Daily report for 14 May 2010

14th Meeting of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA)

On Friday morning, Working Group I completed discussions on the draft recommendation on forest biodiversity, and Working Group II on PAs. A contact group on climate change also met in the morning. In the afternoon, Working Group II completed discussions on climate change. Plenary resumed in the evening and adopted eight recommendations.


Co-Chair Benitez-Diaz introduced a revised draft recommendation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/14/WG.2/CRP.1/Rev.2). COSTA RICA, opposed by GERMANY, suggested removing brackets around a call to fund implementation of COP decisions on biodiversity and climate change in developing countries.

On geo-engineering, delegates debated whether to include consideration of risks for “social, economic and cultural impacts.” CANADA suggested “examining” related geo-engineering activities to determine if there is an adequate scientific basis to justify them, rather than preventing such activities until an adequate scientific basis to justify them exists.

In noting ongoing REDD discussions, delegates agreed not to refer to land use, land-use change and forestry. Reiterating opposition to mentioning biodiversity safeguards, CHINA insisted on bracketing text requesting parties to implement “incentives to facilitate climate change-related activities that take into consideration biodiversity concerns.”

Noting different national priorities, CHINA, opposed by MEXICO, the UK, CANADA and BELGIUM, objected to a request to the Executive Secretary to develop guidance on creating synergies between national forest biodiversity and climate change measures.

On a proposed joint work programme between the Rio Conventions, CHINA, supported by BRAZIL, COLOMBIA and SOUTH AFRICA, offered compromise text requesting the Executive Secretary to invite parties’ views to explore the possibility to develop proposals of joint activities between the Rio Conventions and report on progress at COP 10. Arguing that it would prejudge a decision by the COP, CHINA, opposed by the UK, NORWAY and DENMARK, proposed eliminating a bracketed list of procedural steps in developing the joint work programme, including consideration of proposed joint activities by the Joint Liaison Group, a 2011 joint preparatory meeting among the Rio Conventions at the appropriate level, and options for a joint high-level segment or joint extraordinary COP of the Rio Conventions in 2012 as part of the Rio+20 celebrations. Parties eventually agreed to retain bracketed text on these procedural steps.


FORESTS: On addressing inadequacies in forest biodiversity reporting and monitoring, the UK, with NORWAY, supported to explore whether those inadequacies could be addressed by “proposing revised” definitions of forest and forest types. NEW ZEALAND preferred “clarifying” definitions, while CHINA favored “suggesting ways to address the inadequacies including proposing revised definitions.” After informal discussions, delegates agreed to suggest ways to address these inadequacies “including by proposing improved definitions of forests and forest types.”

On REDD, delegates could not agree on whether to request the Executive Secretary to “contribute to discussions on, and possible development of, biodiversity safeguards” or “explore opportunities to provide advice, as requested, to the discussions” on REDD. Delegates forwarded to plenary bracketed options.


PROTECTED AREAS: On MPAs, NORWAY proposed using text agreed in Working Group I, encouraging governments and organizations to cooperate collectively or on a regional or sub-regional basis to identify and protect EBSAs in open-ocean waters and deep-sea habitats by establishing representative networks of MPAs, and inviting the UN General Assembly to encourage its Working Group to expedite its work in this area, with bracketed text on a process towards designation of MPAs in ABNJ. On progress on the 2012 target, PERU proposed inviting financial institutions to support parties’ efforts towards meeting the target.

On sustainable finance, JAPAN noted that SBSTTA has no mandate to discuss financial issues. COSTA RICA, supported by ETHIOPIA, ZAMBIA, PERU, INDIA, SENEGAL and ECUADOR, argued that SBSTTA can address technical approaches for developing financial mechanisms. The Secretariat clarified that SBSTTA is not precluded from considering items with financial implications. ARGENTINA, supported by INDIA, and opposed by GERMANY, MALAWI, SENEGAL and CANADA, requested deleting reference to payments for ecosystem services. Parties agreed to make reference to “inter alia, payment for ecosystem services, as appropriate.” CHINA, supported by IRAN and MALAWI, proposed new text urging parties, GEF and other international institutions to provide resources for the implementation of the programme of work by developing countries.

On participation and benefit-sharing, NEW ZEALAND offered compromise text from informal consultations on: establishing clear mechanisms and processes for benefit-sharing and full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities, related to PAs, in accordance with national laws and applicable international obligations, proposing deletion of references to UNDRIP; and developing appropriate mechanisms for the recognition and support for ICCAs through, inter alia, legal recognition of community rights to land and/or resources or incorporation of ICCAs into official PA systems, with the approval and involvement of indigenous and local communities subject to national legislation, requesting deletion of reference to prior informed consent. On the latter, NORWAY requested including reference to applicable international obligations. ARGENTINA enquired about the deletion of reference to UNDRIP, with NEW ZEALAND pointing to another reference in the recommendation recognizing UNDRIP provisions in the further implementation of the programme of work.

On climate change, LIBERIA objected to referring to “carbon sequestration and storage,” arguing that it may be interpreted as something different from natural processes. Delegates agreed to refer to “maintenance of carbon stocks” instead. Delegates also decided to eliminate language on the proposed joint work programme among the Rio Conventions, as it will be addressed in the recommendation on climate change. BELGIUM remarked that the draft recommendation on climate change does not include reference to PAs in connection with the joint work programme. The CBD explained that discussions had focused on process, and that it may be premature to discuss the content of the proposed joint work programme before COP 10.

CLIMATE CHANGE: On a proposed joint work programme between the Rio Conventions, COLOMBIA proposed language suggesting parties may consider, inter alia: the pertinence of undertaking joint activities and a joint work programme; the pertinence of appropriate joint meetings of the three Rio Conventions; the role of the Joint Liaison Group; and suggesting that parties seek the views of their UNFCCC and UNCCD counterparts on these issues. GERMANY and BELGIUM preferred keeping the bracketed list of procedural steps in developing the joint work programme. SWITZERLAND, with COTE D’IVOIRE and MALI, underscored the importance of retaining language on the possibility of having a joint high-level segment of extraordinary COPs of the Rio Conventions, with BRAZIL preferring to “explore the possibility” for a joint high-level segment. Delegates agreed to insert Colombia’s proposal as a second bracketed option.

On China’s proposal to request the Executive Secretary to invite parties’ views to explore the possibility to develop proposals for joint activities between the Rio Conventions and report on progress at COP 10, GERMANY, supported by NORWAY and opposed by CHINA and COLOMBIA, suggested noting the need to bring biodiversity and climate change agendas closer together and the many scientific issues considered by SBSTTA relevant to UNCCD and UNFCCC objectives. Delegates agreed to bracket both proposals.

On guidelines on IAS, NEW ZEALAND opposed developing new guidelines, favoring compiling “information including guidelines,” and suggesting this be considered under the agenda item on IAS. On reducing climate change impacts on biodiversity and biodiversity-based livelihoods, IIFB, supported by CANADA and MALAWI, reinstated language to “recognize the role of indigenous and community conserved areas in strengthening ecosystem connectivity and resilience.”


Plenary reviewed and adopted recommendations submitted by the Working Groups on mountain biodiversity (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/14/L.2) and forest biodiversity (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/14/L.7) with minor amendments. The other recommendations were amended as follows.

On inland water ecosystems (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/14/L.3), BRAZIL, supported by NEW ZEALAND and TURKEY, suggested bracketing references to “water security,” pointing to a lack of an internationally agreed definition.

On sustainable use (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/14/L.4), the Secretariat noted that the draft terms of reference of the AHTEG on sustainable use on agriculture and forestry remained bracketed. BELGIUM proposed bracketing the paragraph on convening the AHTEG. On the Satoyama Initiative, GHANA, offered text from informal consultations inviting parties, governments and other relevant organizations to support as appropriate the promotion of sustainable use, including the Satoyama Initiative.

On GTI (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/14/L.6), COLOMBIA proposed bracketing reference to the outcome of the ABS negotiations within bracketed text on the importance of exchanging taxonomic voucher specimens for non-commercial research. The UK, with BELGIUM, opposed by MALAWI, proposed bracketing text requesting GEF and inviting other donors to give higher priority to funding GTI proposals.

On PAs (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/14/L.6), CHINA, with IRAN and ETHIOPIA, opposed by BELGIUM and the UK, requested urging developed country parties and GEF, among others, to fully implement COP decision IX/18 B (options for mobilizing financial resources for implementing the programme of work) to provide adequate, predictable and timely financial support to developing country parties to enable full implementation of the programme of work. This and another option “inviting GEF” remained in brackets. BELGIUM, with PERU and ECUADOR, requested re-inserting language on the inclusion of the role of PAs in implementing the objectives of the Rio Conventions in a possible joint work programme, which was bracketed.

On marine and coastal biodiversity (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/14/L.8), AUSTRALIA, opposed by COSTA RICA, favored precautionary approach to precautionary principle. CHINA, supported by BELGIUM, PORTUGAL and ARGENTINA, proposed emphasizing that the process of identifying EBSAs beyond national jurisdiction is understood to be separate from the processes of deciding on policy and management responses. TURKEY requested bracketing this. BRAZIL suggested, and delegates agreed, to remove brackets from three paragraphs concerning, inter alia, a CBD global inventory of EBSAs in ABNJ. SPAIN, supported by BELGIUM, SWEDEN and COLOMBIA, and opposed by JAPAN, proposed re-introducing a request to the Executive Secretary to synthesize scientific information on the impact of the exploitation of krill on marine and coastal biodiversity. CHINA, supported by PORTUGAL, proposed to replace language on protecting EBSAs in ABNJ, including the establishment of MPAs and representative MPA networks, by language encouraging application of EIAs and SEAs, which was bracketed.

On biodiversity and climate change (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/14/L.9), delegates double-bracketed three paragraphs on funding.  The UK proposed bracketing a paragraph on enhancing REDD benefits for forest-dwelling indigenous and local communities, expressing concern about ongoing negotiations.


Leaving the UN Gigiri Complex for a well-deserved weekend break, some delegates commented that brackets may not necessarily be a bad omen. With the fine line between technical/scientific advice and policy guidance being difficult to draw, a limited number of significant brackets could be useful in sketching out well-defined choices for the COP to make. Postponing decision-time until Nagoya may also help better address the substance of the climate change-related negotiations, as more clarity on REDD may emerge from the intervening negotiations under the UNFCCC. While some considered that more time is also needed for building a solid joint work programme among the Rio Conventions, others observed that "timeliness is of the essence," with the Prep-com I for Rio+20 set to open in New York and the global institutional framework for sustainable development likely to be in the spotlight.

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org> is written and edited by Asheline Appleton, Johannes Gnann, Elisa Morgera, Ph.D., Anne Roemer-Mahler, Ph.D., and Tanya Rosen. The Digital Editor is Tallash Kantai. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. <pam@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the United Kingdom (through the Department for International Development – DFID), the Government of the United States of America (through the Department of State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs), the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Commission (DG-ENV), and the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea. General Support for the Bulletin during 2010 is provided by the Government of Australia, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, the Ministry of Environment of Sweden, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, SWAN International, Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES), the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (through the Global Industrial and Social Progress Research Institute - GISPRI), the Government of Iceland, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the World Bank. Funding for translation of the Bulletin into French has been provided by the Government of France, the Belgium Walloon Region, the Province of Québec, and the International Organization of the Francophone (OIF and IEPF). Funding for translation of the Bulletin into Spanish has been provided by the Spanish Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs. The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications with appropriate academic citation. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11A, New York, New York 10022, USA. The ENB team at SBSTTA 14 can be contacted by e-mail at <elisa@iisd.org>.