Daily report for 4 September 1996

2nd Meeting of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA)

Working Groups 1 and 2 convened morning and afternoon sessions on the third day of thesecond session of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice(SBSTTA-2). Working Group 1 reconvened at 7:00 p.m.


The CHAIR introduced a second revision on Agenda Items 3.1 (assessment), 3.2(monitoring), and 3.3 (indicators). NEW ZEALAND said that taxonomy is essential for monitoring and indicators. GERMANY suggested an expert group. The US added areference to the aggregate impact of agricultural practices and the need for understandingagriculture’s role in the overall landscape context. MALAWI added institution buildingand enhancement to a call for capacity building for developing countries. SWEDEN addedreferences to strengthening links between assessment of biodiversity and natural resourcemanagement.

The CHAIR introduced his draft on discussion of Agenda Item 3.9 (agriculturalbiodiversity). He advised Parties that there is no conflict between the policy role of theCBD and the FAO, and formed a contact group chaired by Zimbabwe to advance the text.The NETHERLANDS, supported by the EC, recalled discussion on a gap analysis workprogram regarding agroecosystems and agro-genetics. He favored a joint approach withthe FAO. SWEDEN, supported by Denmark, suggested following the example ofSBSTTA-1’s work on marine biodiversity and recalled that Sweden and Brazil hadsubmitted extensive inputs not reflected in the text.

The Secretariat introduced Agenda Item 3.10, terrestrial biodiversity(UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/2/11, 2/12, 2/Inf.1, 2/Inf.3, 2/Inf.6 and 2/Inf.7). GERMANYcalled for priorities including CSD/CBD coordination and finances for combatingdesertification. MEXICO presented the Global Biodiversity Forum’s Statement on Forestsand Biodiversity. Delegations prioritized economic and non-economic benefits of forests,criteria and indicators, underlying causes of degradation, capacity building, and restorationof degraded lands. ZAIRE highlighted financing for countries with reserves.

A number of Parties recommended that SBSTTA await the outcome of IPF deliberationsbefore deciding a work programme. Several countries highlighted the contribution of“working forests”, a participatory ecosystem approach, integration of biodiversity intosustainable use policies, and effects of human disturbances. The AFRICAN GROUPrecommended fertilizer impact studies. FINLAND highlighted harmonization ofapproaches. COLOMBIA asked that SBSTTA limit analysis to technicalforest/biodiversity conservation linkages.

FRANCE recalled a SBSTTA-1 recommendation that COP-3 respond to a request fromthe Forest Panel (IPF) for advice on biodiversity measurements. MALAWI called forassistance to national initiatives. The IVORY COAST highlighted recommendations fromthe Francophone Group on over-exploitation. NORWAY said knowledge gaps identifiedby the IPF would exist whatever the outcome of the IPF process. The PHILIPPINESrecommended focus on in situ conservation and participation by indigenouscommunities. DENMARK and AUSTRIA supported a programme adaptable to IPFdecisions.

GERMANY rejected the proposed medium-term programme and suggested that SBSTTAadvise the IPF. CAMEROON supported an immediate programme of work and IPFguidelines. BURKINA FASO warned against delaying CBD implementation. TheBIODIVERSITY ACTION NETWORK suggested that some Parties may want to slowprogress. With the FUNDACION PRO-SIERRA NEVADA DE SANTA MARTA, hecalled for work on the international dimensions underlying forest biodiversity loss. THEINTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES OF THE TROPICALFOREST called for a standing forum for indigenous peoples.

The CHAIR introduced draft text on Agenda Item 3.12, coastal and marine biodiversity.SBSTTA-2 was to review work by an expert group created by COP-2 (Jakarta Mandate)but this work has not started. Delegations generally supported the text. AUSTRALIAproposed language on lack of progress, drafting rather than "setting" priorities, and onresources for implementation. The UK rejected the proposal for a global assessment. TheMARSHALL ISLANDS called for equitable geographic representation at the expertmeeting and acknowledgement of regional activities. CANADA urged that delegates toother fora acquaint themselves with the implications of the CBD. He favored the GBF’srecommendation for a global state of knowledge assessment. SWEDEN noted that furtherCOP guidelines to the Secretariat were redundant, and recommended postponing furtherwork until SBSTTA-4. NEW ZEALAND objected.

GERMANY highlighted tourism’s impact on marine biodiversity. JAPAN recommendedan open-ended expert meeting to ensure transparency. The CHAIR explained that hewanted SBSTTA to urge the COP to implement the Jakarta Mandate (Decision II/10). Heinvited Parties to forward comments for the expert meeting to the Secretariat. SAMOA,MAURITIUS and the MALDIVES said the expert meeting should hear representativesfrom small island states. NORWAY and ICELAND supported using a full roster ofexperts. COLOMBIA and the US asked the Chair to ensure that his draft is consistentwith the Jakarta Mandate. SWEDEN, supported by PAKISTAN, supported an overallresearch review, assisted by UNEP and independent scientists.

SOUTH KOREA said priorities should be based on a global assessment. TheMARSHALL ISLANDS suggested that Parties and other organizations forwardcomments to the expert meeting. SWEDEN, supported by the UK, recommended that theSecretariat document should not be forwarded to the expert meeting. AUSTRALIA saidthe Secretariat’s document on marine and coastal biodiversity could be critically examinedby the experts. UNEP announced it is preparing documentation to help implement theJakarta Mandate. UNESCO commended the DIVERSITAS research programme.

Working Group 1 reconvened in the evening to consider the Chair’s revised text onAgenda Items 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/WG.1/CRP.1). An Annex to thetext contained an indicative framework of activities that have a significant adverse impacton biodiversity. Delegates deleted the Annex, but added specific amendments fromprevious discussions. Delegates then considered a revised draft of the Chair’s text onAgenda Item 3.12 (marine and coastal). Proposed amendments included consideration ofthe views of the wider roster of experts during the expert group meeting and the output ofSBSTTA-3 based on the expert meeting.


The Secretariat introduced the document on capacity building for taxonomy(UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/2/5). Several countries called for funding and suggested the GEF.MALAYSIA, GERMANY, SWEDEN, THAILAND, COLOMBIA and CHINAsuggested using the CHM to disseminate taxonomic information. GERMANY,INDONESIA, COLOMBIA, SWEDEN and the UK called for urgent capacity building.GERMANY called for priority setting and a maximum use of existing organizations.ITALY, NIGERIA and INDIA supported regional centres of excellence, which wereopposed by COLOMBIA, the US and NEW ZEALAND. Joined by ARGENTINA,CAMEROON, BELGIUM and BRAZIL, COLOMBIA supported regional trainingprogrammes. The UK urged support for parataxonomist training. The NETHERLANDSconsidered basic systematic work in taxonomy not a matter for CBD, since it is alreadycovered by UNESCO. NORWAY supported SWEDEN’s call for developing nationalplans to prioritize taxonomic activity.

ARGENTINA offered technical assistance for regional training. CAMEROON highlightedtraining needs. FRANCE suggested telecommunications to disseminate information.NORWAY and NIGERIA called for national taxonomy action plans and GEF funding.MALAWI, for the AFRICAN GROUP, suggested resources for training and networkingto attract young scientists.

SWITZERLAND called for long-term capacity building. BELGIUM said jobopportunities will attract young scientists. AUSTRALIA offered to lead a global initiative,and, with NEW ZEALAND, suggested incorporating traditional knowledge intodatabases. INDIA and ZIMBABWE supported data repatriation. The US emphasized thevalue of taxonomic data for sustainable use. SOUTH KOREA stressed regionalcooperation. DIVERSITAS proposed a liaison group of taxonomists. BIONETINTERNATIONAL emphasized GEF support. MALAYSIA and CANADA endorsed theneed to educate policy makers. The AMERICAN PLANT SCIENCE NETWORK urgedsupport for existing regional initiatives. The EXPERT-CENTRE FOR TAXONOMICIDENTIFICATION urged sharing of knowledge.

The Secretariat introduced the document on economic valuation(UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/2/13). The narrow focus of the paper on genetic resources wascriticized by some countries. CHILE reported on a workshop on economic incentives inSantiago. GERMANY, supported by numerous delegations, agreed that the issue shouldbe a standing item. JAPAN and the US disagreed. SWITZERLAND urged specific policyrecommendations. GERMANY noted work of other organizations on economicincentives. MALAYSIA, INDONESIA, NIGERIA and NORWAY emphasized thateconomic valuation should not be a prerequisite for policy action.

The AFRICAN GROUP recommended participatory and bottom-up approaches involvingindigenous communities. UNCTAD stressed that the issue of valuation should not be seenin isolation. ITALY stressed the collective value of biodiversity and FRANCE, along withSOUTH AFRICA and CAMEROON, stressed symbolic and cultural values. NEWZEALAND and FRANCE called on the CHM to collect empirical data. NORWAY calledfor an integration of economics into other CBD items.

The NETHERLANDS proposed focusing on genetic resources valuation. INDIAhighlighted the commercial value of biodiversity and supported UNCTAD’s BIOTRADEinitiative. ZIMBABWE and the US cautioned against deferring action. COLOMBIAlinked economics and biodiversity to the equitable utilization of genetic resources.SOUTH AFRICA suggested quantifying existence values. JAPAN suggested bettervaluation of PGRFA.URUGUAY underlined valuation as a policy-making tool. PERUrecommended presenting the Santiago workshop results at COP-3. ZAMBIA saidvaluation instruments are inadequate. MOROCCO called for evaluation of negativeimpacts. The FOUR DIRECTIONS COUNCIL emphasized biodiversity values foragriculture.

The Working Group discussed several draft Chair's texts:

TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER: The paragraph on liaison groups was deleted.CANADA and AUSTRALIA proposed adding the CHM to the list of technology transferrecommendations. MALAYSIA, COLOMBIA and ANTIGUA & BARBUDA objected tothe proposal by JAPAN and AUSTRALIA to delete the paragraph on identification ofappropriate technologies for genetic resource utilization. From the paragraph on privatesector involvement, JAPAN, supported by NEW ZEALAND, the UK and the EC,proposed deleting the sentence urging all Parties to encourage private sector technologytransfer. INDIA, INDONESIA, COLOMBIA, MALAWI and CAMEROON objected.NEW ZEALAND proposed compromise text. From the paragraph calling on the CHM tofacilitate information sharing, COLOMBIA, supported by INDIA and the US, deletedspecific references to putting “brokers” into contact with each other.

CLEARING HOUSE MECHANISM: ANTIGUA & BARBUDA added languageon the financial mechanism, thematic foci and pilot projects to enable implementation ofthe CHM. GERMANY emphasized decentralization and training. CANADA added thatinformation should be controlled by the providers. The US deleted a needs survey ofParties. MALAWI and INDONESIA proposed GEF support. CANADA proposedreplacing “guidance from experts” with text calling for an advisory committee coordinatedby the Secretariat. INDIA added guidance in a “transparent manner” and the UK called foran “informal” committee. The paragraph linking the CHM to National Focal Points,including national patent offices, was amended by AUSTRALIA to “for example, patentoffices” at the suggestion of the PHILIPPINES. SWEDEN proposed that the CHMreview case studies of scientific cooperation. This was incorporated as a possible topic ofregional CHM workshops by INDIA and the US.

BIOSAFETY: ANTIGUA & BARBUDA, supported by NIGERIA, rearrangedthe paragraph on funding, emphasizing guidance to the GEF on capacity building. NEWZEALAND proposed deleting reference to the Protocol on Biosafety. ANTIGUA &BARBUDA and MALAYSIA objected.


A number of delegations and NGO representatives expressed “disappointment” and“shock” at the brevity of the secretariat’s draft summary of Tuesday’s exhaustivediscussion on agricultural biodiversity. One NGO participant said he had begun to wonderwhether the process itself was preventing the realization of the CBD’s objectives. Somedelegations complained about lost discussion time. Reported explanations included a gapbetween the expectations of the Secretariat and those of the delegates.


PLENARY: The Plenary will meet at 10:00 a.m. in room 407A.

Further information


Negotiating blocs
African Union