Daily report for 8 December 1994



The third meeting of the Ministerial Segment of COP-I opened withthe Chair’s announcement that UNGA had launched the InternationalDecade of the World’s Indigenous People today, a significantevent for the Convention’s implementation. The Plenary included42 speakers, including 34 countries, three IGOs, one ConventionSecretariat and four NGOs.

KAZAKHSTAN: Mady Kireev, Deputy Minister of Ecology andBioresources, highlighted the needs of economies in transitionfor funding if they are to join the ranks of developed countries.He noted World Bank support for protecting the Caspian Sea, whichis now shared by five newly-independent States.

MALAWI: Dr. M.S. Nzunda, Minister of Research and EnvironmentalAffairs, called for: a biosafety protocol; a separate COP-guidedinstitutional structure to operate the financial mechanism;inclusion of the role of women in the medium-term work programme;and stricter enforcement of the observer status of non-Parties.

BRAZIL: Dr. Getulio Lamartine de Paula, Executive-Secretary ofthe Ministry for the Environment and the Amazon Region, calledfor: market access and value added to natural resources; accessto and development of biotechnology; national legislation toregulate access to biodiversity; recognition of indigenousknowledge; and a biosafety protocol. He expressed disappointmentthat the budget’s perverse scale of assessments did not reflectthe common but differentiated responsibilities.

COSTA RICA: Luiz Martinez, M.P. and President of the EcologicalCommission, said that if solutions are not found to deal with thedestruction of life, no creed, no ethnic group from North orSouth will be free from responsibility. Biotechnology mustservice humanity and the benefits of biodiversity must bedistributed equitably.

BURUNDI: Severin Mfatiye, Minister for Land-Use Planning and theEnvironment, called for regional agreements on ethnobiologyinformation exchange, a framework study on commercial use ofnatural resources and development of guidelines for sectoralbiodiversity policies.

CTE D’IVOIRE: Lancine Gon Coulibaly, Minister of Environment andTourism, called for an international code on environment as thebasis for a new international order of sustainable development.

KENYA: John K. Sambu, Minister for Environment and NaturalResources, expressed concern that the Convention does notsufficiently address unsustainable uses of biodiversity orthreats posed by the dumping of hazardous wastes in developingcountries. He said that the medium-term work programme shouldprioritize access to and ownership of genetic resources, linkedto rights of farmers and local communities.

COOK ISLANDS: Minister Vaine Tairea urged the COP to agree on abroad direction for biodiversity. He said that Pacific strengthsin biodiversity include marine resources such as reefs andfisheries, the major tropical forest resources outside Africa andLatin America, indigenous peoples and cultures and theirtraditional knowledge and technology related to the oceanenvironment. He also supported a UNEP initiative to develop aregime for protecting oceans from land-based pollution.

JAMAICA: Easton Douglas, Minister for Public Service and theEnvironment, said that knowledge of traditional groups is atleast as valuable as laboratory based experiments and must beincluded in discussion of IPRs. He called for regional programmesfor biotechnology and genetic mapping to permit manipulation ofgenetic resources while preserving existing resources such asseed banks.

BENIN: Jean-Roger Ahoyo, Minister of Environment, Habitat andLand-Use Planning, said that priority should be given to povertyelimination, capacity building, public awareness, infrastructureand equipment for conservation, and in situ<D> conservation. Hesupported interim financial mechanism arrangements anddevelopment of equitable criteria for the location of thepermanent secretariat.

MADAGASCAR: Georges A. Rabelaza, Minister for the Environment,said that Madagascar has developed the necessary institutionalstructure for biodiversity protection, including a nationalaction plan. He offered the participation of a monitoring centerin Madagascar.

ZAMBIA: Dawson Lupunga, Minister of Environment and NaturalResources, noted that the Convention should map out national,regional and international cooperation and assist in capacitybuilding and management of biodiversity. He said that the need tomeet full incremental costs merited consideration of otherfinancial structures and suggested that only developing countriesshould have access to funding.

JORDAN: Kraishan Tawfiq, Minister of Municipal & Rural Affairsand the Environment, stressed the need to inventory biologicalresources. He called for a new partnership to strengtheninstitutions and capacities and highlighted national involvementin both climate change and biodiversity, in particular forestablishing a green belt in arid areas.

SOUTH AFRICA: Bantu Holomisa, Deputy Minister of EnvironmentalAffairs and Tourism, called for: a biosafety protocol; theinvolvement of local and rural communities; and regionalcooperation. He expressed support for Kenya’s bid for location,but suggested that, should Kenya not meet the pending criteria,the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment shouldrecommend another African country to locate or co-locate theSecretariat. Underscoring South Africa’s biodiversity andinfrastructure, he stated that it may be tempted to submit suchan invitation.

ETHIOPIA: Dr. Mesfin Abebe, Minister of Natural Resources,Development and Environmental Protection, stated that given thedevastating drought and famine in his country, the Convention onBiological Diversity is a matter of life and death. Heunderscored poverty alleviation, the rights of farmers andindigenous people. SENEGAL: Prof. Adoulaye Bathily, Minister forEnvironment and the Protection of Nature, called for concertedaction on the special situation of Sahelian countries. Heexplained that the juxtaposition of a biodiversity-rich South anda technology-rich North implies mutually advantageouscooperation.

ZAIRE: Joseph Ruhana Mirindi, Minister of Environment, NatureConservation and Tourism, noted that the IUCN had identifiedZaire as the most biologically diverse country in Africa. Heunderscored several conservation initiatives, including thesuccess of the anti-poaching campaign, undertaken jointly withIUCN, WWF, UNESCO. He highlighted the massive influx of refugeesinto ecologically-fragile areas.

ARMENIA: Mr. Shahinian, Deputy Minister for Nature andEnvironmental Protection, explained that over 44% of the land wascontaminated or eroded due to the widespread deforestationresulting from a fuel shortage. In response to this crisis,Armenia is developing a new legislative package for flora andfauna conservation.

POLAND: Mr. Szujecki of the Ministry of Environmental Protection,Natural Resources and Forestry emphasized technology transfer,information exchange and financial support from the GEF. He alsoendorsed the recommended schedule of contributions to theSecretariat with voluntary contributions from developingcountries and those with economies in transition.

TANZANIA: E.K. Mugurusi, Director of Environment, said that themedium-term work programme should demonstrate the potential ofnew products from biological resources and link protection withrural development, agricultural research, gene banks and otherconservation measures.

JAPAN: Amb. Hisashi Owada noted that environmental aid,especially for biodiversity conservation, is a priority forJapan’s development assistance. He recommended that the GEFshould be the institutional body for the financial mechanismbecause it was established to assist developing countries toresolve global environmental problems, including biodiversity.Japan intends to contribute 20 % of the required resources neededfor the GEF. He also stressed that the Convention should promotefair and equitable sharing of benefits from genetic resources.

ROMANIA: Dr. Marian Ianculescu, State Secretary, urged the CSD torecognize the importance of sustainable forest management forbiodiversity He said that sustainable forestry should beaddressed by COP-II and III.

AUSTRALIA: Amb. Penelope Wensley on behalf of John Faulkner,Minister of Environment, commended the inclusion in themedium-term work programme of marine and coastal biodiversity.She underlined the role of indigenous peoples, and noted thatwhile this issue will be addressed in the 1996 work programme,preparatory discussions should start at COP-II. She would havepreferred to include specific work on forests.

UNDP: Sarah L. Timpson, Acting Assistant Administrator on behalfof Gustave Speth, Administrator, highlighted UNDP’s particularcapabilities and noted that UNDP could provide support to theclearing-house mechanism. UNDP’s commitment to capacity-buildingwas stressed, including GEF financing for 23 projects amountingto US$87million out of a total biodiversity allocation of US$313million for 57 projects.

GUYANA: Dr. Lakeram Chatarpaul, Coordinator of the President’sOffice of Environmental Affairs, called for the transfer ofpractical, proven technologies on preferential terms andconsideration of access to markets as part of equitablebenefit-sharing.

DENMARK: Ole Plougmann, Deputy Permanent Undersecretary of Statefor Environment and Energy, supported the integration ofbiodiversity concerns into sectoral and cross-sectoral policies,as well as the provisions on economic incentives such as greentax programmes. He said that the statement to the CSD could havebeen stronger on some priorities, especially forests, andrecommended a dialogue on forests with the CSD and otherinstitutions.

CHILE: Amb. Vincente Sanchez supported including modalities for abiosafety protocol in the medium-term work programme, butexpressed concern that administrative and financial provisionsfor the Secretariat should not prevent work toward a biosafetyprotocol. He suggested that because the Convention deals withmore than wild genetic resources, there is a need to coordinatewith programs on genetic resources for agriculture.

REPUBLIC OF KOREA: Amb. H. El Joung Binn Lee said that transferof technology and financial mobilization are keys to theConvention’s success. He recommended that the financial mechanismshould be agreed upon at COP-II. He noted that Korea is planninga voluntary contribution as a developing country.

CUBA: Gisela A. Dominguez, Director of Environmental Policy,stressed the protection of IPRs, indigenous knowledge and abiosafety protocol. She said that technology transfer andcooperation in biodiversity should be done on an equitable basis.

SEYCHELLES: Claude Morel, Minister of Foreign Affairs, noted theenvironmental vulnerability for SIDS. He stressed the linkagebetween socio-economic development and the environment. 43% ofhis country’s land mass has been committed to conservationprojects.

BULGARIA: Yordan Uzunov, Deputy Minister of Environment, saidthat despite the absence of formal ratification, protected areasand forest laws have been introduced. He noted that a nationalconservation strategy was being developed in accordance with theConvention. He supported the GEF as the financial mechanism.

ALBANIA: Lirim Selfo, Chairman of the Committee of EnvironmentalProtection, noted that the environmental problems were neglecteduntil three years ago in his country and stressed the need forinstitutions and a legal framework to deal with forests andbiodiversity loss. He called for equitable distribution of GEFresources to country Parties.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Mick N. Raga, Assistant Secretary on behalf ofthe Minister of Environment said that climate change andbiodiversity loss, including the loss of forests, posed a seriousthreat and called for mandatory investment in the capacitybuilding of resource owners.

CAMEROON: Augustine Bokwe, on behalf of the Minister ofEnvironment and Forestry, said that environmental policies werebeing developed to assist rural populations towards sustainableuse of biodiversity, stressing in particular the participatoryapproach and rights of village communities.

PARAGUAY: Victor C. Vidal, Vice-Minister of Natural Resources andEnvironment, noted the increase of protected areas from 2.5% to 5%. Among other measures, a survey of ecologically fragile areaswas being conducted.

FAO: Dr. Hartwig de Haen, Assistant Director General, on behalfof the Director General, stressed commitment to the Convention’simplementation and offered both experts and resources in the areaof agro biodiversity. He underscored the importance of farmers’rights for sustainable development and the need to associateagricultural ministries in biodiversity programmes.

UNESCO: Pierre Lasserre on behalf of Federico Mayor, DirectorGeneral, highlighted UNESCO’s role in education, literacy andscience programmes, including creation of the IUCN. He noted thework done in: the IOC; MAB;  regional networks; the Education andPopulation Project and the International Forum.

INCD: Bernardo Zantilli, on behalf of Hama Arba Diallo, ExecutiveSecretary of the Interim Secretariat for the DesertificationConvention, highlighted some of the important linkages betweenthe two conventions: the impact of desertification tobiodiversity on every continent; and the need for a homogenousplanning framework to combat desertification and to protectbiodiversity in arid lands.

CGIAR: The representative reported that CGIAR had signed anagreement with FAO, confirming the status of the centers astrustees of genetic resources collections and bringing thesecollections under FAO auspices.

CAB INTERNATIONAL: The representative said that CAB Internationalis also ready to contribute to the needs of the Convention.

IUCN: Jeff McNeely of the IUCN, supported the reference in theCOP’s statement to the CSD regarding forests, but expresseddisappointment that no such reference is actually made in themedium-term work programme. He reiterated IUCN’s offer to providecontinued assistance to the Secretariat and UNEP in theimplementation phase.

THIRD WORLD NETWORK: Chee Yoke Lin, spoke on behalf of severalNGOs. She applauded the frank discussion on the GEF and cited theimportance of the Secretariat study on other sources of financialsupport. She urged the working group on biosafety to focus itswork on the modalities of the protocol.


PLENARY: The Ministerial speeches will continue until thespeaker’s list is exhausted. The Plenary will then beginconsideration of all outstanding matters.

BIODIVERSITY DAY: Look for countries to consider UNEP ExecutiveDirector Elizabeth Dowdeswell’s proposal to declare December 29,the date of the Convention’s entry into force, an InternationalBiodiversity Day when a prize would be awarded to an individual,institution or community for outstanding actions in support ofbiological diversity.

Further information