See more coverage of this event on the main IISD ENB website

We have launched a new website to better share our reports of global environmental negotiations.

As well as current coverage of new negotiations, you can find our original reports from this event by clicking here.

go to IISDnet
Photos and RealAudio of 18 May

On the fourth day of CBD COP-5, delegates continued their discussions in Working Groups in morning and afternoon sessions. Working Group I (WG-I) considered Chair's draft text on sustainable use, including tourism, and incentive measures, and work programmes on inland water, marine and coastal and forest biodiversity. A contact group on dry and sub-humid lands met in the evening. Working Group II (WG-II) continued discussions on the operations of the Convention, as well as national reporting, financial resources and mechanism, and the Clearing-House Mechanism (CHM). The two contact groups on access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing (ABS) and the operations of the Convention met in the evening.

Nambia spoke on behalf of the Contact Group on sustainable use, including tourism and incentives, stating that prioritization of the programme of work remains pending.
BAHAMAS said that decisions on sustainable use should be disaggregated into three decisions, each with separate preambular paragraphs.

The Secretariat introduced background document UNEP/CBD/COP/5/10 and relevant information documents. SBSTTA-5 Chair Cristián Samper reviewed SBSTTA Recommendations IV/1A and V/5, 6 and 7. NEPAL called for making mountain ecosystems a separate high priority to address issues pertinent to the forests, freshwater and agrobiodiversity of high altitude areas. He requested increased GEF funding for mountain ecosystems within other ecosystem operational programs
AUSTRALIA suggested SBSTTA review the report of the
World Commission on Dams and urged participation in the River Basin Initiative.
On marine and coastal biodiversity, PORTUGAL, on behalf of the EU, welcomed the work programme and referred to coral bleaching, the adverse effects of climate change, the need for regional cooperation and collaboration with the UNFCCC and other relevant bodies.
WG-1 Chair Peter Schei said a Conference Room Paper containing draft decisions of the marine ecosystem work programme would be issued for discussion.

The Secretariat introduced background document UNEP/CBD/COP/5/13
and SBSTTA-5 Chair Samper reviewed SBSTTA Recommendation V/13.
ETHIOPIA, on behalf of the G77/CHINA, stated that a standard format should be used as a reference and not be mandatory.
BANGLADESH suggested extending deadlines for reporting on forests and benefit-sharing to May 2000, and supported adoption of a set of indicators on the status of biodiversity keeping in mind each country's unique forms of life.

The Secretariat introduced background documents UNEP/CBD/COP/5/7 and 13 and reviewed recent SBSTTA decisions
On additional financial resources, INDIA expressed concern over reductions in ODA GEF funding
MALAYSIA highlighted the potential involvement of the private sector in funding certain CBD activities

AUSTRALIA opposed the draft terms of reference of the second GEF review, noting the need to simplify criteria of assessment and broaden information sources

SWITZERLAND called for a simpler format for reporting financial support and asked to expand and improve the database on biodiversity-related funding.

David Brackett, SBSTTA Bureau member, on behalf of the the Secretariat introduced background documents UNEP/CBD/COP/5/3, 13, Inf.3 and Inf.4, and SBSTTA Recommendation V/2.

Press conference: European Union and the CBD

The European Union held a press briefing on its positions regarding the biodiversity convention. Christoph Bail , Head of Directorate General XI - Environment, Nuclear Safety and Civil Protection [, second from the right] spoke on behalf of the European Commission, stressing the region's commitment to making the CBD work through on the ground practices, strategies and action plans. He said European countries will be signing and implementing the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. He further indicated the European Community's recognition of the need for guidelines regarding prior informed consent and mutual agreed terms for access to genetic resources and benefit sharing measures without infringing on traditional knowledge, including sui generis systems. He concluded by calling for greater integration and reconciliation between agricultural production and the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

Ensuing deliberations centered on: the EU's alliance with Africa in bringing forth the Cartagena Protocol; the importance of capacity-building in the application of the precautionary principle through biosafety risk assessment; whether the WTO and CBD Biosafety Protocol are conflicting or mutually supportive; and the possibility of a protocol on access and benefit sharing in light of the "window of opportunity" created with the birth of the Biosafety Protocol as the first legally-binding biodiversity instrument.

Press conference: Alien Species

A press conference on alien species chaired by Rosalind Reeve, Defender Of Wildlife- Kenya [, top photo left]. Rich Blaustein, Environmental Lawyer with Defenders-USA [, top photo right], presented a case for developing an Alien Species Protocol to the CBD and suggested that COP-5 create an ad hoc working group for this purpose.

Jeff Waage [, middle photo on the left], Chief Executive of the Center for Applied Biosciences International (CABI), gave an overview of the global problem of invasive plants, animals and insects and the environmental damage and biodiversity loss they create. He emphasized the importance of raising awareness and sharing information about existing solutions for eradication of such invasive species. CABI's Global Invasive Species Programme will soon be releasing a tool kit for national programmes on alien species along with a global database to assist in information-exchange about them. 

Greg Sherley [, middle photo on the right], Programme Officer with the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme [SPREP] in Samoa, said that invasive species were the major cause of biodiversity loss in the South Pacific. A regional invasive species strategy is being developed to include awareness raising, capacity-building and eradication programmes. 

Gasper Mallya, Operations Officer, Lake Victoria Environmental Management Programme [bottom photo on the right], described efforts to eradicate and monitor water hyacinth first introduced in Lake Victoria in 1987 and now a severe problem causing transportation interference, the reduction of light and oxygen in the lake and biodiversity loss.

Soulèye Ndiaye, Senegal's National Parks Director [bottom photo on the left], emphasized the real threat that invasive aquatic weeds, such as water lettuce and hyacinth, cause to the biodiversity and socio-economic conditions of West African riparian zones and lagoons. He recommended that COP-5 set up a committee on invasive species in dryland areas.

For more information on the DOW proposal for an Alien Species Protocol, see []

Press conference: Genetic Resources

The World Resources Institute held a press briefing on governments' efforts to establish a system whereby a country that grants a company or organization access to its genetic resources can receive in return a fair share of the profits or other benefits.

Chip Barber, World Resources Institute Philippines [top photo, right], presented on the joint responsibility of providers and users of genetic resources to develop legislation regarding the commercialization of genetic materials, noting that developing countries have tended to develop defensive legislation which impedes rather than enhances the flow of genetic resources.

Mario Rodriguez, International Chamber of Commerce and Association of Biotechnology Industries of Mexico [top photo, left], said that the private sector demands to participate in decision making on genetic resources access issues in the same way that indigenous people do and can play an important role in creating enhanced varieties of foods in developing countries that are source countries of genetic material.

François Pithoud, Swiss COP-5 Delegate [bottom photo, left], expressed his country's view that the CBD must now rapidly develop guidelines for access and benefit sharing regulation with attention to balancing intellectual property, agricultural and environmental concerns.

Stephen Schnierer, Director of the College of Indigenous Australian Peoples, Southern Cross University [, bottom photo, right], emphasized that indigenous peoples' concerns regarding access and benefit-sharing are not limited to genetic resources exploitation for commercial use. They are also interwoven with spiritual values and practices as well as cultural dimensions. These include the right to be part of any decision making process on access to benefit sharing of genetic resources and a broad range of rights to protect indigenous knowledge from patenting interests. He said Western intellectual property rights were fare more individualistic and less communal than sui generis systems, but that all options for protecting traditional knowledge should be explored. These include a wider approach to what benefits could be shared ranging from cash inputs to capacity-building, local infrastructure, less exclusive protected area legislation, territorial and cultural rights and repatriation of pre-CBD collected genetic materials.

The Press raised questions regarding the boldness of the Swiss proposal for guidelines on access and benefit sharing as a first step towards international standards.  They further queried on the lack of attention to pre-CBD germplasm in designated national collections in Northern countries which may include landraces no longer present in the South. Further discussion centered on what benefits are expected from genetic resources and how they can be shared with whom.

Side event: Captain Hook Awards Ceremony

Delegates to COP-5 gathered outside the conference rooms to witness the bestowing of Captain Hook Awards - presented by the Coalition Against Biopiracy (CAB) to acknowledge outstanding achievement in bio-piracy. The CAB presented "Villain Awards" to "those who plunder genetic resources" under categories such as "worst corporate offender," "worst international convention "and "worst anti-food security." "Cog Awards" were presented to those who fight biopiracy. Among the Cog Awards given were "best international convention" to the FAO-CGIAR Trust Accord [below, left] for it's practical initiative and firm political defense of farmers' varieties, and "best national defense" to the Philippines Government [below, right] for introducing legislation intended to strengthen the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities against biopiracy.

For more information on the awards and a list of recipients, please read either the [News Release] or the [Communique] on the RAFI web site.

Side event: Inter-linkages: Synergies and Coordination between Multilateral Environmental Agreements

Chaired by A.H. Zakri (Malaysia, on the right), the session reviewed the activities of the United Nations University and other organizations in the area of developing synergies among multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). 

Bradnee Chambers (UNU-Insitute for Advanced Studies, photo on the left) outlined the results of a conference on the topic held in Tokyo in July 1999. The meeting made concrete recommendations in the areas of information harmonization, finance, issue management, scientific mechanisms and institutions. Chambers also outlined upcoming work focusing on the inter-relation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, the World Trade Organization and the Codex Alimentarius.

For more information: [] (on-line mid-June) or []

Sam Johnston (CBD Secretariat) highlighted COP-5 issues relevant to developing synergies among MEAs. At the national and regional levels he highlighted the role of reporting and discussions on the second national reports. For subsidiary bodies, he noted discussion of coordination for scientific input and assessments and linkages between the advisory bodies of MEAs. At the COP-level, he called attention to the existing joint work programme with the Ramsar Convention and current discussions on work with the Convention to Combat Desertification.

Jerry Velazques (UNU-Global Environment Information Center) reviewed the UNU's work programme on the topic for the rest of 2000. Some activities include information dissemination, regional reviews and national case studies. Specific topics for study include biosafety, ozone-climate linkages, land degradation, operationalization of the precautionary principle, linking science with policy and use of an issue management approach. Other activities include capacity-building for developing country negotiators.

Michael Williams, UNEP-Division for Environmental Conventions, [, top photo on the left] introduced UNEP's new publication Synergies, which promotes collaboration between environmental treaties. Megumi Seki (UNEP) highlighted UNEP activities in the areas of MEA collaboration, the second interlinkages assessment, harmonization of national reporting and the regional seas action plans.

Delmar Blasco, Ramsar Convention Secretariat [], noted that the issue of interlinkages is taking root although further time and resources are necessary in order for it to permeate all levels of activity. He highlighted Ramsar's bilateral cooperation with the CBD, CCD and Convention on Migratory Species, but noted the need to work harder on multilateral cooperation among the MEAs.

Mark Collins (World Conservation Monitoring Centre) reviewed WCMC's past work on harmonization of reporting under MEAs, noting that information management has a high potential for developing synergies. He referred to the use of modular reporting where national reports on a particular issue could be included under the reporting requirements of different MEAs.

Ruth MacKenzie (Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development) noted the complexity of identifying all of the relevant agreements, organizations and processes working on a particular issue. She stated that the CBD has come a long way in developing synergies with other agreements (e.g., Ramsar and the CCD) and noted tougher work ahead with the FAO and WTO. She also suggested that Parties look at their obligations for sectoral integration under CBD Article 6(b).

Side event: Protected Areas and the CBD

David Sheppard [, shown here on the right], IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Liaison and Head of IUCN's Programme on Protected Areas, facilitated a panel on preparations for COP-7 consideration of protected areas CBD Article 8(a) in 2004, hosted by IUCN-WCPA, The World Resources Institute (WRI), and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). He suggested that the CBD create a new paradigm for linked national and regional networks of different kinds of protected areas. These networks should recognize the multiple values of biodiversity conservation and benefit people. He pointed to the need to accommodate global coverage of protected areas (33,000 sites near 10% of the earth's surface), reverse the current trend of species diversity loss, the "paper park syndrome", narrow range of designated protected areas categories. He added that gaps in conservation coverage of marine ecosystems, grasslands, deserts and lakes should be filled.

Olivier Jarbert [, second from the right], Deputy Executive Secretary of CBD, stressed that protected areas are not "museums of nature" but crucial to the ecosystem approach and biodiversity conservation. He suggested that the COP form a liaison group on protected areas to advance analysis of trends and proposals in time for SBSTTA-7 and COP-7.

Jeff McNeely [, far right], Chief Scientist of IUCN, stressed that the CBD protected area strategy and those on domesticated productive landscapes are equally important to the ecosystem approach. Moreover, protected areas have been narrowly defined and seen as islands, whereas the most interesting biodiversity conservation occurs out of legally-designated areas for local cultural reasons, such as graveyards and sacred forests or mountains. He expressed hope that the CBD would mainstream protected areas as a diverse biodiversity conservation tool in ways that can contribute to national cultures.

Tony Lavanya, WRI Director of Biological Resources [, second from the left], invited participants to join and fund activities of the WRI-GEF-IUCN-CBD Secretariat Steering Group and WCPA Task Force on Protected Areas. Their work aims to develop criteria for innovative protected area categories and management regimes, define in situ biodiversity conservation options in domesticated landscapes and identify critical sites for conserving important ecosystem services.

Walter Luisigi [, far left], GEF Biodiversity Specialist and Chair of the International Planning Committee informed participants on the 5th World Congress on Protected Areas, entitled "Benefits Beyond Boundaries" to be held 16-24 September 2002 in Durban, South Africa. Major themes will include ecological integrity, biodiversity restoration, marine biodiversity, governance, linkages in landscapes "from islands to networks" and nature-culture connections. For more information see []

Participants discussed: the recently formed IUCN Inter-Commission Task Force on Protected Areas and Local Communities, headed by Ashish Kothari, Environmental Action Group of Kalvapavriksh India []; whether to add another IUCN protected area category to enable community ownership or to integrate communities into the management objectives of existing categories. For more information on networks of protected areas experts, contact WCPA Chair Adrian Phillips [] and Kenton Miller at WRI []

Side event: Diverse Women, Access and Benefit Sharing

Christine von Wiersacker, ECOROPA Germany chaired a session on access and benefit sharing hosted by Diverse Women for Diversity (DWD). Speakers included Wangari Mathai, Greenbelt Movement of Kenya; Tewolde, Egjaibher, COP-5 Delegate of Ethiopia; Monica Opole, Kenya Center for Indigenous Knowledge Systems and By-products; Shalini Bhutani, DWD Secretariat, India. Discussing on the theme of whose access and which benefits, speakers highlighted the "sovereign rights of local communities" in the context of access to and benefit-sharing arising from the use of genetic resources and the prerequisite of "good faith" between providers and users of genetic resources. For more information, contact Monica Opole [] or Salini Bhutani [] or visit the DWD web site at [] (follow the DWD link).

Discussions in the Working Groups and the breezeways have been awash with talk of cooperation with other environmental agreements. Some noted positive and proactive collaboration with Ramsar and the CCD in contrast to lackadaisical responses from the UNFCCC on coral bleaching and forests. A few delegates suggested that the successful collaborations partially relate to an incentive to develop ties with the CBD's financial mechanism. Others wondered whether the GEF's new operational programme on ecosystem management and its ties to carbon sequestration would facilitate such activities at the national level.
Right: at the UN compound at Gigiri, buildings are not separated
by closed corridors, instead they are linked by open breezeways.

© 2000, IISD. All rights reserved.

click to topBack to ENB's CBD-COP-5 main page