outcomes relevant to additional financial resources. Delegates
agreed to address funding modalities for the preparation of national
and thematic reports in the decision on the financial mechanism, and
delete language on innovative and creative measures for CBD
implementation. Regarding bracketed language on incentives and
subsidies, the group agreed to reference positive incentives and
their performance, as well as perverse incentives and ways and means
for their removal or mitigation.
Delegates then addressed the draft decision on
the financial mechanism. They agreed to use preambular language on
the GEFï¿½s third replenishment from the decision on financial
resources and to delete related operative language. Discussion
continued in the late evening.
IN THE CORRIDORS
COP-6 overcame another significant hurdle with
WG-IIï¿½s adoption of the strategic plan, although some wondered if
the CBD process had buried its head in the sand. Critics pointed to
a mission statement that continues to tolerate biodiversity loss
combined with the evident lack of willingness by many to review
progress in this regard.
After slow discussions on forests, some
attributed comparatively rapid, though temporary, progress in the
evening to Ministerial pressure on some delegations to address the
forests and not the trees of the draft text.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
MINISTERIAL ROUNDTABLE: The Ministerial
Roundtable will convene at 8:30 am to consider the Ministerial
MULTI-STAKEHOLDER DIALOGUE: The
Multi-stakeholder dialogue will start at 10:00 am in the Prins
Willem Alexander Hall.
WORKING GROUP I: WG-I will review progress on
forest biodiversity [time and place to be announced].
WORKING GROUP II: WG-II will consider
remaining CRPs on Article 8(j), cooperation with other conventions,
contribution to the ten-year review of Agenda 21, and financial
resources and mechanism, as well as the longer-term programme of
work [time and place to be announced].