Daily report for 5 December 1994



The Plenary met in the afternoon, and the Secretariat introducedUNEP/CBD/COP/CW/L.7, a draft decision and annex on the physicallocation of the permanent secretariat submitted by Australia, theBahamas, Canada, Japan, and New Zealand. Canada said that whilethe COP appreciated offers from Kenya, Spain and Switzerland tohost the permanent Secretariat, it needed a transparent,systematic, clear, and open process to make the selection.Australia called for detail beyond what is contained in theexisting proposals. She also recommended that the COP consideroffers from other governments, and that it should not decide on alocation until COP-II. She noted that the process proposed wassimilar to the one used by the GATT in its determination of thelocation of the World Trade Organization, as well as theselection process used by the Climate Change Convention. TheBahamas questioned how the location could be decided when noconsensus can be reached and no decision has been made yet onrules of procedure for decisions. Uganda agreed that additionalcountries might want to host the secretariat but recommendedadditional transparent discussion on guidelines for selection.Cameroon cited the need for a basic document outliningeligibility criteria. Spain, supported by Uruguay, Kenya, CostaRica, Venezuela, Slovakia, Chile, Argentina, Portugal, Brazil andItaly, recommended that the COP decide without further delay on alocation because the cities in the existing submissions were wellknown and needed no further study. He said the draft decisionviolated Rule 35 requiring draft decisions to be submitted 24hours in advance, noting he had only learned of the proposal inthe morning. Kenya said one reason COP-I had been located in theBahamas was to provide a neutral site for deciding on asecretariat location. He said the draft decision had beensubmitted at the 11th hour and that the criteria in its annexwere extremely biased. Burkina Faso said regional groups or otherinterested parties should have an opportunity to discuss thedraft decisions with its sponsors. The Chair proposed to initiatediscussions on the draft decision and promised to report onconclusions of the consultations at the next Plenary.


The organizational meeting of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific,Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA), chaired by Dr. J.H.Seyani (Malawi), addressed two key issues: the election ofofficers and the date and venue of the first meeting. Regardingthe first issue, the Chair reminded delegates that, in accordancewith Rule 21 in the Rules of Procedure, the Bureau is to becomposed provisionally of a chair, 8 vice-presidents and arapporteur. Also, in accordance with paragraph 4 of Rule 26, eachregion shall elect its own candidates. The Chair noted that hehad received provisional nominations from Africa (Tunisia andMalawi); Eastern Europe (Hungary and Kazakhstan); GRULAC (Braziland Cuba). Both Asia and WEOG have yet to submit their proposedcandidates. Spain noted that while Western countries have yet toreach a decision on the size of the Bureau, it preferred toconsider the question of composition at a later date. The Chairstated that the election of the Bureau would be deferred untilfurther consultations. On the issue of date and venue, the Chairnoted the Interim Secretariat’s recommendation to allowsufficient time for the preparation of substantive documents andtheir distribution. Delegates agreed that the first SBSTTAmeeting be held on 4-8 September 1995 at UNESCO headquarters inParis.


Agenda Items 6.1, 6.2, 6.3: The contact group coordinated byAntigua and Barbuda met to consider text for agenda items 6.1(Policy, strategy, programme priorities and eligibilitycriteria), 6.2 (Institutional structure to operate the financialmechanism) and 6.3 (List of developing country Parties and otherParties). In the afternoon, the group presented a draft decisionand three annexes. The Chair said they should be viewed as apackage reflecting a balanced attempt to reflect all regionalgroups and other interests in the debate. The draft decision:agrees that the restructured GEF will continue as the interiminstitutional structure to operate the financial mechanism;instructs the GEF to support the policy, strategy, programmepriorities, and eligibility criteria in Annex I of the decision;authorizes the Interim Secretariat to consult with the GEF on theMOU to be considered at COP-II; lists in Annex III interimguidelines for evaluation of the GEF; and requests that theInterim Secretariat produce for COP-II a report on the financialmechanism and a study on the availability of financial resourcesadditional to those provided by the restructured GEF. Annex II,the list of developed country Parties and other parties thatassume developed country Parties’ obligations, lists no countriesin the latter category. The Chair said that the interimguidelines in Annex III provided a means for the interiminstitutional structure to function until the MOU at COP-II.Agenda Items 6.4,7, and 8: The contact group coordinated byCanada completed all outstanding matters in the Draft Statementfrom the COP to the CSD. In paragraph 11 bis (list of issues tobe addressed in the COP report to the CSD), delegates agreed thatthe final list of issues would be determined, pending theconclusion of the medium-term work programme. Delegates agreed oncriteria for inclusion: whether the issue was conducive tocoordination with other UN bodies; whether the issue requiredimmediate action; and whether it could be expressed concisely. Inparagraph 9 bis (new era concerning access to genetic resources),delegates agreed on the importance of conveying to the CSD thenew regime established by the Convention. Nevertheless, it wasfelt that the language was too ambitious. Delegates agreed to thedeletion of references to the sovereign rights of States and tonational authority to regulate access. In paragraph 13 (COPcontribution to the CSD’s forests discussions), delegates agreedto new wording that refers to the importance of biodiversity inthe ecosystem functioning of forests and the role of the COP inemphasizing the importance of conservation, management and thesustainable use for achieving the objectives of the Convention.Delegates also agreed to new and additional text that refers tothe COP exploring ways to cooperate in the work of theDesertification Convention in the light of the complementarity ofthe two mandates. The group reviewed the draft medium-term workprogramme and commenced the process of prioritizing those issuesto be considered by the SBSTTA. A small group will attempt tofinalize this list by Tuesday. Agenda Items 6.5, 6.6, 9 and 10:The contact group coordinated by Mauritania met Saturdayafternoon and Sunday evening to address several outstandingissues, including the medium-term work programme, the budget andbiosafety. A small working group met in closed session on Mondayto address the annex to the medium-term work programme. Therevised text notes that the work programme will be developed onthe basis of standing and rolling issues. Standing issues willinclude: matters relating to the financial mechanism; report fromthe Secretariat on the administration of the Convention andbudget for the Secretariat; report from, and consideration ofrecommendations to, the SBSTTA; reports by the Parties onimplementation of the Convention; report on, assessment andreview of the operation of the clearing-house mechanism;relationship of the Convention to the CSD, and biodiversityrelated conventions, other international agreements,institutions, and processes of relevance to agenda items of theCOP. The rotating agenda will be developed in a flexible manner,in accordance with the decisions of the COP, the SBSTTA and anyworking groups established by the COP. Several items within themedium-term work programme were deferred pending furtherconsideration by the contact group. These included:biotechnology; thematic ecosystem focus; intellectual propertyrights; identification, monitoring and assessment; considerationof matters related to benefit-sharing; mid-term activities to beaddressed by intersessional open-ended preparatory meeting(s)coordinated by the Chair of the COP; capacity-building regardingarticles 6-19 of the Convention; a Secretariat-sponsored study ofexisting legislation and information on access to geneticresources and the equitable sharing of benefits arising fromtheir utilization; and COP-II consideration of a Secretariat-sponsored study on the implications for and interaction betweenTRIPs and the Convention. Discussion regarding the budget forthe Secretariat of the Convention also remained closed. Keyelements under consideration included funding for: executivedirection and management; intergovernmental processes andcooperative arrangements; the financial mechanism and economicanalysis; legal advice and support; and scientific, technical andtechnological matters.


The Chair, Mr V. Koester (Denmark) requested that the Committeeassess and consider the proceedings of the three open-endedcontact groups established by the Committee. He commended theefforts made by the Chairs of contact groups and the collectivework carried out by the delegations. Agenda Items 6.4, 7 and 8:The Chair of the contact group, Mr. A. Lazar (Canada) introducedthe draft decision on the clearing-house mechanism as containedin UNEP/CBD/COP/1/CW/L.4. He noted that there was an omission onParagraph 3, line 3, and added the word “costed” after the word“concrete.” Since the decision was adopted without anyobjections, the draft decision submitted by G-77 and China waswithdrawn. With regard to the draft decision on SBSSTA ascontained in UNEP/CBD/COP/1/CW/L.8, he noted that in paragraph 2, line 3 “and Article 25" should be added. after ”the Conferenceof the Parties." In paragraph 4, “to be held in Paris, fromSeptember 4-8 1995" was added, and Item 5 (preparation of matterson which advice from SBSTTA is required for COP-II) remainsbracketed. He said that this issue can only be addressed oncompletion of the discussion of a medium-term work programme. TheChair also reported that the group has finalized a draft on theinput of the COP to the CSD, with the exception of one paragraphwhich will need to be updated upon the completion of discussionson the medium-term work programme.. He said that this was a moredifficult task because the group had decided to include a briefpolitical statement on the issue. Agenda Items 6.1,6.2 and 6.3:The Chair of the contact group, Dr. J. Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda)reported on the progress made on the issues of: policy, strategy,programme priorities and eligibility criteria; institutionalstructure to operate the financial mechanism; and list ofdeveloped country Parties and other Parties. He said that thesecond meeting of the group had been convened this afternoon toconsider the results of intensive consultations. He said thecontact group adopted text that contained the results of theseconsultations. Although the group had recommended that the textbe adopted by  the Committee of the Whole, the text was not yetavailable because it was being translated into all languages. TheCommittee of the Whole will consider the text on Tuesday. AgendaItems 6.5, 6.6, 9 and 10: The Chair of the contact group, Mr. El-Ghaouth (Mauritania) noted that the issues assigned forconsideration were extremely complex and that many of them hadbeen raised for the first time here in Nassau. He explained thatwhile agreement has been reached on many issues, several itemsremain under discussion. On the selection of a competentinternational organization he said that the decision to designateUNEP as the secretariat had been accepted. He also noted thatextensive negotiations have been conducted on financial rulesgoverning funding of the Secretariat and the budget for theSecretariat. In addition, outstanding issues on the medium-termwork programme will be resolved by Tuesday. Before adjourning,the Chair of the Committee of the Whole announced that he wouldconsult with all groups on the voting procedure in the Rules ofProcedure, as well as the voting procedure on the financialrules.


The various contact and other informal groups met until all hoursover the weekend in their attempts to resolve outstanding issuesbefore the high-level segment commences on Wednesday. Severalcommented on the sense of “crowd and urgency” that dominated theConference Centre Monday morning. Despite the patina ofconfusion, Monday’s full day of contact group meetings succeededin advancing discussion on several fronts. Notwithstanding theresolution of many key matters, several NGOs perceived aweakening of many of the conservation issues within the contextof the medium-term work programme discussions. They cited, inparticular, the way in which delegates appeared to be postponingthe decision on the modalities for a biosafety protocol by merelyrecommending a process that would lead to the eventualconsideration of the matter. NGOs have been equally concernedabout the lack of enthusiasm to include the forests issue in themedium-term work programme. There is, however, greater optimismon a number of issues such as incentives, which have been broughtforward from the 1997 programme and incorporated into the workfor 1996.


PLENARY: The final session of Plenary will meet tonight from 8:00- 11:00 pm to consider and adopt all remaining decision. CONTACTGROUPS: The contact group chaired by Canada on agenda items6.4,7,and 8 will meet this morning at 10 am to finalize its workon SBSTTA.

TECHNICAL MEETING ON AGRICULTURE AND BIODIVERSITY: The groupchaired by Amb. V. Sanchez (Chile) will meet at 2:00 pm in roomArawak B. INCENTIVES FOR BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION: Aroundtable discussion of current efforts to provide incentivesfor biodiversity conservation will be held from 1:00 - 3:00 pm inthe Cat Island Room, Crystal Palace.

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