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First Meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Review of the Implementation of the Convention  


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Highlights for Monday, 5 September 2005

The first meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Review of Implementation (WGRI) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) opened on Monday, 5 September 2005, in Montreal, Canada. Delegates convened in plenary throughout the day. In the morning, participants heard opening statements and addressed organizational matters. In the afternoon, the plenary considered progress in the implementation of the Convention and the Strategic Plan and achievements leading up to the 2010 target.

Above photo L-R: The morning dais with Ahmed Djoghlaf, UNEP, Hamdallah Zedan, CBD Executive Secretary, Letchumanan Ramatha, Chair WGRI, Arthur Nogueira, CBD and David Cooper, CBD, observed a minute of silence for the victims of Hurricane Katrina that struck the Gulf coast of the United States.


Noting the results of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA), and reaffirming UNEP’s commitment to support the Convention implementation, Ahmed Djoghlaf, on behalf of UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer, recommended that WGRI consider strengthening the Convention processes to respond effectively to existing biodiversity trends and achieving the 2010 target. He extended his condolences to the victims of Hurricane Katrina in the United States and proposed to observe a minute of silence.

Hamdallah Zedan, CBD Executive Secretary, reviewed the objectives of WGRI, and encouraged participants to undertake a holistic review to overcome challenges, including: translation of the 2010 target into national goals, enhancement of the effectiveness of national reporting, and stakeholder involvement. He also cautioned against overburdening Parties, the Secretariat and partner organizations with additional meetings.

WGRI Chair Letchumanan Ramatha, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Malaysia, speaking on behalf of COP-7 President Dato Sri Adnan Haji Satem, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Malaysia, welcomed participants and called for translating the results of the review into proposals to improve the effectiveness of the Convention.

Regional Statements: 

Above photos L-R: Rawson Piniel Yonazi (Tanzania), Terei Abete-Reema (Kiribati), and Antonio Matamoros (Ecuador), elected as the Rapporteur for the meeting. 

Kiribati, on behalf of Asia and the Pacific, reported on obstacles in the region, particularly for small island developing states, to implement the Convention due to financial, capacity and technological constraints. Tanzania, on behalf of Africa, called for increasing financial resources, and human and technological capacity for national implementation, and simplifying national reporting. Poland, on behalf of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), recognized the need to improve national implementation through strengthening National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) and reporting procedures. Ecuador, on behalf of Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC), called for proposals to substantively change institutional aspects of the Convention, including the request for additional funding for implementation. UK, on behalf of the EU, Bulgaria and Romania, stressed the opportune timing of the WGRI meeting, immediately prior to the 2005 World Summit, and the importance of its task to streamline implementation processes. Noting the importance of increasing political support and public awareness for implementation, he said that socioeconomic aspects of biodiversity conservation should be emphasized.

Above photos L-R: Bozena Haczek (Poland) and Roy Hathaway (United Kingdom)

Stressing the poor public understanding of the biodiversity crisis and its socioeconomic impacts, France reported on its initiative to start consultations on an independent international scientific body to conduct biodiversity-related  scientific assessments and raise awareness. Above photo: Thomas Jeanneret (France)

Canada said that WGRI is a milestone on the path to targeted implementation, given that the MA indicates that biodiversity loss continues at an unprecedented rate. 
Above photo: Robert McLean (Canada)

Mexico urged reviewing the operation of subsidiary bodies and their voting rules, and aligning CBD activities for achieving the 2010 target. 
Above photo: Hesiquio Benitez-Diaz (Mexico)

Above photos: Hans Hoogeveen (COP-6 President), Alfred Oteng-Yeboah (Chair SBSTTA-9 and 10) and Francis Nyenze (COP-5 President)

Francis Nyenze, COP-5 President, called attention to the achievements of the CBD and highlighted its pioneering work on ecotourism and access and benefit-sharing (ABS). Hans Hoogeveen, COP-6 President, identified future challenges for the CBD, including: developing a balanced international regime on ABS; showing leadership in the development of an international legal instrument on forests; stepping up the commitment to implement the work programme on protected areas; and increasing transparency, efficiency and flexibility of its operations. Alfred Oteng-Yeboah, SBSTTA-9 and -10 Chair, drew attention to the revised Operational Plan for SBSTTA, stressing the need to: improve the quality of SBSTTA’s scientific advice; ensure adequate expertise of SBSTTA’s participants; and dedicate sufficient time to discuss the results of scientific assessments without providing policy advice.

Sem Shikongo (Namibia) (above left) was elected to chair Sub-Working Group II (SWG-II) and Matthew Jebb (Ireland) (above right) was elected to chair  Sub-Working Group I (SWG-I). 

Afternoon Plenary: Progress in Implementation

On Monday afternoon, the plenary considered progress in, and the obstacles to, the implementation of the Convention and the Strategic Plan and achievements leading up to the 2010 target (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/1/2 and INF.8).

Above photos L-R: Dalia Maria Salabarria Fernandez, and Orlando Santos (Cuba); Mohd Yunus Zakaria (Malaysia); and Soumayila Bancé (Burkina Faso)

Malaysia noted that implementation at the international level had mainly focused on biodiversity conservation, rather than on its sustainable use and benefit sharing, and expressed concern that the increase in activities under the Convention had not been balanced by available funding. Burkina Faso, India and Namibia called for focusing efforts on ABS. Cuba proposed a reference to CBD Article 1 (objectives) to ensure balanced implementation of all the three objectives. Many participants agreed on the need to undertake an in-depth analysis of the Strategic Plan Goals 2 (Parties have improved financial, human, scientific, technical, and technological capacity to implement the Convention) and 3 (NBSAPs and the integration of biodiversity concerns into relevant sectors serve as an effective framework for the implementation of the objectives of the Convention). 

Above photos L-R: Chaweewan Hutacharern (Thailand); Jane Coombs (New Zealand); Kouri Fateh (Algeria)

Thailand agreed on the need to consolidate guidance on NBSAPs before COP-9, in order to enhance effective national implementation. Algeria stressed national coordination mechanisms for implementation activities. Zimbabwe called for support to community-level implementation. New Zealand urged focusing on immediate outcomes, through addressing barriers to the implementation of NBSAPs, priority setting, and restraint from additional requests to Parties and the Secretariat. 

Mario Ramos, GEF (above left) provided information on CBD-related funding for enabling activities to support implementation, identify options, device strategies and action plans and finance projects on thematic and cross cutting issues. Bakary Kante, (above right) UNEP Director for the Division of Environmental Conventions, reported on UNEP work with the CBD and other Multilateral Environmental Agreements to streamline processes, highlight success stories illustrating common implementation issues, and assist national implementation.

This service was prepared in cooperation with the CBD Secretariat


CBD Secretariat
CBD WGRI-1 documents
ENB coverage of COP-7
ENB coverage of SBSTTA-10
ENB coverage of MYPOW

ENB archives of biodiversity meetings

Biodiversity Links


IUCN - The World Conservation Union
Third World Network (TWN)


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