Daily report for 17 May 2010

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

Working Groups I and II met throughout the day, addressing all the agenda items assigned to them for the second week of SBSTTA 14.


AGRICULTURE: On follow-up to COP requests in decision IX/1 (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/14/11 and INF/20 and 30-34), several delegates supported cooperation with FAO and the joint work plan on biodiversity for food and agriculture between CBD and the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA), with IIFB calling for participation by indigenous and local communities. SPAIN, with POLAND, requested developing a second phase for the joint work plan. The NETHERLANDS proposed adding to the programme of work an initiative for wild species of agricultural lands, and IIFB proposed including it in the joint work plan. IRAN suggested including in the joint work plan an assessment of biofuels impacts on agriculture and food security.

CANADA cautioned against including new initiatives in the CBD programme of work and, with ARGENTINA, in the joint work plan with the CGRFA. IIFB stressed that the joint work plan with CGRFA does not adequately address the indigenous and local communities’ role.

BELGIUM, with INDIA, called for increased recognition of CGRFA involvement in the development of indicators, and strengthened collaboration with ITPGR. POLAND, SWITZERLAND and TURKEY, opposed by CANADA, proposed refining targets and indicators at both the ecosystem and genetic resource levels. NEW ZEALAND recommended allowing flexibility for parties to develop national targets on the work programme.

JAPAN, supported by the JAPANESE ASSOCIATION FOR WILD GEESE PROTECTION and IIFB, emphasized the importance of rice paddies. HUNGARY, NORWAY and BIOVERSITY INTERNATIONAL supported in situ and on-farm conservation of traditional varieties, with THE DEVELOPMENT FUND, on behalf of NGOs working on agricultural biodiversity, underscoring the need for participation by small-scale farmers and food providers, and IIFB for participation by indigenous and local communities.

IRAN proposed urging financial support for the further development and implementation of the joint work plan, and MALAWI for the programme of work, with CANADA enquiring whether SBSTTA has the mandate to address finance in this context. ARGENTINA drew attention to the impacts of agricultural subsidies on biodiversity, with PAKISTAN proposing that CBD and FAO support incorporation of biodiversity into national agricultural policies.

BIOFUELS: The Secretariat introduced relevant documentation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/14/12 and Corr.1). The PHILIPPINES underscored developing countries’ difficulties in complying with sustainability standards, calling for a single set of guidelines. MEXICO proposed sharing the results of parties’ EIAs on biofuels production. The EU called for CBD to continue to play a role in the global deliberations on biofuels providing biodiversity-specific advice.

NORWAY proposed that CBD develop guidelines with FAO to address biofuels impacts on biodiversity conservation and indigenous and local communities. SWITZERLAND recommended developing guidelines to ensure compliance with existing and emerging standards for biofuel production and use over the full life-cycle. SWEDEN, KENYA and GUNIEA supported developing a toolkit on sustainable biofuel production. BELGIUM emphasized that the toolkit be developed in cooperation with FAO and the Global Bioenergy Partnership. ZAMBIA suggested including indigenous and local communities in developing and applying conceptual frameworks.

CANADA and NEW ZEALAND considered it premature to apply conceptual frameworks, stressing their voluntary nature. NEW ZEALAND, supported by ARGENTINA and BRAZIL, opposed the immediate development of specific guidelines. IRAN considered developing a toolkit premature. ARGENTINA maintained that recommending to develop conceptual frameworks and a toolkit was outside SBSTTA’s mandate and, with BRAZIL, cautioned that sustainability criteria could represent non-tariff barriers to trade. IIFB opposed developing a toolkit to promote biofuels production, urging assessments of impacts on communities and provision of means of redress.

THAILAND requested assessments of net benefits for climate change mitigation and risks to biodiversity conservation from biofuel production. The NETHERLANDS requested CBD to identify no-go areas and degraded areas suitable for sustainable biofuels production. NIGER emphasized food security.

SWEDEN and SWITZERLAND suggested developing national action plans for sustainable biofuels production. BELGIUM and NORWAY supported integrating biofuels considerations into national biodiversity programmes. BELGIUM, GERMANY and the NETHERLANDS emphasized land-use planning.

UGANDA and the Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP) stressed that biofuel production may increase IAS. ECONEXUS, on behalf of several NGOs and supported by MALAWI, pointed to increasing evidence of negative effects of biofuel production and use.

DRY AND SUB-HUMID LANDS: The Secretariat introduced relevant documentation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/14/13 and INF/35). TUNISIA suggested developing drought management plans and early warning systems. THAILAND proposed developing drought action plans at the regional, sub-regional or basin level. SWEDEN highlighted biodiversity management in dry and sub-humid lands for drought prevention. ARGENTINA called for flexibility for parties in establishing national targets.

BELGIUM suggested implementing dry-land biodiversity conservation across national strategies and action plans under the Rio Conventions. BOTSWANA called for research on interfaces between dry lands and wetlands. CANADA supported a CBD report on the value of dry and sub-humid lands, contingent on voluntary funding. IIFB requested several references to pastoralists and indigenous and local communities.

IAS: The Secretariat introduced relevant documentation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/14/16/Rev.1 and INF/29). Several delegations supported the creation of an AHTEG on IAS introduced as pets, aquarium and terrarium species, and as live bait and food, with FINLAND and others calling for more precise terms of reference. SWEDEN suggested including in the AHTEG terms of reference developing international standards to prevent the introduction and spread of IAS. The PHILIPPINES suggested that the AHTEG consider concrete measures for local authorities and small entrepreneurs, and underscored the need to recognize indigenous and local communities’ practices to reduce threats from IAS.

THAILAND proposed that CBD consult with other biodiversity-related conventions to improve parties’ capacities to address IAS. BRAZIL recommended strict observance of the CBD mandate on IAS. MEXICO proposed consideration of climate change adverse effects on IAS. A few delegations stressed the risks from IAS for Small Islands Developing States. GISP emphasized island states’ collaboration through regional and inter-regional exchanges and South-South cooperation.


GBO 3: The Secretariat introduced document UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/14/8. SWITZERLAND requested: preparing a short summary of GBO 3 crucial findings for submission to the General Assembly high-level segment on biodiversity; and reference to “IPBES, if established.” FINLAND, supported by CANADA and the NETHERLANDS, proposed a communication plan to disseminate knowledge on how to curb biodiversity loss. THAILAND highlighted the need to make GBO 3 available in local languages. SPAIN highlighted the value of restoration in climate change mitigation and adaptation. FRANCE suggested using GBO 3 in guiding discussions on updating CBD programmes of work and informing COP decisions. The UK highlighted the need for a review of the production of GBO 3. BRAZIL proposed adding reference to the adoption of an international ABS regime and adequate means of implementation. IIFB, supported by the PHILIPPINES, introduced text from GBO 3 on benefit-sharing.

POST-2010 GOALS AND TARGETS: On goals and targets for the post-2010 period (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/14/10), Co-Chair Obermayer explained SBSTTA’s role to examine these from a scientific, technical and technological perspective as input for WGRI 3, and make recommendations to COP 10 for further developing indicators.

JAPAN, with INDIA and CUBA, emphasized that post-2010 targets should be action-oriented, ambitious, measurable and participatory; and, with NEW ZEALAND, called for each party to set realistic and flexible targets, taking into account respective capabilities. With the PHILIPPINES, JAPAN supported considering policy measures that negatively affect biodiversity. CANADA cautioned against setting over-ambitious targets, noting that the 2010 target had helped document biodiversity loss and measure outcomes.

MEXICO emphasized means of implementation for the new strategic plan. COLOMBIA, with CUBA, ARGENTINA and INDONESIA, stressed building capacity, human resources and financing for CBD implementation. BRAZIL, with SWITZERLAND, the UK, NEPAL and others, supported the establishment of an AHTEG on indicators for 2011-2020. MEXICO, with COLOMBIA, BRAZIL, SENEGAL and INDONESIA, emphasized the establishment of an international ABS regime.

NEW ZEALAND emphasized that several targets are inconsistent with the Convention goals and COP decisions. NORWAY observed that targets should be in line with the Millennium Development Goals. IRAN noted the need for data accessibility to assess progress in achieving targets. SWEDEN proposed highlighting the contribution of genetic diversity to biodiversity conservation and ecosystem resilience. SWITZERLAND, supported by FINLAND, favored a target addressing sustainable consumption and ecological footprint related to biodiversity. IIFB highlighted interest in collaborating on piloting traditional knowledge indicators.

FRANCE proposed a new target on marine ecosystems in ABNJ, and BOTSWANA on restoration of degraded ecosystems. NORWAY called for a focus on sustainable fishing practices.

GLOBAL STRATEGY FOR PLANT CONSERVATION: On the proposed consolidated update of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/14/9, INF/17 and 18), SWITZERLAND suggested streamlining target 10 on effective management plans to prevent new biological invasions and manage areas important for plant diversity that are invaded. BELGIUM lamented that some targets are not included in the review. CANADA proposed revising target 13 on the decline of indigenous and local knowledge innovations and practices to increase focus on “customary use of plant resources by indigenous and local communities.”

On the GSPC toolkit, SWEDEN, supported by IRELAND, proposed setting up an AHTEG to define the toolkit purpose, content and use. MALAYSIA, supported by ARGENTINA, called for new and creative means to mobilize resources, strengthening capacity through workshops and undertaking projects to achieve targets.

INCENTIVES: On incentive measures (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/14/17, and INF/26 and 38), BELGIUM, supported by the NETHERLANDS, SPAIN, FRANCE and SWEDEN, noted the omission of perverse incentives other than subsidies in the report of the international workshop on incentives. JAPAN and SWITZERLAND proposed collecting and exchanging good practices and case studies on the identification and mitigation of perverse incentive measures. SWITZERLAND suggested promoting the polluter pays principle and sharing the benefits derived from the removal of perverse incentives. THAILAND proposed recognizing the role of the public and private sectors in developing incentives for CBD implementation.

The NETHERLANDS highlighted green public procurement, tax exemptions for green investments and the adoption of discount rates to better value ecosystem services. ARGENTINA cautioned that any payment for ecosystem services scheme must be consistent with WTO law, and FRANCE with national or local laws.

SWEDEN proposed regional workshops to share experiences on removing perverse incentives. The PHILIPPINES urged considering indigenous and local communities’ livelihoods in devising positive incentives.


As SBSTTA negotiations resumed after the weekend hiatus, several delegates pondered which items would take up the simba’s share of negotiations in the remainder of the meeting. Those expecting the post-2010 goals and targets to run into difficulties, because of perceived overlaps with work of WGRI 3, found their predictions to be off the mark as initial exchanges in Working Group II turned out to be relatively non-contentious.  In turn, those that had predicted smoother discussions on biofuels, given the low-key draft recommendation proposed by the Secretariat, were also proven wrong by the vigorous expression of more ambitious proposals by some delegations and equally strong resistance to any such thing by others. Even if the specter of a contact group on biofuels looms on the horizon, delegates exiting the UNON complex were not overly alarmed, as they were once again one day ahead of schedule.

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>.