Daily report for 17 April 2002


The Ministerial roundtable discussion met in the morning and afternoon to discuss the CBDs contribution to the WSSD and COP-6s priority issues. Working Group I (WG-I) met briefly in the afternoon to review progress on forests. Working Group II considered Conference Room Papers (CRPs) on: education and public awareness; cooperation with other conventions, international organizations and initiatives; the strategic plan; Article 8(j); and implementation and operations of the Convention. Contact groups on forest biodiversity and financial resources and mechanism also met.


Approximately 120 Ministers and heads of delegations attended the Ministerial roundtable. Wim Kok, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, stressed links between poverty eradication and sustainable development, and the need for immediate and concrete action to achieve the WSSDs goals. Representatives from the parallel Youth Conference emphasized deforestation and restoration of primary forests, opposed patenting of genetic resources, and noted Agenda 21s commitment to youth participation. COP-6 President Geke Faber (the Netherlands) noted COP-6s progress, including adoption of the Bonn guidelines, the guiding principles on invasive alien species, and the strategic plan. CBD Executive Secretary Hamdallah Zedan underscored the impacts of trade, agriculture, lack of partnerships and fragmented decision-making on biodiversity loss. President Faber invited comments on the draft Ministerial declaration.

Ministers thanked the Dutch government for hosting the meeting. Highlighting the CBDs role for achieving sustainable development and the need for a strong commitment, they agreed on sending a clear message to the WSSD through a concise and focused declaration. Many Ministers stressed the link between poverty alleviation, biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. One country suggested listing causes of environmental degradation, including poverty, unsustainable consumption and production patterns, unequal distribution of wealth, external debt, and global trade, while another emphasized the effects of war.

Several Ministers underscored integrating biodiversity into all policies, with some requesting CBD observer status in the WTO, and others supporting language emphasizing the cross-cutting nature of biodiversity. One country emphasized basing environmental policies on proper scientific data. Many Ministers supported a 2010 year-target to stop and reverse biodiversity loss, with developing countries and small island developing States emphasizing their specific needs. Several countries emphasized the importance of coral reefs and one country suggested developing restoration programmes as a 2010-target. Marine and coastal biodiversity was suggested as a priority for COP-8. Some countries called for regulation of use of genetic resources. One country condemned biological weapons. Countries urged ratification of the Biosafety Protocol.

Many Ministers supported referencing ethics in the declaration. Several countries called for identification of responsibilities, with one emphasizing sharing the costs of biodiversity loss. Ministers emphasized technical and technological transfer and capacity building and creation of partnerships, and called for synergies with other international organizations, including cooperation with the UNFF, UNCCD and UNFCCC. Some countries shared domestic and transboundary experiences on forests, invasive alien species and protected areas.

Ministers supported the GEFs replenishment and many called for additional financial resources for developing countries and economies in transition. One country suggested stronger wording on official development assistance targets. Several Ministers emphasized the need for public participation and involvement of society as a whole, including indigenous people, youth and women. Some Ministers called for an international legal instrument on ABS and recognition of community rights. Education, awareness raising and sharing of knowledge were also noted. Ministers called for reference to a detailed action-oriented forest work programme, with specific targets and mechanisms for implementation and monitoring through a working group. Some countries also suggested reference to illegal logging and trade in bio-resources. Several countries called for holistic forest management, commitments to stop deforestation and evaluation of non-timber forest services. One country suggested that market prices should reflect the value of biodiversity.

Many Ministers supported an offer by Malaysia to host COP-7 in 2004. President Faber closed the meeting and suggested informal consultations to resolve outstanding issues on forests. A morning session will be held to consider a revised declaration.


EDUCATION AND PUBLIC AWARENESS: Chair Elaine Fisher (Jamaica) welcomed comments on UNEP/CBD/COP/6/ WG.II/CRP.8. NORWAY requested a funding provision for the programme element on capacity building. With this and other minor amendments, delegates adopted the document.

COOPERATION WITH OTHER CONVENTIONS, INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND INITIATIVES: Delegates discussed UNEP/CBD/COP/6/WG.II/CRP.4/Rev.1 and agreed to change the deadline on submitting views regarding cooperation between the scientific subsidiary bodies of the CBD and the UNFCCC to 30 May 2002. TURKEY proposed adding agricultural biodiversity to cooperation with the UNFCCC, and the EU proposed a new section highlighting cooperation with CITES. Delegates also added preambular language on cooperation with conventions and organizations referenced in other COP-6 decisions.

On reference to the Biosafety Protocol and WTO agreements, delegates agreed to emphasize the need for mutual supportiveness. Delegates discussed language on referencing WIPO and work on ABS and Article 8(j) and agreed to reference intellectual property issues arising from ABS and Article 8(j). Delegates then adopted the CRP.

STRATEGIC PLAN: Delegates addressed UNEP/CBD/COP/ 6/WG.II/CRP.7. Contact group Co-Chair David Brackett (Canada) highlighted a pending issue regarding the review of implementation, noting two options under the section on review and alternative decision language. Many delegates supported the decision language, which requests the Executive Secretary to develop a proposal for future evaluation of implementation progress for consideration at an inter-sessional meeting. ARGENTINA, AUSTRALIA, BRAZIL and CHILE opposed the text, stating that implementation rests upon national efforts. Following informal consultations, delegates agreed to request the Executive Secretary to provide information at an inter-sessional meeting, for consideration of the future evaluation of progress in the implementation of the Convention and the strategic plan. The objective on a public awareness strategy for the Biosafety Protocol was also amended upon AUSTRALIAs suggestion, and the strategic plan was adopted. The NGO CAUCUS highlighted the lack of a vision statement and of in situ conservation, and stressed the need for an effective review system.

ARTICLE 8(j): Delegates addressed UNEP/CBD/COP/6/ WG.II/CRP.9. Regarding bracketed language on prior informed consent (PIC) of indigenous and local communities, WG-II Chair Elaine Fisher (Jamaica) introduced a proposal by Australia, Canada, Jamaica, Malaysia, New Zealand and the US stating that where a national legal regime requires consultation or PIC, the assessment process should consider whether such consultation has taken place or such PIC has been obtained. COLOMBIA called for the full and effective participation of indigenous communities as the basis of their PIC. The EU with COLOMBIA, ECUADOR, NORWAY and the INTERNATIONAL INDIGENOUS FORUM ON BIODIVERSITY maintained the principle of unrestricted PIC.

Due to concerns of several Latin American countries regarding traditional knowledge databases, delegates agreed to examine the feasibility of establishing mechanisms to protect traditional knowledge. CANADA objected and proposed deleting the provision.

SWITZERLAND, supported by CANADA, proposed clarifying preambular language regarding IPR and ABS, the Doha Declaration and the TRIPS Agreement, and adding explicit reference to TRIPS Article 71 (Review and Amendment). Opposed by NICARAGUA and GABON, SWITZERLAND proposed introducing the concept of benefit-sharing instead of compensation.

The EU and CANADA opposed holding two intersessional meetings of the Working Group on Article 8j. ARGENTINA proposed financing of regional and national workshops. CANADA recommended that WIPO address disclosure of origin and dispute settlement regarding IPR. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION, supported by TURKEY, introduced reference to small indigenous groups into the outline of the composite report.

Chair Fisher convened a "Friends of the Chair" group to address outstanding issues.

IMPLEMENTATION AND OPERATIONS OF THE CONVENTION: Delegates considered UNEP/CBD/COP/6/ WG.II/CRP.2/Rev.2. LATVIA and the EU supported, while ARGENTINA, AUSTRALIA and CANADA opposed, retaining a bracketed provision on proposals for a system to monitor CBD implementation. Delegates decided to repeat agreed language from the strategic plan stating that the Executive Secretary would provide information at an inter-sessional meeting. With these and other minor amendments, delegates adopted the CRP.


FOREST BIODIVERSITY: A contact group met in the morning, and after reporting back on progress to a brief afternoon session of WG-I, it continued its work in the evening. On a proposal to highlight a subset of the work programme's activities for initial efforts at the regional and international levels, some delegates said that international actions should be initiated on the basis of countries' priorities, arguing that the proposal prejudges national priority setting. Delegates finally agreed to request the Executive Secretary to initiate a number of actions to address "initial focus areas which are identified as important first steps towards implementation of regional and international activities" of the work programme.

Delegates debated at length language establishing an ad hoc technical expert group on forests as part of a follow-up process to the work programme. Delegates did not agree on the process, timing or duration of the group, the scope of its tasks or whether it would report to SBSTTA or directly to the COP. The issue of finance and a proposed target for the work programme also remained unresolved.

FINANCIAL RESOURCES AND MECHANISM: Delegates addressed a Chairs text on additional financial resources and decided that the Executive Secretary should take the lead over the GEF to develop a global initiative on banking and biodiversity, and gather information regarding conservation trust funds and negative impacts of external debt. Delegates agreed that the GEF should make information on biodiversity investments available and explore co-financing and other creative financing modalities, while the OECD should provide data on financial flows relating to the CBD. They deleted reference to the Conservation Finance Alliance and assessment of financial needs of developing countries.

In the evening, delegates accepted revised preambular text on additional financial resources to implement the strategic plan and on welcoming the outcome of the UN International Conference on Financing for Development. The group decided that the Executive Secretary should: address donor coordination; explore cooperation on the need to centralize information on biodiversity-related funding activities; and follow up on WSSD outcomes relevant to additional financial resources. Delegates agreed to address funding modalities for the preparation of national and thematic reports in the decision on the financial mechanism, and delete language on innovative and creative measures for CBD implementation. Regarding bracketed language on incentives and subsidies, the group agreed to reference positive incentives and their performance, as well as perverse incentives and ways and means for their removal or mitigation.

Delegates then addressed the draft decision on the financial mechanism. They agreed to use preambular language on the GEFs third replenishment from the decision on financial resources and to delete related operative language. Discussion continued in the late evening.


COP-6 overcame another significant hurdle with WG-IIs adoption of the strategic plan, although some wondered if the CBD process had buried its head in the sand. Critics pointed to a mission statement that continues to tolerate biodiversity loss combined with the evident lack of willingness by many to review progress in this regard.

After slow discussions on forests, some attributed comparatively rapid, though temporary, progress in the evening to Ministerial pressure on some delegations to address the forests and not the trees of the draft text.


MINISTERIAL ROUNDTABLE: The Ministerial Roundtable will convene at 8:30 am to consider the Ministerial declaration.

MULTI-STAKEHOLDER DIALOGUE: The Multi-stakeholder dialogue will start at 10:00 am in the Prins Willem Alexander Hall.

WORKING GROUP I: WG-I will review progress on forest biodiversity [time and place to be announced].

WORKING GROUP II: WG-II will consider remaining CRPs on Article 8(j), cooperation with other conventions, contribution to the ten-year review of Agenda 21, and financial resources and mechanism, as well as the longer-term programme of work [time and place to be announced].

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