Daily report for 10 February 2005

10th Meeting of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA)

CBD SBSTTA-10 delegates convened in working groups throughout the day. Working Group I (WG-I) considered conference room papers (CRP) related to: agricultural biodiversity; terms of reference for an Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on climate change; the Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI); and island biodiversity. Working Group II (WG-II) discussed CRPs on: indicators; the clearing-house mechanism (CHM); and targets. The contact group on perverse incentives met twice during the day.


ISLAND BIODIVERSITY: Delegates considered a CRP on island biodiversity prepared by the contact group (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/10/WG.I/CRP.6). Regarding the recommendations, FRANCE, supported by CANADA and AUSTRALIA, opposed references to specific activities, noting that the contact group did not consider them. CANADA opposed reopening discussions on bracketed text on GEF funding, official development assistance, and guidelines for implementation. Delegates agreed to delete a paragraph on access and benefit-sharing (ABS). The INTERNATIONAL INDIGENOUS FORUM ON BIODIVERSITY called for full recognition and respect for the rights of indigenous and local communities.

Regarding the annexed work programme, Palau, on behalf of ASIA AND THE PACIFIC, stressed that it applies to all islands. Delegates agreed to bracket the sections containing an introduction, the overall purpose, scope and working definitions. Regarding a section on global targets and island-specific priority actions, delegates discussed the ABS-related goal, with CANADA opposing references to indigenous rights in the target on the protection of traditional knowledge, COLOMBIA insisting on replacing the term transfer with access in the target on genetic resources, and JAMAICA and AUSTRALIA opposing rewording the global targets, noting that they had been adopted by COP-7. CANADA and COLOMBIA, opposed by JAMAICA, requested bracketing the ABS-related goal. AUSTRALIA proposed an introductory paragraph noting that some countries wanted to review the targets, and the UK said the global targets, if reviewed, would change in the work programmes automatically. WG-I Chair Theresa Mundita Lim (Philippines) noted agreement on all other proposals, and adjourned discussions on this goal until the resumed session of WG-I on Friday morning.

AGRICULTURAL BIODIVERSITY: Biodiversity for food and nutrition: Considering a CRP on a cross-cutting initiative on biodiversity for food and nutrition (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/10/WG.I/CRP.1), COLOMBIA, supported by UKRAINE and the EC, requested referring to sustainable use throughout the document. NORWAY proposed a reference to the Millennium Development Goal on environmental sustainability. CANADA proposed a reference to the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between FAO and the CBD, and COLOMBIA favored including the initiative in the upcoming MoU. Regarding the annex containing elements for the initiative, UKRAINE and CANADA requested a reference to the ecosystem approach. Delegates adopted the CRP with these and other amendments.

Soil biodiversity: On a CRP on soil biodiversity (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/10/WG.I/CRP.2), the NETHERLANDS requested a reference to sustainable use, and proposed that the strategic principles of the annexed framework for action include other relevant land-use activities. COLOMBIA stressed the need for economic and cultural perspectives in promoting cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary approaches. UKRAINE proposed a goal on mainstreaming soil biodiversity conservation into agricultural programmes and practices. The CRP was adopted as amended.

Genetic use restriction technologies: WG-I Chair Lim introduced draft recommendations on the AHTEGs report on genetic use restriction technologies (GURTs) prepared by the Friends of the Chair group (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/10/WG.I/CRP.4). Delegates discussed stating that the AHTEG report was not a consensus document, and agreed to note that SBSTTA could not reach consensus on it. CUBA proposed deleting the preambular paragraph on the potential impacts of GURTs. NORWAY suggested deleting references to the impacts observed from field experiments, as well as all references to the use of GURTs. Regarding a recommendation on requesting further comments, CUBA and COLOMBIA said the current information-collection process should be considered as concluded, and the Article 8(j) Working Group should only deal with GURTs socioeconomic impacts and SBSTTA with the scientific and technical aspects. The EC proposed retaining a call for new comments to be considered at a later stage.

On reaffirming COP decision V/5 Section III (GURTs), BURKINA FASO requested specific reference to paragraph 23 on field testing, while the EC and CANADA suggested, and delegates agreed, to refer to the section on GURTs. BOLIVIA proposed a recommendation on protecting traditional knowledge and farmers rights to the preservation of seeds.

Delegates supported focusing capacity-building initiatives on social, cultural and environmental aspects. Liberia, for AFRICA, opposed by the ETC GROUP, said GURTs are a biosafety issue. COLOMBIA requested that the COP determine which CBD bodies should address GURTs different aspects. Delegates adopted the CRP with these amendments.

BIODIVERSITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE: Considering a CRP on the AHTEGs terms of reference (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/10/WG.I/CRP.3), AUSTRALIA, supported by BRAZIL, FINLAND and CANADA, said the scope should be limited to adaptation. BOLIVIA suggested using case studies for supplementary assessments. NEW ZEALAND said the AHTEG should avoid duplication between the Rio Conventions when undertaking assessments. COLOMBIA requested a reference to indigenous and local knowledge, innovations and practices when preparing advice and guidance. UKRAINE proposed that the AHTEG prepare a vision concerning priority measures, field actions and possible collaboration with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. WG-I adopted the CRP with these amendments.

GLOBAL TAXONOMY INITIATIVE: On a CRP on the GTI (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/10/WG.I/CRP.5), BOLIVIA requested extending the list of GTI information sources, and PERU proposed including BIONET International to the list of initiatives with which synergies may be developed. CANADA said the development of the GTI portal should be done in collaboration with the GTI Coordination Mechanism. The CRP was adopted with these amendments. 


INDICATORS: Indicators for assessing progress: Delegates considered a CRP on indicators for assessing progress towards, and communicating, the 2010 target (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/10/WG.II/CRP.1), which included a summary of indicators (Annex I) and a list of indicators relevant to the 2010 goals and sub-targets (Annex II).

MEXICO and BULGARIA proposed using biological corridors and areas under community management to measure connectivity and fragmentation. Delegates decided to use in situ and ex situ conservation data to measure trends in genetic diversity, as appropriate.

The CZECH REPUBLIC proposed references to ecological and functional groups regarding the use of the IUCN Red List Index to measure change in threatened species status.

MEXICO said the characterization of indicators should include their appropriateness for global estimations. KENYA suggested a paragraph on enhancing developing countries capacity to provide relevant information.

The EC, opposed by several, said that rather than recommending that the Executive Secretary explore options for additional indicators, such indicators could be added to Annex I as indicators requiring further work. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION proposed including the ecological footprint as an indicator for the target on unsustainable consumption, with BRAZIL suggesting land area required to support human well-being as measure, and the CZECH REPUBLIC proposing to refer to ecological footprint analyses. SWITZERLAND and SWEDEN stressed the need to identify indicators related to impacts of climate change. Following informal consultations, delegates agreed to include the ecological footprint in both Annexes and request the Executive Secretary to explore options for reporting on the impacts of climate change.

CANADA said data and methodology other than certification are available regarding measuring areas of forest, agriculture and aquaculture ecosystems under sustainable management. 

Following discussions, delegates agreed that the indicator related to numbers and cost of alien invasions was ready for use, but rephrased it to measure trends in alien invasions.

CANADA proposed rewording Annex II targets related to indigenous and local communities sociocultural diversity to refer to the implementation of measures to protect traditional knowledge, innovations and practices, and equitable sharing benefits. While delegates reached agreement on all the other proposals, WG-II Chair Christian Prip (Denmark) deferred decision on the rewording of targets until the conclusion of discussions on the CRP on outcome-oriented targets.

Following agreement on the CRP on targets, delegates discussed SBSTTAs mandate to make amendments to the overall framework for the integration of goals and targets. After lengthy discussions, CANADA suggested that COP-8 review the targets included in Decision VII/30 (Strategic Plan), with a view to achieving consistency between the targets integrated in the work programmes and the general framework. Delegates then adopted the CRP.

Global Biodiversity Outlook: Delegates adopted a CRP on the second Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO) (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/10/WG.II/CRP.2) with amendments, including: deletion of the annexed draft outline; deletion of section numbering in a paragraph on proposed elements; addition of a section on raising the profile of headline indicators; and, regarding key actions to be undertaken, references to the individual, institutional and state levels. 

CLEARING-HOUSE MECHANISM: On a CRP on the role of the CHM in promoting the 2010 target (UNEP/CBS/SBSTTA/10/WG.II/CRP.3), GERMANY said the Executive Secretary should explore means to enhance the CHMs role as a mechanism for cooperation on technology transfer and technical cooperation and, with COLOMBIA, proposed reports on how long-term partnerships can be established.

ETHIOPIA said translation of information provided through the CHM should enhance access for local, not only scientific, communities. On collaboration with the Conservation Commons, the INDIGENOUS BIODIVERSITY INFORMATION NETWORK requested that other relevant initiatives be included. Delegates adopted the CRP with these and editorial amendments.

TARGETS: Delegates considered a CRP on global outcome-oriented targets for the work programmes on inland water ecosystems and on marine and coastal biodiversity (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/10/WG.II/CRP.4).  

NORWAY proposed a reference to endemic species dependent on inland water ecosystems in a target on promoting the conservation of species diversity.

On sustainable use and consumption, ICELAND proposed strengthening a target relating to products derived from sustainably managed biodiversity, and stressed that the target should apply to all exploited fisheries products.

On the 10% target for the conservation of the worlds ecological regions, ICELAND opposed using a specific percentage of area to be conserved. In response to JAPANs request to delete the reference to marine and coastal areas beyond national jurisdiction, the EC, the UK and SWEDEN drew attention to COP decision VII/30 (Strategic Plan) and UN General Assembly resolution 59/24 (Oceans and the Law of the Sea) underlining the urgent need to conserve marine areas beyond national jurisdiction. BRAZIL requested a reference to no-take marine protected areas.

Following informal consultations, ICELAND agreed to the original wording related to the 10% target, provided other Parties withdraw their proposals, and pending confirmation by his government. Delegates agreed that brackets would remain otherwise. They also agreed to delete Annexes II and III, containing technical rationales for the application of outcome-oriented targets, and instead take note of the original report of the Expert Group on Outcome-Oriented Targets (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/10/INF/6).

Regarding consistency of the sub-targets with the CBD, delegates decided to reflect wording from CBD Article 8(j) (traditional knowledge) in sub-targets on the protection of traditional knowledge, innovations and practices, and to CBD Articles 16-20 in sub-targets on benefit-sharing.

WG-II adopted the CRP with these amendments, on the understanding that the outcome on the 10% target still remain to be decided.


INCENTIVE MEASURES: The contact group on perverse incentives met twice to discuss the design, implementation and evaluation of appropriate policy reforms to remove and mitigate perverse incentives. Delegates debated: possible political action; removal of policies and practices that generate perverse incentives; removal and overcoming of obstacles; mitigation policies; and criteria for evaluation of reforms.


As delegates were preparing for another week of delicate negotiations at the upcoming Working Group on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS), issues related to ABS and indigenous and local communities rights crept in most of the days discussions, causing stalemates regarding island biodiversity, indicators, and targets. Noting dragging negotiations on the targets for the marine and coastal work programme, one delegate observed that deadlocks of this nature will be recurrent until the SBSTTA finally manages to distinguish the political from the social and scientific facets of various issues considered under the CBD. 

These impasses were most unwelcome in what many delegates saw as fairly constructive, albeit far from perfect, outcomes on the island biodiversity work programme and indicators. In this respect, some developing country delegates expressed satisfaction with the recognition of the concerns of Small Island Developing States and success in abandoning unrealistic targets in the work programme.             

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