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Daily report for 14 November 1995


The second session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-2) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) met for the eighth working day of the two-week conference. The two-day Ministerial Segment began and delegates continued to negotiate draft texts in contact and drafting groups.


The Ministerial Segment of COP-2 began with speeches by Daniel Mills (UK) and Anita Diana Sumutki (Indonesia), two youth delegates, who emphasized the importance of biodiversity to future generations. Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, INDONESIA's Minister of Environment, noted that 115 out of 134 Parties are participating in COP-2. UNEP Executive Director Elizabeth Dowdeswell suggested that the bias for action be based on a firm scientific understanding. INDONESIA's Vice-President, Try Sutrisno, officially opened COP-2, emphasizing the importance of sustainable utilization.

The Chair of the Third Session of the CSD, Henrique Brandao Caualcanti, noted the need for sustainable development indicators and highlighted IPF. On behalf of the G-77/CHINA, Victor O. Ramos, Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources of the PHILIPPINES, said that biotechnology has great potential but urged a protocol on biosafety. He noted his government's recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples.

SPANISH Minister of Public Works, Transport and Environment Jose Borrell Fontelles, on behalf of the EU, called for a protocol on transboundary transport of LMOs complementary to UNEP guidelines and designation of GEF as the permanent financial mechanism. Datuk Law Hieng Ding, MALAYSIAN Minister of Science, Technology and Environment, called for a legally binding protocol on LMOs and an end to nuclear testing. INDIAN Minister of Environment and Forests Rajesh Pilot said local communities are entitled to share the benefits from use of genetic resources. The need for a biosafety protocol must be appreciated in terms of risks and benefits.

Angela Merkel, GERMAN Federal Minister for Environment, called for specific regulations governing plant genetic resources in agriculture and consideration of eco-tourism. COLOMBIAN Deputy Minister of the Environment Ernesto Guhl called for a definition of the indicative list of incremental costs. Philippe Roch, Director of SWITZERLAND's Federal Office for Environment, Forests and Landscape, called for incentives for environmentally-friendly agriculture and medium-sized GEF projects.

Clifford Lincoln, CANADIAN Minister of the Environment, called for funding for indigenous peoples' participation at COP-3 and for private sector participation in CBD. INDONESIAN Minister of Forestry, Djamaloedin Soerjohadikoesoemo, called for new and additional resources.

John Philip Faulkner, AUSTRALIAN Minister for Environment, Sport and Territories, called for action on coral reefs, offered funding for an indigenous person in the Secretariat, and expressed strong opposition to nuclear testing. Ismail Serageldin, Vice President of the WORLD BANK and chair of CGIAR, underscored strong support for CBD implementation and highlighted genetic resources for food and agriculture. E.T. Chindori Chininga, Deputy Minister of ZIMBABWE's Ministry of Environment and Tourism, called for a transparent and democratic financial mechanism and consideration of freshwater resources at COP-3.

A.M. Amirkhanov, the Minister of Environment for the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, expressed concern over forests and freshwater. S.K. Onger, Permanent Representative of KENYA to UNEP, encouraged regional cooperation on water resources and positive budget signals from the North. J.H. Seyani, General Manager of the National Herbarium and Botanic Gardens of MALAWI, appealed for donor support for poverty alleviation programmes and highlighted inland freshwater issues. Maria Julia Alsogaray, ARGENTINA's Minister of Natural Resources and Human Environment, said the private sector must be involved and proposed that Argentina host COP-3. Aspasia Camargo, BRAZILIAN Deputy Minister of the Environment, Water Resources and the Legal Amazon, proposed establishing biodiversity corridors and a workshop on indigenous rights. State Secretary Bernt Bull of the NORWEGIAN Ministry of the Environment stated the urgent need for a protocol on GMOs and CBD coordination with WTO.

Mats Engstrom, SWEDISH Deputy Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of the Environment encouraged integrated coastal and marine management and negotiations on a biosafety protocol. GHANA'S Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Christina Amoako-Nuaman, called for new and additional financial resources and funding based on non-conditionality. Xie Zhenhua, CHINA's Administrator of the National Environment Protection Agency, said he understands the need for a biosafety protocol within CBD.

Bernard Fautrier, Plenipotentiary Minister of MONACO, called for protection of the Mediterranean coastline. Pekka Kangas, Director General of Ministry of Environment of FINLAND, welcomed COP input into IPF as he underscored the importance of cross-sectoral work. Salif Diallo, Minister of State for Environment and Water for BURKINA FASO, encouraged strict compliance with the provisions of the CBD. Chit Swe, Minister of Forestry for MYANMAR, called for direct links between parallel biodiversity efforts.

Kasit Piromya, Ambassador of THAILAND to Indonesia, pointed to his country's 5-year plan to address biodiversity and called on COP to address underlying causes of forest loss. Yaroslav Movchan, UKRAINIAN Deputy Minister for Environmental Protection and Nuclear Safety, noted that the process of nuclear disarmament is underway.

Sateeaved Seebaluck, Principal Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Quality of Life, MAURITIUS, requested a special GEF grant window for biodiversity projects in SIDS. Abdel Hamid Al-Mounajed, Minister of Environment of SYRIA, noted biodiversity erosion due to habitat destruction, the introduction of alien species and pollution.

Shiirevdamba Tserendulam, Vice Minister for Nature and the Environment of MONGOLIA, reiterated a proposal to designate his entire country a special biosphere reserve. Mick Naimegi Raga, Assistant Secretary, Department of Environmental Conservation of PAPUA NEW GUINEA, speaking for the SOUTH PACIFIC FORUM OF NATIONS, asserted that the loss of marine biodiversity is affected by global threats as well as land-based activities. Sarah Timson, a UNDP Deputy Assistant Administrator, stated that development must be both biodiversity-centered and people-based, and offered support for capacity-building. Henri Carsalade, FAO Assistant Director-General, warned of the danger of genetic erosion among a small number of plant species grown as food for the majority of humanity. Pierre Lassere, UNESCO Director of the Division of Ecological Sciences, offered his organization's expertise in database development, including MABNet of the Man and the Biosphere project. Juan de Castro, UNCTAD Coordinator on Biodiversity, emphasized a role for the private sector in biodiversity conservation.


The drafting group of the Committee of the Whole (COW) met during the afternoon to review draft Chair's texts regarding national reports (UNEP/CBD/COP/2/CW/L.10), technology transfer (UNEP/CBD/COP/2/CW/L.3/Rev.1), and the clearing-house mechanism (CHM) (UNEP/CBD/ COP/2/CW/L.2/Rev.1).

Delegates debated whether national reports should provide broad overviews or focus on COP priority issues and agreed on a "focus, in so far as possible," on measures to implement Article 6. Parties will provide their first national reports at COP-4, at which time they will decide upon the interval and form of subsequent national reports. The Executive Secretary will be asked to prepare a report based on the national reports and other relevant information and to suggest next steps.

In the draft text on CHM, delegates: deleted calls for encouraging partnerships and assisting the development of country programmes; and added text noting that pilot-phase funding would come from the CBD budget and called for voluntary contributions.


BIOSAFETY: The drafting group considered alternate versions of the terms of reference (TOR) of a potential working group whose task it might be to elaborate a biosafety protocol. A small group combined bracketed text into a single annex containing draft TOR, including the mandate, composition, time frame and guiding principles of the group. Wording referring to the need for a protocol on the safe "transfer, handling and use" of living modified organisms (LMOs), or solely on transboundary "transfer" or "movement" was discussed, as was bracketed text referring to the protocol as part of an international framework. The drafting group reconvened for a night meeting.

MARINE AND COASTAL and TERRESTRIAL ISSUES: The contact group chaired by A.K. Ahuja (India) met in the evening and adopted the draft statement to IPF on biodiversity and forests with minor amendments. In morning and afternoon sessions, the drafting group chaired by Brazil revised the contact group Chair's draft. Delegates added a reference to fragmentation in a section on biodiversity loss. They amended a sentence on exploring environmental goals to request that IPF note CBD work in that area, and added a statement that all stakeholders should engage in a transparent and participatory decision-making process. The drafting group also incorporated text summarizing CBD provisions on indigenous and local communities, and providing inputs for two future IPF meetings.

The marine group chaired by Peter Bridgewater (Australia) reviewed the draft decision and terms of reference for an ad hoc panel as well as related SBSTTA recommendations during a morning meeting. The recommendation regarding subsidies for fisheries in paragraph 14 generated debate.

FINANCIAL MECHANISM AND RESOURCES: The contact group, chaired by John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda), reached consensus on the seventh draft of the Chair's text. Previously bracketed text now states that the GEF will continue to serve as the interim financial mechanism and COP-3 "shall endeavor" to decide on permanent designation. The Secretariat is requested to submit a revised draft MOU for consideration at COP-3 based on consultations with Parties. The GEF is recommended to explore, inter alia, the feasibility of a grants programme for medium-sized projects, taking into account eligibility criteria set out by COP-1.

BUDGET AND PROGRAMME OF WORK: The group, chaired by Peter Unwin (UK), met in the afternoon to consider a revised budget proposal, the financial rules for the administration of the Trust Fund, and a revised version of the medium-term work programme for 1996-97. Paragraphs dealing with scale of contributions to the Trust Fund and rules of procedure governing agreement on the budget remained bracketed. There was substantial agreement on the items to be covered during 1996-97 in the work programme, but final decisions regarding the distribution of work between the two years remained pending.


MINISTERIAL SEGMENT: The Ministerial Segment will continue in the Plenary Hall during morning and afternoon sessions.

DRAFTING GROUP OF THE COW: The drafting group of the Committee of the Whole (COW) is expected to meet in the morning and afternoon.

CONTACT GROUPS: The contact group on marine and terrestrial issues is expected to meet at 10:00 am. Check the Journal for meeting times of the groups on biosafety and budget and programme of work.

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