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Photos and RealAudio of 24 May


The eighth day of COP-5 marked the High-Level Segment on the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. Delegates attended three Plenary sessions to hear some 70 statements from Parties, including 25 ministers, heads of delegations, observers and NGOs. In a special signing ceremony, 65 Parties signed the Protocol. Contact groups on Article 8(j) and related provisions, guidance to the financial mechanism and agricultural biodiversity also convened.

COP-5 Chair Francis Nyenze (Kenya) opened the meeting, urging Parties to sign the Cartagena Protocol.
Hamdallah Zedan, CBD Executive Secretary, highlighted capacity-building for risk assessment in developing countries.
Klaus Töpfer, UNEP Executive Director, underscored biotechnology's potential and said the global community should handle associated risks through coordinated action.
In his speech, Juan Mayr, Minister of Environment of Colombia and former President of the CBD ExCOP, reviewed the negotiation process, stressing the active participation of NGOs, industry and the press to ensure transparency. He said the challenge remains to reconcile trade and environment and to balance the positive and negative aspects of biotechnology. After his statement to Plenary, Mayr was given the honour of being the first person to sign the Protocol this day (President Moi of Kenya signed at the opening of COP-5)
Traditional Kenyan dancers performed a musical greeting to welcome the Ministers and government representatives to the signing ceremony.
John William Ashe, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent UN Representative, signed the Biosafety Protocol on behalf of ANTIGUA and BARBUDA.

ARGENTINA urged ICCP-1 to facilitate the initiation of activities to implement the Protocol

Maria Esther Bondanza, Director General of Environment, signed the Protocol for ARGENTINA.

AUSTRIA underscored the importance of international cooperation to
address global environmental issues and the value of the Cairo Guidelines on Biosafety.
CAMEROON highlighted national efforts and assistance in creating regional biosafety databases, training for risk assessment and management, and developing an action plan for implementing national biosafety legislation.
Veit Koester, former Chair of the Biosafety Working Group, signs the Protocol for Denmark.

ETHIOPIA said the winds of change from Seattle empowered developing countries to reach an agreeable outcome in Montreal.

Tewolde Berhan G. Egziabher, spokesperson for the Africa Group and chief negotiator for the Like-Minded Group during the Biosafety Group, signs on behalf of the Government of Ethiopia.

The EUROPEAN COMMUNITY stressed that countries must work
together to establish the Biosafety CHM and clarify decision-making processes.


FINLAND announced its contribution to the GEF to promote the Protocol's ratification.

FINLAND was signed onto the Protocol by Carl Arne Hartman, Finnish Ambassador to Kenya.

Jacques Depaigne, Ambassador of France to Kenya, signed the Protocol for FRANCE.
GERMANY was signed on by Jürgen Weerth, German Ambassador to Kenya.

INDONESIA supported the ICCP's work programme as well as the Biosafety CHM

INDONESIA was signed on by Ambassador Isslamet Poernomo.

MALAWI requested capacity-building for scientific and technical expertise
to identify LMOs, public awareness on handling and use of LMOs, and information sharing.
Dato Law Hieng Ding, Minister of Science, Technology and Environment, signed the Cartagena Protocol for MALAYSIA.
Julia Carabias Lillo, Secretary of State for the Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries, signed on behalf of MEXICO.
J. Pronk, Minister for Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, signed on behalf of the NETHERLANDS.
NEW ZEALAND was signed onto the Biosafety Protocol by Cecil Wilbur Dovey, Deputy Director, Environment Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Ime Okopido, Minister of State for the Environment, adds Nigeria to the list of signatories.

NORWAY highly welcomed the Protocol and said an additional biosafety-related process within the WTO is unnecessary.

Peter Schei, International Negotiations Director for the Norwegian Government and Chair of Working Group 1 at COP-5, signs on behalf of Norway.

Beat Nobs, Ambassador to the UN, signs the Protocol for Switzerland
ZAMBIA stated that the Protocol signifies the CBD's level of maturity and stressed the need for sub-regional and regional approaches.
ZIMBABWE supported use of adaptive management, incorporating traditional knowledge and systems.
The following 65 Parties signed the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Austria, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, European Community, Finland, France, the Gambia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malawi, Mexico, Monaco, Mozambique, Namibia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Rwanda, Samoa, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Togo, Turkey, Uganda, the United Kingdom and Venezuela.
On Thursday and Friday, Algeria, Morocco and Nicaragua signed the Protocol, bringing the total to 68.
CANADA underscored the Protocol's place in a global, sustainable development architecture and its national consultations on the Protocol with all relevant sectors and provinces.
The US highlighted its interest in contributing financially and technically to the meeting of technical experts on the Biosafety CHM.
AUSTRALIA said nothing in the Protocol should prevent countries from implementing their obligations under the WTO.
Wangari Mathai, of the Kenya Greenbelt Movement and Diverse Women for Diversity, speaking for NGOs, called for a ban on Genetic Use Restriction Technologies (GURTS) and GMOs in food aid, stressed that CBD objectives should not be undermined by TRIPs and said the FAO International Undertaking should be a Protocol to the CBD.
Thomas Jacob, Manager of International and Industry Affairs Dupont, spoke on behalf of the The GLOBAL INDUSTRY COALITION. He underscored that decisions should be based on sound scientific knowledge, and that rights and obligations under other agreements should be respected.

Miscellaneous: Testaverde and the "Protocol bears"

During the Vienna Informal Roundtable Consultations in September 1999, Juan Mayr (Colombia), President of the Biosafety Ex-COP, creatively used coloured balls chosen at random from a bag to determine the sequence of speakers. In Montreal this January, Mayr was unable to find such balls, resorting instead to a colorful set of teddy bears, and subsequently each bear was given a name. The negotiator who drew the green Protocol bear, called Testaverde, was the first to speak. At the end of the negotiations, Testaverde was given to the representative of the European Community. In these pictures, we can see various members of the EC who brought the bear with them into the room where they signed the protocol.

Side event: Implementing the CBD at the Country Level

David Shepherd, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) International Policy Unit [, center], facilitated a workshop on the WWF-DANIDA project to promote the effective implementation of the CBD to achieve its objectives in the Cameroon, Colombia, Cote d'Ivoire, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico and the South Pacific.

Erie Tamale, WWF-DANIDA CBD Project coordinator [, photo on the left] said that Phase I of this project aimed to increase CBD awareness and popular support, involve civil society in national and international CBD processes and provide technical assistance to governments through technical workshops, policy advice and guidance on a number of themes. Priority issues of concern were the development of national biodiversity strategy and action plans, national reports to the CBD, access and benefit sharing legislation, incentive measures for biodiversity conservation, manage protected areas and implement Article 8(j) on traditional knowledge. Phase II will include Brazil and China and the following priority issues: the ecosystem approach; biosafety; synergies among biodiversity-related conventions; in situ conservation (protected areas and the monitoring and assessment of biodiversity indicators); sustainable use of biodiversity [private sector involvement, sustainable tourism, incentives and root causes of biodiversity loss]; and how to mainstream biodiversity into sectoral policies.

Estherine Lisinge Fotabong, WWF Cameroon [, photo on the right], gave an overview of pilot work on protected area policy and guidelines for accessing genetic resources in parks in Cameroon.

A representative of WWF Mexico discussed their pilot efforts to promote Forest Stewerdship Council certification of sustainable forest management and sustainable tourism alternatives in protected areas and forests of Oaxaca, Mexico. WWF has also facilitated work on biosafety and access and benefit sharing legislation with a coalition of NGOs working on the CBD.

Alexander Shestakov, Environmental Law Programme Coordinator at WWF Russia, [, photo on the left], shown here on the left with Siberian pines. He discussed the WWF International's Global 2000 Ecoregion approach and described WWF work with local and regional governments and indigenous peoples on the sustainable use of non-timber forest products and certification of sustainable forestry in the Alta Sayan ecoregion of Southern Siberia, which straddles Mongolia, China, Kazakhstan and Russia. For more information on the Alta-Saya Initiativee and to contribute to the restoration of Altai forests stripes recently burned down in forest fires, contact [].

Side event: Cultural and Biological Diversity: The Missing Link

Ole Kamuaro Ololtisatti, Maasai Environment Resource Coalition (MERC) [, seated in the photo on the left], facilitated a joint round-table discussion with members of Cooperativa Tecnico Scientifica di Base (COBASE) on the missing links between biological and cultural diversity.

Speakers included Jonathan Kamomon, Loita Forest Project [standing]; Anna Borioni and Massimo Pieri of COBASE Italy [photo below, left and middle]; and Stephan Schienier, College of Indigenous Australian Peoples; Terry Williams, The Tulalip Tribes, USA [far right]; Krystina Bishop, First Nations Development Institute of Canada; and Kalimba Zephyrin, Batwa Rwanda-Burundi. Discussion focused on: COBASE's Resolution of Rome: Guidelines for the Protection of Cultural Diversity as a first step towards a convention to protect cultural diversity and promote the equality of Western science and indigenous knowledge; how biodiversity can only be protected if cultural diversity is also protected; the need for the repatriation and education of indigenous knowledge concerning ecosystems; the need to recognize the privacy of indigenous peoples; the fact that certain African countries do not accept the concept of indigenous peoples; and the provision for the right to culture in the Human Rights convention.

COBASE will be organizing a workshop, The Sustainability of Taste: Food in the Life Circle, to debate Rome Resolutions from 24-26 September 2000 in Rome, Campidoglio, Sala della Promoteca. The workshop will focus on the linkages between biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, food culture and health and consider ways to improve and promote the Rome Guidelines. For more information, contact COBASE at [].

Side event: UNEP/GEF Enabling Activities for Biosafety

A panel discussion on the UNEP/GEF Pilot Biosafety Enabling Activity Project reviewed the outcome of this pilot project and discussed capacity-building options for the development and implementation of national biosafety frameworks. Panelists included Mohammed. El Ashry, Chief Executive Officer of GEF, other members of the GEF Secretariat and the UNEP Biosafety Project Task Force. Representatives of the Pilot Project's national focal points from Namibia, Bolivia, Bulgaria and China, also gave brief overviews of their experience gained through regional workshops.

Martha Candawa-Schulz, Namibia, said three regional workshops were held on national biosafety frameworks, the safe use of biotechnology and ways to implement national biosafety frameworks. She said the workshops improved public awareness, international collaboration and networking within and between institutions. For further information and future GEF activities in the area of Biosafety, contact Nalini Sharma, UNEP Division of Environmental Conventions [].


With budgetary discussions ongoing, rumors circulated among the breezeways about financing, and more specifically, the location of the CBD Secretariat and its agreement with the host country. Some noted probes by a Party heavily invested in other environmental secretariats, and some expect the issue to be raised at the next COP.

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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