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Summary report, 28 November – 9 December 1994


The first meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) tothe Convention on Biological Diversity met in Nassau, theBahamas, from 28 November - 9 December 1994. The Conventionentered into force on 29 December 1993 and currently has 106Parties. During the course of the meeting, delegates were ableto reach agreement on the basic machinery for the Convention’simplementation. Notwithstanding some of the problems and setbacksthat are inherent in any multilateral negotiations, delegatesdemonstrated the political will to move forward with theimplementation phase. Some of the key decisions taken by the COPinclude: adoption of the medium-term work programme; designationof the Permanent Secretariat; establishment of the clearing-housemechanism and the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical andTechnological Advice (SBSTTA); and designation of the GlobalEnvironment Facility (GEF) as the interim institutional structurefor the financial mechanism.


The Convention on Biological Diversity was opened for signatureat the Earth Summit in Brazil on 5 June 1992 and entered intoforce on 29 December 1993. It contains three national levelobligations: to conserve, to sustainably use,  and to share thebenefits of biological diversity. Formal negotiations began inNovember 1988 when UNEP convened a series of expert groupmeetings pursuant to Governing Council decisions 14/26 and 15/34of 1987. The initial sessions were referred to as meetings of the“Ad Hoc Working Group of Experts on Biological Diversity.” By thesummer of 1990, a new “Sub-Working Group on Biotechnology” wasestablished to prepare terms of reference on biotechnologytransfer. Other aspects of biodiversity were included, such as insitu and ex situ conservation of wild and domesticated species;access to genetic resources and technology, includingbiotechnology; new and additional financial resources, and safetyof release or experimentation on genetically-modified organisms(also known as “biosafety”). In 1990, UNEP’s Governing Councilestablished an “Ad Hoc Working Group of Legal and TechnicalExperts" to prepare a new international legal instrument for theconservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. FormerUNEP Executive Director Mostafa Tolba prepared the first formaldraft Convention on Biological Diversity, which was considered inFebruary 1991 by an “Intergovernmental NegotiatingCommittee”(INC). The first INC meeting was also known as thethird session of the Ad Hoc Working Group of Legal and TechnicalExperts. The INC met four more times between February 1991 andMay 1992, culminating in the adoption of the final text of theConvention in Nairobi, Kenya on 22 May 1992.


In May 1993, UNEP’s Governing Council established theIntergovernmental Committee on the Convention on BiologicalDiversity (ICCBD) to prepare for the first meeting of theConference of the Parties (COP) and to ensure effective operationof the Convention upon its entry into force. Former UNEPExecutive Director, Mostafa Tolba, established four expert panelsto provide advice to the first ICCBD: Panel 1-Priorities forAction and Research Agenda; Panel 2- Economic Implications andValuation of Biological Resources; Panel 3-Technology Transferand Financial Resources; and Panel 4-Safe Transfer, Handling andUse of Living Modified Organisms Resulting from Biotechnology. Inaddition, the Norwegian Government and UNEP hosted an ExpertConference on Biodiversity, held in Trondheim, Norway from 24-28May 1993 to provide input to the work of the ICCBD. The firstsession of the ICCBD met in Geneva from 11-15 October 1993. Aftera difficult start due to procedural problems, that resulted fromthe 16-month gap between the last session of the INC and thismeeting, the ICCBD made progress in addressing the long list oftasks mandated to it. The ICCBD established two Working Groups.Working Group I dealt with the conservation and sustainable useof biological diversity, the scientific and technical workbetween meetings and the issue of biosafety. Working Group IItackled issues related to the financial mechanisms, the processfor estimating funding needs, the meaning of “full incrementalcosts,” the rules of procedure for the COP, and technicalcooperation and capacity-building. Despite several sessions ofsubstantive debate, the Working Groups were not able to producereports that could be approved by the Plenary. As a last minutesolution, 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.


The second session of the ICCBD met in Nairobi from 20 June to 1July 1994. During the two-week session, delegates addressed anumber of issues in preparation for the first COP. Theseincluded: institutional, legal and procedural matters; scientificand technical matters; and matters related to the financialmechanism. Progress was made on issues including: rules ofprocedure; the subsidiary body on scientific, technical andtechnological advice (SBSTTA); and the clearing-house mechanism.However, many delegates felt that substantive negotiations hadbeen hastily postponed on such critical issues as: the need for abiosafety protocol; ownership of and access to ex situ geneticresources; farmers’ rights; and the financial mechanism.


The first meeting of the COP opened on Monday, 28 November 1994,to the sounds of the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band, a colorguard and speeches by UNEP Executive Director ElizabethDowdeswell, UN General Assembly Vice-President Mario Lopez deRosa on behalf of the General Assembly President S.E.M. AmaraEssy and UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and theBahamian Prime Minister, the Hon. Hubert. A. Ingraham. Theceremonies ended with the official opening of the BiodiversityTechnology Fair sponsored by the Canadian Government and theCanadian Industries Association.


The Plenary opened with the appointment of the President, Sen.Dr. Ivy L. Dumont, the Bahamas Minister of Health andEnvironment. She reported on Sunday’s informal consultations onRule 21 (size and composition of the Bureau). A president, eightvice-presidents, and a rapporteur are to be elected from partiespresent at each meeting to serve as the Bureau until the nextordinary meeting. The selection will be made with regard toequitable geographic representation and with adequaterepresentation of SIDS. The Bureau consisted of: Guinea andMauritius (Africa); the Czech Republic and Estonia (EasternEurope); Peru (GRULAC); Canada and Denmark (WEOG); and Malaysiaand China (Asia). Mr. Viet Koester (Denmark) was elected Chair ofthe Committee of the Whole.

ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA: The provisional agenda for the COP iscontained in UNEP/CBD/COP/1/1. Brazil requested that biosafety,access to genetic resources and indigenous knowledge be includedin the provisional agenda. Spain called for discussions on thelocation of the Secretariat. Switzerland supported Spain’srequest, but noted that at ICCBD-2 the European Union hadrecommended that discussion of the secretariat location bedeferred until COP-II. Germany, on behalf of the EU, supportedBrazil’s request to discuss biosafety and Spain’s proposal todiscuss the secretariat. The Chair agreed to add the locationissue to the provisional agenda, which was adopted, as orallyamended. Delegates then adopted the organization of work asoutlined in document UNEP/CBD/COP/1/1/Add.2.

ADOPTION OF THE RULES OF PROCEDURE: The second ICCBD recommendedfor consideration and adoption by the COP, the draft rules ofprocedure contained in document UNEP/CBD/COP/1/2, despitebracketed text in the following areas: Rule 4, paragraph 1 onperiodicity of meetings of the COP; Rule 21 on the Bureau of theCOP; and Rule 40, paragraph 1 on voting. The President said thatafter informal consultations held on Sunday, agreement wasreached on the size and composition of the Bureau (Rule 21). Theinformal consultations also agreed to bracket Rule 4, paragraph 1(Date of Meetings) and Rule 40 (Voting). Despite Japan’sobjections to Rule 52 (Working Languages), the Committee adoptedthe draft rules with the oral amendment to Rule 21 and thebrackets around Rules 4 and 40.

REPORT OF THE ICCBD: Amb. Vincente Sanchez (ICCBD Chair)introduced the report of ICCBD-II (UNEP/CBD/COP/1/4) and saidthat the Convention’s swift entry into force had focused theICCBD’s deliberations on issues for the first COP including:periodicity of meetings; financial issues; selection of acompetent organization to host the secretariat; a clearing-housemechanism; policy, strategy and eligibility for financialresources; institutional structures for a financial mechanism,and the list of developed country Parties and other Parties whichvoluntarily assume developed country obligations; the SBSTTA; andinput to the CSD.


ICCBD-II recommended that the Secretariat’s document be used asthe basis for discussions. Germany, on behalf of the EU, proposedthree distinct levels upon which guidelines for the financialmechanism should be developed. Algeria, on behalf of the G-77,questioned the appropriateness of bringing to the COP newinterpretations of the substantive provisions of the Convention.He added that the question of poverty, the issues of technologytransfer and funding must be concretely addressed. China saidthat developed countries have a responsibility to assist in themobilization of financial resources to help finance theincremental costs. Sweden urged against the global list idea. Headded that discussion on the draft indicative list of incrementalcosts in Annex IV should be postponed until the significance ofthese costs has been fully clarified. The UK noted the importantdistinction of the role of the COP to provide both policy andoperational guidelines for the financial mechanism. India urgedthat the text agreed in Nairobi be used as the basis ofdiscussions. An open-ended contact group, chaired by Dr. JohnAshe (Antigua and Barbuda) worked to resolve these outstandingissues. (See page 7.)


The COP examined the Secretariat’s document, which contains anon-exhaustive list of elements based on the decisions of theICCBD. The Chair of the GEF, Mohamed T. El-Ashry, addressed theCommittee of the Whole, emphasizing the urgency of a decisionfrom the COP on the GEF’s role as the institutional structure forthe financial mechanism. El-Ashry said a significant portion ofthe US $2 billion pledged to the new GEF was intended to financeactivities under the Biodiversity Convention. He said that theGEF Council had approved a two-track programme for funding workrelated to biodiversity. The first track is for an overarchingstrategy by July 1995, and the second is to follow interim 1995guidelines approved by the Council in early November. Hecautioned, however, that the GEF would not be able to allocatefinancial resources to biodiversity at its January meeting unlessit receives guidance from the COP on policies, strategies,programme priorities and eligibility criteria for activities tobe funded under the Convention. He said that the GEF ImplementingAgencies have been instructed to designate an $80 millionprogramme of work for consideration by the Council in January. Henoted that the restructured GEF is striving toward universalparticipation and democratic governance and, since therestructuring, 138 countries have joined the GEF. In support ofthe GEF’s candidacy as the financial mechanism, he also mentionedthe collaborative relationship between the GEF and Secretariatsof the related conventions, and the extensive negotiations ofICCBD-II to designate the GEF as the interim financial mechanism.He noted that the $315 million that was allocated to 57biodiversity projects during the GEF pilot phase is a solidfoundation for continued work under the Convention. Following El-Ashry’s speech, several delegations expressed concern overwhether the authority and priorities of the COP would be carriedout by the GEF. Malaysia , Mauritius, and Malawi asked if the GEFwas prepared to accept the authority and supremacy of the COPunder Article 21 of the Convention. El-Ashry said that it was theCOP’s responsibility to provide programme priorities, strategyand policy guidance and that the GEF would translate thatguidance into its funding decisions and operations, with the GEFCouncil retaining the final approval of projects. Mauritania saidit was a GEF Council member representing nine of the poorermembers, and that the GEF is accountable to decisions of the COPregarding the Convention. Chile, Brazil and Kenya requestedclarification on the relationship between the GEF Science andTechnical Advisory Panel (STAP) and the SBSTTA. El-Ashry said therole of the STAP within the GEF had changed since the pilot phaseand it would avoid duplicating SBSTTA’s work. Chile asked how theGEF would determine what percentage of its resources would beapplied to biodiversity, and whether particular funds would beallocated for countries with economies in transition. El-Ashrysaid there would be no earmarking for regional groups orcountries with economies in transition. He said the need foradditional funds could be addressed by using GEF funding toleverage contributions from other donors and the private sector.Slovakia, speaking on behalf of Albania, Armenia, Belarus, theCzech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, the Slovak Republicand Romania, fully supported the GEF as the permanent financialmechanism. In concluding, El-Ashry said that a permanentdesignation was preferable, as it would send a signal ofcertainty. A statement, which was presented on behalf of a numberof NGOs, noted that the financial mechanism must function underthe authority and guidance of, and be accountable to, the COP. Itwas pointed out that the GEF Instrument only mentions guidanceand accountability and hence there is clearly someincompatibility on the issue of authority. The World ResourcesInstitute, which was not associated with the earlier NGOstatement, said that the restructured GEF still neededimprovement in its reponsiveness to the Convention, but the COPshould move forward with the GEF, as rejection could lead to aloss of already committed funds. Germany, on behalf of the EU,stated that the concerns of many governments had been alleviatedby the newly restructured GEF. He noted that all country Partiesto the Convention are now represented in the GEF. A quickdecision on the financial mechanism was requested. Australiasupported the GEF as the appropriate permanent institution,especially given the possibility of review not less than twoyears after the Convention has entered into force and the factthat the GEF is now fully operational with funding for the nextthree years. The US supported the GEF as the institutionalstructure for the financial mechanism. Austria noted that the GEFwill use its replenished funds (for the next three years atleast) regardless of whether the COP decides to use it as thefinancial mechanism. He urged that efforts be directed towardsdefining the programme priorities. Norway cited several reasonsfor supporting the newly-structured GEF as the institutionalstructure for the financial mechanism: if the COP is to implementthe Convention quickly, this crucial part of the process must beclarified; the GEF stands a better chance at resourcemobilization from other sources; and all the different playerscan be activated more expediently if this decision is settledsooner rather than later. Japan also supported the GEF as thepermanent financial institution, but urged against any hastydecisions in this regard. After extensive consultations ondocument UNEP/CBD/COP/ 1/6/Add.1, Algeria, on behalf of the G-77and China,  recommended the GEF as the interim, rather than thepermanent institutional structure. In a contentious debate, anumber of developing countries strongly supported the G-77position, while most developed countries opposed it. Brazil saidthat even though it is a member of the GEF Council, membership inthat body, which also has non-Parties to the Convention, posesinsurmountable difficulties. India said the structure of thefinancial mechanism is too uncertain and ambiguous to effectivelyserve the Convention. South Africa called for clear norms andstandards for distributing funds without the politicalinterference that characterized past GEF projects. Germany, onbehalf of the EU, said it was disappointed in the G-77 and Chinaproposal and had hoped that uncertainty over the financialmechanism would be replaced by certainty regarding thepredictability of the flow of funds. He said the Convention hadno provisions for: multiple institutional structures for afinancial mechanism; new sources of funding; and an additionaltrust fund. He recommended that the Secretariat survey theavailability of funds from existing institutions. Austria saidthat the COP was preparing to send a signal of hesitation,distrust and dogmatism, that the goodwill of donor countriesmight be weakened, and that the COP was engaging in an act of“self-mutilation.” Malaysia, speaking in support of the G-77 andChina, objected to the threat that the replenishment of funds iscontingent on selection of the GEF as the permanent mechanism.Algeria, on behalf of G-77 and China, circulated the draftdecision on financial resources and a financial mechanismcontained in UNEP/CBD/COP/1/CW/L.1. The draft decision calledfor: the adoption of the programme priorities for access to andutilization of financial resources and the list of developedcountry Parties in Annex I; designation of the restructured GEFas the interim institutional structure for a financial mechanism;authorization of the Interim Secretariat to sign the Memorandumof Understanding (MOU) with the GEF; a study by the Secretariatfor COP-II on modalities for the establishment of the financialmechanism and a second study on the establishment of aBiodiversity Fund and on the mobilization of new and additionalresources for the Fund; and a review of financial resources andthe interim arrangements of the financial mechanism be addressedby COP-II. An open-ended contact group chaired by Antigua andBarbuda addressed outstanding issues on this agenda item. (Seepage 7.)


The second ICCBD recommended the list contained in documentUNEP/CBD/COP/1/7 as the basis of discussions at the COP. An open-ended contact group, chaired by Antigua and Barbuda addressedthis issue as well. (See page 7.)


The Secretariat introduced the document and the Information Paper(UNEP/CBD/COP/1/Inf.9) on the aims, scope, function andgovernance of a clearing-house mechanism that was circulated atthe request of Sweden. Sweden referred to the SwedishEnvironmental Institute (SEI) study that it had contracted on theaims, scope, functions and governance of a broad-based clearing-house mechanism. He reported that a workshop sponsored by theBahamas and Sweden had also been conducted. He said a clearing-house mechanism should promote and facilitate technical andscientific cooperation, particularly for developing countries, inaccordance with Article 18 of the Convention. The mechanismshould not just be a switchboard for data and services but shouldtake a more active role in providing brokerage services andfacilitating national capacity building. The followingorganizations were included in the governance section of theinformation paper: UNDP, UNIDO, FAO, CGIAR, UNEP, WHO, TFAP, theGEF, the World Resources Institute and the SEI. Algeria, onbehalf of the G-77 and China, said that the key issue regardingscientific and technical cooperation was access to, and transferof environmentally sound technology, taking into account theneeds of developing countries. He said the mechanism should beadministered by the secretariat under the authority of the COP.Colombia, supported by Chile, was concerned that the mechanismnot be extractive in nature regarding traditional knowledge.Germany, on behalf of the EU, supported by Japan and others saidthat scientific and technical cooperation and informationexchange should be improved, stressing cooperation throughregional centres funded either multilaterally or bilaterally. Hesaid that the information systems of UNEP, IUCN, WorldConservation Monitoring Centre, UNIDO, and UNDP should not beduplicated.  Malaysia suggested a special focus on access togenetic resources and sharing of its benefits, as well asbiotechnology and biodiversity prospecting. Japan said that itsfunding should come from the Convention budget and the mechanismshould not engage in brokerage services. New Zealand supported:regional centres; an electronic network with a decentralizedstructure; focus on the needs of end-users; and administration ofthe mechanism by the Secretariat. Egypt noted the limited accessof developing countries for data management and storage.Australia supported establishment on an incremental basis andfunctions that would include provision of information on plansand strategies on all levels as well as information onmethodologies for assessing and valuating biological resources.Brazil suggested a decentralized clearing-house mechanism andsaid that information should not be disseminated until rulesregarding access are adopted. Canada said that the mechanismshould link Parties with problems together with centres forsolutions. The UK suggested that the clearing-house mechanism belimited to information retrieval and referral and not beauthorized to provide brokerage services. The US recommended thatthe clearing-house mechanism be a pointer to the data with accessopen to non-parties and that it not play a brokerage role. Indiacalled for its financing to be covered by sources other than thefinancial mechanism of the Convention. An NGO representativespeaking on behalf of NGOs questioned the appropriateness of theclearing-house to deal with such sensitive issues as the right togenetic information. An open-ended contact group chaired by Dr.A. Lazar (Canada) worked to resolve outstanding issues in thisagenda item. (See page 7.)


The COPconsidered the Secretariat’s document, which contains theoffers received by the Interim Secretariat in response to theinvitation issued by the ICCBD. Most countries favoredcontinuation of the Interim Secretariat until the permanentsecretariat is established. There was virtual agreement that UNEPis best suited to take on the permanent secretariat role.Australia said that the selection of UNEP must not influence thedecision of the COP on the location issue, nor should it precludethe possibility of drawing from other sources. Many countriespreferred one body, rather than a consortium, to carry outsecretariat functions. The IUCN, UNDP, FAO, and UNESCOhighlighted their areas of expertise and willingness toparticipate with the secretariat. The EU reiterated the need forthis COP to take a final decision regarding the secretariat. Acontact group chaired by Mr.  El-Ghaouth (Mauritania) met toresolve outstanding issues. (See page 8.)


The draft financial rules contained in the Secretariat’s document were used as the basis for deliberations on this matter.Algeria, on behalf of the G-77 and China, said that anyassignment of a scale of assessments must consider the economicdifficulties of developing countries and the principle of “commonbut differentiated responsibilities.” Germany, on behalf of theEU, supported by Japan, Canada and the US, preferred: assessmentFormula I, including a 2.5 percent assessment on the EU foradministrative costs; Rule 3(a) for the financing of the TrustFund; and Rule 15(a) on consensus decisions. Japan said while itis ready to support the budget of the Secretariat, it does notassume any legal obligation to contribute to the Secretariat’sbudget, and requested the word “voluntary” in the text, which wasalso supported by the US. Australia called for mandatoryassessments, based on the capacity to pay, to assure predictablefunding and endorsed Formula I, UNEP as trustee and Rule 15A. NewZealand suggested seeking consensus under Rule 3 by making aminor amendment to Rule 3A, and supported Formula I and 15A.Brazil recommended mandatory contributions, UNEP as trustee, andRule 15B with a two-thirds majority. A contact group chaired byMauritania addressed outstanding issuues in the agenda item. (Seepage 8.)


The President, Dr. Dumont said that after extensive regionalconsultations, agreement had been reached on the selection of theChair of the SBSTTA. Dr. J.H. Seyani (Malawi) would serve asChair of SBSTTA for 1995 and Dr. P. Schei (Norway) would serve asChair in 1996. Delegates considered terms of reference,organizational and procedural matters, date and venue of itsfirst meeting, and financial arrangements . Algeria, on behalf ofthe G-77 and China, reiterated the extreme importance attached bydeveloping countries to the SBSTTA as the main implementing bodyafter the COP. Due regard should be given to geographicrepresentation and full participation by developing countries.The SBSTTA should concentrate on specific matters and examineways to facilitate the transfer of technology, as well as accessto eco-technologies for developing countries. India emphasizedthat technology transfer should be given due priority in theSBSTTA, the programme of work, and the clearing-house mechanism.Germany, on behalf of the EU, said that priorities should be setaccording to the medium-term work programme to preventoverburdening the SBSTTA, adding that its advice should be purelyscientific, technical and technological. He recommendedspecialized panels to ensure efficiency, but objected to the needfor a steering committee to meet more often than the entireSBSTTA. Malaysia recommended that the SBSTTA should: undertakescientific work on protocol issues such as biosafety and themovement of germplasm; develop criteria for sustainable use; andreview threats to biodiversity. Brazil, supported by Colombia,suggested that report production is the responsibility of eachcountry Party. He added that the SBSTTA’s terms of referenceshould mention protection of indigenous lifestyles and practices.The UK said the SBSTTA’s main objective should be to establish ascientific baseline against which future assessments couldevaluate the Convention’s effectiveness. New Zealand suggestedthat the SBSTTA should: communicate with national agencies ratherthan individual experts; develop a specific priorities list; becost- effective; and avoid creating burdensome reportingrequirements. Japan said that the SBSTTA’s terms of reference aretoo specific but that it should establish panels focusing onspecific priority issues. China suggested that the SBSTTA shouldprovide the COP with scientific information and advice to promotetechnology transfer. An open-ended contact group chaired byCanada worked to resolve outstanding issues in this agenda item.The first organizational meeting of the SBSTTA was held on 5December, and was chaired by Dr. J.H. Seyani (Malawi). Itaddressed two key issues: the election of officers and the dateand venue of the first meeting. Regarding the first issue, theChair reminded delegates that, in accordance with Rule 21 in theRules of Procedure, the Bureau is to be composed provisionally ofa chair, 8 vice-presidents and a rapporteur. Also, in accordancewith paragraph 4 of Rule 26, each region shall elect its owncandidates. The Chair noted that he had received provisionalnominations from: Tunisia and Malawi (Africa); Hungary andKazakhstan (Eastern Europe); Brazil and Cuba (GRULAC); India andIndonesia (Asia); and Australia and Italy (WEOG). Peter Scheiwill be the ex-officio member of the Bureau. Delegates agreedthat the first SBSTTA meeting be held on 4-8 September 1995 atUNESCO headquarters in Paris. The draft decision on SBSTTAsubmitted by the contact group contained in UNEP/CBD/COP/1/CW/L.8was adopted by the Committee of the Whole.


The COP discussed  its relationship with the third session of theCSD, in particular on the follow-up of issues of common concerncontained in Agenda 21. Algeria, on behalf of the G-77 and China,said that the COP report to the CSD should focus on substantiveissues, such as resource mobilization and technology transfer.Michael Monaghan of the Interim Secretariat read a statement onbehalf of Mr. Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary-General for PolicyCoordination and Sustainable Development. Desai noted the numberof ratifications and called for the closest possible cooperationbetween the DPCSD and the Convention at both the interagencylevel and the policy and coordination level within ECOSOC. Ghanasaid that the SBSTTA should contribute to the work of the CSD’sAd Hoc Working Group on Biodiversity. Canada supported the needfor a separate convention on forests. Germany on behalf of theEU, recommended that the COP should report on 3 items:significance of the Convention; current state of itsimplementation; and its relationship to Agenda 21. Australianoted that the conservation and sustainable use of forests willbe critical to achieving the objectives of the Convention. Samoasaid that the Programme of Action of Small Island States dependson regional cooperation and that this aspect should be reflectedas well. Spain noted that the report of the experts workshop heldin Madrid should be included in the report. The UK recommendedthat the medium-term programme of work be reflected in the reportto the CSD. The Netherlands and Finland said that the ForestPrinciples will be further elaborated on in a possible conventionon all types of forests, to be discussed by the CSD in 1995. Theyrecommended that this issue be dealt with by the CSD and notwithin the Convention. Colombia said that the third CSD shouldhelp the COP in the development of a biosafety protocol. The IUCNquestioned how the COP will address the forests issue. The WWFcalled for additional reference to consumption and trade patternsand their impact on biodiversity. An open-ended contact groupchaired by Canada worked to resolve outstanding issues in theagenda item. (See page 7.)


The second ICCBD considered the need to outline a medium-termprogramme of work of the COP. Many delegations expressed theirviews on the issue of standing and rotating agenda items withinthe medium-term programme of work. Germany, on behalf of the EU,supported by Australia, Canada, Japan, the US and others,endorsed the medium-term programme of work. He suggested thatCOP-II focus on the link between national reporting and workprograms. Australia noted that more immediate attention wasrequired on capacity building, national reports, the clearing-house mechanism, and the issue of in situ and ex situ geneticresources. Brazil supported by Colombia, India and others,proposed the following agenda items for COP-II: an ad hocintersessional working group on the adoption of a biosafetyprotocol; access to genetic resources and the equitable sharingof benefits; knowledge and practices of indigenous and otherlocal communities; and the relationship with the CSD. The itemsproposed for COP-III included: access, transfer, and developmentof technology; incentive measures; special session of the GeneralAssembly to review Agenda 21; and matters pending from COP-II.France said the COP will have to conduct a survey of globalbiodiversity on the basis of national inventories and highlightedthe importance of conservation. India stressed the importance ofaddressing in situ and ex situ genetic resources and theknowledge and practices of indigenous and local communities andsharing of benefits with these communities. A representative ofthe Caucus of the Indigenous Peoples’ Preparatory Committee urgedthe COP to reorganize the work programme to include the rights ofindigenous peoples within the Convention, from 1997 back to 1995.The Third World Network, on behalf of the NGO Task Force onBiosafety, stressed that guidelines would not be an acceptablesubstitute to a biosafety protocol. Greenpeace Internationalemphasized the importance of a biosafety protocol and highlightedthe issue of poverty eradication in relationship to the CSD andthe sustainable use of biodiversity. Sweden said the perennialissues before the COP were: financial matters, transfer oftechnology and scientific cooperation. He suggested considering:all the ecosystems in relation to the objectives of theConvention; a thematic review linked to the CSD process; and workdone by the FAO for consideration by COP-III. Norway stressedissue prioritization for the COP-II and recommended that abiosafety instrument should be developed. The US said the COPshould establish both a permanent and a rotating agenda. Malaysiareiterated the importance of convening a working group onbiosafety. Kenya urged that COP-II consider biosafety, ex situcollections, IPRs, incentives and indigenous knowledge. Germany,on behalf of the EU, called on COP-II to address: nationalstrategies; biodiversity indicators; determination ofbiodiversity components under threat and the action needed;management of and possible extension of nature conservationareas; and conservation and sustainable use of marinebiodiversity. The EU suggested that COP-III address: financialmechanism effectiveness; policies, strategies and eligibilitycriteria and the list of incremental costs; the role of in and exsitu conservation; land-use planning; the FAO initiative on plantand genetic resources; indigenous rights; review of the globalbiodiversity assessment; scientific and technical programs; andconservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in agriculturalecosystems. China called for the first two years to focus on: theclearing-house mechanism; SBSTTA; and technical and technologicalexchanges and human resources training. China also supported aworking group to establish biosafety guidelines with a viewtowards the possible negotiation of a protocol. Germany, onbehalf of the EU, supported the creation of internationalvoluntary guidelines on biosafety and called on the COP toconsider the need for, and modalities of a binding instrument, aswell as the establishment of an ad hoc work group of technicalexperts to assist the COP. Chile, Slovakia, on behalf of theEastern European Group, Zaire, the Philippines, Cuba, Brazil,Malawi and Sri Lanka recommended examination of a biosafetyprotocol in the medium-term programme of work. The UK said thatit was developing national guidelines for biosafety jointly withthe Netherlands. Australia said that an open-ended ad hoc workinggroup should conduct a rigorous and objective analysis of theneed for a protocol. Slovakia, on behalf of the Eastern EuropeanGroup, called for biosafety to be considered by COP-II, includinga working group on GMOs, and a moratorium on GMOs until aprotocol is negotiated. Zaire said a protocol should mention therisk of release of GMOs and recommended the inclusion ofmonitoring using local experts, risk assessment and in situconservation. UNIDO suggested that the COP consider using theguidelines and the voluntary code of conduct developed by theInteragency Working Group composed of UNIDO, FAO, the WHO andUNEP as a basis for further action. Australia, speaking on behalfof Japan, the US, Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand and Mexico,recommended a three-year planning horizon with the followingroutine matters: a report from the financial mechanism; reviewsof programme priorities, the SBSTTA, and the clearing-housemechanism; a report on relations with other conventions andinstitutions; a budget; national plans and related matters underArticle 6. She said that COP-II should address guidelines fornational reports and progress on genetic resources and in situconservation. The Philippines said that access to geneticresources cannot be separated from the rights of indigenouspeoples and underscored the need for community involvement. Therepresentative from the Ramsar Convention said that theConvention and other related ones, including CITES and Bern haveamassed field experience that need not be duplicated. The BonnConvention noted that it could provide information on migratoryspecies. UNESCO offered assistance in promoting research andeducation, citing an upcoming meeting on internationalcooperation for biodiversity and a biodiversity guide forteachers to be distributed globally, especially in developingcountries. FAO emphasized its work related to preservation ofplant genetic resources for food production and access to ex situgenetic collections, including those of the Consultative Group onInternational Agriculture Research (CGIAR), which it now manages.Sweden stressed the need to consider access to genetic resourcesand said that COP-III’s consideration of intellectual propertyrights should be coupled with farmers and indigenous peoples’rights. Malaysia recommended coordination with FAO’s negotiationson plant genetic resources. An open-ended contact group chairedby Mauritania discussed outstanding issues on this agenda item.(See page 7.)


Algeria, on behalf of the G-77 and China, said that thesecretariat is the keystone for the implementation of theConvention and that it required the necessary level of financialresources, particularly for preparatory work for COP-II. Heproposed that the Interim Secretariat prepare a comparative notebased on the precedents set by other Conventions to provide aclearer picture of budgetary needs. Canada raised the need for:budgetary flexibility; a secretariat that was not top-heavy innature; and linkage between the host organization and location ofthe secretariat. Germany, on behalf of the EU, said that costsshould be reduced and the budget for 1995 should be based on thebudget of the Interim Secretariat. Australia said the draftbudget was consistent with: the needs of the medium-termprogramme of work; the prompt start of the SBSTTA; and theprovision of information to Parties. Japan said that the proposedbudget of $6 million was high and recommended that personnel bestreamlined and the number of working languages be reduced in theSBSTTA. Spain said that the discussion of the location of thesecretariat and the extension of the Interim Secretariat wasimportant. Switzerland reiterated his Government's offer to housethe secretariat free of charge, at least until 1998 and itswillingness to provide substantial support for the secretariatbeyond its obligations as a Party to the Convention. Swedenquestioned who would finance the 1995 budget, which will actuallybecome operational in a few weeks. Norway supported a budget thatwould maximize the secretariat’s effectiveness and urged forrealistic figures. UNESCO affirmed its offer to provide, free ofcharge, several full or part time UNESCO staff in severalsubstantive areas. FAO said that it was prepared to second abiodiversity and agriculture programme officer at its ownexpense. China supported Brazil that no developing country shouldcontribute more than the developed countries. An open-endedcontact group chaired by Mauritania worked to resolve outstandingissues in this agenda item. (See page 8.)


Kenya, Spain and Switzerland have all offered to host theSecretariat. Delegates considered UNEP/CBD/COP/CW/L.7, a draftdecision and annex on the physical location of the permanentsecretariat submitted by Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Japan,and New Zealand. Canada said that while the COP appreciatedoffers from Kenya, Spain and Switzerland to host the permanentSecretariat, it needed a transparent, systematic, clear, and openprocess to make the selection. Australia called for detail beyondwhat is contained in the existing proposals. She also recommendedthat the COP consider offers from other governments, and that itshould not decide on a location until COP-II. She noted that theprocess proposed was similar to the one used by the GATT in itsdetermination of the location of the World Trade Organization, aswell as the selection process used by the Climate ChangeConvention. The Bahamas questioned how the location could bedecided when no consensus can be reached and no decision has beenmade yet on rules of procedure for decisions. Spain, supported byUruguay, Kenya, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Slovakia, Chile,Argentina, Portugal, Brazil and Italy, recommended that the COPdecide without further delay on a location because the cities inthe existing submissions were well known and needed no furtherstudy. He said the draft decision violated Rule 35, whichrequires draft decisions to be submitted 24 hours in advance,noting he had only learned of the proposal in the morning. Kenyasaid one reason COP-I had been located in the Bahamas was toprovide a neutral site for deciding on a secretariat location. Hesaid the draft decision had been submitted at the 11th hour andthat the criteria in its annex were extremely biased. The Chairproposed to initiate discussions on the draft decision andpromised to report on the conclusions of the consultations at thenext Plenary. Despite protracted negotiations, a decision on thelocation was not taken at COP-I. The draft decision submitted byKenya, Spain and Switzerland proposed that the decision be takenat COP-II.


Three contact groups met during the course of the session toresolve several outstanding issues in the following agenda items.NGOs were allowed to observe all contact groups except for thegroup that dealt with the Agenda Items 6.5, 6.6, 9 and 10.

AGENDA ITEMS 6.1, 6.2, AND 6.3: The contact group chaired byAntigua and Barbuda, on Agenda Items 6.1 (Policy, strategy,programme priorities and eligibility criteria), 6.2(Institutional structure to operate the financial mechanism) and6.3 (List of developed country Parties and other Parties) mettwice to discuss the progress made on informal consultations,which the group had mandated the Chair to undertake withrepresentatives from all regional and interest groups. The Chairnoted that the draft decisions and three annexes should be viewedas a package, reflecting a balanced attempt to reflect allregional groups and other interests in the debate. The draftdecision: agrees that the restructured GEF will continue as theinterim institutional structure to operate the financialmechanism; instructs the GEF to support the policy, strategy,programme priorities, and eligibility criteria in Annex I of thedecision; authorizes the Interim Secretariat to consult with theGEF on the MOU to be considered at COP-II; lists in Annex IIIinterim guidelines for evaluation of the GEF; and requests thatthe Interim Secretariat produce a report on the financialmechanism and a study on the availability of financial resourcesadditional to those provided by the restructured GEF for COP II.Annex II, the list of developed country Parties and other partiesthat assume developed country Parties' obligations, lists nocountries in the latter category. Antigua and Barbuda said thatthe interim guidelines in Annex III provided a means for theinterim institutional structure to function until COP-II. Hestressed that the draft decision reflected a balance of variousviews. The group adopted the draft decision and recommended thatit be adopted by the Committee of the Whole.

AGENDA ITEMS 6.4, 7, AND 8: The contact group coordinated byCanada completed discussions on Agenda Items 6.4 (Clearing-housemechanism) and 7 (SBSTTA). The group agreed that the InterimSecretariat should prepare a study to assist the COP in theestablishment of the clearing-house mechanism. On Agenda Item 8(Preparation of the participation of the Convention in the thirdsesssion of the CSD), delegates agreed to refer to therelationship between poverty and biodiversity. They agreed toremove the reference to work on the protection of traditionalknowledge and inidigenous communities since the matter would notbe taken up by the COP until 1996. Delegates agreed on theimportance of conveying to the CSD the new regime established bythe Convention. Delegates agreed to the deletion of references tothe sovereign rights of States and to national authority toregulate access. On the COP’s contribution to the CSD’s forestsdiscussions, delegates agreed to new wording that refers to theimportance of biodiversity in the ecosystem functioning offorests and the role of the COP in emphasizing the importance ofconservation, management and sustainable use for achieving theobjectives of the Convention. On agenda item 7, the group chosepriority items from the draft medium-term work programme as thebasis for the agenda for the SBSTTA’s first meeting. The mattersfor which advice from the SBSTTA is required by the second COPinclude: the components of biodiversity under threat and theaction to be taken; ways and means to promote technologytransfer; scientific and technical information to be contained innational reports regarding implementation; contribution of theConvention to the preparation of the 1996 International TechnicalConference on the Conservation and Utilization of Plant GeneticResources for Food and Agriculture; and conservation andsustainable use of coastal and marine biological diversity.

AGENDA ITEMS 6.5, 6.6, 9, AND 10: The contact group coordinatedby Mauritania finished work on agenda item 6.5 (Selection ofcompetent international organization). The group also agreed toestablish an ad hoc working group to consider the need for andmodalities of a biosafety protocol. The group met throughout theweekend to address: the medium-term work programme; the budget;and biosafety. The revised text noted that the work programmewill be developed on the basis of standing and rolling issues.Standing issues will include: matters relating to the financialmechanism; report from the Secretariat on the administration ofthe Convention and budget for the Secretariat; report from, andconsideration of recommendations to the SBSTTA; reports by theParties on implementation of the Convention; report on,assessment and review of the operation of the clearing-housemechanism; relationship of the Convention to the CSD, andbiodiversity related 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. Key elements under consideration on thebudget of the Secretariat included: executive direction andmanagement; intergovernmental processes and cooperativearrangements; the financial mechanism and economic analysis;legal advice and support; and scientific, technical andtechnological matters. Bracketed text in  agenda item 6.6(Financial Rules) was the subject of protracted and intensenegotiations with consultations continuing until the finalPlenary on the unresolved issue of  the scale of contributions.Mauritania reported that the issues assigned for considerationwere extremely complex and that many of them had been raised forthe first time here in Nassau.


After a full day of consultations, the twelfth and finalCommittee of the Whole meeting was convened at 11:30 pm onTuesday to adopt the draft decisions of the three contact groups.

AGENDA ITEMS 6.1, 6.2 AND 6.3: The first item to be consideredwas the issue of financial resources and the mechanism, containedin document UNEP/CBD/COP/1/CW/L.10/Rev.1. The contact groupChair, Dr J. Ashe (Antigua an Barbuda) noted that the draftdecision and its three annexes represented hours of formal andinformal consultations reflecting the views of all regional andother interest groups.The three annexes are: Annex I on policy,strategy, programme priorities and eligibility criteria foraccess to and utilization of financial resources; Annex II on thelist of developed country Parties and other Parties, whichvoluntarily assume the obligations of developed country Parties;and Annex III on interim guidelines for monitoring and evaluationof utilization of financial resources by the GEF. The decisionand its annexes were adopted without objection. The Chair, Mr V.Koester, pointed out that Annex II of this draft decision hasbeen adopted with the understanding that the list of developedcountry Parties and other Parties will be reviewed and adjustedat COP-II. He also noted that the draft decisionUNEP/CBD/COP/1/CW/L.1, submitted by the G-77 and China had beenwithdrawn. The Chair noted that these agenda items were among themost sensitive and difficult issues addressed.

AGENDA ITEM 8: The contact group coordinator Dr. A. Lazar(Canada) introduced UNEP/CBD/COP/1/CS/L.9, which contains thegroup’s draft decision. Representing the first statement by theCOP to an outside body, Lazar said that the COP’s statement tothe CSD contains an important message, one which emphasizes thecross-cutting nature, the breadth and the goals of theConvention. He added that the statement to the CSD describes theConvention as an instrument that has initiated a new eraconcerning access to genetic resources, which is intimatelyrelated to other issues facing the CSD. The statement alsounderlines the COP’s interest in and enthusiasm for working withother bodies who have complementary interests. Based on the finaldecision regarding the medium-term work programme, the statementspecifies four areas where the COP intends to take immediateaction. Because the work programme has deferred traditional andindigenous knowledge and practices to 1996, this topic was notincluded as an area for immediate action. Brazil noted that whileit had joined the consensus on the statement, it sincerelyregretted that the COP could not send a clear message to the CSDthat it would start work on protecting the knowledge ofindigenous and local communities. He urged that action on thisissue should begin at COP-II. The draft decision was adoptedwithout objection.

AGENDA ITEM 6.5: The Chair invited Mr. M. El-Ghaouth (Mauritania)to introduce draft decision UNEP/CBD/ COP/1/CW/L.5/Rev.1 on theselection of a competent international organization to carry outthe functions of the secretariat of the Convention, as well asthe draft decision UNEP/CBD/COP/1/ CW/L.13 on the support to thesecretariat by international organizations. The coordinator saidthat the members of the contact group had made considerableefforts in completing their work on the document. After thedecisions were adopted, the Chair congratulated UNEP on itsdesignation to carry out the functions of the secretariat andwelcomed the offers of support from FAO, UNESCO and otherinternational organizations.

AGENDA ITEMS 6.6 AND 10: Mauritania introduced the draft decisionUNEP/CBD/COP/1/CW/L.12 on the budget, without the three annexes,for adoption by consensus in the Committee of the Whole. He notedthat the issue of scale of assessments (referred to in paragraph5 of the draft decision, as well as paragraphs 4 and 15 in annexI) was the subject of protracted debate within his contact group.Brazil highlighted the difficulty of adopting such a decisionwithout an established scale of contributions and proposedpostponing adoption of this draft decision until suchspecification. The draft decision was adopted with a bracketedparagraph 5 (regarding contributions) and informal consultationscontinued until the final Plenary. Regarding Annex II (proposedbudget for 1995 and indicative budget for 1996), concern wasexpressed that the 1995 figures did not reflect consideration ofbiosafety issues. Regarding Annex I (draft financial rules forthe administration of the Trust Fund for the Convention),Mauritania requested the Chair to comment on the results of hisconsultations on bracketed texts in paragraphs 4 and 15. TheChair indicated that consultations would continue until the finalPlenary. Brazil expressed dismay at adopting text that remainedthe subject of subtantive discussion. Regarding Annex III (scaleof contributions), Mauritania requested that the Chair continueto undertake consultations on this matter and report the resultsto the final Plenary of the COP.

AGENDA ITEM 9: Mauritania introduced the draft decisionUNEP/CBD/COP/1/CW/L.11 and its annex on the medium-term programmeof work and said that the contact group had adopted the draftdecision but that negotiations were continuing between Brazil andthe US on the item related to intellectual property rights.Colombia and India asked to participate in these consultations.The decision was adopted on the understanding that the results ofthe consultations would be included in the final Plenary.

AGENDA ITEM 13 — ADOPTION OF THE REPORT OF THE COP: The reportcontained in UNEP/CBD/COP/1/L.2 and Add.1 was presented by theRapporteur and adopted by the Committee.


The President, Dr I. Dumont, opened the Plenary by invitingTennyson Wells, Minister of Agriculture (Bahamas) to introducethe draft declaration by the Ministers of small island States,adopted at COP-I as contained in UNEP/CBD/COP/1/Inf.12. Wellshighlighted the special vulnerability and needs of the AOSISregarding biodiversity and climate change issues. The declarationexpressed satisfaction at the inclusion of coastal and marinebiodiversity as a priority item in the medium-term work programmeand called for action on the implementation of the SIDS Programof Action.   The following decisions were considered and adopted:

AGENDA ITEM 3: Regarding the rules of procedure as contained inUNEP/CBD/COP/1/L.12, the President thanked both the work done byMalyasia and the Chair, Mr V. Koester in their consultations.Agreement was reached on the issue of the periodicity of COPmeetings (paragraph 1 of rule 4) on the basis of the draftdecision UNEP/CBD/COP/1/l.14, submitted by Algeria, on behalf ofthe G-77 and China. However, paragraph 1 of rule 40 remains inbrackets.

AGENDA ITEM 12: On the report on the credentials of therepresentatives to COP-I. The members of the credentialscommittee were: Mauritius (Chair); Malayasia; Peru; Canada; andEstonia. The credentials for 93 Parties were found to be in orderwith the credentials of three Parties or States still to besubmitted to the Interim Secretariat. These were Armenia, Nauruand Nepal.

AGENDA ITEMS 6.1; 6.2; and 6.3: The decision on policy, strategy,programme priorities and eligibility criteria regarding access toand utilization of financial resources, institutional structureto operate the financial mechanism and the list of developedcountry Parties and other Parties which voluntarily assume theobligations of developed country Parties is contained inUNEP/CBD/COP/1/L.6 and corrigendum.1. The decision was adoptedwith the understanding that Annex II (List of developed countryParties and other Parties) will be reviewed and adjusted at COP-II. The COP also took note of the position of the G-77 and Chinaregarding the MOU between the COP and the institutional structurefor the financial mechanism, contained in documentUNEP/CBD/COP/1/Inf.13.

AGENDA ITEM 6.4:The clearing-house mechanism contained inUNEP/CBD/COP/1/L.5 was adopted.

AGENDA ITEM 6.5: The decision regarding the selection of acompetent international organization to carry out the functionsof the Secretariat is contained in UNEP/CBD/COP/1/L.7 and L.8(Support for the Secretariat by international organizations).UNDP was invited to support UNEP with its field work andexpertise.

AGENDA ITEM 7: The decision on SBSTTA contained inUNEP/CBD/COP/1/L.4/Rev.1 was adopted.

AGENDA ITEM 8: The decision on preparation of the participationof COP in CSD contained in UNEP/CBD/COP/1/L.10 was adopted.

AGENDA ITEM 9: The medium term work-programme is contained inUNEP/CBD/COP/1/L.11 and corrigendum 1 (text of section 5.4.2 ofthe work programme).The Chair noted that the medium-term workprogramme for 1995-97 had been adopted by the Committee of theWhole and that extensive consultations were undertaken on thecorrigendum, which states: “To compile information provided byGovernments, as well as relevant reports from appropriateinternational organizations regarding policy, legislative, oradminstrative measures related to intellectual property rights asprovided in Article 16 of the Convention and to access to andtransfer of technology that makes use of genetic resources.”Norway, on behalf of the Nordic countries, stressed theimportance of addressing the issue of a biosafety protocol. Heregretted that budgetary considerations on the medium-term workprogramme did not allow for this and hoped that the next COPwould address this. Spain offered to host the meeting of theopen-ended ad hoc working group of experts on biosafety. Brazilsuggested adding a reference to NGOs on this issue. Algeria, onbehalf of G-77 and China, reasserted the particular importance oftechnology transfer for developing countries and said that thequest of IPRs should not be used to hinder the access to andtransfer of, environmentally sound technologies. He stressed theneed for a biosafety protocol. . The President announced thatthe following countries have been designated by their respectiveregional groups to participate in the panel of 15 experts inworking group on biosafety: Albania, Belarus, Burkina Faso,Egypt, Hungary, South Africa. Other regional groups will advisethe Secretariat of their representatives shortly. The Asian Groupmet after the final plenary to designate India, China and Japan.Egypt and South Africa also offered to host the meeting of theopen-ended ad hoc working group on biosafety. Brazil noted thatthe selection should be done on the basis of technical capacityand government nominated experts and not on a regional basis.

AGENDA ITEM 6.6 and 10: The Committee adopted the financial rulesgoverning the funding of the Secretariat and the Secretariat’sbudget, as contained in UNEP/CBD/COP/1/L.9 and L.18, with theexception of paragraph 5 that now reads: “Urges all the Partiesto pay promptly their contributions to the trust fund based onthe scale set forth in the appendix to the budget.” The scale ofcontributions is contained in UNEP/ CBD/ L.9/Add.1. The scale forcontributions for 1995 was included in the appendix to thebudget. The US said it interprets rule 3(a) that contributions bythe Parties to the Trust fund are voluntary. Japan said that thefinancial rules did not consitute any legally binding obligationand intrepreted rule 3(a) as a voluntary contribution. Brazil,supported by China, said that it was unfortunate that the scaleof contributions was not based on “common but differentiatedresponsibilities” and the concept that developing countriesshould not pay more than developed countries.

AGENDA ITEM 11: The decision on the location of the Secretariatcontained in UNEP/CBD/COP/1/L.13 was submitted by Kenya, Spainand Switzerland and adopted with an oral amendment to thepenultimate sentence of paragraph 6, which now reads: “until onlytwo offers remain and one receives a two-thirds majority vote."Sweden suggested including criteria on the environmentalsoundness of the proposed facility and resources.

AGENDA ITEM 12: The President noted that the Bureau hadrecommended that COP-II be held from 6-17 November,1995.Indonesia indicated its interest in hosting COP-II subject tofurther negotiations with UNEP. The preparation for COP-II, ascontained in UNEP/CBD/COP/1/L/17, and submitted by the G-77 andChina was presented as the President’s text.

AGENDA ITEM 14: The decision regarding the adoption of the Reportis contained in UNEP/CBD/COP/1/L.2/Rev.1 and L.2/Add.1/Rev.1 onthe proceedings of the Committee of the Whole. The Rapporteurpresented UNEP/CBD/COP/1/L.1/Rev.1 and L.1/Rev.1 andL.1/Corrigendum 1. In addition, 29 December, was recognized asthe International Day for Biodiversity in a decision contained inUNEP/CBD/ COP/1/L.15 introduced by Algeria, on behalf of the G-77and China. (The UN General Assembly endorsed this decision justbefore Christmas.) Spain said that it would like to be includedas a sponsor. France deplored the fact that translation was noteasily available and documents and language was primarily inEnglish and asked the Secretariat to take the necessary steps toensure that COP-II rectify this situation. Amb. P. Wensley(Australia) introduced UNEP/CBD/COP/ L.16/Rev.1 (Tribute to theGovernment of the Commonwealth of Bahamas), which was sponsoredby G-77 and China and supported by many others. NGOrepresentatives from the Biodiversity Action Network andGreenpeace International offered several suggestions: forests andaccess to genetic resources should be included in the work of theSBSTTA and the medium-term work programme; increased attention toalternative sources of funding; and increased NGO participation.Greenpeace International said that delaying action on forestsmeant that the COP was turning over political leadership onforests to fora which would not take into account theConvention’s broad view of conservation. He said that biosafetywas a ticking time bomb, and that the COP was analyzing the litfuse. The Executive Secretary, Angela Cropper, and UNEPExecutive Director Elizabeth Dowdeswell thanked the host countryand all the participants for their hard work. Dowdeswell noted atechnological breakthrough of COP-I’s translation system and thefact that documents had been transferred via the Internet betweenthe Bahamas and UNEP headquarters in Nairobi. She also pointedout that documents in all languages can be accessed from the UNEPgopher <>.


Editors' Note: The High-Level Ministerial Segment started onWednesday, 7 December 1994, and continued until Friday afternoon.This portion of the COP provided ministers with the opportunityto comment on the work of the COP and to highlight key areas ofconcern. Since Friday's proceedings were not included in any ofthe daily issues of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, they aresummarized below.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Martin Gbafolo, Ministry of Water,Forests, Tourism anf Environment, explained that deforestation(for fuel wood), demographic pressures and nomadic agricultureare of particular concern to his country. He underscored theimportance of funding developing countries in setting upconservation policies.

UNITED KINGDOM: Mr. Robin Sharp, Director of the GlobalEnvironment Directorate, expressed hope that now that the COP hadaddressed the necessary procedural mechanisms,  substantivediscussion could characterize future meetings.  He suggestedseveral themes for early action, including: development ofnational strategies based on sound science and of  nationalreports for COP-II; intensification of financial and humanresources to assist biodiversity-rich developing countries intheir conservation efforts (noting a US$200 million contributionto the GEF, US$50 million over the last three years inbiodiversity-related projects); collaborative and capacity-building efforts; the forging of links with related internationalinstruments such as CITES, RAMSAR and the CMS; a mechanism toaddress the benefits arising from biotechnology and a protocol onbiosafety. He concluded by noting that the striking panel behindthe podium, which depicts several tropical species, including aparrot, was an important symbol for the need to conservebiodiversity.

NEW ZEALAND: Mr. David Taylor stated that the Conventionrepresents a watershed in world opinion and that its swift entryinto force stands testament to its international significance. Henoted that biodiversity is crucial to New Zealand as potentialsources of future pharmaceutical discoveries and as an attractionfor ecotourism. He also expressed support for management ofbiotechnology safety; cooperation within the South Pacific andAntarctic regions; a scientific and technical advisory body; andconsideration of indigenous people issues.

SWEDEN:  Rolf Annerberg, Director-General of the NationalEnvironmental Protection Board, recommended that the COP take aholistic approach by focusing on major ecosystems. He called foran intensive look at marine biodiversity at COP-II, agricultureat COP-III and forests at COP-IV. Preparations for the processtoward developing a biosafety protocol should be carried out witha sense of urgency so that a protocol can be negotiated withoutdelay.

SPAIN: Cristina Narbona, Secretary of State for Environment,noted that the COP had not included funds to guarantee theeffective functioning of the ad hoc working group on a biosafetyprotocol and offered to host a meeting next spring with theprovision of funding for the participation of developing countryrepresentatives. She said selection of the secretariat should notonly be based on the physical site and administrative support butalso on the political will of the host government to drive theConvention forward. She added that NGO participation is a crucialelement of the Convention’s success.

ARGENTINA: Fernando Novillo Saravilla of the Exterior RelationsDepartment’s Environment Unit  said that the SBSTTA should: havemembership from national teams; be an instrument that facilitatesaccess to technology; and ensure sharing of benefits in a justand equitable manner.

FRANCE: Bernard Prague, Minister of Foreign Affairs BernardPrague stressed the aim of conservation, which seems to have beeninsufficiently addressed in the Convention. He said thattheConvention will be unable to realize its goals unless it buildsupon an inventory that is precise and exhaustive. He noted thatFrance has created a French environment fund to channeladditional development assistance funds to biodiversity beyondthe GEF.

MARSHALL ISLANDS: Espen Ronneberg said that the GEF shouldcontinue as the interim financial mechanism but added thatadditional resources should be made available. He stressed theneed for capacity building because many of the Convention’srequirements will necessitate the upgrading of nationalinstitutions and facilities. He recommended combining effortsunder the Convention with those from the biodiversity chapter ofthe SIDS programme.

SOPAC: Penelope Wensley, Ambassador of Sustainable Developmentfor Australia (current chair of SOPAC), noted that the SIDSProgramme of Action is a first cross-sectoral and integrated stepat breathing life into Agenda 21 for South Pacific Islands. Sheexpressed hope that future meetings of the COP and  the CSD wouldcreate linkages with inegrated coastal management, and noted thatthe region’s National Environment Management Strategies (NEMS)urgently require financial and technical assistance for theireffective implementation.

THE NETHERLANDS: Dr. A.N. van der Zande, Deputy-Director forNature Management, Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management andFisheries, drew attention to the establishment of a Pan-EuropeanBiological and Landscape Diversity Strategy. Underscoring theimportance of agro-biodiversity, he expressed strong support foreffective cooperation between the COP and the FAO. He also calledfor: an international legally binding instrument onbiotechnology; and follow-up on the Agenda 21 Principles forGlobal Consensus on the Management, Conservation and SustainableDevelopment of All types of Forests.

GUINEA BISSAU: Amb. Lopes da Rosa called for internationalcooperation on the scientific, technological, financialramifications of the Convention.

THE GAMBIA: Sulayman Samba, Ministry of Agriculture and NaturalResources, expressed support for the statements made by BurkinaFaso and Algeria as well as for the FAO. He also called for: avibrant partnership regarding scientific, technological andfinancial issues; respect for the social dimensions of structuraladjustment policies;  and an equitable formulation of  IPRs.


Resisting the call of the sun and the surf, delegates were ableto reach agreement on the basic machinery for the Convention’simplementation. For those who had hoped that the COP would takesubstantive decisions on such matters as biosafety and the GEF,there was disappointment at the results of this meeting. However,for those who came with more cautious expectations, the first COPwas seen as a measured success.


Despite the overburdened agenda, many delegates and NGOs feltthat decisions reached at this COP have laid the groundwork formoving on with the business of biodiversity conservation.Notwithstanding some of the problems and setbacks, most delegatesdemonstrated the political will to move forward into theimplementation phase. This is in part reflected in some of thekey decisions. The Medium-term work programme: After protractednegotiations, a medium-term work programme has been put in placeto guide the work of the COP over the next three years. Thestanding issues will include: the financial mechanism; theadministration and budget for the Secretariat; SBSSTA; nationalreports on implementation; the clearing-house mechanism;relationship to the CSD and other biodiversity-relatedconventions. The rotating agenda will be developed in a flexiblemanner. It was also agreed that the Secretariat will compileinformation regarding measures related to IPRs, and technologytransfer in the area of access to genetic resources. Designationof the Permanent Secretariat: The Interim Secretariat has beentransformed into a permanent body, entrusted with important workin advance of COP-II, including studies on alternative fundingsources and the clearing-house mechanism.

Clearing-house mechanism: There is general agreement on the needfor a clearing-house mechanism, despite the fact that the scopeof its operations is yet to be finalized. It is expected that theSecretariat’s study on the terms of reference of this body willhelp to identify where other institutions can coordinate actionin the exchange of information.

The SBSTTA: The SBSTTA has been given a clear mandate and workprogramme to deal with such issues as: identification ofthreatened biodiversity; technology transfer, national reporting;coastal and marine biodiversity; and the FAO initiative on plantgenetic resources. Many governments feel that this subsidiarybody is off to a good start with a workable agenda, whichbalances conservation and sustainable use issues. It is hopedthat the SBSTTA will be able to provide important objectivescientific input, including definitions, criteria, indicators andguidelines, into the political decision-making process. There wasbroad-based support for the two Chairs, Dr. J.H.Seyani and Dr. P.Schei, who have been designated for 1995 and 1996, respectively.

Tentative agreement on the GEF: There was heated debate duringthe first week of the meeting regarding the GEF and whether itshould be selected as the interim or the permanent institutionalstructure for the financial mechanism of the Convention. MostNorthern countries argued that since it had been adequatelyrestructured, the GEF should be designated as the permanentfinancial structure. Most G-77 countries did not feel that therestructuring adequately met their concerns. They also expressedconsiderable concern regarding the potentially limited ability of the COP to influence GEF project decisions. In the end,delegates agreed to the designation of the GEF as the interimstructure with a decision on its status to be made at the nextCOP. On a positive note, the GEF debate, although contentious attimes, stimulated a frank exchange of views and provide anopportunity for the venting of deeply held positions. Delegateshave come to realize that the GEF, although far from perfect,plays a significant role in funding biodiversity projects.Therefore, many have argued that it is in the best interest ofthe Convention that a concrete relationship be forged between theCOP and the GEF so that the COP can maintain a positive influenceon GEF decision-making. Further delay could adversely affectfuture replenishment. It was largely felt that the Secretariatstudy on alternative sources of funding, coupled with the GEFreview, indicates that most governments do want the Convention tosucceed and recognize the extent to which financial support willbe a key factor.

Priority for conservation: Many NGOs welcomed the priority givento the conservation of components of biodiversity, particularlythose which are under threat, in both the medium-term workprogramme of the COP, as well as the work programme of theSBSTTA. These matters are also included in the list of programmepriorities for the financial mechanism. There was some concernthat these issues could have been dealt with more substantivelyat this COP, although it is expected that future COPs will bebetter equipped to address these matters, now that many of theprocedural and organizational issues have been dealt with.


Biosafety Protocol: Despite the fact that a process has been putin place to consider the need for and modalities of a biosafetyprotocol. There is considerable concern about the adequacy ofthat decision. Most NGOs, the G-77 and many Northern countriesfelt that discussions regarding the need for a protocol had beenwell resolved in Nairobi, and that the COP should focus itsefforts on the modalities. NGOs cited the clear guidance providedby the UNEP Expert Panel on Biosafety and the support displayedin Nairobi that immediate work commence on a protocol. There wasalso concern that certain non-Parties have had a disproportionateinfluence on biosafety discussions here at COP-I, despite theoverwhelming support among both Northern and Southern governmentsfor a biosafety protocol. The fact that this ad hoc process isnot directly funded from the general budget, but from voluntaryfunds, is worrisome to many governments who feel that lack offinancial support could jeopardize the work of the ad hoc group.The Nordic countries specifically called for the ad hoc workinggroup to be funded from the general budget.

Indigenous issues: There was disappointment among NGOs andindigenous groups that indigenous issues have been deferred inthe medium-term work programme until 1996. Despite passingreference in the COP’s statement to the CSD, many felt that sucha delay was inappropriate, especially given the very concretereferences to the importance of benefit-sharing with indigenousgroups and local communities in the Convention itself.Disagreement regarding the need for an ecosystem approach tobiodiversity conservation: There is continuing disagreement overthe need for an ecosystem approach to biodiversity conservation.Several countries have maintained that biodiversity loss must beaddressed within the larger context of forests, agriculturalproduction and fisheries management. Others insist on a morenarrow framework for the Convention, with primary focus onmonitoring, assessment and nature conservation. Several G-77countries appear to be more concerned with issues regardingaccess to genetic resources, technology transfer, biosafety andthe sustainable use of biological resources, although countriessuch as India called for more attention to conservation issues.Many G-77 and OECD countries are also concerned that a broaderecosystem focus could potentially open up discussions that wouldimpinge upon their right to use their natural resources as theysee fit and draw attention to unsustainable national practices.Some NGOs have commented that many governments may be reticenttowards a broader ecosystem approach on the basis that it isstill easier to develop regulatory frameworks for species thanfor ecosystems. For example, multiple species fisheriesmanagement is extremely complicated and problematic. Goodscientific input becomes all the more important in this regard.

Financing the Medium-term work programme: One major concernrelated to the medium-term work programme is the inadequacy ofthe budget relative to the very burdened work programme.Governments seem to be divided between those who are trulycommitted to the aims of the Convention and to backing politicalcommitments with the necessary level of financial support, andthose governments who are not prepared to give biodiversityconservation the high political and financial backing itdeserves. These governments have argued against a larger budgetfor the Secretariat and have further argued against funding allaspects of the COP’s work. For example, the meeting of the ad hocworking group on biosafety will be dependent on voluntary fundsfrom those countries who oppose taking a decision now on the needfor a biosafety protocol. NGOs maintain that the funds should beprovided from the general budget to ensure that the work of thead hoc group is fully executed. They are concerned that financialclout could potentially affect a formal decision by the COP.Other aspects of the preparatory work for COP-II may also be un-funded or at least underfunded. Several delegations warnedagainst undermining substantive work by failing to provide thenecessary level of financial support. They see a budget-basedveto as an emerging tactic in COP negotiations.

Forests: Notwithstanding the COP’s intended input on forests tothe third session of the CSD, there was considerabledisappointment by some governments and most NGOs that the medium-term work programme contains no references to forests. NGOs, suchas Greenpeace International, are concerned that the considerationof forests in the context of terrestrial biodiversity has beendelayed until COP-III in 1996. This is problematic because COP-III will be meeting well over one and a half years after theforest issue will have been considered by the CSD and theinitiation of a forest convention negotiation process (mostlikely under FAO, which is perceived as lacking the necessaryconservation-related expertise and orientation). Many felt thatthis decision could potentially marginalize the Convention in thearea of forest ecosystems. There is also concern that theBiodiversity Convention will not be able to assert itself as thebroad-based instrument for the integration of conservation andsustainable use.

  Restricted NGO access: Many NGOs commented that access to thecontact group meetings at ICCBD-2 had been far more liberal thanat COP-I. While they understood the need for closed-doordiscussions on budgetary matters, they expressed disappointmentthat they could not contribute to the important discussions onthe medium-term work programme, especially in light of theConvention’s emphasis on broad-based participation. It was feltthat the contribution of the technical and scientific expertiseamong NGOs at COP-I could have resulted in better decisionsregarding the choice of issues to be addressed by the COP in thenext three years.

Intellectual Property Rights: NGOs felt that IPRs should be dealtwith as part of a cluster of issues including access to geneticresources, community rights and knowledge systems, benefit-sharing as well as indigenous knowledge and practices. The US andcertain OECD countries argued in favour of addressing the IPRissue separately. The US specifically called for a narroweremphasis, in part in response to the pending ratification debatein the US Congress. The IPR issue was one of the major reasonswhy the Bush Administration did not sign the Convention.Developing countries, led by Brazil, argue that the IPR languagein Article 16 warrants a broader consideration. G-77 countrieshave suggested that the Biodiversity Convention is a moresympathetic forum for the concerns of developing countries,especially in comparison with the GATT and other internationalagreements. Many NGOs maintain that IPRs cannot be addressedadequately without consideration of the issue of benefit-sharingin the context of the rights of farmers and indigenous groups tohave access to ex situ collections and to benefit from thecommercial products that have been derived from those collectionsthat have been developed by virtue of their traditionalknowledge. Many delegates felt that the politics of USratification were not a legitimate reason to dilute theConvention’s relatively strong position on IPRs.  


A number of challenges await COP-II. From an administrative pointof view, the second COP will have to be structured to ensure thatconcrete decisions are taken on very difficult issues, includingthe biosafety protocol, the location of the Secretariat, the GEF,and other important issues related to the Convention’simplementation. Collaboration must also be undertaken as soon aspossible with other UN bodies, such as UNDP, FAO and UNESCO,which have expressed their willingness to work closely with thePermanent Secretariat in its work. Given the Secretariat’sdaunting workload, coupled with a potentially inadequate budget,collaboration with these and other bodies will be especiallycritical during the intersessional period.

Clear Guidance to COP-II: Many delegates expressed concern thatCOP-I had waited too long to establish its three contact groups.It was largely felt that in its first week too much time wasspent addressing contentious issues in the large and unwieldyforum of the Committee of the Whole. Governments will have toprovide concrete guidance to the Secretariat on both the processand structure of decision-making for COP-II.

Location of the Permanent Secretariat: COP-II will also beentrusted with the difficult task of selecting the location forthe Permanent Secretariat. The location of the Bahamas was chosenfor COP-I precisely because it was felt that it would provide aneutral location for the resolution of a highly political issue.Nevertheless, many governments insisted that a more deliberateand methodical process, to be undertaken after COP-I, woulddiffuse the highly-charged politics surrounding this issue. AtCOP-I, several countries such as Switzerland, Spain and Kenya hadlobbied hard for the Secretariat. The neutral location of theBahamas grew increasingly divisive as they each attempted tomobilize their own base of support among other countries.

Defining sustainable use: One of the biggest obstacles toimplementation is the fact that one of the Convention’s threeobjectives — the sustainable use of biodiversity resources, isstill subject to much ambiguity. There is much discussion, butvery little case knowledge about how to practice sustainable use.This is another important area where NGO input will be extremelyvaluable towards moving the process towards greater certainty. Aswith the Desertification Convention, the Biodiversity Conventioncan only, at the very most, lay down general measures forconservation and sustainable use at the national level. Thepolitical realities of national sovereignty preclude theinternational arena from being able to do more. At the end of theday, the Convention will only be as effective as the politicalwill to implement it. While there is broad agreement aboutgeneral approaches, the process must be sensitive to the factthat governments will address biodiversity concerns in verydifferent ways, according to their own national political, legal,ecological and economic interests.

Ensuring local community involvement: The preamble to theConvention refers clearly to the importance of equitable benefit-sharing with indigenous and local communities, where suchbenefits arise from the use of their traditional knowledge andpractices. As with the issue of sustainable use, the challengewill be to give some coherence to the concept of benefit-sharingand to ensure that the “benefits” of the Biodiversity Conventionactually “trickle down” into the local communities and that thecommunities are involved in those stages of decision-making thataffect their traditional practices and lifestyles. NGOs maintainthat issues of access to genetic resources, intellectual propertyrights, indigenous and local community knowledge, customs andpractices, as well as benefit-sharing  should be dealt with as acluster of issues. Given the fact that indigenous issues havebeen deferred in the COP’s medium term work programme until 1996,many have highlighted the need for consultation processes to beestablished with indigenous people at the national, regional andinternational levels. The results of these consultations shouldbe transmitted to COP-III, when it takes up this issue.

Agreement on the GEF: While governments have at least been ableto agree on the GEF on an interim basis, there is still muchconfidence-building that must be done to bring governments closerto an acceptable agreement regarding the choice of theinstitutional structure for the financial mechanism. Anotherrelated issue is the need to ensure that if indeed the GEF is tobe designated as the permanent financial mechanism, the necessaryprocedures must be put in place to ensure that it is responsiveto and supportive of the overall goals of the Convention.


FAO FOREST MINISTERS MEETING: Forest Ministers will meet at FAOheadquarters from 17-18 March, 1995 in Rome.

THIRD SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Thethird session of the CSD will meet on 11-28 April, 1995 in NewYork to consider (among other issues) the following chapters ofAgenda 21, which are related to the Biodiversity Convention: 10(land management); 11 (forests); 12 (desertification); 14(sustainable agriculture); 15 (biological diversity); and 16(biotechnology).

THIRD IUCN GLOBAL BIODIVERSITY FORUM: The IUCN will host thethird Global Biodiversity Forum sometime in May, 1995 in Nairobi.The Forum will bring together scientists, policy-makers and NGOsto address many of the substantive issues. The IUCN will also beorganizing two workshops on economic themes. The first one willaddress the economic roots of biodiversity loss in June 1995 inTurkey. The second one will address alternative sources offunding for biodiversity in September 1995 in Sri Lanka.

FIRST MEETING OF THE SBSTTA: The first meeting of the SBSTTA willbe convened on 4-8 September, 1995 in Paris. The SBSTTA willaddress those issues for which COP-I has specifically requestedadvice for COP-II.

AD HOC WORKING GROUP ON BIOSAFETY: The Panel of Experts of theOpen-ended Ad Hoc Working Group on Biosafety will meet in Egyptto prepare a background paper for the Working Group that will beheld in Spain. The dates for both these meetings have not beenfinalized.

SECOND MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES: The secondmeeting of the COP for the Convention on Biological Diversitywill meet from 6-17 November 1995. The location is not yetdetermined.

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