Summary report, 20 June – 1 July 1994

2nd Session of the Intergovernmental Committee on the Convention on Biological Diversity (ICCBD)

When Chilean Ambassador Vincente S nchez, the Chair of theIntergovernmental Committee on the Convention on BiologicalDiversity (ICCBD), closed the second session on Friday, 1 July1994, exhausted delegates emerged from the conference rooms at UNEPHeadquarters in Nairobi feeling that while the meeting was not anunconditional success, debate had moved forward and the foundationwas in place for the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties(COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The ICCBD was established by the UNEP Governing Council in May 1993to prepare for the first meeting of the Conference of the Partiesand ensure an early and effective operation of the Convention onceit enters into force. During the two-week session, which took placein Nairobi from 20 June - 1 July 1994, delegates undertook a numberof preparations for the first meeting of the COP, which isscheduled to take place in Nassau, The Bahamas, from 28 November -9 December 1994. Among the issues discussed were: institutional,legal and procedural matters; scientific and technical matters; andmatters relating to the financial mechanism. Although the delegateswent home feeling that progress had been made, many understood thatthey had also postponed negotiation on very pertinent issues,including the need for a protocol on biosafety, ownership of andaccess to ex situ genetic resources, farmers' rights, andthe financial mechanism. Nevertheless, due in part to the abilityof the Chairs of the two working groups and the contact groups inmoving the debate forward, a number of recommendations have beenmade to the first COP and potential paralysis of the deliberations,such as that faced during the first meeting of the ICCBD, wasaverted.


The Convention on Biological Diversity was opened for signature atthe Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 5 June 1992 andentered into force on 29 December 1993. The Convention containsthree national-level obligations: to conserve and sustainably usebiological diversity and to share its benefits.

The Convention reflects the policy and scientific recommendationsmade over the years by a number of groups and experts, beginningwith the IUCN's Commission on Environmental Law and the IUCNEnvironmental Law Centre in the mid- to late 1980s. Formalnegotiations began in November 1988 when UNEP convened a series ofexpert group meetings, pursuant to Governing Council Decisions14/26 and 15/34 of 1987. The initial sessions were referred to asmeetings of the "Ad Hoc Working Group of Experts onBiological Diversity." By the summer of 1990, sufficient progresshad been made, including the completion of studies on variousaspects of the issues, and a new "Sub-Working Group onBiotechnology" was established to prepare terms of reference onbiotechnology transfer. Other aspects of biodiversity wereincluded, such as in situ and ex situ conservation ofwild and domesticated species; access to genetic resources andtechnology, including biotechnology; new and additional financialsupport; and safety of release or experimentation ongenetically-modified organisms.

In 1990, UNEP's Governing Council established an "Ad HocWorking Group of Legal and Technical Experts" to prepare a newinternational legal instrument for the conservation and sustainableuse of biological diversity. The Working Group was mandated to take"particular account of the need to share costs and benefits betweendeveloped and developing countries and ways and means to supportinnovation by local people." Former UNEP Executive Director MostafaTolba prepared the first formal draft Convention on BiologicalDiversity, which was considered in February 1991 by an"Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee" (INC). The first INCmeeting was also known as the third session of the Ad HocWorking Group of Legal and Technical Experts. The INC met four moretimes between February 1991 and May 1992, culminating in theadoption of the final text of the Convention in Nairobi, Kenya, on22 May 1992.

Unlike the INC for the Convention on Climate Change, theBiodiversity INC did not make provisions for it to continue to meetbetween the adoption of the Convention and the first meeting of theConference of Parties. Thus, in May 1993, UNEP's Governing Councilestablished the Intergovernmental Committee on the Convention onBiological Diversity (ICCBD) to prepare for the first meeting ofthe Conference of the Parties and ensure early and effectiveoperation of the Convention upon entry into force.

In the interim, UNEP's Executive Director established four expertpanels to prepare advice on specific issues for the first ICCBD.Panel 1, "Priorities for Action and Research Agenda," developed amethodology for setting priorities for action arising out of theConvention, recommended an agenda for scientific and technicalresearch, and called for the creation of an interim scientific andtechnological advisory committee. Panel 2, "Economic Implicationsand Valuation of Biological Resources," identified thesocio-economic forces that cause biodiversity loss and recommendedthat several steps be taken to address these issues. Panel 3,"Technology Transfer and Financial Resources," agreed that accessto information and capacity building are key to the implementationof the Convention's technology transfer provisions and suggestedthat: the ICCBD develop guidelines for international cooperation;the ICCBD propose substantive modifications to the GEF; and theICCBD develop a procedure for estimating the level of fundingneeded for implementation of the Convention. Panel 4, "SafeTransfer, Handling and Use of Living Modified Organisms Resultingfrom Biotechnology," concluded that only the Conference of theParties can take a decision regarding the creation of abiotechnology protocol, and recommended that such an instrumentshould only cover genetically-modified organisms and should aim atpreventing and mitigating the consequences of unintended releases.

The Norwegian Government, in collaboration with UNEP, also hosteda meeting in preparation for the first session of the ICCBD. TheNorway/UNEP Expert Conference on Biodiversity, held in Trondheim,Norway, 24-28 May 1993, brought together scientists, managers,bureaucrats and policy-makers from 80 countries to provide input toUNEP's preparatory work for the ICCBD meeting.


The first session of the ICCBD met in Geneva from 11-15 October1993. After a halting start, due to procedural, organizational andpolitical problems that resulted from the 16-month gap between thelast session of the INC and this meeting, progress was made inaddressing the long list of tasks mandated to the Committee by theConvention for completion before the first Conference of theParties (COP).

The ICCBD established two working groups. Working Group I dealtwith the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity,including the full range of important activities for reducing theloss of biodiversity, the scientific and technical work betweenmeetings and the issue of biosafety. Working Group II tackled theinstitution operating the financial mechanism, the characteristicsdesired in the financial mechanism, a process for estimatingfunding needs, the meaning of "full incremental costs," the rulesof procedure for the COP, and technical cooperation and capacitybuilding. Despite several sessions of substantive debate, at theend of the week-long session the working groups were not able toproduce reports that could be approved by the Plenary. When thereports of the working groups were presented to the Plenary, anumber of delegates expressed concern that they had not seen thedocuments in their final form and, due to the large number ofamendments and changes, could not adopt them at this time. As alast minute solution, the Plenary adopted only two decisions: theestablishment of a scientific and technical committee that wouldmeet before the second session of the ICCBD; and a request to theSecretariat to use the unadopted working groups' reports asguidance during the intersessional period.


On 29 December 1993, the Convention entered into force, 90 daysafter receipt of its 30th instrument of ratification. As of 10 June1994, 63 countries had ratified the Convention. In chronologicalorder, these include: Mauritius, Seychelles, Marshall Islands,Maldives, Monaco, Canada, China, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Ecuador,Fiji, Antigua and Barbuda, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, CookIslands, Guinea, Armenia, Japan, Zambia, Peru, Australia, Norway,Tunisia, Saint Lucia, Bahamas, Burkina Faso, Belarus, Uganda, NewZealand, Mongolia, Philippines, Uruguay, Nauru, Jordan, Nepal,Czech Republic, Barbados, Sweden, European Economic Community,Denmark, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Belize, Albania, Malawi, Samoa,India, Hungary, Paraguay, Brazil, Cuba, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia,Dominica, Italy, Bangladesh, Luxembourg, Egypt, Georgia, UnitedKingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Chad and The Gambia.During the second session of the ICCBD, Cameroon, Greece, Malaysiaand Micronesia announced that they had ratified the Convention.


The Open-Ended Intergovernmental Meeting of Scientific Experts onBiological Diversity took place in Mexico City from 11-15 April1994. This meeting was convened at the request of the first sessionof the ICCBD to conduct an in-depth review of scientific andtechnical issues for the first meeting of the Conference of theParties. The report of this meeting can be found in documentUNEP/CBD/IC/2/11. The items considered at Mexico City meetingincluded: the identification of scientific programmes andinternational cooperation related to the conservation andsustainable use of biological diversity; the organization of thepreparation of an agenda for scientific and technological research;the identification of innovative state-of-the-art technologies; andthe ways and means of promoting development and transferring suchtechnologies.


The second session of the ICCBD opened on Monday, 20 June 1994 atUNEP Headquarters in Nairobi. During the opening session, theCommittee addressed several organizational matters, includingelection of two Bureau members and adoption of the report of thefirst session of the ICCBD (UNEP/CBD/IC/2/2). At the request ofseveral delegates, it was agreed that the Committee would includeon its agenda discussion on the participation of the COP in thenext session of the Commission on Sustainable Development.

UNEP Executive Director Elizabeth Dowdeswell reminded the Committeethat for a country to be invited to the first COP, it would have todeposit its instrument of ratification, acceptable approval oraccession by 30 August 1994. She also announced that the first COPwould take place from 28 November to 9 December 1994 in Nassau, TheBahamas.

During the second session of the Plenary, delegates heard thereport of the Open-Ended Intergovernmental Meeting of ScientificExperts on Biological Diversity, which was held in Mexico city from11-15 April 1994. During this session, the Committee was also toscheduled to hear statements from institutions, including regionalbanks and international organizations and large national banks,that were invited by the Interim Secretariat, however, only threewere present: Michael Monaghan, on behalf of Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and SustainableDevelopment; Chris Kahangi from the African Development Bank; andNancy Vallejo from the World Wide Fund for Nature. Other speakersincluded Martin Khor of the Third World Network, Eduardo Fuentes ofUNDP, and Ashish Kothari of the Indian Institute of PublicAdministration.


During the two-week session, the Plenary met almost daily toconsider the rules of procedure for the Conference of the Partiesand the preparation of a report to the UN Commission on SustainableDevelopment, which will be addressing biodiversity during its 1995session, and the draft agenda for the first meeting of the COP.


At the first session of the Plenary, ICCBD Chair Amb. VincenteS nchez proposed the creation of a drafting group (Friends of theChair) to "polish" the rules of procedure before they are formallydiscussed by the Plenary. The rules of procedure were negotiated atthe first session of the ICCBD, but were not adopted. Due to theobjection of several delegates, it was agreed that the rules ofprocedure would be discussed by the Plenary before they were"cleaned-up" by a contact group, chaired by Patrick Sz‚ll of theUK.

The Plenary first discussed the rules of procedure(UNEP/CBD/IC/2/3) on Wednesday, 22 June 1994. The 57 rules coverpurpose, definitions, place of meetings, dates of meetings,observers, agenda, representation and credentials, officers,subsidiary bodies, secretariat, conduct of business, voting,languages, amendments, and the overriding authority of theConvention.

By the beginning of the second week, agreement had been reached inthe small contact group on all but six issues. These included:observer status for the financial mechanism referred to in Article21 of the Convention; the size of the bureau; decision-makingeither by consensus or by a two-thirds majority; and reduction ofthe number of working languages from six to three. Further informalnegotiations undertaken by the Chair also proved unsuccessful. Thebreakthrough finally came on Thursday, 30 June 1994, when somedelegations relented. A lot of progress on this issue was made dueto the realization that the COP would be unable to conduct anybusiness without rules of procedure. Three unresolved issues wereleft bracketed for the COP to address at its first meeting. Theseissues are:

  • RULE 4 -- DATES OF MEETINGS: This rule stipulates the guidelines for the holding of ordinary and extraordinary meetings. Germany proposed text providing for the ordinary meetings to initially be held during the first three years, with the periodicity of subsequent meetings to be decided by the COP at the end of the third annual ordinary meeting.
  • RULE 21 -- OFFICERS: The small island developing States proposed that the size of the Bureau should be increased to assure their representation. At the informal extended bureau consultations on this issue, there appeared to be some goodwill to accept a proposal to have the Bureau enlarged from five (President, Rapporteur and three Vice-Presidents) to ten, with two representatives from each region. They also included an additional phrase, "...including a representative from the small islands developing States...." Since the European Union could not get approval for these amendments from its capitals in time, the text is still bracketed.
  • RULE 40 -- VOTING: This rule stipulates that all agreement on matters of substance will be reached by consensus. In case of failure to reach consensus, a two-thirds majority vote of the Parties present and voting will be the decisive factor. However, there is still some opposition on the application of these rules to decisions relating to paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 40 (financial mechanism) and the protocol on biosafety referred to in Article 19. This will not be resolved until the outstanding issues relating to the financial mechanism are addressed.


The discussion on the possible input of the COP to the 1995 CSDmeeting was prompted by an invitation from the Department forPolicy Coordination and Sustainable Development (DPCSD) to theICCBD to participate in the 1995 CSD meeting, which will addressbiodiversity and biotechnology issues. However, as the ICCBD is notmandated to carry out such a function, the Committee agreed to holda brainstorming session on whether or not to contribute to the CSDmeeting. The general discussions addressed the rationale for makingan input, the relationship between the COP and the CSD, and theprocess.

The Committee recognized the importance of contributing to the 1995session of the CSD, but noted that this relationship is nothierarchical, since the COP is a supreme organ. The Committeemandated the Interim Secretariat to prepare the CSD input, whichwill first be considered by the COP, who will then decide whetherthe input should be forwarded to the CSD. In order to prepare thepaper, the Interim Secretariat, in its information paperUNEP/CBD/IC/2/Inf.5, requested governments to submit a two-pagedocument by 15 August 1994 outlining: the issues that could arisein the discussion; the cluster of items on the CSD's agenda; andperspectives and suggestions for the coherent development ofbiodiversity issues. The Interim Secretariat also accepted Spain'soffer to host an experts meeting (comprising not more than 20participants with regional representation drawn from the governmentand NGO sectors, among others, but invited in their individualcapacities) to provide input into the process. The InterimSecretariat will prepare a paper to be discussed by the first COPbased on these government papers, the meeting of experts and theMexico City meeting.


At the request of several delegations, general discussions wereheld on the draft provisional agenda for the first meeting of theCOP, based on the Interim Secretariat's outline of the possibleagenda, contained in document UNEP/CBD/IC/2/18. Following thediscussions, the Chair stressed the need to distinguish between theissues to be discussed at the first COP and items to be containedin a longer-term programme of work. There was support that the COPshould focus on organizational and financial matters, including:the rules of procedure; format, structure and reporting duties bythe institutional structures to the COP; guidelines and disciplinesof meetings of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical andTechnological Advice (SBSTTA) and the election of its Chair;adoption of a budget for the second meeting of the COP; input intothe CSD; determination of the agenda for the next COP; reportingprocesses for the contracting Parties; and preparation of both anagenda for the following year and a multi-year programme of work.


Working Group I, chaired by Prof. S.K. Ongeri (Kenya), consideredthe following agenda items: Item 4.1.3, Selection of a competentinternational organization to carry out the functions of theSecretariat of the Convention; Item 4.1.4, Clearing-house mechanismfor technical and scientific cooperation; Item 4.2.2, Considerationof the need for, and modalities of, a protocol on biosafety; Item4.2.3, Ownership of and access to ex situ genetic resources;and Item 4.2.4, Farmers' rights and rights of similar groups. TheWorking Group first discussed each item. The Interim Secretariatthen prepared a report of this discussion, which was subsequentlyreviewed and, sometimes, further negotiated by the Group.


Article 24 of the Convention establishes a secretariat, listsits functions and provides that the first COP shall "designate thesecretariat from amongst those existing competent internationalorganizations which have signified their willingness to carry outthe secretariat functions." Discussion focused on the list ofattributes of the secretariat, its location, and choice of anorganization to carry out secretariat functions.

LIST OF ATTRIBUTES: India, supported by Norway, stated that thesecretariat should not be composed of a small number of experts,but should engage in informal consultations with scientificagencies and NGOs at the regional and national levels. Australiaproposed that ease of accessibility to governments and NGOs beadded to the list of attributes. Brazil added that one of criteriashould be the organization's ability to implement the sustainableuse and equitable sharing of resources. Sweden added that the headof the secretariat should be responsible only to the COP and thatthe budget of the secretariat should be separate to ensureautonomy.


Australia, supported by Japan,the UK, Switzerland and others, proposed the idea of "co-location"of the secretariats for the Conventions on Biodiversity, ClimateChange and Desertification. Australia also recommended co-locatingthese secretariats in a UN headquarters city to facilitatecoordination, cut costs and increase ease of access. Swedenrecommended that the COP select the location. Sri Lanka stated thatphysical proximity of the three secretariats is less importantgiven the "information super highway." Spain, supported by CostaRica, Uruguay and others, stressed decentralization.


Kenya, supported by severalcountries, recommended the nomination of UNEP as one of the mostcompetent organizations. The UK and Canada noted that thesecretariat could represent a partnership between organizations tocarry out secretariat functions. The UK, supported by Sri Lanka andothers, stated that the COP might want to review the work of thesecretariat and Norway emphasized the need to ensure continuity.Sweden suggested a possible consortium of five agencies: UNEP, FAO,DPCSD, UNESCO and UNDP. In addition, some countries, includingZaire and New Zealand, indicated their support for UNESCO and theIUCN. The final report lists six organizations that couldpotentially serve as the secretariat, including UNEP, UNDP, FAO,UNESCO/IOC, DPCSD, and the IUCN. It was noted that the list shouldnot prejudge the selection process of the COP. There wasconsiderable discussion on the process by which internationalorganizations might be presented to the COP. The Group recommendedthat in accordance with Article 24, paragraph 2 of the Convention,all interested, competent international organizations should informthe Interim Secretariat of their interest and the details of theiroffer before 15 August 1994.


Article 18 (3) of the Convention states that the first COP willdetermine how to establish a clearing-house mechanism to promoteand facilitate technical and scientific cooperation. The WorkingGroup noted that very little information had been received inresponse to the Interim Secretariat's questionnaire surveyingexisting clearing-house mechanisms, and asked the Secretariat tocontinue its survey and include the International AgriculturalResearch Centres (IARCs).

The issues before the Group included: discussion on the range ofsubject areas for technology development, cooperation and transfer;sources of financial support; recommendations to the COP on how toestablish and use the mechanism; and guidance to the InterimSecretariat for preparation for the COP.

The US proposed the creation of a biodiversity centre where allParties could generate and use data on biodiversity. Severaldeveloping countries emphasized the need for national capacitybuilding and institution creation. The Netherlands and Brazilsupported the creation of regional data centers. Sweden was infavor of a more ambitious clearing-house mechanism that wouldstraddle technical cooperation and technology transfer so as todeal with the fair and equitable use of genetic resources. Severaldeveloped countries stated that the key element is a needs-drivensystem. Delegates also discussed provisions for obtaining financialand technical support as consortium or joint ventures. Somedeveloped countries expressed their concern about the implicationsof brokerage roles for the mechanism.

By the conclusion of these discussions, a number of issues stillremained to be clarified. These include: the role and nature of theclearing-house mechanism, for instance whether it should be adirectory service or a more active information exchange system; therange of subject areas to be covered; its links to the SubsidiaryBody on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice; and itsfunding. Most of the countries expressed a preference for adecentralized clearing-house mechanism, as expressed in the Reportof the Mexico City Meeting (UNEP/CBD/IC/2/11).


Article 25 of the Convention refers to the establishment of asubsidiary body to provide the COP with timely advice relating tothe implementation of the Convention. During the discussion therewas strong support that the body be open-ended andmultidisciplinary in its structure.


Norway, supported by others, wanted aprioritization of tasks required of the subsidiary body. NewZealand, Japan, Brazil, Spain and India expressed concern that thebody provide scientific and technical advice rather than dealingwith finance or policy matters. It was agreed that the SBSTTAshould provide scientific and technical advice, including on policyissues related to scientific and technical programmes andinternational cooperation in research, but not other policy issues.It should also have no direct relationship to the financialmechanism.

The final report of Working Group I (UNEP/CBD/IC/2/ L.3) statesthat the SBSTTA should draw its future work from the report of theMexico meeting (UNEP/CBD/IC /2/11) and the Agenda for Scientificand Technological Research (UNEP/CBD/IC/2/Inf.2), and bothdocuments will be forwarded to the COP. In addition, the Committeeshould submit a set of priority tasks for the SBSTTA to the COP,consisting of Article 25, paragraph 2 of the Convention.


Many countries wanted to ensurethe multidisciplinary nature of the subsidiary body, as referred toin Article 25 of the Convention. The Chair asked a small group toelaborate upon the various disciplines that would need to berepresented in the SBSTTA to enable it to discharge its functionseffectively.


Australia and Sweden, supported by others, statedthat funding for the subsidiary body will need to be reflected inthe budget for the COP.


India, Norway, Brazil and others wanted thesubsidiary body to be open to all contracting Parties of theConvention, as cited in Article 25 (1). Malawi proposed a two-tiersystem with the first tier being an open-ended subsidiary body andthe second tier being regional level groups. Canada and Australiacalled for a small, regionally-balanced steering body that wouldmeet more frequently than the larger open-ended SBSTTA. The WorkingGroup recommended a committee with equitable regionalrepresentation and a two-tier body. A small steering committee withequitable geographical representation may be created, if the COP sodecides.


Working Group I spent a considerable portion of its time on theneed for, and modalities of, a protocol on biosafety. While manycountries recognized the need for ensuring biosafety throughinternational action, there were two different broad views on thesubject.


Germany, on behalfof the European Union, stated that in the short-term thedevelopment of technical guidelines on biosafety was favoredwithout prejudice to the medium-term development of internationallegal instruments on biosafety, while assessing the need for andmodalities of a protocol. The Netherlands stated that aninternational agreement on safety in biotechnology shouldeventually be given the form of a legally-binding agreement andthat such an agreement should pay attention to both capacitybuilding and timing. It was noted that the Netherlands hassupported the organization of two regional meetings: AfricanRegional Conference for International Cooperation on Safety inBiotechnology in October 1993 and a joint US/Dutch meeting inColombia in June 1994. In addition, the UK and Netherlands held anexpert-meeting on technical guidelines in biosafety in March 1994whose findings could be made available as background information.The UK referred to joint work with the Netherlands and announcedits plan co-host a meeting on biosafety in 1995 in Asia. The USstated that a protocol on biosafety is not warranted, but it didrecognize the needs specified in Article 19 and stated thatguidelines were not a substitute for scientific evaluations and didnot replace needs-based requirements. Japan stated that decisionson this issue should be made on the basis of accumulated scientificknowledge and on-going examinations, such as those conducted by theOECD.


Many countries, including Malaysia, Sri Lanka,Colombia, Sweden, Norway, Malawi, India, Uruguay, Tunisia, Denmark,Brazil, Burundi, Zambia, Ethiopia, Gambia, C“te d'Ivoire, Pakistan,Argentina, Morocco, Kenya, Nepal and Syria, supported the need tohave a legally-binding agreement on biosafety. Malaysia wasconcerned about the issue of transnational corporations usingdeveloping countries as a place to transfer and test livingmodified organisms (LMOs). Supported by Sweden, Malaysia called forthe establishment of a subsidiary body to consider the issue andreport to the COP. Sri Lanka also noted that LMOs are subject tomutations. Sweden, supported by Norway and India, pointed out thatconcerns expressed in the report of UNEP Panel 4, regardingpotential threats to biological diversity of LMOs frombiotechnology, were not adequately reflected in the initialdocument prepared by the Interim Secretariat. China wantedguidelines based on regional initiatives that would then lead up toa legally-binding international instrument.

Greenpeace, Third World Network and Genetic Resources ActionInternational (GRAIN) stressed the need for a legally-bindinginternational regulatory mechanism. The Third World Networkproposed an addition supported by all three of the NGOs who hadintervened: "They stressed the urgent need for a protocol becauseof the serious risks posed by the transboundary nature of theexport of LMOs and examples were given that northern companies hadalready started carrying out hazardous genetic engineeringexperiments in the South. They also asked that the destabilizingsocio- economic aspects of biosafety form part of such a protocol."

There was heated debate on the report of the discussion with regardto Article 19 (3) of the Convention, which requires the COP toconsider the need for, and modalities of, a protocol. Protractedexchanges occurred on an amendment proposed by Germany, on behalfof the EU, that a "significant number" of delegations supportedimmediate work for a protocol, while "many others" stated that aprocess be initiated in order to come to an informed positionregarding this issue. At one point, Mauritius called for a show ofhands to lay the issue to rest. Australia recommended removing"many" and leaving "others."

Finally, a small group comprising of Germany, India, Mexico,Venezuela, the US, Australia, Kenya, Canada and Ethiopia was askedto find an adequate formulation. The small group managed to reachagreement on the following: "A significant number of delegationsexpressed support for the immediate work on a protocol while othersexpressed support that the COP should establish a step-by-stepprocess to consider the need for, and modalities of, a protocol."Nevertheless, the Working Group could not accept this. India, onbehalf of the G-77 and China, proposed another addition: "The G-77and China were of the unanimous view to immediately work on aprotocol on biosafety, while some others expressed support that theCOP should establish a step-by-step process to consider the needfor, and modalities of, a protocol." This led to more disagreementas some stated that it was not appropriate that text agreed on byconsensus in the drafting group be reopened and that the views ofthe G-77 and China were being expressed subsequent to the group'sdiscussion on the issue. Others stated that there was larger groupto which the drafting group was accountable and indicated supportfor the G-77 and China. There was some confusion regarding theposition of the East European Group, as they initially indicatedsupport for a protocol, but later expressed support for astep-by-step approach. It was finally agreed to amend the draftinggroup's text to read: "In reaction to the proposal, the G-77 andChina...."

The final report of Working Group I (UNEP/CBD/IC/2/ L.2/Add.3)notes that process for developing technical guidelines be set inmotion and that biosafety component of the draft FAO InternationalCode of Conduct constitute an input into the COP. But it was notclear what kind of working group should be recommended to COP inorder to draft a protocol. The options include: an expert groupwith regional representation, an ad-hoc working group, anopen-ended working group, or, alternatively, some combination ofthe above.


The Chair noted that the issue of ownership, and access to, exsitu genetic resources is not provided for in the Convention.Hence, the Interim Secretariat had invited the FAO to prepare abackground paper in the context of Resolution 3 of the NairobiFinal Act.

As the COP is not required to deal with the issue at its firstmeeting, the ICCBD was asked to begin to identify possible areas ofinterest for future work, including examining the legal status of:national ex situ plant collections; future ex situcollection centers; and the current status of ex situcenters of plant, animal or other organisms.

India stated that as custodians of domestic plant and animaldiversity, farmers need a legally-binding regime that wouldrecognize their rights as inviolable. Japan did not believe thatthe FAO's international undertaking on genetic resources couldbecome a legal instrument under the Convention, as the Conventiondid not provide for this. Norway recognized the importance ofresolving the issue of ownership of, and access to, ex situgenetic resources in a legally-binding instrument, perhaps aprotocol. Kenya proposed: the strengthening of regional gene banksto be funded under the Convention; repatriation of gene duplicatesto the country of origin; sharing in the commercial andtechnological benefits with the gene resource's country of origin;and a legally-binding document. Malaysia noted that the exsitu collections were contributed by developing countries onthe understanding that they would be freely accessible. Greece, onbehalf of the EU, said that the COP should provide guidance for theconservation, characterization, collection and utilization ofgenetic resources and stated that germplasm collections have torespect existing property rights and laws. The FAO gave a briefhistory of the organization and noted that ex situ genebanks established before the entry into force of the Convention arebeing brought into harmony with the Convention. Brazil, on behalfof the G-77 and China, stated that any multilateral agreement onex situ collections should refer to the ex situcollections existing before the entry into force of the Convention.

The report (UNEP/CBD/IC/2/L.2/Add.4) notes that Resolution 3 of theNairobi Final Act recognizes the need to seek solutions to theoutstanding matters on access to ex situ collections notacquired in accordance with the Convention and the question offarmers rights within the FAO global system for the conservationand sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food andsustainable agriculture. It also states that many representativessupported the work of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources,which is an intergovernmental forum established within the FAO. Tothis end, the FAO should be invited to present a progress report onthis subject to the first COP. The report stresses that COP shouldprovide guidance for the interpretation and further development ofthese issues, and that there was strong general support for there-negotiation process of international undertaking of plantgenetic resources. In addition, it refers to the linkage betweenfarmers or indigenous/local communities who are often the providersof germplasm. The report notes the NGOs' concern that the COP, whendiscussing and determining the status as to ownership, control andrights of ex-situ collections of biological materials, givepriority to recognizing and formally establishing the rights offarmers and indigenous people.


Working Group I did not spend much time discussing farmers' rights.All delegates expressed support for the recognition of the rightsof indigenous people. Some suggested new approaches to compensatefarmers for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.Others stated that incentives should be given to local andindigenous communities. In addition, it was noted that:intellectual property rights may constitute a basis for fair andequitable sharing of benefits; the issue of ex situcollections and intellectual property rights should be on theagenda for the COP; the COP should initiate a study on how toimplement Article 8 (j) (preservation of traditional and localknowledge) of the Convention; and the work underway in FAO shouldbe taken into account to avoid duplication. NGOs expressed the hopeto see elected representatives of indigenous peoples at the COP.Colombia reminded the Working Group of the arguments for alegally-binding protocol on this issue and Greenpeace noted severalspeakers' call for a study on the impact of intellectual propertyrights on the objective of the Convention, particularly ambiguitiesof Article 16 (5).

Discussions on this report were less heated and delegates wanted tomodify certain phrases and add sentences to particular paragraphsbut unlike the debate on ex situ genetic resources,discussions tended to be principally of a procedural and editorialnature.


The Group, chaired by Mr. V. Koester of Denmark, addressed fouragenda items: Item 4.1.2, Financial rules governing the funding ofthe Secretariat of the Convention; Item 4.1.5, Policy, strategy,programme priorities and eligibility criteria regarding access toand utilization of financial resources; Item 4.1.6, Institutionalstructure to operate the financial mechanism under the Convention;and, Item 4.1.7, List of developed country Parties and otherParties which voluntarily assume the obligations of developedcountry Parties. During the first few days of the two-week session,these items were discussed by the Working Group. However, due tothe complex and highly political nature of many of the items, theChair convened two smaller open-ended contact groups that werecharged with addressing these items before reporting back to theWorking Group. While these groups were comprised of a small numberof core stakeholders, they were open-ended thereby allowing otherStates who wished to participate to do so. As the main WorkingGroup did not meet during the days that the contact groups weremeeting, the contact groups were well attended.


Initial discussion of Agenda Item 4.1.2 (initially 4.1.3), Draftfinancial rules for the funding of the Secretariat, took place inthe Working Group, however, most of the substantive negotiationstook place later in a smaller Contact Group. This Group, chaired byMr. Uppenbrink (Germany), included Australia, Brazil, Sweden, theBahamas, India and Zimbabwe.

The draft rules relate to Article 23 (3) of the Convention, whichrequires the COP to agree, by consensus, on the financial rulesgoverning the funding of the Secretariat. The same article statesthat the COP shall also periodically decide on and adopt a budget.The background document prepared by the Secretariat(UNEP/CBD/IC/2/5) outlines current practices in selectedconventions. It considers the advantages and disadvantages ofvoluntary contributions and a pro-rated scale of assessments. Italso outlines alternative scales of assessment for contributionsbased on precedents set in other Conventions.

The Contact Group developed two documents that were considered andadopted by the Working Group. These documents will be forwarded tothe COP with the recommendation that further discussion of thisissue should be based on these documents. The first documentaddresses the financial rules and the second addresses the budget.The documents are: "Draft Financial Rules for the Administration ofthe Trust Fund for the Convention on Biological Diversity"(UNEP/CBD/IC/2/WG.II/L.1) and "Financial Rules Governing theFunding of the Secretariat of the Convention"(UNEP/CBD/IC/2/WG.II/L.3).


Thisdocument recommends to the COP that a trust fund be established forthe administration of the Convention, including the functions ofthe Secretariat. Most of the document deals with issues such as thecurrency that contributions shall be made in, reporting ofcontributions and auditing. Close examination of this text showsthat the trust rules have been formulated in such a way that givesmost of the power to the head of the secretariat as opposed to theorganization that will host the secretariat. The COP, which willguide the work of the secretariat, will, therefore, have more powerthan other COPs.

The text contains several major points of divergence that remainbracketed. Paragraph 3, which relates to the basis of financing,has not been agreed. The contentious issue is whether contributionsshould be voluntary or not. The US and Japan support a voluntaryassessment, while others, including Sweden and the Netherlands,would like payments to be obligatory. The issue is not that somecountries do not want to contribute regular payments to the trustfund, but rather that domestic policies in some countries dictatethat all contributions must be voluntary. For example, if thepayment is obligatory, the US requires Congressional approval.Other countries, however, prefer mandatory payments to ensurepredictable cash flows. Another suggestion made by Australia andsupported by China is that funding should come from the UN regularbudget.

Paragraph 4, which relates to the scale of assessment, is alsounresolved. One issue is that many countries support a formula thatensures that no single contribution shall exceed 25% of the total.This is an important issue for some of the donor countries who fearthat if more countries do not ratify the Convention there is thepotential that their proportion of financing will account for morethan 25% of the total contributions. Other countries do not wantsuch a ceiling in the event that a contributor would like to paymore than 25%. The second issue in this paragraph relates to aproposal by Brazil that no developing country is to pay more thanany developed country. This proposal is based in the principle thatdeveloped countries are meant to be financing the implementation ofthe Convention, including the secretariat. In reality, this wouldmean that countries such as Luxembourg and Portugal would have tocontribute more than countries such as Brazil and India. Somecountries find this unacceptable.


The Contact Group developed an un-bracketed drafttext on the funding of the secretariat, which was adopted withoutamendment. The Group was unable to produce a budget given thatseveral issues regarding the secretariat were still underdiscussion. Such issues include the location of the secretariat,institutional arrangements and the functions and tasks to beprovided. Instead, the document identifies indicative budgetcomponents that should be used to guide the secretariat indeveloping a draft budget. These components include personnel,meetings, travel, premises, equipment, etc. The draft alsorecommends that the Interim Secretariat prepare: a detailed draftbudget, based on the functions and tasks likely to be assigned toit by the COP, and a list of expected income sources. In order togive Parties to the Convention an indication of the relative sizeof their expected contributions, the Interim Secretariat was askedto draw up alternative scales of assessments for those Partiesbased on the still bracketed alternative scales in paragraph 4 ofthe draft financial rules. The budget and potential contributionsshould then be distributed to the Parties before the next COP.


Initial discussion of Agenda Item 4.1.5 (initially 4.1.6), thepolicies, strategies, programme priorities, and eligibilitycriteria regarding access to and utilization of financialresources, was initially discussed in the Working Group. Along withother agenda items, it was then turned over to a second ContactGroup chaired by Mr. Juan Mateos (Mexico). The core membersof this Contact Group, in addition to Mexico, included Uganda,Nigeria, India, Malaysia, China, Uruguay, Antigua and Barbuda,Brazil, the US, France, Japan, Australia, the UK and Austria.However, since the Group was open-ended, it was attended by manymore delegations. The background paper prepared by the InterimSecretariat on this item was "Policy, Strategy, ProgrammePriorities and Eligibility Criteria Regarding Access To andUtilization of Financial Resources" (UNEP/CBD/IC/2/8), whichrelates to Articles 20 and 21 of the Convention. The Chair ofWorking Group II stressed that this item was about the financialstructure and not the institutional mechanism that may operate it.Consideration of this report in both the Working Group and ContactGroup resulted in a text on programme priorities. No agreementcould be reached on the policies, strategies and eligibilitycriteria and, hence, no new recommendations emerged from thediscussion.


Article 21 (2) of the Conventionstates that programme priorities for eligibility for funding mustbe determined by the COP at its first meeting. Consideration ofthis matter by the ICCBD is also specified in Resolution 2(2)(g) ofthe Nairobi Final Act. The programme priorities were developed bythe Contact Group and adopted by the Working Group: "ProgrammePriorities for Access to and Utilization of Financial Resources"(UNEP/CBD/IC/2/ WG.II/L.2). The ICCBD has recommended that the COPuse this text as the basis for further discussion of the issue.

This bracketed text is divided into two parts: the first is of ageneral nature and the second outlines 13 more specific priorities.Agreement has been reached on eight of the 13 programme priorities;the other five remain bracketed. The agreed paragraphs include: (i)projects that have national priority status; (ii) development ofnational strategies; (iv) identification and monitoring ofbiodiversity components, in particular those under threat; (v)capacity building and/or strengthening the preparation of nationalreports; (vii) projects that promote the sustainability of projectbenefits and that may have application elsewhere; (viii) activitiesthat leverage other funds: (x) projects that strengthen theinvolvement of local people; (xi) priority to coastal and marineresources under threat, arid, semi-arid and mountainous regions;and (xii) projects aimed at the conservation and sustainable use ofendemic species.

Among the outstanding issues are paragraphs (iii) and (xi), whichare strongly supported by small island States and prioritize"coastal and marine resources under threat." Japan and Austria didnot want reference made to particular geographic circumstancesbecause many other resources are just as important and priorityshould not be given to particular areas. Others noted that onlycoastal and marine resources "under threat" are prioritized and,therefore, should not be of concern to States without coastalareas. The final draft makes reference to coastal and marineresources in the agreed text of paragraph (xi). Reference tocoastal and marine resources in paragraph (iii) remains bracketed,as do other aspects of the paragraph.

The majority of time was spent discussing paragraph (vi), whichlists the development and transfer of technology as a programmepriority. It is strongly supported by the G-77 and China. However,the developed countries, while agreeing that technology transfer isan important goal of the Convention, do not agree that it should bea programme priority for financial support under the Convention.Again, no compromise was reached and the G-77 and OECD groups eachprovided their own texts to the Chair. Both of these texts appearbracketed in the report provided to the COP.

Confusion surrounding the term "opportunity costs foregone" hasresulted in the bracketing of paragraph (ix). Austria suggestedthat to "forego costs" means that costs are not incurred, whereasthis paragraph addresses issues of costs incurred by localcommunities. Several developing countries insisted that"opportunity" remain even if "foregone" was removed. However, othercountries expressed a lack of understanding of this term and theparagraph remains bracketed.


Due to thehighly political and sensitive nature of the policies, strategiesand eligibility criteria, these issues were discussed in generalterms and then shelved until the COP. No recommendations weredeveloped. Discussion of measures to ensure that the mechanismfunctions under the authority of, and be accountable to, the COP,in accordance with Article 21, produced divergent opinions.Australia, Zimbabwe, the US and the UK recommended that theinstitution chosen should report to the COP and should not bemicro-managed. Pakistan, the Bahamas and Malaysia supported thecreation of an intermediary body that would evaluate how the COP'sguidance is being adhered to. There was general agreement that themechanism should operate within a democratic system of governance.The definition of the term "full incremental cost" was notdiscussed.

With respect to eligibility, the Convention provides for access tofinancial resources under the Convention for "developingcountries." Many States, both developed and developing, did not seethe determination of what is a "developing country" as anappropriate exercise for the ICCBD. Also the question ofeligibility for access to grants vis a vis concessionalfinancing was left to the COP.


After discussion in Working Group II, this item was addressed bythe Contact Group chaired by Amb. Mateos. This issue was highlysensitive and politically charged from the outset. With twostrongly polarized views, divided along North/South lines, no textscould be negotiated and, as a result, no recommendations will beforwarded to the COP.

In general, the developed countries want the recently restructuredGlobal Environment Facility (GEF) to become the permanentinstitutional structure to operate the Convention's financialmechanism. They argue that the GEF restructuring was negotiated bythe countries present at the ICCBD. Many developed countries claimthat their governments have committed finances to the GEF forfunding of biodiversity projects and it is unlikely that any newmoney will be forthcoming. On the other hand, many developingcountries do not want the GEF to become the permanent institutionalstructure until it has proved that the restructuring has respondedto all the developing country concerns. Other developing countriesrefused to even consider the GEF on an interim basis. Pakistan saidthat the restructured GEF does not qualify under the Convention,since it is not democratic or under the authority of theConvention. Kenya, Syria and Mauritius called for a differentmechanism.

The discussion also focused on the merits of one versus two orseveral institutional structures. It was noted that the GEF doesnot allow contributions from non-governmental sources and,therefore, an independent fund should be developed to allowcontributions from individuals and non-governmental organizations.It would also provide a means for government contributions thatwere earmarked for particular projects.

Australia's proposal for an arrangement such as a memorandum ofunderstanding between the COP and the institutional structure wasstrongly supported. The Bahamas suggested that an intermediary bodybetween the COP and all agencies operating under its authority,including the institutional structure be developed. This body wouldthen evaluate the performance of the institutional structure.

During discussion on this item in the Contact Group, the Chairdistributed a draft text that he hoped would be used as the basisfor negotiating a set of recommendations for the COP. The strongpolarization of views on this topic, however, prevented anydiscussion of the text. The draft text called for the GEF to remainas the interim structure while a study is made of alternativestructures. Many developed countries informed the Chair privatelythat they were unwilling to even discuss the document and allfurther discussion of this issue was suspended until the COP. Somecountries have expressed concern that if the GEF is only an interimstructure, donor countries may not contribute the sums of moneythey have previously committed.


For the most part, discussion of Agenda Item 4.1.7 (initially4.1.8) occurred in the second Contact Group chaired by Mr. Mateos.This agenda item addresses Article 20 (2) of the Convention, whichspecifies that the first COP must establish a list of developedcountry Parties and other Parties which voluntarily assume theobligations of developed country Parties. No definitive list of"developed countries" exists. A number of lists are used by variousorganizations for different purposes. There were many suggestionsand considerable discussion about the merits and disadvantages ofexisting lists. Delegates tried to find principles or precedents onwhich to base the list.

The lists evaluated by the Contact Group include those of the WorldBank, UNDP and the Montreal Protocol, in addition to othersuggestions such as listing the "non-recipient donors of the GEF"and including all OECD and EU countries on whatever list wasdeveloped. Initially, the UK suggested that all donors to the GEFshould be used. However, this would mean that India, China,Pakistan and other developing countries that donate money to theGEF would be classified as "developed" and would, therefore, beunable to receive funds to implement the Convention. This proposalwas then amended to read "non-recipient donors." However, this alsohad its complications as some countries, such as Iceland, would notbe considered developed. Some countries had difficulty with thelist being in any way related to the GEF, as the institutionalstructure had not yet been chosen. China suggested that anevaluation of lists used by the Convention on Climate Change andthe Montreal Protocol should be undertaken. The list from theConvention on Climate Change was opposed as it has not yet beenapproved by the COP and is technically not an existing list.Including all OECD countries was not acceptable to Mexico, whichhas recently become a member of the OECD.

After all the possibilities were exhausted, delegates agreed thatthe Chair should develop a new list. For all the debate, there wasno real controversy about which countries should be included on thelist. Accordingly, the Chair listed those countries that will bedefined as "developed" for the purpose of the Convention. This newlist, which consists of developed, high income countries, wasadopted without revision by the Working Group and is contained indocument UNEP/CBD/IC/2/WG.II/L.5.


On Friday, 1 July 1994, the final session of the ICCBD Plenary washeld to adopt the reports of the two working groups and the reportof the Committee.

The Chair of Working Group I, Prof. Ongeri presented the WorkingGroup's report (UNEP/CBD/IC/2/L.3) and verbally noted thecorrigenda consisting of minor editorial points. The Netherlandsintroduced an addition to the report in the section on ownershipof, and access to, ex situ genetic resources (4.2.3) thatthe CGIAR centres stand ready to participate in the development ofthe clearing-house mechanism for information on biodiversity forfood, forestry and agriculture. The Chair did not allow thisstatement to be included in the Working Group's report said itwould be included in the report of the Plenary. The report wasadopted.

The Chair of Working Group II, Mr. Koester (Denmark), introducedthe report of Working Group II (UNEP/CBD/IC/ 2/L.4), which wassubsequently adopted.

The Rapporteur of the Plenary, Mr. J. Husain (Pakistan), introducedthe continuation of the report of the work of the Plenary(UNEP/CBD/IC/2/L.1/Add.1-Add.6 with attached corrigenda). Greecenoted to the Plenary that it had ratified the Convention and thatthis was not reflected in the revisions to the information documentcirculated that morning (UNEP/CBD/IC/2/Inf.1/Rev.1). The Chairnoted that this would be reflected in the report of the Plenary.

Germany, on behalf of the EU, offered some further thoughts on howthe permanent Secretariat should be chosen, saying that it may notbe feasible to choose it at the first COP. He said that the EU isimpressed by the quality and performance of the present team andsuggested that the Interim Secretariat continue until the secondCOP. Ongeri noted that the Working Group I report recommended this.Sweden supported the EU suggestion and added that not only shouldit be made clear that one of the conditions should be fulltransparency, but that States should have a decisive say in theselection of the permanent Secretariat. Switzerland supported theEU and reminded the Plenary that its existing agreement covers thecosts of the secretariat through 1995.

Syria expressed general thanks on behalf of the Arab Group. Kenyathanked the delegates for coming and reiterated its desire to housethe permanent secretariat. India expressed dismay at the bracketsleft in the rules of procedure and the lack of headway on thebiosafety protocol. Mauritius was disappointed with the resistanceto expanding the size of the Bureau to include the small islanddeveloping States. He also requested information from UNEP on thestatus of the request from the African Group for sponsorship of theAfrican Regional meeting. UNEP Executive Director ElizabethDowdeswell explained that the first stage of preparation iscomplete and that UNEP has sought donor contributions.

Peru announced that it will host an intergovernmental meeting inLima, with the participation of NGOs and scientific organizations,for the Latin American and Caribbean Group to consider the issueson the agenda for the first COP. Brazil said that the results ofthis meeting show the start of real work in forging the globalpartnership in implementation of the Convention, particularly incommunities related to the conservation and sustainable use ofbiodiversity. But, he added, it is up to governments to forge theframework to generate more wealth, requiring political will,patience and the courage to change and to envision a new world.Algeria, on behalf of the G-77, said it was pleased with theCommittee's work and that he hoped that the COP will be in aposition to identify the permanent financial mechanism that willbest be able to implement the Convention. Poland, supported by theChair, thanked the International Institute for SustainableDevelopment for publishing the Earth Negotiations Bulletin,which, he said, was a helpful service for a one-person delegationso that he could monitor both working groups.

Ashish Kothari, from the Indian Institute of Public Administration,speaking on behalf of many of the NGOs present, noted that one ofthe positive developments of this session was that the Conventionis not limited to narrowly defined conservation programmes, butthat sustainable use and benefit-sharing are equally importantobjectives. He noted that the root causes of biodiversity loss arestill ignored and he hoped that the Spain meeting (CSD inputs)would help to define the task of addressing these causes. Hestressed that the COP must deal with the issues of indigenous andlocal community rights. He said that disagreements on the crucialaspects of the financial mechanism and priorities for funding area striking failure of the ICCBD and that the GEF remains aninappropriate institution to serve the Convention.

UNEP Executive Director Elizabeth Dowdeswell said that in only twosessions the ICCBD had accomplished its mission. Although a numberof items have not been fully resolved, a fruitful dialogue has beenestablished and will continue. She hoped that governments wouldpursue intersessional consultations on the financial mechanism. Shethought that perhaps a meeting between the regional groups on theeve of the first COP would be helpful. She added that UNEPcurrently houses the secretariats of six global conventions andthirteen agreements and, if a similar request were made to UNEP atthe first COP to the Convention on Biological Diversity, it wouldaccept.

Angela Cropper, Executive Secretary of the Interim Secretariat,noted the large number of tasks assigned to it for the five monthsbefore the first COP. She encouraged signatories that had notratified the Convention to do so before 30 August 1994 to ensurerepresentation at the first COP. She said that one of the tasksahead was the raising of funds for the regional workshops and theCOP. She said that discharging the function of the ExecutiveSecretary was stimulating and gratifying.

S nchez announced that Conference Services had provided diskettecopies of all the documents and reports for distribution. Hethanked the Committee for its tireless work and particularly theRapporteur and his "friends," and the representatives of theregional groups. He reminded the Committee of the work to be doneas the Convention enters the implementation stage and echoed Brazilin the need for a constructive partnership, particularly in foodself- sufficiency. He thanked the UN agencies, and the IUCN andNGOs who have reminded the governments of things they might haveforgotten or neglected. He then declared the second session of theICCBD closed.


The measurement of success of any intergovernmental negotiatingprocess is an arbitrary one that depends by and large on who issetting the expectations and on what those expectations are based.Some delegates and observers arrived at the second and finalmeeting of the ICCBD with greatly reduced expectations. They wereconcerned about both an unmanageable agenda and a possiblerepetition of the same errors that were committed at the firstsession of the ICCBD in Geneva. ICCBD-1 was characterized by a lackof adequate preparation by the Interim Secretariat,behind-the-scenes politics over the selection of the Chair, and theinability of the Committee to focus and prioritize issues. To theseparticipants with reduced expectations, the ICCBD-2 meeting was aqualified success.

On the other side, some delegates and observers arrived in Nairobiwith high expectations. With the Conference of Parties set toconvene in six months' time, they were expecting ICCBD-2 toeffectively set the stage for this crucial meeting. Using theIntergovernmental Negotiating Committee for the FrameworkConvention on Climate Change (INC) as a guide, they expected tosuccessfully negotiate a number of procedural and substantiverecommendations so that the first meeting of the COP could quicklymove through the organizational matters and immediately focus onmatters of substance. Many overlooked the fact that the INC willhave met six times before the first COP for the Climate ChangeConvention and the ICCBD only twice. To these delegates, ICCBD-2was a failure, since very few procedural, much less substantive,matters were actually resolved.

Regardless of the level of expectations, most agree that the ICCBDdid accomplish several things that will facilitate theimplementation of the Convention and the first COP. The generalfeeling of the participants was that they had accomplished a fairamount and the spirit of the meeting lacked the acrimoniousness ofICCBD-I. In other areas, familiar arguments characterized thelengthy debates where little progress could be made. In general,most participants and observers can agree that much more work needsto be done before the COP can begin serious work and the goals ofthe Convention can become a reality.


Although the ICCBD was not a negotiating session in the sense thatit could adopt formal decisions, a programme of action or aconvention, there were a few areas where the ICCBD was able to showconcrete accomplishments. These include prioritizing the issues,agreement on most of the rules of procedure, and agreement on theterms of reference of the subsidiary body on scientific, technicaland technological advice.


Perhaps the most importantaccomplishment of this meeting was the prioritization of issues.The agenda, which was a daunting document, was reduced at the firstPlenary. Even before the meeting began, on the weekend before thesession, the Bureau met to recommend priorities. This process of"triaging" the issues into those that needed immediate attentionand those that could live without attention until after the firstCOP was done by the Bureau and recommended to the Committee on thefirst day of this session. Although this schedule was altered bysome political special interests, by and large, the priority tasksthat the Committee set for itself were manageable and effectivelydealt with during the two weeks.

One factor responsible for the prioritization of issues was therole of the Interim Secretariat, both in preparing the backgrounddocumentation and the reports during the meeting. The quality andefficiency of the Secretariat's work proved to be invaluable andwas highly praised by a number of delegations.


By the conclusion of ICCBD-1, there wasno agreement on the rules of procedure. Since the COP cannotfunction without them, it was essential that the ICCBD negotiateand agree on the rules of procedure. The Plenary and an informalcontact group spent a great deal of time on these rules duringICCBD-2 and the result is that delegates reached agreement on allbut three of the 57 rules: Rule 4, Dates of meetings; Rule 21,Officers; and Rule 40, Voting. Since the COP can initially functionwithout agreement on these three rules, there was not cause forpanic. Nevertheless, further consultations will have to take placeduring the intersessional period to ensure that the COP does notget bogged down in procedural wrangling over these threeoutstanding rules.


Another accomplishment of ICCBD-2 wasagreement on the terms of reference for a subsidiary body toprovide the COP with timely advice relating to the implementationof the Convention, as called for in Article 25 of the Convention.Delegates were in agreement that this body should be formallyestablished at the first COP so that it can begin work immediatelythereafter. There was general agreement that the body be open-endedand multidisciplinary in its structure. The SBSTTA should providescientific and technical advice, including policy issues related toscientific and technical programmes and international cooperationin research, but not other policy issues. Furthermore, it shouldhave no direct relationship to the financial mechanism of theConvention. As far as structure is concerned, the SBSTTA shouldhave equitable regional representation. A small steering committeewith equitable geographical representation may be created, if theCOP so decides.


There were some procedural issues as well as substantive ones thatproved to be difficult to resolve during ICCBD-2. Some of theseissues, such as the details surrounding the financial mechanism,the secretariat, and the periodicity of meetings of the Conferenceof Parties, will have to be dealt with by the COP without thebenefit of agreed-upon recommendations from the ICCBD. Otherissues, such as the need for a protocol on biosafety, ownership andaccess to ex situ genetic resources, farmers' rights, andthe definition of "full incremental costs" are likely to be thesubject of acrimonious debate for months and perhaps years to come.In spite of the fact that no agreement has been reached on theseissues, the ICCBD did serve to advance the debate and has set thestage for further discussion in various intersessional meetings andat the COP itself.


The discussion on the financialmechanism presented much difficulty. Although delegates were askedto specify the characteristics of the desired financial mechanism,the debate focused more on why the GEF should or should not be thismechanism. Some delegates supported the use of the GEF as both aninterim financial mechanism as well as the future permanentmechanism. Although the ICCBD recognized that the Conventionstipulates that the COP shall have supreme authority over themechanism, many developing countries acknowledged the difficulty ofthe GEF living up to such expectations, as it is also answerable toother bodies. The debate over the restructuring of the GEF and itsrelationship to the COP overshadowed any discussion of themethodologies for estimating funding needs. The matter wascomplicated further by the fact that some of the developing countrydelegates rejecting the GEF because it has not been satisfactorilyrestructured to be entrusted with such a task, have not discussedthe matter adequately with other ministries within their owngovernments who are already receiving funding through the GEF.


Although the issue of biosafety has been thesubject of numerous consultations since the adoption of theConvention on Biological Diversity, there is still no agreement onthe need for a protocol on biosafety or the way this issue shouldbe addressed by the COP. As a result of continued disagreement onthese issues, the recommendations of the ICCBD to the COP are notparticularly straightforward. For example, the recommendations ofa small drafting group on this issue read as follows: "Asignificant number of representatives expressed support forimmediate work on a protocol, while others expressed support forthe Conference of the Parties establishing a step-by-step processto consider the need for, and modalities of, a protocol." The factthat the negotiation of this sentence took longer than thediscussions on biosafety is a poor reflection of the process of UNnegotiations. The only area where there was general agreement wasthat the Committee should recommend that the issue of biosafetyshould be on the agenda of the first meeting of the COP.


The major challenge for the immediate future is to ensure that thefirst meeting of the Conference of Parties is a success. Althoughsome delegates might have hoped that the ICCBD could relieve theCOP from having to address a certain number of procedural ororganizational matters, this will not be the case. The number ofunresolved organizational matters, including three rules ofprocedure, the identification of a competent organization to serveas the secretariat, the periodicity of meetings of the COP, theoperation of the financial mechanism and the election of thebureau, will dominate the first session of the COP.

The fact that the COP will be primarily organizational in natureshould come as no surprise. Historically, the first session of anynew institution or negotiating body is organizational. Most, if notall, of the COPs for environmental conventions focus onorganizational matters at their first session. The Climate ChangeConvention was one of the first to actually extend the mandate ofthe negotiating body to ensure that the necessary organizationaland substantive groundwork is in place for the first COP meeting.Although the Convention on Biological Diversity tried to emulatethis goal, it was hindered by the fact that the ICCBD was notestablished until May 1993 -- a full year after the Convention wasadopted -- and it met only twice during its nine-month life.

To lighten the over-burdened agenda for the first COP meeting andaddress some of the unresolved issues, there will be a number ofinformal intersessional activities. In particular, the followingissues should be addressed: the GEF as the financial mechanism; howdecisions regarding the financial mechanism will be reached (rulesof procedure); the election of the Chair of the SBSTTA; and thelocation of the Secretariat. While these last two issues may nothave been the major focus of the ICCBD, the lobbying in thecorridors suggests the need for delegations to have clear ideas ofwhat they want before they arrive in the Bahamas. Delegates willalso need to pay attention to the constitution of the SBSTTA, sincethe success of the COP depends highly on the subsidiary body.

Regardless of the success of intersessional consultations inresolving some of these issues, expectations for the first meetingof the COP should not be set too high. At this point what is mostimportant to the successful implementation of the Convention is theneed to lay the groundwork for the effective functioning of theCOP, its subsidiary bodies and the Convention secretariat. Oncethis organizational groundwork is laid and the mechanisms are inplace, the Parties can begin the difficult process of monitoringthe implementation of the Convention, addressing issues ofnon-compliance, and dealing with outstanding and emergingsubstantive issues such as biosafety, ownership and access to exsitu genetic resources, and the rights of farmers and othercommunities. Until the foundation is laid at both the internationaland the national levels, the cry for victory in the implementationof the Conservation on Biological Diversity is far from beingattained.


TheSub-Committee on Trade and Environment of the Preparatory Committeeto the World Trade Organization will meet for one day on 12 July1994 in Geneva. In essence, the issues to be discussed in thisCommittee will be a continuation of those dealt with by therecently revived and now defunct Group on Environmental Measuresand International Trade. This meeting will give a first reading toissues that the governments feel should be given priority, buildingon discussions held within the GATT. The Sub-Committee has atwo-and-a-half year mandate to examine its terms of reference asestablished in the Marrakech Declaration on Trade and Environment.Information will be available from the Secretariat and in "Tradeand Environment," published by the GATT. For information onreceiving this publication, contact Sabrina Shaw, Economic AffairsOfficer, Technical Barriers to Trade and Trade and EnvironmentDivision, GATT Secretariat, 154 Rue de Lausanne, 1211 Geneva 21,Switzerland, fax: +41-22 731-4206.


TheSub-Committee on Trade and Environment of the Preparatory Committeeto the World Trade Organization will meet for one day on 12 July1994 in Geneva. In essence, the issues to be discussed in thisCommittee will be a continuation of those dealt with by therecently revived and now defunct Group on Environmental Measuresand International Trade. This meeting will give a first reading toissues that the governments feel should be given priority, buildingon discussions held within the GATT. The Sub-Committee has atwo-and-a-half year mandate to examine its terms of reference asestablished in the Marrakech Declaration on Trade and Environment.Information will be available from the Secretariat and in "Tradeand Environment," published by the GATT. For information onreceiving this publication, contact Sabrina Shaw, Economic AffairsOfficer, Technical Barriers to Trade and Trade and EnvironmentDivision, GATT Secretariat, 154 Rue de Lausanne, 1211 Geneva 21,Switzerland, fax: +41-22 731-4206.


The next meeting of the Conference of the Parties tothe Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)will be held in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, US from 7-18 November1994. The most controversial agenda item should be therecommendations from the Standing Committee on criteria for listingspecies on the appendices. Also, look for debate on the listing ofseveral tropical timber species and the relationship to the ITTO.


The tenth session of the Intergovernmental Committeeon the Convention on Climate Change will be held in Geneva from 22August to 2 September 1994.


The first session of the Council of the GEF will beheld in Washington, DC, from 12-15 July 1994. The agenda for thismeeting should include: adoption of the rules of procedure(although interim rules of procedure may be approved whilediscussion continues on this matter); election of a Chair fromamong the Members at this meeting; and appointment of the ChiefExecutive Officer (CEO)/Chairperson of the Facility on therecommendation of the implementing agencies. The Council will alsodetermine the tentative work programme of the GEF Secretariat andthe Council and decide on outstanding matters dealing with theconstituencies. It is also likely that the question of NGO observerstatus will be considered.


Thefirst Conference of the Parties to the Convention on BiologicalDiversity will be held in Nassau, The Bahamas from 28 November to9 December 1994. The most likely site is the Cable Beach Hotel. Formore information, contact the Permanent Mission of the Commonwealthof the Bahamas to the United Nations, 231 East 46th St., New York,NY 10017 USA, Telephone: +1-212- 421-6925 and fax: +1-212-759-2135.


IUCN/ WRI/UNEP willsponsor another Global Biodiversity Forum to be held in Nassau on26-27 November 1994. The details are still under consideration. Themeeting, according to the sponsors, will be a two-day forum ofinformation, dialogue and definition of measures for action bygovernment agencies, communities, industry, indigenous groups,scientists and NGOs. The two areas of concern for the meeting willbe how to integrate conservation and sustainable use of thebiodiversity and biological resources found in marine ecosystemsinto the Convention and how find ways to determine priorities foraction and investment at the global, national and local levels. Formore information contact either IUCN or WRI.


Details of the regionalpreparatory meetings were not available at the conclusion of thesecond session of the ICCBD. For further information on the datesand locations of meetings, contact the Interim Secretariat of theConvention.


Spain will host a meeting,with the assistance of UNEP, FAO and others, for governmentrepresentatives to tackle the issues that will be included in theinput of the COP to the CSD. The meeting will probably be held inmid-September and invitations will be issued by the Government ofSpain. For more information contact Elisa Barahona, DireccinGeneral del Medio Ambiente, Minist‚rio de Obras Pblicas e MedioAmbiente, Paseo de la Castellana, 67, 28071 Madrid, Spain, Tel: +34(1) 597-74-88, Fax: +31 (1) 597-85-13, Telex: MOPT 22325.