Curtain raiser

9th Meeting of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA)

The ninth session of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-9) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) opens today and will continue until 14 November 2003, in Montreal, Canada. SBSTTA-9 will focus on two themes for in-depth discussions: protected areas, and technology transfer and cooperation. Following the opening Plenary on Monday morning, SBSTTA-9 delegates will convene in two working groups from Monday afternoon to Thursday. Working Group I will address: protected areas; guidelines for implementing the ecosystem approach; practical principles, operational guidelines and associated instruments for sustainable use, including measures to remove or mitigate perverse incentives; a draft programme of work for mountain ecosystems; and gaps and inconsistencies in the international regulatory framework regarding invasive alien species. Working Group II will consider: technology transfer and cooperation; the design of national-level monitoring programmes and indicators; the inter-linkages between biodiversity and climate change; and the integration of outcome-oriented targets into the programmes of work of the CBD. On Friday, Plenary will consider the proposed agendas, dates and venues for SBSTTA-10 and 11, and adopt the meetings report, including its recommendations to the seventh Conference of the Parties (COP-7), which will be held from 9-20 February 2004, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


The Convention on Biological Diversity, negotiated under the auspices of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), was opened for signature on 5 June 1992, and entered into force on 29 December 1993. To date, there are 188 Parties to the Convention. The CBD aims to promote "the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources."

The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the governing body of the Convention. From 1994 to 1998, it held four meetings (Nassau, the Bahamas, November December 1994; Jakarta, Indonesia, November 1995; Buenos Aires, Argentina, November 1996; and Bratislava, Slovakia, May 1998). Decisions were adopted on: the establishment of a Clearing-House Mechanism (CHM); the designation of the Global Environment Facility as the interim financial mechanism and signing of a Memorandum of Understanding; the designation of Montreal, Canada, as the permanent location for the Secretariat; and cooperation with other biodiversity-related conventions. The COP also established open-ended ad hoc working groups on biosafety and on CBD Article 8(j) (traditional knowledge), as well as an expert panel on access and benefit-sharing (ABS). Thematic programmes of work were adopted on: inland water ecosystems; marine and coastal biodiversity; agricultural biodiversity; and forest biodiversity.

In accordance with CBD Article 25 (SBSTTA), SBSTTA provides the COP with advice relating to the Conventions implementation. From its establishment in 1994, by a COP-1 decision, to 1999, SBSTTA held four meetings (Paris, France, September 1995; and Montreal, Canada, September 1996, September 1997, and June 1999).

ExCOP: The first Extraordinary COP (Cartagena, Colombia, February 1999) convened to adopt the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, following the sixth and final meeting of the Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group on Biosafety. Delegates could not agree on a compromise package that would finalize the Protocol, and the meeting was suspended. Following three sets of informal consultations to resolve outstanding issues, the ExCOP resumed in January 2000, in Montreal, Canada, where delegates finally adopted the Protocol. The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety addresses the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms that may have an adverse effect on biodiversity, with a specific focus on transboundary movements. The Protocol entered into force on 11 September 2003, 90 days after the 50th instrument of ratification was received by the UN Secretary General. To date, 66 countries have ratified the Protocol.

SBSTTA-5: The fifth meeting of SBSTTA (Montreal, Canada, January February 2000) adopted recommendations on: inland waters biodiversity; forests biodiversity; agricultural biodiversity; marine and coastal biodiversity, including coral bleaching; a programme of work on dry and sub-humid lands; alien species; the ecosystem approach; indicators; the CHMs pilot phase; the second national reports; and ad hoc technical expert groups.

COP-5: At its fifth meeting (Nairobi, Kenya, May 2000), the COP adopted decisions on: a programme of work on dry and sub-humid lands; the ecosystem approach; access to genetic resources, including the establishment of the Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group on ABS; alien species; sustainable use; biodiversity and tourism; incentive measures; the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC); the Conventions operations; the Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI); the CHM; financial resources and mechanism; identification, monitoring and assessment, and indicators; Article 8(j); education and public awareness; and impact assessment, liability and redress. COP-5 also included a high-level segment on the Cartagena Protocol, with a Ministerial Roundtable and a special signing ceremony.

SBSTTA-6: At its sixth meeting (Montreal, Canada, March 2001), SBSTTA focused on invasive alien species, including the development of draft guiding principles, and adopted additional recommendations on: ad hoc technical expert groups; marine and coastal biodiversity; inland water ecosystems; scientific assessments; the GTI; biodiversity and climate change; and migratory species.

SBSTTA-7: The seventh meeting of SBSTTA (Montreal, Canada, November 2001) reconsidered and expanded the programme of work on forest biodiversity, and produced recommendations on: agricultural biodiversity, including the International Pollinators Initiative; the GSPC; incentive measures; indicators; sustainable tourism; and environmental impact assessments.

COP-6: The sixth meeting of the COP (The Hague, the Netherlands, April 2002) adopted: a revised programme of work on forest biodiversity; guiding principles for invasive alien species; the Bonn Guidelines on ABS; and the Strategic Plan for the CBD. Decisions were also adopted on: the GSPC; the GTI; the ecosystem approach; sustainable use; incentive measures; liability and redress; the CHM; financial resources and mechanism; cooperation with other conventions and international initiatives; a contribution to the ten-year review of Agenda 21; Article 8(j); and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. COP-6 hosted a high-level segment to discuss inputs to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), with a Ministerial Roundtable and a multi-stakeholder dialogue.

SBSTTA-8: The major theme for discussion at the eighth meeting of SBSTTA (Montreal, Canada, March 2003) was mountain biodiversity. The meeting adopted the structure of a proposed programme of work on mountain biodiversity, and other recommendations on: inland waters; marine and coastal biodiversity; dry and sub-humid lands; biodiversity and tourism; and SBSTTA operations.


MYPOW: The Open-ended Inter-Sessional Meeting on the Multi-Year Programme of Work of the COP up to 2010 (Montreal, Canada, March 2003) adopted recommendations on: achieving the 2010 target to reduce significantly the current rate of biodiversity loss, which was adopted at COP-6 and endorsed by the WSSD; the multi-year programme of work of the COP up to 2010; legal and socioeconomic aspects of technology transfer and cooperation; the outcomes of the WSSD as they relate to the CBD process; an international regime for access and benefit-sharing; future evaluation of progress in implementing the Convention and the Strategic Plan; and the CBDs contribution to the Millennium Development Goals and the Commission on Sustainable Development process.

2010 THE GLOBAL BIODIVERSITY CHALLENGE: The meeting "2010 The Global Biodiversity Challenge" (London, UK, May 2003) was organized jointly by the CBD Secretariat, the World Conservation Monitoring Centre of UNEP (UNEP-WCMC) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to articulate a framework for action to achieve the 2010 target. Participants addressed: the definition of biodiversity; measuring and reporting biodiversity loss; the relationship between the 2010 target and other biodiversity-related targets; and key initiatives to address biodiversity loss. The conclusions drawn from the meeting (UNEP/ CBD/SBSTTA-9/INF/9) will be presented to SBSTTA-9 delegates during the opening Plenary.

TRONDHEIM CONFERENCE ON BIODIVERSITY: The Fourth Trondheim Conference on Biodiversity (Trondheim, Norway, June 2003) convened on the theme of technology transfer and capacity building. Conclusions from the meeting relate to: technology transfer in a sustainable development context; technological cooperation; the role of technology transfer and capacity building in alleviating poverty; obstacles to technology transfer; sustainable use; gene technology and biosafety; medicines and health; bioprospecting; education and awareness raising for scientific collaboration; research; the role of the private sector; criteria for success in transferring technology and building capacity; and global partnerships. The Chairs report is available to SBSTTA-9 delegates as an information document (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/ INF/1).

5TH IUCN WORLD PARKS CONGRESS BENEFITS BEYOND BOUNDARIES: The Fifth IUCN World Parks Congress (WPC) (Durban, South Africa, September 2003) produced three main outcomes: the Durban Accord and Action Plan, consisting of a high-level vision statement for protected areas, and an outline of implementation mechanisms; 32 recommendations; and the Message to the CBD. Other outputs include: the UN List and State of the Worlds Protected Areas, a global report on the worlds protected areas; a Protected Areas Learning Network (PALNet), a web-based knowledge management tool; outputs on Africas Protected Areas, including the Durban Consensus on African Protected Areas for the New Millennium; and a handbook on Managing Protected Areas in the 21st Century, which will constitute the "User Manual" for the Durban Accord. A summary of the WPCs outcomes, as well as the outcomes themselves, are available to SBSTTA-9 delegates in documents UNEP/ CBD/SBSTTA/9/6/Add.2, UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/INF/21 and INF/21/Add.1-4.

CBD EXPERT MEETINGS: Several CBD expert meetings were held during the intersessional period, including the: fourth Workshop on the Sustainable Use of Biological Diversity (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 2003); Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Climate Change and Biodiversity (Helsinki, Finland, May 2003); second Workshop on Incentive Measures (Montreal, Canada, June 2003); Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Protected Areas (Tjarno, Sweden, June 2003); Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Protected Areas on Mountain Biological Diversity (Rome, Italy, July 2003); Meeting on the further elaboration and guidelines for implementation of the ecosystem approach (Montreal, Canada, July 2003); and International Workshop on Protected Forest Areas (Montreal, Canada, November 2003). Reports of these meetings will be presented at SBSTTA-9.


PLENARY: SBSTTA-9 convenes at 10:00 am at the headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization. Following opening statements, the Plenary will adopt the meetings agenda and organization of work, and consider progress reports on the implementation of programmes of work on thematic and cross-cutting issues, the Chairs report on the Bureaus intersessional activities, and a report on the meeting "2010 the Global Biodiversity Challenge."

WORKING GROUP I: WG-I is expected to address mountain biodiversity from 3:00-6:00 pm in Room I.

WORKING GROUP II: WG-II will review the inter-linkages between climate change and biodiversity from 3:00-6:00 pm in Room II.     

Further information


National governments