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Summary report, 4–15 November 1996


The third session of the Conference of Parties (COP-3) to the Convention on Biological Diversity met in Buenos Aires, Argentina from 4-15November 1996. If COP-1 established the basic machinery of the Convention and COP-2adopted decisions for programming, COP-3 sought to address implementation in thecontext of these decisions. In the process, the COP began to come into its own, as itattempted to assert its authority over the GEF and its autonomy vis--vis UNEP, focus itswork programme and future agenda, define its relationship with other internationalregimes, and develop guidelines for action on a number of substantive issues. To this end,the COP took several key decisions, including: elaborating a realistic work programme onagricultural biodiversity and a more limited one on forest biodiversity; a long negotiatedMemorandum of Understanding with the GEF; an agreement to hold an intersessionalworkshop on Article 8(j) (traditional knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenousand local communities); application by the Executive Secretary for observer status to theWTO Committee on Trade and the Environment; and a prosaic statement from the CBDto the Special Session of the UN General Assembly to review implementation of Agenda21.


The Convention on Biological Diversity, negotiated under the auspices of the UnitedNations Environment Programme (UNEP), was opened for signature on 5 June 1992, andentered into force on 29 December 1993. To date, 161 countries have become Parties.The three goals of the Convention are to promote “the conservation of biodiversity, thesustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arisingout of the utilization of genetic resources.”


The first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention (COP-1) took placein Nassau, the Bahamas, from 28 November - 9 December 1994. Some of the keydecisions taken by COP-1 included: adoption of the medium-term work programme;designation of the Permanent Secretariat; establishment of the clearing-house mechanismand the Subsidiary Body for Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice; anddesignation of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) as the interim institutionalstructure for the financial mechanism.


Article 25 of the CBD establishes a Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical andTechnological Advice (SBSTTA) to provide the COP with "timely advice" relating toimplementation of the Convention. The first session of the SBSTTA took place from 4-8September 1995 in Paris, France. Delegates considered operational matters, as well assubstantive issues, particularly with regard to coastal and marine biodiversity.Recommendations on the modus operandi of the SBSTTA affirmed its subsidiaryrole to the COP and requested flexibility to create: two open-ended working groups tomeet simultaneously during future SBSTTA meetings; Ad Hoc Technical Panelsof Experts as needed; and a roster of experts.

Substantive recommendations of SBSTTA-1 included: alternative ways and means forthe COP to consider components of biodiversity under threat; ways and means to promoteaccess to and transfer of technology; scientific and technical information to be containedin national reports; preparation of an annual Global Biodiversity Outlook by theSecretariat; contributions to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) meetings on plantgenetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA); and technical aspects concerning theconservation and sustainable use of coastal and marine biological diversity. On this lastissue, SBSTTA-1 identified three priorities: sustainable use of living coastal and marineresources; mariculture; and control of alien organisms. Time constraints preventedconsideration of education, training and public awareness as key delivery mechanisms forcoastal and marine biodiversity conservation and bio-prospecting of the deep sea bed.While the recommendation on coastal and marine biodiversity received a great deal ofattention at SBSTTA-1, some States noted that land-based sources of marine pollutionhad not been sufficiently emphasized.


The second session of the COP (COP-2) met in Jakarta, Indonesia, from 6-17 November1995. Some key decisions taken by COP-2 included: designation of the permanentlocation of the Secretariat in Montreal, Canada; agreement to develop a protocol onbiosafety; operation of the clearing-house mechanism (CHM); adoption of a programmeof work funded by a larger budget; designation of the GEF as the continuing interiminstitutional structure for the financial mechanism; consideration of its first substantiveissue, marine and coastal biodiversity; and agreement to address forests and biodiversity,including the development of a statement from the CBD to the Intergovernmental Panelon Forests (IPF) of the Commission on Sustainable Development.

COP-2 approved SBSTTA’s medium-term programme of work for 1996-97 and alsoaddressed the issue of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA),adopting a statement for input to the FAO’s Fourth International Technical Conference onPGRFA (ITCPGR-4). The statement noted the importance of other conventions to theCBD’s three objectives, urged other international fora to help achieve these objectivesthrough the CBD’s overarching framework, and invited the FAO to present the outcomeof ITCPGR-4 to COP-3.


PLANT GENETIC RESOURCES FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE: In 1983the FAO established an intergovernmental Commission on Genetic Resources for Foodand Agriculture, and adopted a non-binding International Undertaking on Plant GeneticResources, which is intended to promote harmonized international efforts to createincentives to conserve and sustainably use PGRFA. Since the inception of the CBD, theFAO has begun to revise the International Undertaking. Subsequent revisions haveemphasized national sovereignty over PGRFA, in line with Article 15 (sovereignty overgenetic resources) of the CBD.

The Fourth International Technical Conference on PGRFA met in Leipzig, Germanyfrom 17-23 June 1996. Representatives of 148 States adopted the Leipzig Declaration, theConference’s key political statement, and a Global Plan of Action (GPA), an internationalprogramme for the conservation and utilization of PGRFA. Contentious issues includedfinancing and implementing the GPA, technology transfer, Farmers’ Rights and accessand benefit-sharing. Delegates were also presented with the first comprehensive Reporton the State of the World’s Plant Genetic Resources.

BIOSAFETY: Article 19.4 of the CBD provides for Parties to consider the needfor and modalities of a protocol on biosafety. At COP-2, delegates established an Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group on Biosafety (BSWG), which held its first meetingin Aarhus, Denmark, from 22-26 July 1996. It was attended by more than 90 delegations,including scientific and technical experts representing both Parties and non-Parties to theCBD, inter- governmental organizations, NGOs and industry representatives.

BSWG-1 marked the first formal meeting to develop a protocol under the CBD and tooperationalize one of its key and most contentious components. Governments listedelements for a future protocol, agreed to hold two meetings in 1997 and outlined theinformation required to guide their future work.

SBSTTA-2: The second session of the SBSTTA took place from 2-6 September1996 in Montreal, Canada. The crowded agenda included complex technical issues suchas the monitoring and assessment of biodiversity, practical approaches to taxonomy,economic valuation of biodiversity, access to genetic resources, agricultural biodiversity,terrestrial biodiversity, marine and coastal biodiversity, biosafety and the CHM. ManyParties sent scientific and technical experts to the meeting, which was also attended byobservers from non-Parties, NGOs, indigenous peoples’ organizations, industry groupsand scientific organizations.

Chair Peter Johan Schei cautioned delegates against turning the SBSTTA into a “mini-COP,” but the issue of the identity and role of the SBSTTA in managing the scientificcontent continued to occupy many participants at the conclusion of the meeting. Someissues, including economic valuation and taxonomy, were covered in technical detail. Theprimary outcome of SBSTTA, however, seemed to be a desire to reform the process.Delegates’ suggestions included setting limits to the agenda and increasing theinvolvement of scientific organizations. Some privately called for more focusedbackground documents presenting specific options or proposals, presentations of casestudies, and delegations with greater technical expertise.

REGIONAL MEETINGS: In preparation for COP-3, four regional preparatorymeetings were held in September and October 1996. The Central and Eastern European(CEE) Regional Preparatory Meeting was held in Bratislava, Slovakia. The AfricanRegional Preparatory Meeting was held in Victoria, Mahe (Seychelles). The LatinAmerican and Caribbean Regional Preparatory Meeting was held in Castries, Saint Lucia.The Asian Regional Preparatory Meeting was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Each ofthese meetings helped delegates to prepare for the COP and enabled them to draftrecommendations to put forward at COP-3.


The President of COP-2, Indonesia’s Minister of Environment Sarwono Kusumaatmadja,opened the third session of the Conference of Parties to the CBD on Monday, 4November 1996, and urged delegates to consider the Convention in the broader context ofinternational action. Maria Julia Alsogaray, Argentina’s Secretary for Environment andNatural Resources, was then elected to serve as President of COP-3. She called foreffective measures to implement the Convention and highlighted important issues,including: resource availability; the financial mechanism; the establishment of norms toguide sustainable agricultural practices; and access to genetic resources.

In the opening statements that followed, Mohamed El-Ashry, CEO of the GlobalEnvironment Facility (GEF), noted that relations have been strengthened between theGEF and the Convention Secretariat and underscored the importance of partnership-building in the search for sustainable development.

Reuben Olembo, Deputy Executive Director of UNEP, acknowledged progress made bythe CBD to date, but cautioned that the COP can no longer theorize but must act now. Heexpressed hope that COP-3 would: initiate implementation of the CBD; adopt additionalpractical resolutions; resolve outstanding issues; improve intergovernmental interaction;and devise a mechanism for the Council of the GEF to solve the urgent needs of theCBD.

CBD Executive Secretary Calestous Juma noted distinctive phases of the CBD: COP-1established the organs necessary for internal function; COP-2 adopted decisions neededto make the transition toward implementation; and COP-3 should attempt to implementthe CBD in the context of decisions made at COP-2, with few changes. He called forimplementation of the clearing-house mechanism and enhanced collaboration amongrelated institutions.

Deputy Assistant Administrator of UNDP Thelma Awori emphasized the centrality of theCBD’s goals to the organization’s programmes and affirmed UNDP’s commitment toworking in supportive partnership with UNEP, the CBD Secretariat and other institutionsto implement the Convention.

Costa Rica, on behalf of the G-77/China, emphasized both the need to prioritize the stepsnecessary to implement the Convention and the importance of promoting the thirdobjective of the Convention – the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of theuse of genetic resources.

The COP then elected the following bureau members, in addition to COP-3 PresidentMaria Julia Alsogaray: Suzana Guziova (Slovakia) and Igor Glukhovtsev (Kazakstan);Manfred Schneider (Austria) and Louis Currat (Switzerland); Franois Ndeckere-Ziangba(Central African Republic) and Terry Jones (Seychelles); Mohammad Reza Salamat(Iran) and Rad Bani Hani (Jordan); and John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda).


The Committee of the Whole (COW), chaired by Louis Currat (Switzerland), metthroughout the first week and into the second to discuss each agenda item. Due to thelarge agenda and number of participants wishing to make interventions, statements werelimited at times to 1-2 minutes and delegates were asked to submit their proposals inwriting.

Two working groups were formed during the first week, neither of which was to meet atthe same time. The Open-ended Working Group on Agricultural Biodiversity was chairedby Manfred Schneider (Austria). Braulio de Souza Dias (Brazil) chaired a drafting groupfor this Working Group. The Working Group on Financial Issues was chaired byMohammad Reza Salamat (Iran). Pierre Roch (Switzerland) served as interim chair forseveral meetings of this Group. Additional groups formed during the first week includedone that addressed pending issues, chaired by Suzana Guziova (Slovakia), and themedium-term programme of work and budget, chaired by John Ashe (Antigua andBarbuda). The Secretariat conducted informal consultations over the weekend (9-10November) to draft decisions on the basis of interventions in the COW and writtensubmissions. The various working groups continued to meet during the second week,with a number of informal consultations evolving into working and drafting groups on 11and 12 November. The groups on financial issues and the budget met until 8:30 pm onThursday, 14 November, at which time delegates had reached provisional agreement onall issues before COP-3.

The Committee of the Whole met on 12 and 13 November to adopt the draft decisionsthat had been forwarded by the working and consultation groups. They adopted alldecisions except for three on financial issues. The COW agreed to forward the final textson these three decisions directly to the Plenary, which met on 15 November and adoptedall draft decisions. The budget decision was also adopted by the Plenary.

The following section, which is organized by agenda item, describes the debates and finaldecisions taken by COP-3.


At its second meeting held in September 1996, SBSTTA adopted a modus operandifor the purpose of effectively managing its workload. The modus operandi iscontained in Annex 2 to SBSTTA Recommendation II/11 and was introduced in theSBSTTA’s report to the COP (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/3) on Thursday, 7 November. Themodus operandi recommends that the SBSTTA prioritize its issues in line withthose of the COP and provide interpretation in additional languages. It also sets terms ofoffice for SBSTTA Bureau members and recommends the use of liaison and expertgroups and a roster of experts.

The EU endorsed the recommendations and, with INDIA, highlighted the need forprioritization. The US, supported by ETHIOPIA, BRAZIL, PORTUGAL, NEWZEALAND, CHINA and INDIA, said that the SBSTTA provides the only opportunity forscientific and technical recommendations to the COP and should not recommend policy.NORWAY supported intersessional work by the SBSTTA, while INDIA opposed it.AUSTRALIA sought to limit ad hoc expert groups to three per year.

HUNGARY, on behalf of Central and Eastern European Countries, urged fullparticipation of Parties at SBSTTA meetings and rotating chairs regionally. SPAIN,CHINA and PERU supported the recommendation regarding interpretation in additionallanguages, while the NETHERLANDS and JAPAN questioned the financial implicationsof providing translation in additional languages and its resultant impact on the body’soverall work programme.

The draft decision on the SBSTTA modus operandi (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.17),noting SBSTTA recommendation II/11 and deciding to consider the modusoperandi as part of the programme of work at COP-4, was adopted in Plenary onFriday, 15 November, with the understanding that future meetings of SBSTTA would beserviced in the six official languages of the UN (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.27).


The Secretariat introduced the document on the clearing-house mechanism (CHM)(UNEP/CBD/COP/3/4) on Wednesday, 6 November. The CHM is designed to promoteand facilitate technical and scientific cooperation, in accordance with Article 18 of theCBD. Delegates debated the composition and potential roles of the mechanism, itsimplementation and its financing. The EU and TANZANIA said the CHM should beneeds-driven and decentralized. The EU called for involvement of relevant UN bodiesand international institutions, and GERMANY sought participation from universities andthe private sector. ETHIOPIA said that the CHM should exclude information ontraditional knowledge until access and benefit-sharing policies are in place.

MALAYSIA and CAMEROON advocated the use of the CHM as a means of providingaccess to and transfer of technology to developing countries. Several delegations,including the EU and COLOMBIA, voiced support for regional workshops on the CHM.

Many delegations, including AUSTRALIA and GREECE, supported the publication of aCHM newsletter. The US called for use of a peer review process to assure technicalquality and credibility. CHINA and INDONESIA sought capacity building and humanresource training to allow developing countries to use the CHM. TANZANIAemphasized that the participation of Parties who do not currently have Internet accessmust be assured. BRAZIL urged the establishment of guidelines for setting up nationalfocal points. CANADA and the PHILIPPINES called for GEF support for the pilot phaseand long-term implementation of the CHM.

The draft decision on the CHM (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.3) was adopted in Plenary onFriday, 15 November, and called for: extension of the pilot phase through 1998; GEFsupport for capacity building and country-driven pilot projects; dissemination ofinformation on policy and management as well as science and technology; provision ofinformation linkages to national focal points; focus at the international level on thematicfocal points; endorsement of a CHM newsletter; and close cooperation with other relevantconventions.


Delegates were invited to address all matters related to financial resources and thefinancial mechanism in the Committee of the Whole on 5 and 6 November. Peter Schei(Norway), Chair of SBSTTA-2, presented recommendations formulated at SBSTTA-2related to activities the Global Environment Facility (GEF) should support, including theCHM and capacity building in taxonomy and biosafety (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/3).Executive Secretary Juma presented the other documents that addressed this agenda item(UNEP/CBD/COP/3/5-10 and 37), including the report of the GEF, review of theeffectiveness of the financial mechanism, and designation of the institutional structure tooperate the financial mechanism.

In addition to addressing the issues on which decisions were taken (see below), delegatesconsidered whether to designate a permanent financial mechanism. The G-77/CHINA,supported by several delegates, said that it is premature to designate the final institutionalstructure. Others, including the EU, CANADA, AUSTRALIA, TUNISIA, SYRIA andSLOVAKIA, on behalf of Central and Eastern European Countries (CEE), supporteddesignation of the mechanism at COP-3. A decision was not taken up on this issue. TheMemorandum of Understanding between the COP and the GEF that was adopted (seebelow) notes that the GEF will continue to operate the financial mechanism on an interimbasis.

ADDITIONAL FINANCIAL RESOURCES: The decision on additionalfinancial resources considers how to strengthen existing financial institutions to providefinancial resources for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.During discussion in the COW, the EU stated that the documentation for this issue,regarding suggestions for funding institutions and the availability of additional financialresources (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/7 and 37), did not provide a sufficient basis for discussionand, together with AUSTRALIA and the US, noted inaccuracies in the latter. The G-77/CHINA said developed countries are not fulfilling their commitments under Article20.2 (new and additional financial resources). MALAYSIA called for new and additionalresources, including from the private sector. INDONESIA and AUSTRALIA proposedefforts related to identifying the role that the private sector can play in CBD funding.

During the Working Group’s consideration of the G-77/CHINA’s draft proposal, severaldelegates recalled their statements to the COW regarding the accuracy of the documentsrelated to the issue and did not support the proposal to take note of the information andrecommendations contained in UNEP/CBD/COP/3/7 and 37. The final decision(UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.20): takes note of elements in those documents; urges all fundinginstitutions to make their activities more supportive of the Convention; requests theExecutive Secretary to explore collaboration with funding institutions and theinvolvement of the private sector; urges developed country Parties to cooperate in thedevelopment of standardized information on their financial support; and invites otherfunding institutions to provide information on their financial support for the Convention.

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING (MOU) BETWEEN THE COP ANDTHE COUNCIL OF THE GEF: The Memorandum of Understanding between theCOP and the Council of the GEF had been discussed at COP-1 and COP-2 but noagreement had been reached. The revised version presented to COP-3(UNEP/CBD/COP/3/10) was based on those deliberations as well as intersessionalconsultations.

Several countries, including MAURITIUS, POLAND and INDONESIA, stated duringthe COW that they wanted COP-3 to take a decision on the MOU. MEXICO, NORWAY,CHINA and SLOVAKIA, on behalf of the CEE countries, stated that the MOU wasacceptable. Some delegates, including the PHILIPPINES, CANADA and MALAWI,supporting using CBD language to improve the draft. MALAYSIA and COLOMBIA saidthe MOU should contain explicit reference to the interim nature of the financialmechanism.

The G-77/CHINA distributed amendments to the Working Group on financial issues andOECD countries offered oral amendments. Delegates deleted text noting that: the GEFwould operate the financial mechanism until 1999, at which time it would be reviewed; ifthe COP considers that a specific project decision does not comply with its guidance itmay “ask for a reconsideration of that decision;” the GEF would indicate the amount ofnew and additional funding to be contributed to the GEF Trust Fund in the nextreplenishment cycle and (a G-77/CHINA proposal) the GEF would clearly indicate thereasons for which this funding is considered new and additional; and the COP will reviewthe amount of funding “available” for CBD on the occasion of each replenishment.

Text was added noting that: the financial mechanism shall function under the authorityand guidance of and be accountable to the COP; the GEF will operate the financialmechanism on an interim basis; and the withdrawal of the MOU by either Party shall notaffect any projects considered and/or approved prior to the withdrawal.

Additional text in the decision adopted by COP-3 (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.21) notes that:the COP will determine the policy, priorities and criteria for access to financial resources;the GEF Council will submit to each COP a report on GEF activities in the biodiversityfocal area; the COP may raise any matter arising from the reports; the COP shouldanalyze the observations presented by any Party that considers that a decision of theCouncil regarding a specific project was not made in compliance with COP guidance;prior to the replenishment, the COP will assess the amount of funds necessary to assistdeveloping countries; and either participant may withdraw the MOU at any time.

ADDITIONAL GUIDANCE TO THE FINANCIAL MECHANISM: Thedecision on additional guidance to the financial mechanism combines the instructions tothe GEF from other COP-3 decisions into a single text. During the COW discussion, theEU noted that guidance to the GEF from COP-2 was not clear, making it difficult todevelop an operational programme for the GEF Council. The UK added that to ensurethat matters such as biosafety and agro-biodiversity are appropriately addressed by theGEF, COP-3 should prepare additional guidance to the GEF, which should beencompassed in a single decision. MALAYSIA identified a need to develop the COP’sown implementing strategy and to make it clear to the GEF. The PHILIPPINES, amongothers, noted the need for focused guidance, especially in relation to the implementationof all three of the CBD’s objectives, not only conservation.

The G-77/CHINA and the OECD countries distributed drafts on this issue to the WorkingGroup on financial issues. During the initial review of the G-77/CHINA draft, severaldeveloped countries indicated they would consider additional guidance based onSBSTTA-2 recommendations and matters on COP-3’s agenda, but did not want toreconsider the GEF guidelines before the 1997 review. The Working Group combinedelements from the preambles of both drafts. The operative section consists of editedand/or redrafted versions of operative paragraphs contained in other COP-3 decisions thatare directed at the GEF. One issue that involved significant discussion was inclusion ofCOP-3’s endorsement of SBSTTA recommendation II/2 regarding capacity building fortaxonomy, as contained in the decision on Article 7 (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.6). Delegatesadded a note following its guidance regarding capacity building related to Article 7stating that the COP endorsed the recommendation.

COP-3 decision UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.22 amalgamates guidance to the GEF that iscontained in other COP-3 decisions on the following issues: capacity building related tobiosafety, the CHM and access to genetic resources; conservation and sustainable userelated to agriculture; the examination of support for capacity building related to thepreservation of indigenous knowledge and practices; targeted research that contributes toconservation and sustainable use; promotion of the understanding of conservation andsustainable use; and preparation by the Secretariat and the GEF of a proposal on themeans to address the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of theutilization of genetic resources.

GUIDELINES FOR THE REVIEW OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THEFINANCIAL MECHANISM: The decision on the guidelines for the review of theGEF outlines the objectives, methodology, criteria and procedures for the first review ofthe effectiveness of the financial mechanism, which is to be conducted at COP-4. NEWZEALAND suggested during the COW that guidelines for the review of the GEF betransparent and that the COP should re-determine the GEF’s status every 2-3 years.CANADA cautioned against reviewing the effectiveness of the financial mechanism inareas in which it has not yet received guidance.

The G-77/CHINA distributed a draft text on the review to the Working Group. A smallconsultative group drafted the text on the objectives, methodology and criteria of thereview. Text was later added regarding the application of the criteria of agreed fullincremental costs, keeping in mind the provision of new and additional resources bydeveloped country Parties. The remaining focus of the Working Group was on theprocedure through which the review would take place. Initial proposals focused onwhether an independent consultant should conduct the review or whether informationshould be gathered and reviewed by delegates at COP-4. Delegates forwarded a text tothe COW noting that the Secretariat is to prepare background documentation and shall, ifnecessary, appoint a consultant. Two options regarding who would provide monitoringand guidance of the review were bracketed: [the Bureau plus regional representatives] and[a steering panel composed of two representatives from each regional group]. Duringdiscussion of the bracketed text in the COW, the G-77/CHINA, SWITZERLAND andAUSTRALIA supported the option for a steering panel. The EU, supported by RUSSIA,proposed deleting both options. The bracketed text was referred back to the WorkingGroup.

The agreed procedure to review the effectiveness of the financial mechanism, ascontained in UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.25, calls on the Secretariat to: gather information;prepare a synthesis; send it for appraisal to five regional representatives; take account ofthe comments; distribute copies to all Parties and relevant bodies for comments; based onthese, prepare a draft report to be presented to the regional representatives and madeavailable to the GEF and implementing agencies; and submit the synthesis withsupporting documents to Parties not later than three months prior to COP-4. Supportingdocuments will include comments and other information identified by source.


Initial discussions on the implementation of Articles 6 and 8 in the COW, which tookplace on Wednesday, 6 November, were based on document UNEP/CBD/COP/3/11.Article 6 calls on Parties to develop national strategies, plans or programmes for theconservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and to integrate them into relevantsectoral policies, and Article 8 calls for a variety of measures to promote in-situconservation. During discussion in the COW, several delegations emphasized thecentrality of Articles 6 and 8 to the successful implementation of the Convention. The EUemphasized both in-situ and ex-situ conservation, integration ofbiodiversity into relevant sectoral policies, and benefit-sharing. SWITZERLAND calledfor regional coordination to accomplish conservation goals. CHINA called for GEFsupport and advice from SBSTTA. INDONESIA highlighted protected areasmanagement and rehabilitation of degraded areas, and urged implementation of IUCNGuidelines on monitoring and conflict management in protected areas. INDIA saidimplementation requires action primarily at the national level. MALAYSIA called for fullfunding, without conditionality, for activities involving implementation of these articles.MADAGASCAR proposed an economic study of the value of biodiversity.

During consideration of the final draft decision on Implementation of Articles 6 and 8(UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.5), several countries, including CANADA, the EU and the G-77/CHINA, highlighted the UN-Norway Conference on Alien Species and recommendedthat Parties use its results in their implementation of Article 8(h) (alien species).CANADA amended a recommendation to set measurable targets for biodiversityconservation and sustainable use objectives by not limiting these to national plans andstrategies. HUNGARY added a reference to “legislation” in addition to national plans andstrategies. The final decision also highlights that a central role of the CHM should be thesharing of experiences and dissemination of information relevant to Articles 6 and 8, andemphasizes that the first national reports, to focus on measures taken to implementArticle 6, should be submitted no later than 1 January 1998.


In initial consideration of this item on Wednesday, 6 November, delegates consideredOptions for Implementing Article 7 of the Convention (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/12) and theSBSTTA recommendations on implementation of Article 25.2(a)(UNEP/CBD/COP/3/13). Article 7 calls on Parties to identify and monitor components ofbiodiversity, and processes and activities that may have adverse impacts on itsconservation or sustainable use. Article 25.2(a) calls on the SBSTTA to prepare scientificand technical assessments of the effects of measures taken in accordance with theConvention’s provisions.

Numerous delegations endorsed SBSTTA recommendations II/1 (on assessments andassessment methodologies, identification and monitoring, and indicators) and II/2 (oncapacity building for taxonomy). The EU said the development of indicators should begiven a high priority. SWEDEN stressed a bottom-up approach to developing indicators.GERMANY stressed the importance of identifying and agreeing internationally onsuitable indicators. SOUTH AFRICA and AUSTRALIA supported a two-track approachto assessment and indicator development. INDIA called on regional bodies, in connectionwith the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to conduct assessments inmarine areas. ETHIOPIA emphasized the need for flexibility in methodologies.NORWAY called for the use of remote sensing. ARGENTINA called on UNEP toprovide necessary funds for training in taxonomy. BRAZIL proposed the creation oftaxonomic centres of excellence. JAPAN called for attention to regional differences inestablishing a framework for identifying activities that have adverse effects onbiodiversity.

During consideration of the draft decision on Identification, Monitoring and Assessment(UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.6), MALAWI, on behalf of the African Group, proposed aparagraph endorsing SBSTTA recommendation II/2 on capacity building for taxonomy,which was adopted. The EU and the G-77/CHINA proposed alternative formulations fora paragraph calling on the GEF to address the need for capacity building in taxonomy.The EU’s proposal emphasized capacity building in taxonomy “relevant to fieldactivities.” The G-77/CHINA formulation requested the GEF to provide financialresources to developing countries to address the need for capacity building, includingtaxonomy, to enable them to develop and carry out initial assessment for designing,implementing and monitoring programmes in accordance with Article 7. The G-77/CHINA formulation was accepted and the decision was adopted, as amended.


When introducing the item, the Executive Secretary expressed regret that there had beeninsufficient time since SBSTTA-2 to incorporate its recommendations into the documentthat served as the main basis for COP consideration of this issue, Consideration ofAgricultural Biological Diversity under the CBD (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/14).

As the main sectoral issue of COP-3, representatives of over 50 governments, regionalgroups, IGOs and NGOs addressed agricultural biodiversity on Tuesday, 7 November.These formal interventions focused on: the FAO Global System, the Global Plan ofAction (GPA) adopted at the Fourth International Technical Conference on Plant GeneticResources, and the World Food Summit. Delegates raised a number of specific concerns,including: gap analysis; the impact of pesticides and chemical agents; the impact ofsubsidies on sustainable agriculture and international trade; ex-situ collectionsacquired prior to the CBD’s entry into force; financing agro-biodiversity; IPR on lifeforms and social knowledge; Farmers’ Rights; bioprospecting; benefit-sharing; and aprotocol on PGRFA under the CBD.

An Open-Ended Working Group on Agricultural Biodiversity was set up under thechairmanship of Manfred Schneider (Austria). Delegates first deliberated whether theyshould base their negotiations on the SBSTTA recommendations or a Chair’s summary ofthe statements made in the COW.

During the second meeting, draft texts were tabled by the EU and the G-77/China. TheEU stated that it could not accept the G-77 text as a basis for negotiation since it ignoredthe useful work of the SBSTTA. CANADA, MAURITIUS, the EU, NORWAY, the UKand AUSTRALIA stated that the SBSTTA recommendations would serve as a soundscientific basis for negotiation. BRAZIL, COLOMBIA and ARGENTINA preferred thatthe G-77 text serve as the basis, noting that SBSTTA recommendations could be broughtin as “enrichments” to the final document once the political stage had been set by COP.

A small drafting group, composed of a core of regional representatives and chaired byBraulio de Souza Dias (Brazil), consolidated both draft proposals and the SBSTTArecommendations. The result, a text comprised of a three-page preamble and a 46-paragraph operative section, served as the basis for negotiation.

The Working Group then conducted a paragraph-by-paragraph review of the text,beginning with the operative section. Several delegations submitted additional text inconference room papers. For example, the US tabled text regarding agro-chemicals inresponse to a joint proposal by CANADA, AUSTRALIA and BRAZIL.SWITZERLAND submitted wording on integrated pest management strategies.MALAYSIA, NORWAY, CANADA and the EU each tabled text regarding theimplementation of the GPA. While MALAYSIA reaffirmed commitments on new andadditional resources within the context of UNCED, the other countries emphasizedfinancing of the GPA within the context of the FAO Global System.

Delegates generally agreed on the importance of the role of farmers, traditionalknowledge and public awareness. The most contentious issues, such as gap analysis, tradeimpacts, market forces and the relationship between the FAO and the CBD, were referredto informal consultations. Additionally, two contact groups, each of which includedBrazil, Canada, Ethiopia, the EU, Malaysia, New Zealand and Poland, were established toaddress the work programme and funding issues.

On the basis of this work, the Working Group finalized their draft decision and addressedunresolved issues. The reference to the World Food Summit’s wording regarding the roleof the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE) on the relationship betweentrade and agricultural biodiversity was resolved through informal consultations. Severaldelegations expressed substantive difficulties with the paragraph pertaining to the interimfinancial mechanism and argued that the matter should be resolved on the basis of thedecision from the Working Group on financial issues. However, BRAZIL noted that thisparagraph was part of a “package deal” along with the text put forward by AUSTRALIAregarding the legal status of a revised International Undertaking on PGRFA and theGlobal Plan of Action. The paragraph was retained on the condition that the decisionreflected similar language from the COP-2 decision on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity.

On the basis of a proposal by Canada, several paragraphs were re-ordered so as to clearlydistinguish between action required by Parties and by the Secretariat.

The Working Group completed its work on Tuesday, 13 November, one week after itsconstitution, with two issues still outstanding: the status of ex-situ collectionsacquired prior to the entry into force of the CBD; and the relationship between IPRlegislation and sovereignty over PGRFA as well as Farmers’ Rights. Once these issueswere relegated to the relevant drafting groups on Access to Genetic Resources and IPR,respectively, the draft decision was adopted in the COW.

The COP decision on agricultural biodiversity (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.12) is comprised of15 preambular paragraphs, 24 operative paragraphs and three annexes. Annex Iestablishes a basis for action as it provides an overview of the impact of biodiversity onagriculture. Annex II presents an indicative list of thematic areas, including: landresources; water resources; plant, animal and microbial genetic resources; wildlife; airand climate; farm inputs; wild sources of food; traditional knowledge; marketingconditions for agricultural products; land-use pressures; and agro-forestry. Annex IIIhighlights initial issues for conducting case studies. Notably, the decision: provides forthe Executive Secretary, in collaboration with the FAO, to set work programme prioritieson the basis of SBSTTA recommendations and the themes outlined in Annex 2;establishes a multi-year programme of activities; focuses on the interface betweensustainable agriculture and environmental issues; and encourages Parties to developnational strategies, programmes and policies according to 14 action-oriented goals.

Also, according to the decision, the COP: welcomes the contribution of the GPA to theimplementation of the CBD; calls for the effective and speedy revision of theInternational Undertaking in harmony with the CBD; affirms its willingness to consider adecision by the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources “that the InternationalUndertaking should take the form of a protocol” to the CBD, once revised.

The decision further calls for the strengthening of the FAO Global System and, withinthis context, recognizes issues that “require further work”, such as: financing; therealization of Farmers’ Rights; terms of technology transfer; and access and benefit-sharing arrangements. Finally, the decision draws the attention of international fundingmechanisms to the urgent need to support agricultural biodiversity, and, citing the WorldFood Summit Plan of Action, encourages the WTO CTE to consider developing a betterappreciation of the relationship between trade and agricultural biodiversity.


INPUT TO THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON FORESTS: TheSecretariat introduced the document addressing matters related to forests and biologicaldiversity (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/16) and, the Secretariat of the Commission on SustainableDevelopment’s Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) presented the Panel’s progressreport to the CBD (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/17) on Thursday, 7 November. Delegatesdiscussed: the relationship between the CBD and the IPF; the establishment of aprogramme of work for the conservation of forest biodiversity; and the CBD’s role inconserving forest biodiversity. Many delegations endorsed continued cooperationbetween the CBD and the IPF. ARGENTINA warned that the CBD should not benegligent in its work on forests by relying on the IPF. MALAYSIA urged that aninternational instrument on forests be addressed through the IPF to ensure that themultiple functions of forests are recognized. SWITZERLAND called on the CBD to useexisting instruments to conserve forest biodiversity, and, with BRAZIL, stressed the needto avoid duplication of work.

Numerous delegations supported the formulation of a medium-term programme of workto develop and implement methods for sustainable forest management. AUSTRIA andSWITZERLAND emphasized the need for analysis of the underlying causes ofbiodiversity loss. RUSSIA and CUBA stressed analysis and mitigation of human impactson forest biodiversity. CUBA also sought economic valuation of biodiversitycomponents. THAILAND, FINLAND and others called for the development and use ofcriteria and indicators.

INDONESIA urged the COP to fill in gaps in forest biodiversity knowledge. The LATINAMERICAN FOREST NETWORK called for recognition of the CBD as the onlyinternational legal instrument to address forest biodiversity loss. SRI LANKArecommended that the COP develop a mandate on forests similar to the Jakarta Mandateon Marine and Coastal Biodiversity.

Delegates met in an informal contact group to consider the Chair’s draft decision on therelationship between the CBD and the IPF on matters related to forest biodiversity onMonday, 11 November. Controversial issues included the need to distinguish the roles ofplantation and natural forests in the conservation of biodiversity and establishing theSBSTTA’s initial programme of work. In the interest of efficiency, the SBSTTA’s initialwork programme was limited to devising methodologies for the implementation ofcriteria and indicators for biodiversity conservation and analyzing the impact of humanactivities on biodiversity loss. Delegates recommended, however, that the SBSTTAconsider addressing underlying causes of deforestation, alien species introductions andecological landscape models in the future. Delegates also urged the development ofcommon priorities and a focused work programme for the CBD and the IPF.

The final text (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.8) affirms that “some forests” can play a crucial rolein conserving biodiversity and that the CBD will work in a complementary way with theIPF and other forest-related fora. It endorses SBSTTA recommendation II/8, which limitsSBSTTA’s initial work programme to devising methodologies for the development ofcriteria and indicators sustainable forest management and analyzing the impact of humanactivity on the loss of forest biological diversity. An annex transmits these decisions tothe fourth session of the IPF.

FUTURE PROGRAMME OF WORK FOR TERRESTRIAL BIOLOGICALDIVERSITY IN LIGHT OF CSD DELIBERATIONS: The Secretariat introducedthe document addressing the biodiversity of terrestrial ecosystems(UNEP/CBD/COP/3/18) on Thursday, 7 November. The report recognized the need foran integrated approach to the planning and management of land resources and reaffirmedthe importance of biological diversity in terrestrial ecosystems. The GAMBIA urgedassistance to national governments in developing and managing sustainable land-usepractices. CANADA highlighted the work of the Global Biodiversity Forum and theWorld Resources Institute in advancing the concept of bioregional planning. CHINAcalled on the GEF to identify and finance terrestrial biodiversity projects. SOUTHAFRICA emphasized grassland ecosystems as an issue for consideration by both the IPFand the SBSTTA. TUNISIA called for recognition of biodiversity in arid and semi-aridecosystems.

Issues related to terrestrial biodiversity were dealt with peripherally in the informalcontact group on forests. The decision (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.4) promotescomplementarity with related activities under the CBD and calls on the SBSTTA to:cooperate with the Convention to Combat Desertification in matters related to biologicaldiversity and drylands; examine forms of cooperation on matters related to biologicaldiversity and mountains; and provide a report to COP-4 on the status and trends ofbiodiversity in inland water ecosystems.


The Secretariat introduced background documentation on the implementation of Article8(j) on the role of knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and localcommunities (“traditional knowledge”), as contained in documentsUNEP/CBD/COP/3/19, UNEP/CBD/COP/3/Inf.33, UNEP/CBD/COP/3/Inf.44.

During discussion of this issue in the COW, indigenous peoples’ groups, supported byseveral developing countries, presented a proposal for an Open-ended Working Group onArticle 8(j) to advise the SBSTTA and report to the COP. CANADA, supported bySWEDEN (on behalf of the Nordic countries), the NETHERLANDS and ITALY,suggested an intersessional meeting involving governments and indigenous peoples’groups to create the basis for further discussion at COP-4.

SWITZERLAND stated that the protection of rights will require a combination ofmechanisms and supported an examination of best practices. COLOMBIA proposedestablishing a subsidiary body under the COP on innovative practices of indigenouspeoples and called for the suspension of access to genetic resources until there is aguarantee of protection.

The EU recognized that traditional knowledge should be respected in accord withnational legislation and underlined consistency with international agreements. JAPANhighlighted uncertainty over the relationship between Article 8(j) and Farmers’ Rights.INDIA stated that a policy mechanism should require: information regarding source oforigin; respect of relevant laws and practices in the country of origin; and prior informedconsent. INDONESIA requested elaboration on benefit sharing mechanisms.

The decision (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.13) adopted by the COP requests Parties to developnational legislation to implement Article 8(j) in consultation with indigenous and localcommunities, and to include information on this in national reports. It also requests theExecutive Secretary to hold a five-day intersessional workshop, involving governmentsand indigenous and local communities, on such issues as the interaction betweentraditional and other forms of knowledge relating to biodiversity, the influence of currentlaws and policies on traditional knowledge, and incentive measures. The decisionrequests the interim financial mechanism to examine support, with participation and priorinformed consent, for capacity building for preservation of traditional knowledge relatedto conservation and sustainable use.

The decision also requests that the Executive Secretary prepare backgrounddocumentation containing the following: consideration of linkages between Article 8(j)and such issues as technology transfer, access, ownership of genetic resources, IPR,alternative systems of knowledge protection and incentives; elaboration of key terms ofArticle 8(j); and a survey of activities undertaken by relevant organizations and theirpossible contributions to Article 8(j). The decision recommends that the indigenousknowledge post in the Secretariat be filled as soon as possible, and that the ExecutiveSecretary remain informed on relevant international processes including the Commissionon Human Rights, the Commission on Sustainable Development, Convention 169 of theInternational Labor Organization, the World Bank, the FAO, UNESCO and the WTO.


Agenda Item 12 included topics under Article 15 such as national sovereignty, priorinformed consent (PIC), mutually agreed terms, and facilitating access for uses that donot run counter to the objectives of the CBD. Delegates discussed this on Thursday, 7November, in the COW using document UNEP/CBD/COP/3/20 as a basis for discussion.

During the debate on this issue in the COW, the EU and SPAIN said the FAO is the mostappropriate body to develop a multilateral framework for access to ex-situagricultural genetic resources. SWITZERLAND supported a differentiated approachaccording to the results of studies of contractual arrangements before the development ofany new instrument. ETHIOPIA and INDIA said access considerations should includeex-situ collections made before the CBD came into force.

The PHILIPPINES said a protocol on access would be desirable, while GHANA (onbehalf of African countries) called for a global PIC arrangement.

AUSTRALIA encouraged Parties to take into account the effects on indigenous and localcommunities. GUATEMALA, speaking also on behalf of HONDURAS and ELSALVADOR, said the role of communities must be recognized in the control of geneticresources. The BIOTECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY ORGANIZATION noted improvementto genetic resources possible through private sector innovations. Several countries calledfor capacity building. URUGUAY offered to host a workshop on access to geneticresources in the context of Mercosur.

A drafting group on access to genetic resources, facilitated by the Secretariat, then met tonegotiate a draft decision. Disagreement focused on a preambular paragraph recognizingthat classes of genetic resources may require “distinctive solutions,” and an operativeparagraph urging that Article 15 is “duly reflected” in implementation of relevant articlesof the Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property sub-agreement to the GATT (TRIPsagreement).

The decision (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.7): recognizes that there are a variety of approachesto managing access to genetic resources based on their diversity and other considerations;urges governments and other relevant organizations to send information on measures onaccess and benefit-sharing to the Secretariat prior to COP-4; requests a Secretariat’s notebased on this and dissemination of it through the CHM; urges capacity building for policyand guidelines on access and benefit-sharing and urges governments to implement thesein a participatory manner; urges rapid revision of the International Undertaking, inparticular regarding access to ex-situ collections acquired prior to the CBD’s entryinto force; and requests the Executive Secretary to cooperate closely with the WTOthrough the CTE to explore linkages between Article 15 and relevant articles of theTRIPs agreement.


Agenda Item 13 focused on mechanisms to facilitate technology transfer, including thetransfer of biotechnology, to achieve the objectives of the CBD. The Secretariatintroduced background documentation (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/21) on this issue to the COWon Friday, 8 November.

During the COW’s discussion, the G-77/CHINA and SOUTH AFRICA sought aninventory of transferable technology. Many stressed the need for capacity building. TheEU called for the establishment of an international framework to facilitate cooperation intechnology transfer. MALAYSIA and the PHILIPPINES called for further developmentof the CHM and better definition of the GEF’s role and, with the REPUBLIC of KOREA,stressed increased private sector involvement. SWEDEN emphasized capacity building,incentives and enhancement of the CHM. CANADA supported networks to promotetechnology transfer, and the LATIN AMERICAN PLANT SCIENCES NETWORKhighlighted training programmes in botany and biotechnology. The draft decision(UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.16): takes note of decision II/4 of COP-2 on ways and means topromote access to and transfer of technology; notes that the issue will be dealt with atCOP-4 regarding benefit-sharing from biotechnology; endorses recommendation II/3 ofSBSTTA-2 calling for an integrated and sectoral approach to technology transfer; andemphasizes the importance of technology transfer in achieving the three CBD objectives.


Agenda Item 14 was treated as a cross-cutting issue, focusing on knowledge, innovationsand practices of indigenous and local communities, as well as issues relevant totechnology transfer. The Secretariat introduced background documentation(UNEP/CBD/COP/3/22 and 23) on intellectual property rights (IPR) in the COW onFriday, 8 November.

During discussion of this issue, the EU linked well-functioning IPR systems to CBDimplementation. CTE D’IVOIRE, on behalf of the African Group, called for IPR fortraditional knowledge and a legal mechanism on access. Echoing this, INDIA, BRAZIL,TANZANIA and MALAYSIA supported the recommendation for study on disclosure oforigin in patent application policies. The US supported voluntary disclosure.

Several interventions highlighted the engagement of the CBD with other IPR processes.The G-77/CHINA and FRANCE called for collaboration with the World IntellectualProperty Organisation (WIPO). MEXICO expressed concern over a WIPO proposal forcopyrighting databases and urged an impact analysis.

NORWAY, NEW ZEALAND, AUSTRALIA and the G-77/CHINA agreed that the CBDshould participate in the deliberations of the CTE. SWITZERLAND, FRANCE, the EUand the US advocated that the CBD apply for CTE observer status. BRAZIL suggestedthat the COP make proposals to the WTO to review TRIPs in 1999.

A drafting group on IPR, chaired by Diego Malpede (Argentina), considered such issuesas: a reference to a WIPO proposal on copyright protection for databases; the relationshipbetween the COP and the TRIPs; and the impact of IPR to genetically modifiedorganisms (GMOs) on the CBD. The latter was deleted entirely.

The final decision (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.18) encourages communication on case studieson the impact of IPR on CBD objectives for dissemination through the CHM. These casestudies could consider existing IPR systems in achieving CBD objectives, includingtechnology transfer and benefit-sharing with indigenous and local communities, andconsider the development of IPR, such as sui generis systems or alternative formsof protection, that are consistent with Parties’ international obligations.

The decision also: notes that the possible establishment of a new IPR regime fordatabases could have implications for scientific and technical cooperation and calls for atransparent evaluation of this possibility; requests the Executive Secretary to contactWIPO on capacity building for implementing CBD objectives; requests the ExecutiveSecretary to transmit COP-3 decisions to the WTO and to undertake further cooperationand consultation, as appropriate; and requests that the Secretariat apply for observerstatus at the CTE. The decision notes mutual benefits of exchanging information onArticle 16 of the CBD (technology transfer) with the TRIPs Council on Trade-RelatedIPR and recognizes the need to develop a common appreciation of the relationshipbetween IPR, TRIPs and the CBD.


During initial interventions in the COW on Friday, 8 November, delegates discussed thecompilation of information and experiences shared on the implementation of Article 11(incentive measures). The discussion was based on UNEP/CBD/COP/3/24, Inf.36 andSBSTTA Recommendation II/9. The EU, UGANDA, on behalf of the African Group,INDONESIA, SWITZERLAND, NORWAY and the NETHERLANDS COMMITTEEFOR THE IUCN called for the removal of perverse incentives. The AFRICAN GROUPsupported local incentive measures and a review of existing macroeconomic policies toensure incorporation of biodiversity concerns. MALAWI, SENEGAL, CAPE VERDEand NEPAL called for private sector involvement. SOUTH AFRICA, CAPE VERDE andCANADA stressed involvement of local communities in the design and implementationof incentives. INDONESIA, SENEGAL and the AFRICAN GROUP highlighted capacitybuilding. AUSTRALIA called for incentives including education and property rights.

The US, CANADA and PERU called for further sharing of information and case studieson incentive measures. INDONESIA called on SBSTTA-3 to provide technical advice toParties in designing incentives, and recommended that the GEF make incentive measuresa priority. MALAWI and SWITZERLAND recommended that incentives be a standingagenda item, whereas NORWAY called for its integration into thematic and sectoralissues.

Delegates convened informal consultations on this issue. The group agreed that incentivemeasures would be included “as appropriate” on the COP agenda and integrated intosectoral and thematic items. Delegates added language stressing the importance of takingappropriate action on incentives that threaten biodiversity and promoting positiveincentives. A preambular paragraph was added recalling that economic and socialdevelopment and poverty eradication are overriding priorities of developing countries.The group agreed on language requesting the Executive Secretary to prepare abackground document for COP-4 on design and implementation of incentive measures.Delegates bracketed a paragraph recognizing national and international responsibility fordeveloping and implementing incentive measures, but it was deleted in later COWnegotiations.

Language was inserted in brackets requesting the GEF to include incentive measuresamong its priority activities and to support projects aimed at providing socio-economicincentives at the local, national and international levels. As a result, some delegatesbracketed a related preambular paragraph recalling Decision I/2 (incentive measures as aprogramme priority for access to financial resources), because they did not wantfinancing for incentives mentioned twice. During the final discussion in the COW, thepreambular paragraph was deleted. The G-77/CHINA proposed that the brackets beremoved from the paragraph requesting GEF action, but the paragraph was referred to thegroup discussing guidance for the GEF and does not appear in the final decision. In thedecision (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.11), the COP also: recognizes that incentive measures arecountry-specific; encourages incorporation of market and non-market values ofbiodiversity into plans and policies; and requests SBSTTA to provide advice on theimplementation of Article 11 in relevant thematic areas.


Initial discussion on Agenda Item 16 was conducted in the COW on Friday, 8 November,and focused on documents UNEP/CBD/COP/3/25, Inf. 6 and Inf. 42. Delegatesconsidered the provision of a report from the perspective of the Convention’s threeobjectives to the Special Session of the UN General Assembly in June 1997.

Numerous delegations supported an EU proposal recommending that the report besuccinct, include a summary of the Convention’s work and lessons learned thus far oneach of three objectives, and express a willingness to continue to work closely with otherinternational fora. NEW ZEALAND and INDONESIA underscored the need to avoidduplication of work. CANADA said the COP should use the opportunity to exhort themajor financial institutions to factor the Convention’s objectives into their deliberations.CUBA, COLOMBIA and HUNGARY highlighted the relations established with otherConventions. The NETHERLANDS emphasized the cross-sectoral nature of biodiversityand the need to integrate it into the relevant CSD agenda items. NORWAY andZIMBABWE underscored the importance of integrating biodiversity concerns into otherprocesses and sectors.

A Working Group, chaired by Terry Jones (the Seychelles), convened over the weekendto discuss the draft statement to the Special Session. Delegates made amendments on theneed for “new and” additional financial resources and added language on terrestrialbiodiversity, collaboration with other relevant conventions, and public awareness andeducation programmes.

The final decision (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.10) describes the relevance of the CBD toseveral chapters of Agenda 21 and outlines substantive issues discussed at COP-3 andthose on the medium-term programme of work. The decision also calls for specialattention to future challenges, including: development and implementation of nationalplans; consideration of access and benefit-sharing arrangements; development of meansto respect, preserve and maintain traditional knowledge; technology transfer; andprovision of new and additional resources.


As a basis for their deliberations in the COW on Friday, 8 November, delegatesconsidered the Report of the First Meeting of the Open-Ended Ad Hoc WorkingGroup on Biosafety (BSWG) (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/26) and the Progress Report on theElaboration of a Protocol on Biosafety (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/27). The Chair of theBSWG, Veit Koester (Denmark) presented the meeting’s procedural recommendations tothe COP: to devise a ten-member Bureau; to maintain the Bureau throughout the process;and to convene two meetings in 1997. Most delegations expressed support for theestablishment of a ten-member Bureau, but were divided on the issue of its permanence.

BOLIVIA, VENEZUELA, EQUATORIAL GUINEA and TUNISIA stated that socio-economic considerations and liability should be addressed in future protocol negotiations.

CAMEROON, TANZANIA, the UK, RUSSIA, MEXICO, ZIMBABWE, NEWZEALAND and TUNISIA underscored the need for capacity building in biosafety.MOROCCO called for national legislation and funding for biosafety in developingcountries. SWITZERLAND, as well as GUATEMALA (on behalf of EL SALVADORand HONDURAS), noted the need to establish regional structures on risk assessment,Article 8(j) and capacity building. TUNISIA stated that a protocol should address priorinformed agreement.

MALAYSIA, SWITZERLAND and ITALY endorsed the UNEP International TechnicalGuidelines for Safety in Biotechnology. ITALY stated that the Guidelines should beperiodically updated to keep track of scientific progress in biotechnology and biosafety.BRAZIL expressed support for the Guidelines as an interim mechanism until a protocol isfinalized. NORWAY noted that the Guidelines should not prejudice or exclude anyrelevant elements from a future biosafety protocol.

While the draft decision on biosafety was tabled on Monday, 11 November, it was notadopted until Wednesday, 13 November, after further informal and regional consultationsat the request of the G-77/China. In the final decision (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.15) theCOP: recalls that the BSWG shall complete its work on developing a protocol in 1998 asa matter of urgency; supports a two-track process through which the UNEP Guidelinescan contribute to a biosafety protocol without prejudicing its development andconclusion; and endorses the importance of capacity building in biosafety and the requestto provide financial resources to developing countries for this purpose. Also according tothis decision, before the next meeting of the BSWG in 1997, each region will nominatetwo representatives to the Bureau, which shall remain in office under the chairmanship ofVeit Koester (Denmark) until COP-4.

During the closing plenary, the Western Europe and Others Group (WEOG) confirmedDenmark as the Chair and nominated New Zealand to the Bureau. The African Groupnominated Mauritius and Ethiopia.


The Secretariat introduced documents addressing cooperation between the CBD and otherbiodiversity-related conventions, such as the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the BonnConvention on Migratory Species (CMS) and CITES, and related processes such as theCSD (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/29, 30, 35, Inf. 21, 22, 38-41, 52 and 55) on Monday, 11November. The reports acknowledge the need to facilitate an exchange of informationand experience among related conventions, harmonize reporting requirements andcoordinate programmes of work. While Memoranda of Cooperation have been formedbetween the CBD and Ramsar, CITES and CMS, the reports encourage cooperation withother biodiversity-related agreements. KENYA urged that implementation of allbiodiversity-related conventions be mutually supportive. FRANCE said synergy withother biodiversity-related instruments will prevent fragmentation of financial resources.POLAND, NORWAY and CUBA called for more emphasis on regional cooperation andconventions. AUSTRALIA, MOROCCO, MALAWI and others stressed the need toavoid duplication with other related agreements.

CAPE VERDE, TANZANIA and TUNISIA called for cooperation with the climatechange and desertification conventions, and with JAMAICA, enhanced cooperation withUNCLOS. AUSTRIA recommended cooperation with the Intergovernmental Panel onSustainable Mountain Development.

Delegates reviewed the draft decision on the issue in the COW on Tuesday, 12November. The EU, working in collaboration with the G-77/CHINA, proposed a set ofamendments calling for: consultations with the GEF to facilitate funding for projectsinvolving the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands and migratory species, andenhanced cooperation with the Scientific Council of the CMS. These recommendationswere incorporated in the final draft.

The decision (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.9): welcomes progress made in the development ofcooperative arrangements with relevant conventions; calls for the Ramsar Convention toact as a lead partner in the implementation of activities under the CBD related towetlands; urges national biodiversity plans and strategies to incorporate the conservationand sustainable use of wetlands and migratory species and their habitats; and encouragescooperation with the conventions on climate change and desertification.


Delegates discussed Agenda Item 19 in the COW on Monday, 11 November, withdocument UNEP/CBD/COP/3/31 as the basis for discussion. Many delegations called forpriority-setting of the work programmes of the COP and SBSTTA. AUSTRALIA said theCOP should set a well-focused medium-term work programme that takes into account itsfinancial implications. JAMAICA called for streamlining activities to enable developingcountries to participate more fully. The EU called for a distinction between items thatonly require additional information and those for which clear recommendations areneeded.

The decision on the medium-term programme of work (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.19) takesnote of the provisional agenda for COP-4 and SBSTTA-3 and establishes a reviewprocess of COP operations. During consideration of the draft decision in the COW, theEU proposal for a new paragraph requesting the SBSTTA Bureau to focus the agenda ofSBSTTA-3 and to submit it to the Parties sufficiently in advance of the meeting wasaccepted. The decision invites views on the operations of the COP, the review of theprogramme of work for 1995-1997 and a longer-term programme of work, a synthesis ofwhich will be considered at COP-4. The draft submitted to the COW invited views fromParties, States not Parties and other relevant institutions. The G-77/CHINA, supported bythe EU, proposed deleting the reference to States not Parties. The US said the widestpossible range of views should be solicited. Delegates agreed to AUSTRALIA’ssuggestion to replac this term with “participants.”


Introducing the item in Plenary, the Executive Secretary presented the Report of theAdministration of the Convention (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/32). Describing the past year as“formative and transitional,” he noted that the Secretariat was acquiring the in-housecapacity to carry out its functions and that the host country agreement with Canada hadrecently been signed by the Executive Director of UNEP. Administrative matters wereconsidered by a Working Group on the medium-term programme of work and budgetunder the chairmanship of John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda).

The group closely monitored draft agreements emerging from the other consultative andworking groups in order to consider their budgetary implications and sought to respond tothe COP’s instructions for budgetary requirements. The group drafted two decisions onadministrative matters.

INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS: According to the decision onInstitutional Arrangements (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.23), the COP invites the ExecutiveDirector of UNEP and the Executive Secretary of the CBD to develop proceduresregarding the functioning of the Permanent Secretariat and to clarify and make moreeffective their respective roles and responsibilities, making an effort to conclude by 27January 1997. The decision further states that these procedures should provide for themanagerial autonomy, efficiency and administrative accountability of the Secretariat, andshould, “as far as possible and where appropriate,” follow the Personnel, Financial andCommon Services arrangements agreed between the UN and the Framework Conventionon Climate Change (FCCC).

BUDGET OF THE TRUST FUND FOR THE CBD: The proposed budget of theTrust Fund for the Convention was presented to the opening Plenary in documentUNEP/CBD/COP/3/33. The Working Group separated the budget into three parts: (A) thebiennium Budget of the Trust Fund; (B) a special trust fund for additional voluntarycontributions to the core budget for approved activities; and (C) a special trust fund forfacilitating participation of Parties from developing countries, in particular LDCs andsmall island developing States (SIDS). The Executive Director of UNEP is requested toestablish the special trust funds, for which the Financial Rules for the Administration ofthe Trust Fund for the CBD and other arrangements for that Fund shall apply mutatismutandis. The Executive Secretary may make transfers from one budget line toanother in accordance with the Rules and Regulations of the UN. Part A incorporatesfunding from savings from previous years, and includes funding for: servicing ofworkshops on Article 8(j) and the CHM; a meeting of marine and coastal experts; thereview of the financial mechanism; and SBSTTA and biosafety meetings. Part Bidentifies voluntary contributions already received as well as activities approved but notyet funded. The final decision is contained in UNEP/CBD/COP/L.24 and Corr.1.


During the Ministerial Segment, which was held on 13-14 November, delegates heardover 80 statements from governments, IGOs and NGOs, 30 of which were delivered byministers. COP-3 President Maria Julia Alsogaray, UNEP Executive Director ElizabethDowdeswell and Argentine President Carlos Menem also spoke.

A number of developing country ministers reiterated the need to provide financialresources in a timely and predictable manner and characterized the lack of compliance bydeveloped countries with Article 20 on financial resources as the primary hindrance toimplementation. Some developing countries said the short-term needs of human existenceoften take precedence over long-term sustainability, and many emphasized that new andadditional financial resources are needed. Several developing countries also stressed thatlittle has been done to transfer technology, while some said the CHM could facilitatetransfers. Some developed countries, including JAPAN and FRANCE, also noted theduty of developed countries to assist developing countries.

Many delegations commented on the GEF and other multilateral agencies. URUGUAY,WESTERN SAMOA, TOGO, ALGERIA, BRAZIL, CHAD, CHINA and CUBA calledfor simplified procedures for funding from the GEF. Developing countries also called for:a review of multilateral agencies to improve the quality of investments; making moreresources available for African projects; and expanding GEF funding beyond enablingactivities. Capacity building was highlighted by a number of countries, such asLESOTHO, who noted that it should involve not just technology transfer, but alsoinformation sharing, awareness building and improvement of indigenous capacity.

Many countries commented on the implementation of Article 8(j), with some recognizingthat information could soon be lost forever as cultures are degraded. The GROUP OFINDIGENOUS PEOPLES called for an immediate moratorium on bioprospecting andsaid that indigenous peoples were not satisfied with the decision taken by COP-3 onArticle 8(j). IPR was addressed by the EUROPEAN COMMUNITY, who called forexploring the possibility of developing IPR systems and contractual mechanisms to bettervalue indigenous knowledge. Developing countries, such as NICARAGUA, said thatproviding access to biotechnology and establishing IPR will allow for the development ofa new international framework. The US and POLAND noted that broad and free access togenetic resources was fundamental to food supplies.

Some delegations commented on the efforts toward a biosafety protocol and expressedconfidence that an agreement will be reached soon despite the diversity of views onstructure and content. The EUROPEAN COMMUNITY said delegates must negotiatediligently to complete a protocol on biosafety by the end of 1998 with “adequateinformation sharing” and advance informed agreement. A number of States also stressedthe importance of marine and coastal issues, calling for: seriously addressing the concernsof SIDS, with appropriate financial mechanisms; integrated management of coastal zonesand other marine environment management; and the sustainable use of coral reefs andreef ecosystems.

Delegations expressed a range of views on the relationship of CBD to other conventionsand agreements. Delegates noted the link between the CBD and the IPF, and SBSTTA’svital role in implementation of the SIDS Programme of Action. ITALY highlighted ill-defined relations with other conventions and called for immediate clarification andreorientation between the CBD and existing agreements in the areas of conservation,agriculture and the seas. DENMARK noted that the CBD’s broad objectives require closecooperation. Delegates also urged sending a strong message to the UN General Assemblyto take biodiversity considerations seriously. CANADA challenged other developedcountries to contribute to a roster of volunteers to be put at the disposal of developingcountries to provide additional assistance in preparation for the next COP.

HUNGARY stressed the importance of national legislation for implementation. Manyothers highlighted their specific national strategies, plans and programmes. Theydescribed the development of new environmental laws, as well as sustainable policies onforests, fisheries and the use of biodiversity. Some countries are implementing legislationon access to genetic resources, as well as national policies on biodiversity, IPR regimesand the rights of indigenous and local communities. Other speakers highlighted theinitiation of data collection programmes to assess domestic biological resources, bio-monitoring programmes in protected areas and development of national biodiversity datamanagement systems. Some delegates noted the preparation of national strategies, theestablishment of national ecological reserves, and the initiation of decentralizedenvironmental management strategies.

Intergovernmental organizations, such as UNESCO, UNCTAD and FAO, describedprogrammes undertaken to assist the implementation of the CBD. NGO statements weregiven by IUCN, the LATIN AMERICAN NGO FORUM and the COOPERATIVATECNICO SCIENTIFICA DI BASE.


COP-3 President Maria Julia Alsogaray (Argentina) opened the closing Plenary andintroduced consideration of Agenda Item 21, Report of the Credentials Committee.Delegates adopted the report, which included a number of recommendations, includingthe suggestion that the Executive Secretary distribute a sample credential letter prior toCOP-4. Delegates approved the proposal that Slovakia host COP-4 from 4-15 May 1998.

COW Chair Louis Currat (Switzerland) introduced Agenda Item 24, Adoption of theReport of COP-3. He first introduced the draft decisions that were approved in the COW,as contained in UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.3-13 and L.15-20. The texts were adopted.

Mohammad Reza Salamat (Iran), Chair of the Working Group on financial issues,introduced the three remaining draft decisions from his group: Memorandum ofUnderstanding (L.21); Additional Guidance to the Financial Mechanism (L.22); andGuidelines for the Review of the Effectiveness of the Financial Mechanism (L.25). Anumber of typographical errors were corrected and the texts were adopted.

Rapporteur Raed Bani Hani (Jordan) introduced the Report of COP-3(UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.1, Add.1, and L.2), which was adopted. The following documentswere adopted next by the Plenary: Pending Issues from COP-2(UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.14); Administrative Matters (L.23); Budget of the Trust Fund forthe CBD (L.24 and Corr.1); Use of Languages in SBSTTA Meetings (L.27); andConvening of Regional and Subregional Meetings (L.28).

The Tribute to the Government and People of Argentina (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/L.26) wasadopted by acclamation.

The CHAIR announced that the Chair of SBSTTA-3 will be A.H. Zakri (Indonesia). Thecurrent SBSTTA Chair, Peter Johan Schei (Norway), who will hold his position until theSBSTTA-3 meeting in September 1997, stated that he felt assured that the goodcooperation that he has developed with SBSTTA will continue until the next COP.

In its closing statement, the G-77/CHINA stated that although in some areas COP-3 hadnot made as much progress as some had wished for, in general the COP had made greatprogress toward CBD implementation. He noted that all of the paper that had beenconsumed during the meeting would be recycled. The EU noted that it is now up toParties to fulfill the tasks that had been decided upon, and stated that EU member Stateshave pledged to accomplish this. CANADA was pleased that COP-3 had accepted thedecision to hold an intersessional meeting on the concerns of indigenous and localcommunities, and stated that his Government would give every possible assistance to theSecretariat in facilitating intersessional activities.


As the Convention on Biological Diversity's Conference of the Parties (COP) moved intoits third year, it further refined its internal mechanisms as well as its role vis--vis otherrelevant international instruments and processes. In terms of internal COP mechanismsand processes, delegates discussed the need to focus the work programme, and took someaction to exert its authority over the interim financial mechanism and the administrationof the Permanent Secretariat. Delegates at COP-3 also addressed the question of how tointerface with a variety of other international fora, including those related to IPR, forestsand Agenda 21. These two themes were played out in a number of issue areas, as outlinedin the following brief analysis of COP-3.

INTERNAL MECHANISMS: Procedural issues, including the number ofworking groups and informal consultations as well as the ambitious agenda, were thefocus of many discussions both inside and outside the Parque Norte conference rooms. Inits resolve to avoid the COP-2 experience of a proliferation of working groups, COP-3originally established only two. The number of issues on the agenda, however, requiredadditional deliberations outside the COW discussions. There was widespread concernabout the process used to redress this situation: informal consultations conducted at theinitiative of the Secretariat. Delegates found that it was difficult to fully participate giventhe lack of transparency in this consultation process. They further raised the concern thatthe process of consolidating positions is fundamentally political rather thanadministrative and, therefore, should fall within the purview of governments.Nonetheless, given the scope of the agenda, delegates admitted they would have found itdifficult to contribute to negotiations on all issues, even through working groups thatwere open and pre-scheduled. In response to the problem of agenda overload, andpossibly leading to a response to the problem of working group overload, the COP set inplace a procedure to gather views regarding COP operations and participants’ views onthe programme of work, and prepare the way for a COP-4 review of these issues.

The decisions taken regarding the financial mechanism and the UNEP-CBD PermanentSecretariat relationship also illustrate how the COP grappled with the need to manage itsinternal procedures. Although some believed the MOU was not necessary because theGEF is already operating according to COP guidelines, many delegates were pleased thatthe relationship between the two organizations was formalized. COP-3’s intentionalexamination of its decisions to identify additional guidance for the financial mechanismwas another way in which the meeting defined its expectations for GEF performance.Last year the GEF was simply presented with all COP-2 decisions, a procedure somenoted did not provide adequate guidance to the financial mechanism. The number ofpriority issues for the GEF increased as a result of COP-3’s decision and some noted thatwhile the process was useful, GEF guidance remains broad. In response to this situation,delegates turned their attention to the COP-4 review of the financial mechanism. Manydelegates did not want to change existing guidance until after GEF performance based oncurrent guidance is comprehensively evaluated. The review process that COP-4 willundertake, based on the procedure established at COP-3, may conclude with action toimprove the effectiveness of the financial mechanism. Some hope the review would feedback into further discussions on the MOU and further assertion of COP authority over itsfinancial mechanism.

Difficulties that emerged during the last year in the relationship between the PermanentSecretariat and its UN institutional home, UNEP, including hiring decisions anddocument support, led to a COP-3 decision that provides for the two entities to developprocedures to clarify and enhance their respective roles by 27 January 1997. The decisionstates that procedures should provide for the managerial autonomy and efficiency of thePermanent Secretariat and ensure the administrative accountability of the ExecutiveSecretary to the COP. The parallel relationship between the UN and the FrameworkConvention on Climate Change (FCCC) on matters such as personnel and financing isnoted as an example to be followed, one that some have suggested affords the ExecutiveSecretary more flexibility and autonomy than do the existing CBD arrangements.

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS: COP-3’s consideration of several substantive issues,notably IPR and Article 8(j), agricultural and forest biodiversity, is indicative of theConvention’s aspiring role as a focal point among international treaties. The overarchingtheme during deliberations on many issues was engagement with other processes.

For example, many observers have speculated that the focus on IPR in the context of theCBD reflects a dissatisfaction among some delegations and NGOs with its treatmentunder the Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPs) sub-agreement to theGATT. Areas of concern include the absence of an IPR regime that recognizes traditionalknowledge, certain patent regimes regarding biotechnology-derived products, andwhether the WTO will consider the effect of global intellectual property regulations onthe conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. According to some delegations,there is an emerging consensus that, while the CBD will not be able to change the basicrules on IPR set down in the TRIPs agreement, it is appropriate for the CBD to have anopinion on environmental and socio-cultural aspects of IPR and to communicate thisopinion to relevant fora.

While the COP has yet to articulate agreed areas of concern under the WTO, this year'smeeting produced a watershed decision in its communication to World IntellectualProperty Organisation (WIPO) as it engages for the first time another forum on a specificIPR issue. The COP decision on IPR contains language “noting” the possibility thatWIPO may recommend international copyright protection for scientific databases. Whilethe choice of language is weakened from the original proposal calling on the ExecutiveSecretary to raise this issue with WIPO, the decision calls for “open and transparentevaluation” of the implications of the copyright proposal, which some developing countrydelegations fear could interfere with scientific and technical cooperation, createdifficulties in repatriating data, and complicate the exercise of the CBD’s third objectiveof equitable benefit-sharing. The CBD, with the weight of an internationally-ratifiedtreaty, may yet emerge as a significant influence on the activities of both WIPO and theWTO.

Delegates also sent a message to the upcoming session of the FAO Commission on PlantGenetic Resources for Food and Agriculture as it negotiates the revision of theInternational Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources in harmony with the CBD.Without expressing a preference for the legal status of a revised InternationalUndertaking, the decision does highlight the COP’s willingness to consider one of threeoptions in particular: a protocol on PGRFA under the CBD. Such a realization would notonly reinforce the COP’s position vis--vis the FAO, it would resolve the outstandingstatus of ex-situ collections acquired prior to the CBD’s entry into force.

The COP sent a message to yet another intergovernmental process, this time regardingforest biodiversity. During discussion of the CBD’s relationship to the IntergovernmentalPanel on Forests (IPF), opinions differed on whether the draft decision on forestbiological diversity represents progress on forest biodiversity or a missed opportunity.The decision’s instructions on common priorities and advice to the IPF do little toelucidate the respective roles of the CBD and the IPF in forest biodiversity, or clarify theworking relationship between them. To date, the CBD has been deferential in expressingthe priority that forest biodiversity should be given in the IPF. Some participants arguethat rather than reacting to the IPF agenda, the COP should be more assertive inproviding guidance to the IPF, particularly as the last of the scheduled IPF sessions drawsnear. Strengthening the CBD’s relationship to the IPF could have an impact on anydecisions regarding extension of the IPF or the establishment of a similar forum forinternational debate on forest issues, as was alluded to at IPF-3 in September.

LOOKING FORWARD: As the COP continues to mature, a number of ideashave been put forward in an effort to improve its future operation. Some delegatessuggested that one way to better manage implementation of the CBD might be to addresscross-sectoral issues in the context of sectoral or thematic ones. For instance, technologytransfer, finance and incentives could be examined in relation to inland water ecosystems.An example of the COP’s honing of its work programme is apparent in the decision onthe meeting’s main thematic issue. Indeed, many delegates stated that the decision onagricultural biodiversity is both more focused and realistic than the Jakarta Mandate onMarine and Coastal Biodiversity. Its work programme clearly delineates action requiredof Parties and tasks to be carried out by the Secretariat. The decision places theresponsibility for implementation squarely with governments — a distinction that hasbeen blurred in the past — and, in so doing, may the serve as a model for future decisionson sectoral issues addressed by the COP.

Another possible solution is to refer issues to subsidiary bodies. This approach hasalready proven fruitful in the case of biosafety. Based on terms of reference established atCOP-2, the Biosafety Working Group has already made progress on the development of abiosafety protocol, and what was among the most contentious substantive issues at COP-2 was transformed into a primarily procedural matter at COP-3.

With the Special Session of the UN General Assembly to review progress made inimplementing Agenda 21 scheduled for June 1997, it is appropriate and timely for theCBD to also engage in an exercise of self-assessment and re-orientation. As the finaldecision on the COP’<M>s input into the Special Session notes, biodiversity is a cross-cutting issue that interfaces with several different facets of Agenda 21, and therefore asubstantive review of progress made thus far under the CBD would certainly be integralto the objectives of the Special Session. However, due to the timing of the SpecialSession and COP-4, this could be a missed opportunity. COP-4 has been scheduled forMay 1998, six months later than previously anticipated, and thus the deadline forsubmission of the first national reports no longer coincides with the Special Session.Because the implementation of the CBD’s objectives will primarily occur at the nationallevel, a more substantive review of the progress of CBD implementation would bepossible if Parties have undertaken the exercise of assessing their own achievements athome. Therefore, the postponement of COP-4 will likely mean that CBD’s contributionto the Special Session will be less meaningful than it could have otherwise been.

However, COP-4 will provide an opportunity for further review, as it will be the first timethat national-level implementation of the Convention will be formally considered. At itsnext session, the COP will also conduct an internal review of its work programme and ofthe effectiveness of the financial mechanism. These dual processes will enable the COPto further organize and prioritize its agenda as well as clarify and reinforce the CBD’sposition vis--vis relevant international regimes.


FOURTH CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE CBD: COP-4 isscheduled for 4-15 May 1998 in Bratislava, Slovakia. SBSTTA-3 is scheduled forSeptember 1997. The venue is to be determined. For more information contact the CBDSecretariat, World Trade Centre, 413 St. Jacques Street, Office 630, Montreal, Quebec,Canada H2Y 1N9; tel: +1 (514) 288-2220; fax: +1 (514) 288-6588;

FIRST MEETING OF EXPERTS ON MARINE AND COASTALBIODIVERSITY: Indonesia has offered to host the first Meeting of Experts, whichis expected to meet in March 1997. The exact date and location is to be determined. Formore information, contact Ina Pranoto at the CBD Secretariat.

AD HOC EXPERT GROUP ON BIOSAFETY: The Ad HocExpert Group on Biosafety is scheduled to meet from 12-16 May and from 13-17October 1997. The venue will most likely be Montreal. For more information, contact theCBD Secretariat.

CBD-RELATED EXPERT GROUP MEETINGS AND WORKSHOPS: TheNetherlands is planning to organize a workshop on the cooperation between the FAO andthe Secretariat on agro-biodiversity during the first half of 1997. The Netherlands alsoplans to host a meeting for representatives of the Secretariat, the RAMSAR Bureau andWetlands International in order to identify inputs to the Secretariat’s preparations forSBSTTA-3 and COP-4. Uruguay is planning meeting on access to genetic resources inthe context of Mercosur. The Secretariat is also planning workshops on the clearing-house mechanism and on Article 8(j). For more information, contact the CBD Secretariat.


FOURTH CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE CBD: COP-4 isscheduled for 4-15 May 1998 in Bratislava, Slovakia. SBSTTA-3 is scheduled forSeptember 1997. The venue is to be determined. For more information contact the CBDSecretariat, World Trade Centre, 413 St. Jacques Street, Office 630, Montreal, Quebec,Canada H2Y 1N9; tel: +1 (514) 288-2220; fax: +1 (514) 288-6588;

FIRST MEETING OF EXPERTS ON MARINE AND COASTALBIODIVERSITY: Indonesia has offered to host the first Meeting of Experts, whichis expected to meet in March 1997. The exact date and location is to be determined. Formore information, contact Ina Pranoto at the CBD Secretariat.

AD HOC EXPERT GROUP ON BIOSAFETY: The Ad HocExpert Group on Biosafety is scheduled to meet from 12-16 May and from 13-17October 1997. The venue will most likely be Montreal. For more information, contact theCBD Secretariat.

CBD-RELATED EXPERT GROUP MEETINGS AND WORKSHOPS: TheNetherlands is planning to organize a workshop on the cooperation between the FAO andthe Secretariat on agro-biodiversity during the first half of 1997. The Netherlands alsoplans to host a meeting for representatives of the Secretariat, the RAMSAR Bureau andWetlands International in order to identify inputs to the Secretariat’s preparations forSBSTTA-3 and COP-4. Uruguay is planning meeting on access to genetic resources inthe context of Mercosur. The Secretariat is also planning workshops on the clearing-house mechanism and on Article 8(j). For more information, contact the CBD Secretariat.


THIRD EXTRAORDINARY SESSION OF THE FAO COMMISSION ONGENETIC RESOURCES: The FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Foodand Agriculture will meet in Rome for its Third Extraordinary Session from 9-12December 1996 to further negotiations on the revision of the International Undertaking inline with the CBD. The session will be preceded by a two-day meeting of the workinggroup. For more information, see the FAO Home Page at

SEVENTH SESSION OF THE FAO COMMISSION ON GENETIC RESOURCESFOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE: This meeting is tentatively scheduled for May1997 at FAO Headquarters in Rome. For information see the FAO Home Page at Also see


CSD: The Intersessional meeting for the CSD, which will address preparationsfor the Special Session of the UN General Assembly, is scheduled for 24 February - 7March 1997. The fifth session of CSD is scheduled for 7-25 April 1997. The SpecialSession of the UN General Assembly to review implementation of Agenda 21 is currentlyscheduled for 23-27 June 1997. For information on the CSD contact: Andrey Vasilyev,UN Division for Sustainable Development; tel: +1 (212) 963-5949; fax: +1 (212) 963-4260; e-mail: Also see .

FOURTH SESSION OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ONFORESTS: IPF-4 will be held in New York in February 1997. For more informationcontact: Elizabeth Barsk-Rundquist; tel: +1 (212) 963-3263; fax: +1 (212) 963-1795; e-mail: Also see


GEF COUNCIL: The proposed schedule of GEF Council Meetings for 1997includes: 18-19 May, NGO Consultation; 20-22 May, GEF Council Meeting; and 2-3November, NGO Consultation; 4-6 November, GEF Council Meeting. For moreinformation contact the GEF Secretariat, 1818 H Street, NW, Washington, DC 20433,USA; tel: +1 (202) 473-5787; fax: +1(202) 522-2632. Also see


INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP ON INTEGRATED APPLICATION OFSUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES: Canada, Japan, Mexico,Malaysia, FAO and the ITTO will jointly host this workshop from 22-25 November 1996in Kochi, Japan. For information contact: Takeshi Goto, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestryand Fisheries, 1-2-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-Ku Tokyo 100, Japan; tel: +81-3-3502-8111(6212) or +81-3-3591-8449; fax: +81-3-3593-9565; or David Drake, Natural ResourcesCanada, 351 St. Joseph Blvd., Hull, Quebec, K1A 1G5, Canada, tel: +1 (819) 997-1107,ext. 1947; fax: +1 (819) 994-3461; e-mail:

WORLD COMMISSION ON FORESTS AND SUSTAINABLEDEVELOPMENT: The independent WCFSD will convene its third regional publichearing, for the Latin American and Caribbean Region, from 1-6 December 1996 in SanJose, Costa Rica. For more information contact: WCFSD Secretariat, Geneva ExecutiveCenter, C.P. 51, 1219 Chatelaine, Geneva, Switzerland; tel: +(41 22) 979-9165/69; fax:+(41 22) 979-9060; e-mail: Also see .

SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: TheSummit of the Americas on Sustainable Development will be held in Santa Cruz, Boliviaon 7-8 December 1996. For information contact Fernando Romero, Special Ambassadorof the Government of Bolivia, tel: +591-2-430-626; fax: +591-2-431-006. Also contactSecretariado de la Cumbre, e-mail: Also see . From South America, see

INTERNATIONAL MEETING ON INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES ANDFOREST DWELLER COMMUNITIES AND SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OFFORESTS: This initiative, led by Consejo Indigena de la Cuenca Amazonica(COICA) and sponsored by Denmark and Colombia, will be held in Leticia, Colombia,from 9-13 December 1996. The workshop will address concerns raised under IPFprogramme element I.3, traditional forest-related knowledge. Contact Gloria Migueles,International Alliance of the Indigenous-Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forests,International Technical Secretariat, 14 Rudolf Place, Miles Street, London SW8 1RP,UK; tel: +44-171-587-373; fax: +44-171-793-8686.

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON DIVERSITY AS A RESOURCE: Theconference, “Diversity as a Resource: Relations between Cultural Diversity andEnvironment-Oriented Society,” is scheduled for 6-10 April 1997 in Rome and will besupported by UNESCO, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and others. Theconference will strive to draft an innovative research strategy by defining theinterdisciplinary parameters of relevance to the relation between cultural andenvironmental diversity. For information contact Cooperative Tecnico Scientifica DeBase a R.L. (COBASE), Via Vitorchiano 23, 000189 Rome, Italy; tel: +39 6 333-0078 or+39 6 333-8552; fax: +39 6 333-0081.

ELEVENTH WORLD FORESTRY CONGRESS: The Congress, with the theme“Forestry for Sustainable Development: Towards the 21st Century,” is scheduled for 13-22 October 1997 in Antalya, Turkey. The Congress will consider: position papersprepared by specialists; special papers that correspond to each one of the topics of theCongress and voluntary papers. For more information contact: Luis Santiago Botero,FAO, Forestry Department, Via delle Terme de Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy; tel: +396/5225 5088; fax: +39 6/5225 5137; e-mail: Also see


CONVENTION TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION: The next session of theINCD (INCD-10) is scheduled to take place from 6-16 January 1997 at UN Headquartersin New York. INCD-11 is scheduled from 18-22 August 1997 in New York. COP-1 iscurrently scheduled for 29 September -1 October 1997 in Rome. For more information,contact the CCD Interim Secretariat; e-mail: Also see theINCD World Wide Web site at

CITES: Zimbabwe will host the CITES Conference of the Parties from 9-20June 1997 in Harare. For more information contact: the CITES Secretariat, GenevaExecutive Centre, 15 Chemin de Anmones, CP 456, CH-1219 Chtelaine-Geneva,Switzerland; tel: +(41 22) 979-9139/40; fax: (+41 22) 797-3417; e-mail: see or

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