Daily report for 11 November 2003

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

Delegates to the ninth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-9) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) convened in Working Group sessions throughout the day. Working Group I (WG-I) considered a draft programme of work (PoW) on protected areas (PAs). Working Group II (WG-II) discussed a draft PoW on technology transfer and cooperation, and addressed the design of national-level indicators and monitoring programmes and the integration of outcome-oriented targets into the PoWs of the CBD.


PROTECTED AREAS: The Secretariat presented documents regarding a proposed PoW on PAs (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/6 and UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/INF/3 and INF/21-22). SOUTH AFRICA presented the conclusions of the Vth IUCN World Parks Congress (WPC) (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/6/Add.2), noting the call to develop PA networks and corridors, ensure participation of indigenous peoples and other stakeholders, and develop effective methods for monitoring and assessing the effectiveness of PA management. SWEDEN presented the report of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on PAs (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/6/ Add.1), noting that the proposed PoW consists of elements on: direct actions for planning and managing PAs; enabling activities and standards; and assessment, monitoring and technology development. He noted that the WPC recommended adding a programme element on benefit-sharing, equity and participation.

BRAZIL, ALGERIA, ECUADOR and PERU emphasized the importance of recognizing Parties sovereignty in establishing, managing and monitoring national and transboundary PAs. BRAZIL and BARBADOS called for flexible targets. BRAZIL stressed that the Secretariat should not propose establishing new PAs, and that PAs be integrated into guidelines on programmes for development assistance. PORTUGAL and INDIA called for integrating PAs into other PoWs of the CBD and relevant processes and, with the US, for avoiding duplication of work. AUSTRALIA, CANADA and NEW ZEALAND expressed concern over additional reporting requirements.

Many countries said timelines included in the PoW are over-ambitious and cannot be met by developing countries lacking funding. BRAZIL called for prompt funding to ensure the achievement of the targets.

Several Parties stressed that the PoW does not adequately focus on ecological networks, and AUSTRIA emphasized the importance of conserving biodiversity outside PAs. SPAIN proposed adding a checklist of main activities and relevant deadlines. ECUADOR and INDIA emphasized the need to prioritize activities and goals, and POLAND proposed to streamline the PoW.

IRELAND underscored the need to regularly review the implementation of the PoW, and emphasized the importance of awareness raising. FRANCE stressed the need for education. Several Parties underscored the importance of regional and international cooperation, and ARGENTINA suggested adding references to bio-regional strategies.

PANAMA said SBSTTA must decide whether to establish an AHTEG or an open-ended working group on PAs, and DENMARK expressed support for establishing an AHTEG on PAs and ecological networks.

CANADA, the NETHERLANDS, MALAYSIA and the RUSSIAN FEDERATION stressed the need for greater focus on marine and freshwater ecosystems. AUSTRALIA, CHINA, ITALY and JAPAN called for establishing PAs in the high seas, in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). TURKEY expressed concern regarding exclusive reference to UNCLOS. NORWAY drew attention to the draft UN General Assembly resolution on Oceans and the Law of the Sea, which refers to relevant scientific and technical work of the CBD, and proposed cross-referencing the draft resolution in the proposed PoW. PANAMA and COSTA RICA said transboundary PAs should not be established to the detriment of national and existing PAs.

Several developing countries stressed the need to promote a participatory approach to PA establishment, management and monitoring. IRELAND, SWEDEN and the UK called for a bottom-up approach to PA management and, with other delegations, requested benefit-sharing. JORDAN and LIBERIA proposed considering the socioeconomic aspects of PAs. A number of Parties suggested emphasizing regional aspects of PAs, and the EUROPEAN COMMUNITY (EC) said the CBDs main objective should be to develop a global system of comprehensive, representative and effectively-managed national and regional ecological networks and PAs by 2010 on land, and by 2012 at sea. GERMANY and INDIA welcomed the Joint NGO Pledge to support the implementation of a strong PoW on PAs.

The WORLD BANK noted the importance of information sharing regarding achievements in developing legal frameworks for PAs. UNESCO said the World Network of Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage Sites are stepping stones to establish a comprehensive system of PAs. The NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL urged the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-7) to adopt a decision supporting a moratorium on high sea bottom trawling until a legally binding regime is in force. The COUNCIL OF EUROPE stressed the importance of including regional activities into the PoW, and the Tebtebba Foundation, on behalf of INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, supported by FRIENDS OF THE EARTH and IUCN, recommended acknowledging indigenous peoples rights more explicitly. A coalition of non-governmental organizations underscored that the PoWs targets and timetables are achievable if backed by financial support. FAO expressed concern regarding inadequate guidance on responses to key threats to PAs.


TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER: The Secretariat presented proposals for a PoW on technology transfer and cooperation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/7 and 7/Add.1), and a review of the implementation of relevant COP decisions (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/ 9/7/Add.2). NORWAY presented the recommendations of the Trondheim Conference on Technology Transfer and Capacity Building (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/INF/1).

Many delegates highlighted the role of the Clearing-house Mechanism (CHM) in facilitating technology transfer. SPAIN and the NETHERLANDS said the proposed PoW is too ambitious. SOUTH AFRICA noted capacity constraints for developing countries to achieve the PoWs actions and targets, and supported a phased approach.

INDONESIA said information exchange requires financing. While PERU requested that the Global Environment Facility (GEF) provide funding for national assessments, the GEF stressed that funding is available for enabling activities. JAPAN noted that establishing financial incentives is not the responsibility of countries that provide technology.

GERMANY, FINLAND and SOUTH AFRICA supported a demand-driven approach to technology transfer and capacity building. PERU called for a prior informed consent mechanism to acknowledge the contribution of indigenous and local communities to technology development, and IRAN and TURKEY called for adequate compensation.

PERU and the PHILIPPINES stressed the need for a global inventory of available technologies. CANADA raised concerns about the emphasis on use technologies in the PoW and, supported by COLOMBIA and others, said achieving the 2010 target to reduce significantly the rate of biodiversity loss requires action prior to the completion of national needs assessments.

GERMANY and the Philippines, on behalf of the ASIA AND PACIFIC REGION, called for encouraging South-South transfers. Mauritania, on behalf of the AFRICAN GROUP, requested more targeted technology transfer.

ARGENTINA called for clarifications in the PoW regarding the role of intellectual property rights, and supported incentives for foreign investment. TURKEY underscored the need to balance IPRs for technological development and benefit-sharing, and SPAIN said information on patents should be made available through the CHM. MALAYSIA and KENYA called for guidance on the transfer and adaptation of patented technology and on ways to overcome restrictive policies of multinational enterprises.

FINLAND said technology transfer must include assessments of needs, impacts and risks, and the BAHAMAS stressed that risk assessment should be introduced to be consistent with the Biosafety Protocol.

NEW ZEALAND noted the diversity of approaches to technology transfer, as well as varying capacities in accessing knowledge sources. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA recommended convening regional workshops and training programmes.

The SUNSHINE PROJECT called for addressing measures that restrict developing country access to hard technologies, and the THIRD WORLD NETWORK stressed that foreign direct investment may have adverse effects on technology transfer.

MONITORING AND INDICATORS: The Secretariat introduced a document on the design of national-level monitoring programmes and indicators (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/10), the report of the Expert Meeting on indicators (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/ INF/7), and a report on relevant GEF projects (UNEP/CBD/ SBSTTA/INF/19). Diann Black Layne, Co-Chair of the Expert Meeting, highlighted recommendations to share experience through the CHM.

The UK highlighted the benefits of commonly agreed indicators. GERMANY and AUSTRALIA cautioned against duplicating indicators.

NORWAY stressed the importance of regional cooperation, and AUSTRIA and PORTUGAL requested referencing the pan-European assessment of ecosystem indicators, while BRAZIL suggested including the Amazon Cooperation Treaty for Sustainable Forest Management. FAO highlighted regional forest processes that include forest biodiversity indicators.

FINLAND stressed the need to include biodiversity parameters in national resources inventories. KENYA expressed concern regarding monitoring costs. AUSTRALIA noted differing capacities to develop indicators.

OUTCOME-ORIENTED TARGETS: WG-II Chair Asghar Fazel (Iran) opened the discussion on the document on the integration of outcome-oriented targets into the PoWs of the CBD (UNEP/ CBD/SBSTTA/9/14).

Walter Reid, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA), reported on progress made by the MA, highlighting indicator design, assessment of indicators and underlying information sources, identification of monitoring needs, and case-study experiences.

David Brackett, IUCN, described the IUCN system of categories and indicators, stressing its role as the best available assessment system that provides a basis for conservation, decision making and development of indicators.

GERMANY highlighted differences between the 2010 target and the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and suggested referencing inter-agency collaboration and threats to biodiversity. AUSTRALIA recommended focusing on three key threats, namely invasive alien species, unsustainable use, and loss of native vegetation. HAITI recommended including poverty in the list of threats.

The RUSSIAN FEDERATION, ARGENTINA and BRAZIL said resources, capacities and financial means for implementation should be considered.

ARGENTINA requested clarifying the definition of biodiversity-related goods and services, and the UK recommended adopting the definition of biodiversity loss proposed at the "2010 The Global Biodiversity Challenge" meeting.

AUSTRALIA stressed the need to achieve a balance between process- and state-related indicators. The UK, supported by the PHILIPPINES, proposed testing indicators. MEXICO called for practical indicators, and said UNEP-WCMC should manage the data.CANADA and the UK proposed integrating the 2010 target into the MDGs. The UK stressed the need to increase awareness on the 2010 target.


While discussions on technology transfer made unexpectedly smooth progress, one delegate noted that the numerous calls for funding and needs assessments mask a lack of political will to move ahead in this crucial area, noting that GEF funding is available and that countries already know what their needs are. Pointing at overly general interventions on the issue, another lamented the poor understanding of its implications and complexities.

Despite an "easy riding" on protected areas, some delegates speculated that controversy might arise later in the week regarding next steps to address protected areas. Notwithstanding this, the crammed packed Conference Room I and initiatives by NGOs, intergovernmental organizations and governments to collaborate on the issue are an indication of Parties and stakeholders commitment to making this pressing matter a priority.


WORKING GROUP I: WG-I will meet from 10:00 am-1:00 pm to consider the development of practical principles and operational guidelines for sustainable use. WG-I will reconvene at 3:00 pm to address guidelines for the implementation of the ecosystem approach, and consider a Conference Room Paper (CRP) on the PoW for mountain biodiversity.

WORKING GROUP II: WG-II will meet from 10:00 am-1:00 pm to continue discussions on outcome-oriented targets. WG-II will reconvene at 3:00 pm to consider a CRP on the inter-linkages between climate change and biodiversity.       

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