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Photos and RealAudio of 23 May

On the seventh day of COP-5, the Working Groups met throughout the day and a Ministerial Roundtable on capacity-building to implement the Cartagena Protocol convened in the morning. Working Group I (WG-I) considered the Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI), the global strategy for plant conservation, and outstanding matters. Working Group II (WG-II) addressed impact assessment, liability and redress, and outstanding matters. WG-1 and the contact group on Article 8(j) met in the evening.

AUSTRALIA introduced a non-paper including: deadlines for submission of projects and designation of national GTI focal points; an interim Coordination Mechanism; and funding for the GTI programme officer.

Regarding impact assessment, PORTUGAL, on behalf of the EU and called for integrating biodiversity into environmental impact assessment (EIA). Regarding liability and redress, he suggested that SBSTTA further study the issue and report to COP-6.

INDIA called for information-sharing and capacity-building for developing countries in the area of EIA and biosafety.

The US
offered to train developing countries and share information
on incorporation of biodiversity and participatory mechanisms into EIA processes

David Pritchard spoke on behalf of BIRDLIFE INTERNATIONAL, the International Association on Impact Assessment (IAIA) and the Ramsar Convention Scientific and Technical Review Panel on Environmental Impact Assessment. He said these institutions welcome cooperative links with the CBD and the integration of biodiversity concerns into EIA legislation. He added that a 12-point IAIA work programme has made progress on this topic and IAIA has put together a glossary of terms and a register of experts.

"Two Microphones, One Voice"

ETHIOPIA [left] opposed postponing discussion and supported establishing a technical group for substantive evaluation of the issues of biosafety, environmental liability and impact assessment.

The EUROPEAN COMMISSION agreed [right], stressing the high priority of environmental liability and biosafety to Europe. He further emphasized the need to launch a negotiating process to develop coherence between CBD Article 14, the Basel Convention and the Biosafety Protocol so as not to create separate liability regimes.

AUSTRALIA supported development of guidelines and case studies, and preferred considering environmental liability and redress at COP-7 or at a later date

CANADA expressed concerns over the feasibility of policy guidelines for EIA. He said work should focus on interim arrangements for biosafety and case studies. He opposed setting a particular date or COP for tackling the environmental liability issue.


CBD COP-5 President Nyenze welcomed Ministers and opened the discussion on capacity-building to facilitate implementation of the Cartagena Protocol. Dr. Klaus Töpfer, UNEP Executive Director, remarked that the best international framework is worthless unless it closes the gap between the developed and developing countries. Simon Barber, EuropaBio, identified the need for capacity-building to provide research infrastructure, risk assessment evaluators, and information on local and regional environments. Lim Li Lin, Third World Network, suggested that developing countries conduct cost-benefit analysis to determine the need for GMOs and that they should have access to GMO detection facilities.

Developed and developing countries underscored the need for improved technical and scientific capacity and identified areas for capacity-building, including: regulation; risk assessment; risk management; enforcement; information sharing; institutional strengthening; and legislation development. Several delegates also expressed support for the UNEP/GEF enabling pilot project and requested more GEF funding.

MALAWI requested training for awareness on safe use and handling of GMOs. NIGER stressed combating desertification and poverty. TURKEY called for national assessments to identify urgent needs. UGANDA requested assistance in creating a biodiversity inventory. NIGERIA suggested establishing a database on biodiversity financing. SRI LANKA suggested a regional biosafety CHM. KIRIBATI advocated public awareness campaigns. SWITZERLAND, URUGUAY and others supported regional collaboration. SWITZERLAND called for improved collaboration among ongoing capacity-building initiatives. NORWAY said biotechnology must be developed with caution and in an ethical manner. AUSTRALIA cautioned against using biotechnology for market protectionism. The NETHERLANDS identified the need to find a balance between protection of IPR and local farmers rights. FRANCE offered provision of information and expert training.

Side event: Making the CBD Work: A Delegate Roundtable on Improving CBD Effectiveness

An informal roundtable facilitated by George Green and organized by Desiree McGraw, both of the delegation of Canada, on improving the effectiveness of the CBD. Panelists included representatives from Canada, Mexico, the UK, UNEP and the USA, while those in the audience came from Africa, Europe and Latin America.

Panelists likened the CBD to: "the mother of conventions" for being comprehensive and complex; being the "the ugly sister of the Cinderellas" i.e. CITES and the Framework Convention on Climate Change since it lacks the political backing and limelight in the public eye. They also described the CBD to a convention that is "hard to love" or an outright dysfunctional structural beast with a gigantic scope where everything is equally important. Others noted that "everyone plants their colonial interests and their red flags" on specific issues such as taxonomy, ecotourism, marine parks. Nevertheless, participants expressed optimism that the CBD could be strengthened. The upcoming enactment of the Biosafety Protocol was seen as a window of opportunity to strategically redirect the Convention's fragmented work programme and procedures. Many felt it is time to clarify objectives and develop flexible guidelines, national targets, and decisions about trade and environment.

Participants noted that the sectoralization and fragmentation of the CBD's agenda was occurring in juxtaposition with shrinking budgets and diminishing public profile. The CBD's memorandums of understanding with other conventions remain "miserably" vague. The CBD has yet to tackle its economic and trade-related linkages with institutions such as WIPO and WTO. The CBD also has also failed to be responsive to current biodiversity crises of the day such as major forest fires or coral bleaching.

Recommendations for making the CBD work better included interlinking and streamlining environmental conventions and national reporting. Participants suggested prioritizing the issue of trade and biodiversity rules, scientific assessments such as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, and implementation agreements at regional and national levels. Speakers recommended that the CBD develop a strategic plan to revise objectives, set performance goals and develop ways to measure compliance. Some encouraged the promotion of a global list of, or national targets for, designating areas for conservation and sustainable use. Others felt that because biodiversity is not evenly distributed across the globe and the CBD has increasingly moved into the economic arena, such an approach may not be feasible.

For more information, contact Desiree McGraw: []

Side event: Book Launches

UNEP hosted a side-event with Intermediate Technologies Publication Group (ITPG), and the World Conservation and Monitoring Center (WCMC) to launch two books: Global Biodiversity: Earth's Living Resources in the 21st Century and Cultural and Spiritual Values of Biodiversity.

Speakers included Klaus Topfer, UNEP Executive Secretary; Mark Chakrabarty, UNEP Task Management; Ruth Liloqula, Soloman Islands delegate and contributor to the volume on cultural values; and Mark Collins, Director of UNEP-WCMC.

Cultural and Spiritual Values of Biodiversity: A Complementary Contribution to the Global Biodiversity Assessment, edited by Darrell A. Posey, was launched by UNEP and Intermediate Technologies. Weaving together philosophical, historical, legal, scientific and personal viewpoints, this book gives a rich sample of the vast web which makes up our cultural, spiritual and social diversity. The volume highlights the key role of cultural and spiritual values in the appreciation and preservation of all life, arguing that these values give us a true reflection of worth. The volume also directly addresses two CBD Articles: Art.8(j) on the respect, preservation and maintenance of the knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for in situ conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity; and Art.15 on access to genetic resources and national authority. Chapters cover topics such as the complex issue of indigenous people, holistic health practices where environment and diet are integrated into indigenous and medical health systems, and the importance of effective intellectual property rights and territorial and land rights to enhance and maintain local control. For a copy, contact Intermediate Technology Publications Group by e-mail at [] or visit their web site at []. The book is also available online in PDF format at [] (25 MB).

Global Biodiversity: Earth's Living Resources, by Brian Groombridge and Martin Jenkins, was launched by the WCMC and UNEP as a follow-up to Global Biodiversity: Status of the Earth's Living Resources. This definitive reference publication for environmentalists, students and businesses uses the most up to the minute critical data available to provide a comprehensive outline of the broad ecological relationships between humans and the rest of the biosphere. It thus summarizes information bearing on the health of the living Earth at the end of the 20th century. For a copy, contact [] or visit [] (specific information available at

Side event: Root Causes of Biodiversity Loss

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) hosted a workshop on the root causes of biodiversity loss. Gordon Sheppard, WWF [left], moderated the discussion. Johanna Mang, WWF [right], gave an overview of proximate and underlying causes of biodiversity loss. She presented an analytical framework used to identify and address the proximate causes of biodiversity loss (e.g. habitat loss, pollution, climate change and over-harvesting) driven by underlying causes including poverty, macroeconomic policies, markets, public policy, demographic changes, social change and development. She noted that WWF has undertaken a number of case studies using this approach in Brazil, China, the Danube River Basin, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Tanzania and Vietnam.

She highlighted the case of Cameroon and biodiversity loss resulting from bush-meat and wildlife trade. She said root causes encouraging such behavior differ according to the geographic level. At the local level, root causes include consumption, cultural change, land tenure and economic opportunities. At the national level, causes include the national development model, natural resource extraction, infrastructure and institutional/political considerations. Finally, at the international level, Cameroon's IMF/World Bank Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) and external market demand have perpetuated the situation. Recommendations for this specific case involved national environmental controls, work on SAPs, biodiversity valuation and CITES reform.

The ensuing discussion focused on the use and funding of WWF's analytical tools under the CBD. Potential benefits could include more specific and contextual understandings of why biodiversity is being lost locally and nationally; biodiversity-friendly sectoral reforms; capacity-building and awareness raising for national biodiversity strategies and action plans; consensus- building among stakeholders; and identification of feasible and early interventions to put biodiversity on the national agenda.

The report on which this presentation was based, Socioeconomic Root Causes of Biodiversity Loss: Applied Case Study Summaries, is available online at []

Discussing convention synergies, from left to right: Peter Bridgewater, UNESCO MAB Programme; Willem Wijnstekers, CITES Secretary-General; Hank Jenkens, IUCN Sustainable Use Initiative; and Veit Koester, Head of Danish delegation and former Chair of the Biosafety Working Group.

With tentative agreement on a decision for the operations of the Convention, discussions have been focusing on the CBD's effectiveness. Some delegates noted a fragmentation of the CBD's umbrella approach into sectoral activities championed by various Party interest groups, which has hampered issue prioritization, agenda streamlining and GEF guidance. Others noted the CBD's relative youth, stressing the need to establish the basic work programmes first and then to build ecosystem integration into their further elaboration.
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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