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Photos and RealAudio of 17 May

On the third day of CBD COP-5, delegates continued their discussions in Working Groups. In the morning, Working Group I (WG-I) addressed a work programme for dry and sub-humid lands, which was further discussed by a contact group in the afternoon. Working Group II (WG-II) discussed access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing (ABS) in the morning and operations of the Convention in the afternoon; two contact groups were established on these issues and met in the evening.

At the request of WG-I Chair Peter Schei (Norway), the Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (UNEP/CBD/COP/5/2, 3 and 19) and SBSTTA-4 Chair Christián Samper reviewed SBSTTA recommendations IV/3 and V/8 on the work programme
The Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD) highlighted its collaboration with the CBD Secretariat and the need to encourage synergies among local activities that maintain ecosystem stability and livelihoods.
PORTUGAL, on behalf of the EU, supported the work programme and called for a a two-track approach incorporating assessments and targeted actions.
TURKMENISTAN urged caution in developing joint work with the CCD, noting its emphasis on Africa.
Namibia, on behalf of the AFRICAN GROUP, proposed minimizing costly, post-hoc disaster relief in Africa by integrating the diversification of livelyhoods; indigenous drought-coping stratagies in drylands, riverbasin management and biodiversity-friendly initiatives at regional and national levels
NIGERIA, on behalf of the G-77/CHINA, stressed the issue's importance for developing countries, including the need for a financial mechanism, and highlighted the need for assessments of biodiversity status and trends.
TANZANIA called for a review of the work programme's implementation at SBSTTA-7 and supported creation of an ad hoc technical expert group at COP-6.

The FAO drew attention to its report on the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources (UNEP/CBD/COP/5/Inf.12)
CGIAR stated that countries developing ABS legislation should include flexible measures to allow for a multilateral system for access to genetic resources for food and agriculture.
The THIRD WORLD NETWORK, speaking for an NGO coalition, asked the COP to address TRIPs regarding the revision of Article 27.3(b) and to reject patents on life forms
A representative of the MAORI PEOPLE stressed linkages between the Expert Panel and the Working Group on Article 8(j)

Side event: Workshop on Strategic Planning for Access to Genetic Resources & Benefit-Sharing

Karry ten Kate [] , Conventions and Policy Section, Royal Botanical Gardens Kew, facilitated a workshop on case studies and ways to incorporate access to genetic resources and benefit sharing provisions within National Biodiversity and Strategic Action Plans (NBSAP). She said remaining challenges include addressing the complexity of NBSAP processes, how to involve and who to involve in participatory mechanisms and the integration of elements pertinent to potential multilateral and bilateral contractual arrangements for facilitating access to plant genetic resources for food, agriculture or pharmaceutical purposes.

Krystyna Swiderska [, on the right of the middle photo], UK International Institute for Environment and Development, presented preliminary results of an analysis of participation planning processes taken within access to genetic resource, traditional knowledge and biodiversity strategies and policy drafting in Peru, the Philippines, India and South Africa. She emphasized that levels of acceptance and implementation of such strategies, including NBSAPs, are directly related to the level of participation a broad range of stakeholders in their design, a key element increasing awareness and enabling a greater sense of ownership and legitimacy in necessary consensus building during policy drafting and implementation processes.

Mario Baudoin, Director Generale de Biodiversidad [left in the middle photo], Ministeria de Desarollo Sustenible, Bolivia, spoke on Bolivia's recent access legislation and NBSAP experience. Their strategic goal have been to develop the economic potential of biodiversity for the benefit of the population and the natural patrimony of Bolivia. He highlighted the need for local, sub-national questionnaires with questionnaires and interviews before having a national workshop for eventual synthesis of technical and civil society feedback with original working documents of access and biodiversity legislation.

Bansuri Taneja [, bottom photo, right], Kalpavrish India, described her NGO's facilitation of the participatory process for the government of India in a manner aimed at cross-sectoral integration of the ethical, cultural, scientific and economic dimensions of biodiversity, access and benefit-sharing. She said India's NBSAP amalgamates local sub-state, national, inter-state eco-regional and separate detailed thematic strategy and action plans, including on domesticated biodiversity, health, livelihoods, education, access to genetic resources and intellectual property rights. Its participatory process has solicited inputs. She emphasized that any methodology for integrating access and benefit-sharing into NBSAPs must: consider cross-sectoral links; include implementation agencies and action-oriented proposals; solicit inputs via letters, public and specialized workshops, press releases, electronic and folk media; assess existing legislation in order to reform them accordingly; respect and protect indigenous knowledge, food security, gender and equity dimensions.

Maureen M. Wolfson [, bottom photo, center], South African National Botanical Institute, described South Africa's a 2 year, bottom-up NBSAP consultative process. Its culmination was a Biodiversity White Paper amalgamating policy recommendations put together from several local language commentaries and provincial workshops involving over 3000 organizations. This NBSAP process halted, however, due to changing state authorities and lack of political will for implementation. This situation is now changing to incorporate revised legislation and implementation priorities for biodiversity-related activities, including benefit-sharing, protected area management and sustainable use of wildlife. Nevertheless, participation of local and indigenous peoples not formally organized remains a challenge.

Adrian Wells [, bottom photo, left], Conventions and Policy Section, Royal Botanical Gardens Kew, said the scope of access and benefit-sharing policies within NBSAPs ought to address both national needs (e.g. poverty alleviation, livelihood sustainability and capacity-building) and those important to maintaining international partnerships with pharmaceuticals and taxonomic institutions. He added that scientific training and research coordination aimed at integrating taxonomy, biochemistry and protected areas concerns for example are as critical as enterprise development through incentives, accreditation and certification infrastructures.

Subsequent discussion centered on: counterbalancing participation with strategic leadership; differential participation realities and if to distinguish between different stakeholders and their respective roles, paying particular attention to those with less political economic power and voice; recognition of owners and users, national and international actors and regulators of genetic resources; how inclusion of international participants can help not restrict access to genetic resources; the need to include implementation agencies and persons in drafting and planning process for access and benefit-sharing legislation; and extending benefit-sharing into NBSAPs and the revision International Undertaking for Plant Genetic Resources for Plant Genetic Resources through both multilateral and bilateral arrangements for regulating access to and distribution of genetic resource material and knowledge from designated collections, breeding programs and protected areas.

For more information: [] and []

Side event: Biodiversity Incentives

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and IUCN-The World Conservation Union hosted a workshop on incentives for biodiversity conservation, sustainable use and benefit-sharing. Discussion centered on: how to implement incentives and policy activities at local and national levels; incentives and trade-related issues arising from the CBD, CITES and the WTO; the impacts of trade liberalization on biodiversity; and whether intellectual property rights could be used as effective incentives

Dan Biller, OECD, reviewed OECD initiatives regarding biodiversity in areas such as agriculture, food safety and biotechnology. He described the OECD Working Group on Economic Aspects of Biodiversity, which has focused on markets for biodioversity, incentives and valuation, access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing. Incentives considered have included fees, taxes, trading rights, market creation and the reduction of adverse incentives, given information provision, capacity and institution building and stakeholder involvement considerations.

Frank Vorhies, IUCN, discussed his institution's new Quadriennual Program on incentives and economics which concentrates on: harmonizing global biodiversity-related policies with national policy implementations through national biodiversity strategies and action plans; public conservation finance including guidelines for accessing GEF funds; private conservation finance such as the Kijami initiative for business and biodiversity in Africa). He stressed the need for a collaborative program on biodiversity incentives that embraces the ecosystem approach, focuses on assessments of biodiversity incentives and engages other international players such as UNCTAD, the World Bank, the GEF, World Wildlife Fund, the Wetlands Convention and WWF.

More information:
OECD Biosafety - BioTrack []
IUCN Economics Program []

Side event: The River Basin Initiative

Salvatore Arico, CBD Secretariat with Delmar Blasco, Ramsar Wetlands Convention Executive Secretary [below right], and Faizal Parish, Global Environment Network [below left], introduced the River Basin Initiative, a joint project of the CBD and Ramsar Convention on integrating wetlands, biodiversity and river basin management. Parish identified reasons for the initiative, including river and water pollution, loss of biodiversity and local community livelihoods and increased CO2 emissions. He also detailed the development of the initiative. A handbook on integrating wetland conservation and wise use into river basin management is available directly from the Ramsar Secretariat, or online at []

Side event: Gender and Biodiversity

A workshop entitled "Pushing through the Glass Ceiling on Gender and Biodiversity" was hosted by the German Agency for Technical Cooperation's (GTZ) and attended by representatives from Africa, Asia, Latin and North America, Europe and Australia. Presentations were given by coordinators of the GTZ Project on the Implementation of the CBD, Andreas Gettkant [, below left] and Christine Schäfer [, on the left]; Lucy Mulenki of the African Indigenous Women's Organization and a representative of Peru's National Environmental Council. Panelists highlighted the differential opportunities and rights to biodiversity between the men and women as well as their differing knowledge about biological diversity, such that women make use of different biodiversity than men or make use of the same resources in very different ways. While gender and agriculture has been well studied, issues pertinent to biodiversity and gender remain understudied. Participants focused on how to integrate gender into the CBD's work programmes, how to better involve indigenous women's organizations and gender differentiation needs in Article 8(j)'s implementation. For more information contact the GTZ Pilot Programme on Gender coordinator:

Martha Guiterrez []

Side event: The CBD and Procedural Rights in Africa

This side event was co-organized by the African Center for Technology Studies (ACTS), the World Resources Institute (WRI) and Lawyers' Environment Action Team Tanzania (LEAT) and chaired by Prof. John Y. Okedi, National Environment Authority of Uganda.

Peter Veit [, seated], WRI Regional Director for Africa, said that environmental procedural rights include access to environmental information, justice and participation in decision-making processes as per Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration, the 1998 Aarhus Convention and all UNCED Conventions and Protocols. He noted that the right to environment is protected by most African Constitutions, while the right to life, which can be interpreted to include environmental concerns, is protected by all of them. Procedural rights are also included in the fundamental freedoms. He highlighted their importance for citizens' empowerment both in national and regional levels and emphasized the challenge faced by African countries to create a regional instrument to protect environmental procedural rights and to revise existing legislation.

Tundu A. Lissu [], LEAT Staff Attorney, highlighted the state of law regarding environmental procedural rights in Tanzania, while Godber W. Tumushabe [, standing in the photo above], Executive Director of Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment in Uganda, described those in Tanzania, especially regarding environmental impact assessment processes.

Benson Ochiang [, photo on the left], ACTS Kenya, noted that individual citizens and indigenous peoples in Africa are limited in what they can do or demand regarding environmental rights and biodiversity, since these are considered to be state sovereignty matters.

Subsequent discussion touched on links between procedural environmental rights and environmental impact assessment processes, procedural rights in CBD implementation and the necessity of regional and global instruments to protect environmental rights.

As the Working Groups progressed on their agendas, many delegates were anticipating the discussions on the forest work programme, especially given the recent conclusion of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests. Some participants hoped that calls at SBSTTA-5 to make the work programme more action-oriented would spur progress before COP-6. Others thought that re-opening the work programme at this point would be thorny and provide few benefits. Several delegates saw potential in focusing activities on the Proposals for Action of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests relevant to the CBD.
Right: at the UN compound at Gigiri, buildings are not separated
by closed corridors, instead they are linked by open breezeways.

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