Summary report, 2–13 July 2007
CBD SBSTTA 12 and 2nd meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Review of Implementation (WGRI 2)
The twelfth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 12) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the second meeting of the CBD Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Review of Implementation (WGRI 2) were held at the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) headquarters in Paris, France, from 2-13 July 2007.
As the first intersessional meeting since the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the CBD in March 2006, SBSTTA 12 addressed: strategic issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, including improving SBSTTA’s effectiveness; and scientific and technical issues of relevance to the implementation of the target to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss, focusing on biodiversity and climate change, and dry and sub-humid lands. SBSTTA 12 also conducted in-depth reviews of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) and the second edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO 2), and considered the new and emerging issue of liquid biofuel production. SBSTTA 12 adopted eight recommendations on these issues, which will be forwarded to COP 9.
For its part, WGRI 2 focused on an in-depth review of the implementation of the CBD Strategic Plan, financial matters, and other substantive matters. Delegates adopted five recommendations on: the implementation of goals 2 and 3 of the Strategic Plan, namely national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs), and capacity building, access to and transfer of technology and technology cooperation; options and a draft strategy for resource mobilization; opportunities for streamlining guidance provided to the Global Environment Facility (GEF); preparation of GBO 3; and operations of the Convention. As delegates were leaving the UNESCO headquarters on Friday, 13 July, they expressed satisfaction with SBSTTA 12’s outcomes on the linkages between biodiversity and climate change, and the procedure for addressing new and emerging issues. They also highlighted WGRI 2’s recommendations on NBSAPs and streamlining guidance to the GEF, and welcomed a frank exchange of views on the issue of biofuel production and a future resource mobilization strategy.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CBD
The CBD, negotiated under the auspices of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), was adopted on 22 May 1992, and entered into force on 29 December 1993. There are currently 190 parties to the Convention, which aims to promote the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.
The COP is the governing body of the Convention. It is assisted by SBSTTA, which is mandated, under CBD Article 25, to provide the COP with advice relating to the Convention’s implementation. The WGRI was established by COP 7, with the mandate to address a range of implementation-related issues, including: progress in the implementation of the Convention and the Strategic Plan and achievements leading up to the 2010 target, particularly at the national level; impacts and effectiveness of Convention processes and bodies; cooperation with other conventions, organizations and initiatives; stakeholder engagement; monitoring, reporting and evaluation processes; and means of identifying and overcoming obstacles to the effective implementation of the Convention.
COPs 1-4: At its first four meetings (November-December 1994, Nassau, the Bahamas; November 1995, Jakarta, Indonesia; November 1996, Buenos Aires, Argentina; and May 1998, Bratislava, Slovakia), the COP adopted decisions on, inter alia: the establishment of the Clearing-House Mechanism (CHM) and SBSTTA; the designation of the GEF as the interim financial mechanism; the designation of Montreal, Canada as the permanent location for the Secretariat; and cooperation with other biodiversity-related conventions. Thematic programmes of work were adopted on: inland water ecosystems; marine and coastal biodiversity; agricultural biodiversity; and forest biodiversity.
COP 5: At its fifth meeting (May 2000, Nairobi, Kenya), the COP adopted a work programme on dry and sub-humid lands, and decisions on access and benefit sharing (ABS), Article 8(j) (traditional knowledge), the ecosystem approach, sustainable use, biodiversity and tourism, invasive alien species, incentive measures, the Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI), and the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC). The COP also adopted further changes to improve the efficiency of the Convention’s operations, and requested the development of a Strategic Plan until 2010.
COP 6: At its sixth meeting (April 2002, The Hague, the Netherlands), the COP adopted the Strategic Plan for the CBD, in which parties committed themselves to a more effective and coherent implementation of the three objectives of the Convention and to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss. The 2010 target was supported by more specific goals and objectives, which address issues of global leadership and cooperation, national implementation, capacity building and stakeholder engagement. The parties decided that the Strategic Plan should be implemented through the CBD work programmes, NBSAPs and other activities, noting the need to develop better methods to evaluate progress in the implementation of the Convention and the Strategic Plan.
WSSD: The World Summit on Sustainable Development (August - September 2002, Johannesburg, South Africa) adopted the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, which endorsed the 2010 target in paragraph 44, highlighting, inter alia: integration of the objectives of the Convention into global, regional and national sectoral and cross-sectoral programmes and policies; effective synergies between the Convention and other multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs); and the contribution of all stakeholders to the implementation of the Convention’s objectives.
MYPOW: The Open-ended Intersessional Meeting on the Multi-year Programme of Work of the CBD COP up to 2010 (MYPOW-2010) (March 2003, Montreal, Canada) considered the WSSD outcome and, in assessing progress in achieving the 2010 target, made recommendations on national reporting processes, national implementation, review and evaluation. MYPOW-2010 also recommended that each COP through 2010 address progress in implementing the Strategic Plan and in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and consider refining mechanisms to support implementation.
COP 7: At its seventh meeting (February 2004, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), the COP adopted MYPOW-2010, and developed a preliminary framework for the future evaluation of progress in the implementation of the Strategic Plan. The framework identifies: seven focal areas for action; indicators for assessing progress towards the 2010 target at the global level; and goals and subsidiary targets to facilitate coherence in the work programmes and provide a flexible framework for setting national targets. The COP established the Working Group on Review of Implementation, and requested the Executive Secretary to inform the WGRI about ongoing cooperation between the major biodiversity-related organizations, and to explore options for a flexible framework, such as a global partnership on biodiversity, to enhance implementation through improved cooperation.
SBSTTA 10: At its tenth meeting (February 2005, Bangkok, Thailand), SBSTTA adopted a series of recommendations, including on the suitability of various indicators for an assessment of progress towards the 2010 target and the integration of global outcome-oriented targets into the CBD work programmes. SBSTTA 10 invited the WGRI to consider a revised operational plan for SBSTTA and assess progress towards the 2010 target.
WGRI 1: At its first meeting (September 2005, Montreal, Canada), the WGRI adopted recommendations on: implementation of the Convention and the Strategic Plan; the 2010 target; impacts and effectiveness of Convention processes and bodies; cooperation with other conventions, organizations and initiatives; stakeholder engagement; and monitoring, reporting and evaluation processes.
SBSTTA 11: At its eleventh meeting (November-December 2005, Montreal, Canada), SBSTTA reviewed the programmes of work on the GTI and biodiversity of dry and sub-humid lands, refined the goal and targets regarding ABS adopted by COP 7, and adopted recommendations on: sustainable use; synergy among activities addressing biodiversity, climate change, land degradation and desertification; and the MA.
COP 8: At its eighth meeting (March 2006, Curitiba, Brazil), the COP adopted decisions on, inter alia: island biodiversity; biodiversity of dry and sub-humid lands; ABS; Article 8(j) and related provisions; and communication, education and public awareness. Participants also addressed strategic issues for evaluating progress or supporting implementation, including: progress towards implementation of the Convention and its Strategic Plan; implications of the MA findings; review of the effectiveness and impacts of the Convention bodies, processes and mechanisms; scientific and technical cooperation and the CHM; technology transfer and cooperation; and cooperation with other conventions and private sector engagement. Participants also addressed a range of other substantive issues, including protected areas, incentive measures, and biodiversity and climate change.
SBSTTA 12 REPORT
On Monday, 2 July, SBSTTA 12 Chair Christian Prip (Denmark) opened the meeting, welcoming its focus on: the review of the application of the ecosystem approach; the linkages between climate change and biodiversity conservation; and the operationalization of the 2010 biodiversity target through initiatives such as the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC). He stressed SBSTTA 12’s role in effectuating the transition from policy-setting to improved implementation of the Convention and reported on recent meetings to that effect, including a brainstorming session of past, current and future SBSTTA Chairs, held on 24-25 July 2006, and a meeting of the Chairs of scientific advisory bodies of biodiversity-related conventions and other MEAs, held on 1 July 2007.
Citing examples of climate change impacts on species’ survival, ecosystem stability, culture and food security, CBD Executive Secretary Ahmed Djoghlaf urged delegates to prepare the scientific basis for addressing the linkages between biodiversity conservation and climate change. He underscored that partnerships among MEA scientific bodies are key to effectively addressing both challenges.
Bakary Kante, on behalf of UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, highlighted the challenge of reconciling environmental and economic objectives and underscored the importance of mainstreaming the ecosystem approach. He cautioned against gauging poverty exclusively in monetary terms and exacerbating hunger worldwide through biofuel production.
UNESCO Director-General Kochiro Matsuura highlighted his organization’s contribution to the work of the CBD and its approach to science, education and culture, which promotes linkages between biological and cultural diversity. He emphasized that achieving the MDGs and the 2010 biodiversity target is dependent on translating scientific findings into action.
Jean-Louis Borloo, France’s Minister for Ecology and Sustainable Planning and Development, underscored the CBD’s efforts towards achieving the 2010 target while drawing attention to the challenge of measuring progress in implementation. He called for strengthening SBSTTA’s key role of providing scientific advice, highlighting the International Mechanism of Scientific Expertise on Biodiversity (IMoSEB) consultative process in this regard.
Nicolas Hulot, President of the Nicolas Hulot Foundation, called for immediate action to avoid further loss of living resources. He expressed concern that increased biofuel production could lead to the loss of ecosystems and habitats of endangered species.
ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Delegates adopted the meeting’s agenda (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/12/1) and organization of work (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/12/1/Add.1) without amendment, agreeing to work in plenary and the Committee of the Whole throughout the week, and in two working groups from Wednesday afternoon until Friday morning. Working Group I (WG-I) addressed review of the MA and lessons learned from GBO 2; while Working Group II (WG-II) considered biodiversity and climate change, and dry and sub-humid lands. They also elected Shirin Karryeva (Turkmenistan) as Rapporteur, Linus Spencer Thomas (Grenada) and Annemarie Watt (Australia) as Chairs of WG-I and WG-II, respectively, and Chaweewan Hutacharern (Thailand) and Christian Prip (Denmark) as Co-Chairs of the Committee of the Whole.
On Friday, 6 July, in plenary, delegates elected the following new Bureau members for SBSTTA 13 and 14: Habib Gademi (Chad) for the African Group; Hesiquio Benitez (Mexico) for the Latin American and the Caribbean Group; Gabriele Obermayr (Austria) for the Western Europe and Others Group; and Asghar Mohammadi Fazel (Iran) for the Asian Group. Shirin Karryeva (Turkmenistan) continues to serve as the representative for the Central and Eastern Europe Group.
This report summarizes discussions and recommendations on each agenda item. Unless otherwise stated, all recommendations were adopted in plenary on Friday, 6 July, with minor or no amendments.
APPLICATION OF THE ECOSYSTEM APPROACH: The in-depth review of the application of the ecosystem approach (EA) (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/12/2) was considered in the Committee of the Whole, from Monday until Thursday. Delegates heard several presentations on the EA, including: application of the EA to fisheries, forestry and agriculture (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/12/INF/3); barriers to and options for applying the EA (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/12/INF/4 and 5); and the EA sourcebook and case study database (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/12/INF/6).
In the ensuing discussion, many delegates called for increased public awareness about the EA and its potential benefits by communicating examples of successful application. Several parties noted the challenge of generating the political will for applying the EA, while others stressed the need to build capacity for implementation. Delegates noted the need to further develop the EA sourcebook, with some suggesting examining its effectiveness. The Ramsar Convention proposed an additional EA principle stating that ecosystem management should ensure that no ecosystem services are lost, even under conditions of rapid change.
Several countries opposed the development of indicators and standards, urging greater flexibility. Argentina and Brazil also opposed references to incentives. Sweden proposed developing guidance on EA application in different sectors and ecosystems, rather than global standards and indicators.
Many parties and organizations reported on their efforts in applying the EA. Norway stressed integrating the approach into management decisions, Switzerland highlighted inter-sectoral cooperation and economic valuation of ecosystem services, and Malaysia stressed mainstreaming the EA into national planning processes. The Council of Europe urged incorporating the EA into all CBD work programmes, especially on protected areas, while WWF noted that the broader application of the EA is impeded by the lack of coherence in the implementation of these programmes. The International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity called for the full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities in EA application.
On the draft recommendation, the debate revolved around references to the EA’s contribution to the MDGs and its wider application. Brazil opposed incorporating the EA in development planning and, with China, in national poverty reduction strategies. They further debated references to ecosystem services and the MA findings, with Costa Rica and others supporting, and Brazil opposing. Colombia pointed to the link between ecosystem services and human wellbeing. Delegates agreed to: promote the EA as a tool for formulating NBSAPs and other relevant policy mechanisms; specify that the EA can contribute to achieving the MDGs; and take into account the role of ecosystem goods and services for human wellbeing.
Final Recommendation: In the final recommendation to the COP (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/12/L.3), SBSTTA notes, inter alia, that: the EA remains a useful framework for bringing together social, economic, cultural and environmental values; “one-size-fits-all” solutions for its application are neither feasible, nor desirable; and capacity building remains a priority. It recognizes that the wider adoption of the EA can contribute to the achievement of the MDGs, and states that the MA findings, and their articulation of the role of ecosystem goods and services to human wellbeing, could be more widely taken into account.
SBSTTA invites: the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management and others to provide perspectives on capacity building; WWF’s “Mountains to the Sea” initiative to develop tools to assist parties in integrating the EA into the CBD work programmes; the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to apply the EA; and UNESCO and the Ramsar Convention to further their activities on the World Network of Biosphere Reserves as EA demonstration sites. It also suggests actions to enhance support for updating the sourcebook.
SBSTTA recommends that the COP urge parties and others to:
- promote the EA in ongoing communication, education and public awareness activities;
- further promote the use of the EA in all sectors and enhance inter-sectoral cooperation;
- implement capacity-building initiatives;
- facilitate the full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities in the development of tools and mechanisms for the application of the EA; and
- strengthen the application of the EA as a useful tool for the formulation of NBSAPs and other relevant policies.
SBSTTA further recommends that the COP invite parties to: take into account the EA application in their efforts to achieve the MDGs; develop effective cooperation; provide a framework for the promotion of the EA; give consideration to the challenge of incorporating land and marine tenure into EA application; and share experiences through national reports and clearing houses.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE GLOBAL STRATEGY FOR PLANT CONSERVATION: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced the in-depth review of the implementation of the GSPC (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/12/3), and delegates heard keynote presentations on: limited progress in achieving some GSPC targets; the need for new targets for the GSPC taking into account emerging issues; synergies between the GSPC targets and those outlined in the CBD framework for assessing progress towards the 2010 biodiversity target; and GSPC’s contribution to poverty alleviation and rural development.
During considerations of the draft recommendation in the Committee of the Whole on Wednesday, discussions focused on: national and regional experiences with GSPC implementation; obstacles to meeting the GSPC targets, such as lack of taxonomic capacity and data; and synergies that can be achieved through regional cooperation. Delegates encouraged the development of: national plant conservation strategies; the GSPC beyond 2010; and innovative funding mechanisms to enable accelerated implementation of the GSPC and capacity building.
Burkina Faso, France, Ethiopia and others supported retaining the reference to the development of new targets to address emerging issues relating to climate change and nutrient loading. The UK, Germany and Mexico opposed, suggesting that these issues be addressed during the implementation of existing targets and in developing the GSPC beyond 2010.
Many delegates welcomed the development of a toolkit for GSPC implementation, with some requesting its translation into all UN languages and others that the Executive Secretary facilitate the development of capacity building, technology transfer and financial support programmes. Delegates also agreed to develop a chapter on plant conservation within GBO 3 that can serve as a communication and awareness-raising tool.
Final Recommendation: In the final recommendation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/12/L.2), SBSTTA recommends that the COP: urge parties to develop national and regional strategies for plant conservation; recommend enhanced implementation of the GSPC; and consider developing the GSPC beyond 2010.
SBSTTA further requests the Executive Secretary to develop: a toolkit in all UN languages describing experiences that can help enhance GSPC implementation; capacity building, technology transfer, and financial support programmes for developing countries and countries with economies in transition; regional tools for information exchange and capacity building; and, by COP 9, a “Plant Conservation Report” to provide input to GBO 3 and serve as a communication and awareness-raising tool for the implementation of the GSPC.
REVIEW OF THE MILLENNIUM ECOSYSTEM ASSESSMENT: WG-I Chair Thomas introduced this agenda item (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/12/4) on Wednesday. The draft recommendation was considered on Thursday. Discussions focused on: insufficient implementation of the MA findings; more effective communication of MA outcomes and their use in CBD work programmes; and increased involvement of indigenous and local communities in future assessments. Delegates debated: the establishment of a scientific panel on biodiversity based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change model; a possible interagency strategy on MA follow-up; and future provision of independent scientific advice by SBSTTA or IMoSEB.
On future integrated ecosystem assessments, many favored subglobal assessments, noting that a new global assessment would be premature. France, Sweden, Canada and others stressed its importance, while Australia, Argentina, New Zealand, Brazil and others favored deletion of all references to another assessment. Mexico opposed conducting a new global assessment before 2010 and Costa Rica suggested a 10-year cycle for any MA follow-up. Many cautioned against duplication of work, with the UK noting that repeated global assessments would require a permanent secretariat. Several parties called for consultations with parties and stakeholders, including IMoSEB, on options for improving the availability of scientific information, for consideration at COP 9, and delegates agreed to invite parties to provide information on the MA’s use and impact in time for consideration at COP 9. Following informal consultations, delegates agreed to consider another possible assessment, taking into account the experiences of the MA and other processes that aim to improve scientific expertise on biodiversity.
Delegates debated the need to include a specific reference to ecosystem services and agreed to take into account the MA framework and its principles, including the services provided by ecosystems, as a contribution to the MDGs.
On the development of a multi-agency strategy on MA follow-up, delegates agreed to the suggestion by the European Community (EC) that UNEP convene a global workshop of practitioners to share experiences on assessments based on the framework.
Delegates agreed to delete the annex on the options for improving the availability of biodiversity information and instead invite parties to promote synergies with ongoing efforts to make data and analytical tools available for policymakers and managers. On taking into account the MA framework in preparing the in-depth reviews of the CBD work programmes and revising the Strategic Plan beyond 2010, delegates agreed to recommend these tasks to the COP and to invite parties to make full use of the MA framework and findings during the review and implementation of NBSAPs.
Final Recommendation: In the final recommendation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/12/L.5), SBSTTA recommends that the COP invite parties and others to promote and support integrated national, regional and subglobal ecosystem assessments and to use the MA framework and experiences in in-depth reviews of CBD work programmes, the revision of the Strategic Plan beyond 2010 and NBSAPs. SBSTTA further requests the Executive Secretary: for consideration at COP-9, to contribute to a coherent multi-agency strategy for MA follow-up, including by inviting UNEP to convene a global workshop for practitioners on subglobal biodiversity assessments; to participate in and promote relevant processes towards coherent and inclusive biodiversity observation systems; and to promote and facilitate, through the Joint Liaison Group of the Rio Conventions and other forums, standardized national, regional and subglobal ecosystem assessments as the basis for harmonization of national reporting formats.
GLOBAL BIODIVERSITY OUTLOOK: On Wednesday, WG-I Chair Thomas introduced the discussion on the lessons learned from the preparation of GBO 2 (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/12/5), noting SBSTTA 12’s focus on the scientific aspects of GBO 2 and 3, and WGRI 2’s emphasis on the process of setting up GBO 3. The draft recommendation was considered on Thursday in WG-I.
Discussions focused on: communicating and disseminating GBO 2 messages; possible elements of GBO 3; and integration with UNEP’s fourth Global Environment Outlook (GEO 4). Colombia suggested using the CHM and national focal points to disseminate information; China called for assistance to developing countries for biodiversity monitoring; and the UK suggested that IMoSEB could assist in consolidating scientific data for GBO 3.
Final Recommendation: In its final recommendation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/12/L.4), SBSTTA notes progress in preparing products on the messages contained in GBO 2, and requests the Executive Secretary to: continue disseminating GBO 2; pursue efforts to make the GBO 2 available in the six UN languages; develop, make available and disseminate ancillary products on key messages and undertake a graphic summary highlighting headline indicators and actions to achieve the 2010 target; report the deliberations on lessons learned from the preparation of GBO 2 and proposals on the scope and focus of GBO 3 to WGRI 2; and reflect on the lessons learned from the incorporation of information from GBO 2 into the UNEP GEO 4.
SBSTTA also recommends that the COP urge parties and others to make available relevant data on biodiversity and progress in the implementation of the Convention.
REPORT ON SBSTTA EFFECTIVENESS: On Monday, Chair Prip presented reports on improving the scientific, technical and technological debate during SBSTTA meetings (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/12/1/Add.2), and on the SBSTTA Bureau’s meeting on ways and means to improve the effectiveness of SBSTTA (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/12/6), highlighting its findings that the Bureau should promote wider recognition of SBSTTA by the scientific community, governments and relevant organizations. He noted that participants at the meeting of the Chairs of the scientific advisory bodies of biodiversity-related conventions discussed ways to strengthen cooperation on climate change and biodiversity issues. Delegates noted the report.
SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL ISSUES
BIODIVERSITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE: This agenda item and relevant documentation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/12/7 and INF/14, 17 and 19) were introduced in WG-II on Wednesday, containing draft guidance on the integration of climate-change considerations within the programmes of work of the Convention, proposals for mutually supportive activities addressing climate change through and for the conservation of biological diversity to be implemented through the frameworks of the Rio conventions, and a summary of the assessment of the inter-linkages between peatland biodiversity and climate change. A draft recommendation was considered on Thursday and Friday. The revised draft recommendation was forwarded to plenary and adopted with bracketed text on Friday.
Topics of contention included mutually supportive activities with other conventions and references to reduced deforestation and mitigation activities. On the importance of wetlands and peatlands, Australia, the UK and Brazil opposed references to their potential as tools for climate change mitigation and adaptation, noting jurisdictional overlaps with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Mexico and others preferred retaining the references, but delegates eventually agreed to delete reference to mitigation and adaptation.
Australia, Argentina and Brazil questioned the need for paragraphs on mutually supportive activities with other conventions, noting that this falls outside SBSTTA’s mandate, while several countries preferred retaining these paragraphs. After consultations, WG-II Chair Watt noted that the information document on mutually supportive activities had been submitted late and suggested that the issue be referred to SBSTTA 13. Noting the extensiveness of SBSTTA 13’s agenda, Belgium preferred bracketing the sections in the draft recommendation and referring it to COP 9. Delegates eventually agreed to remove the section on mutually supportive activities and consider the issue at SBSTTA 13, and to add a paragraph to the recommendation setting out the procedural reasons for not considering it at SBSTTA 12 and a paragraph inviting parties to submit their views on mutually supportive activities.
Denmark, France, Belgium, the Bahamas and others highlighted the importance of avoided deforestation and supported text on encouraging cooperation with the UNFCCC to incorporate biodiversity protection measures in all efforts to combat deforestation. Australia, Argentina and Brazil underscored that CBD and UNFCCC mandates and jurisdictions should be respected. After informal consultations, delegates agreed to bracket text on reduced deforestation and on requesting the Executive Secretary to contribute to discussions on deforestation in the UNFCCC.
In the closing plenary, Australia requested bracketing all references to “climate change impacts and the impacts of climate change response activities,” noting that this language was not consistent with relevant CBD COP decisions. The recommendation was adopted with these brackets.
Final Recommendation: In its final recommendation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/12/L.8), SBSTTA recommends that the COP decide that, in conducting future in-depth reviews of the Convention’s work programmes, advice on climate change impacts and the impact of climate change response activities on biodiversity should be integrated into each work programme where relevant. The following, among others, should be taken into account:
- indications or predictions of climate change impacts and impacts of climate change response activities on relevant ecosystems;
- the most vulnerable components of biodiversity;
- risks and consequences for ecosystem services and human wellbeing;
- monitoring of threats and likely climate change and response activities’ impacts on biodiversity;
- appropriate monitoring and evaluation techniques, related technology transfer and capacity-building initiatives within the work programmes;
- critical knowledge needed to support implementation; and
- the ecosystem approach principles and guidance and the precautionary approach.
SBSTTA recommends that the COP encourage parties to enhance the integration of climate change considerations related to biodiversity in their implementation of the Convention, including:
- identifying, within their own countries, vulnerable regions and ecosystem types;
- integrating concerns relating to climate change impacts and the impacts of climate change response activities on biodiversity within NBSAPs;
- assessing threats and likely impacts on biodiversity;
- identifying and adopting, within their own countries, monitoring programmes for regions and ecosystems affected by climate change and promoting international cooperation in this area;
- enhancing scientific tools, methodologies, knowledge and approaches to respond to impacts;
- enhancing methodology and knowledge needed to integrate biodiversity considerations into climate change response activities;
- increasing stakeholder involvement in the decision-making process;
- applying EA principles and guidance, such as adaptive management, and use of traditional knowledge;
- taking appropriate actions to address and monitor impacts; and
- enhancing cooperation with relevant organizations and among national focal points.
SBSTTA further recommends that the COP:
- urge parties and others to support further action that could contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of peatlands, and assess their positive contributions to climate change response activities;
- encourage parties and others to support capacity-building activities to enable developing countries to implement activities related to climate change impacts and the impacts of climate change response activities on biodiversity;
- request the Executive Secretary to convene a workshop for small island developing states to support the integration of climate change impacts and response activities within CBD work programmes and NBSAPs, with a view to holding similar workshops in other groups of countries; and
- recognize the importance of wetlands and, in particular, peatlands in the global carbon cycle, and the potential of their conservation and sustainable use as a cost-effective tool to address climate change.
- requests the Executive Secretary, when preparing the in-depth review of the work grammes on forest and agricultural biodiversity, to identify the elements of the guidance listed above already included in the existing work programmes and an assessment of the state of, and gaps in, implementation;
- welcomes the findings of the Global Assessment on Peatlands, Biodiversity and Climate Change, and requests the Executive Secretary to convey the message of the assessment to UNFCCC COP 13, and report to COP 9 on opportunities for further action to support the conservation and sustainable use of tropical forested peatland biodiversity;
- requests the Executive Secretary to develop proposals for mutually supportive activities for consideration at SBSTTA 13, taking into account the views discussed at SBSTTA 12, bearing in mind that these views were not endorsed by parties because the report of the Joint Liaison Group meeting was not available and therefore was not discussed; and,
- invites parties to submit their views on the draft options for mutually supportive activities.
The recommendations for the COP to reiterate that reduced deforestation provides opportunities for multiple benefits for biodiversity and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and to request the Executive Secretary to contribute to discussions on deforestation in the UNFCCC, remain bracketed. All references to “climate change impacts and the impacts of climate change response activities” remain bracketed throughout the recommendation.
BIODIVERSITY OF DRY AND SUB-HUMID LANDS: WG-II Chair Watt introduced this agenda item and relevant documents (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/12/8 and INF/15) on guidance on strengthening the assessment of the 2010 target and proposals for land-use options that promote biodiversity and generate income for indigenous and local communities on Wednesday. The draft recommendation was considered on Thursday and Friday.
Many delegates urged making available further information on the status and trends of dry and sub-humid ecosystems, with several proposing closer collaboration with the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). On land-use options, several raised concerns that assessments are based on too few case studies, and Argentina requested deleting reference to the Secretariat’s note on this issue. Mexico and the Netherlands proposed aligning definitions with the UNCCD, and Australia suggested using UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) definitions of arid lands based on rainfall and climate criteria. On the draft recommendation, several delegates called for references to the EA, with Algeria also requesting reference to the precautionary principle and technology transfer. Several delegates supported collaborating with the FAO on sustainable pastoralism.
Final Recommendation: In its final recommendation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/12/L.6), SBSTTA recommends that the COP:
- invite relevant organizations and donor agencies to provide technical and financial support to developing countries to identify and conduct land-use options that promote biodiversity and generate income for indigenous and local communities;
- encourage parties to consider land-use options, drawing on the ecosystem approach, that promote biodiversity and generate income for indigenous and local communities;
- request the Executive Secretary, in cooperation with the FAO, the UNCCD and other relevant organizations to: compile and publish case studies on knowledge regarding the management and sustainable use of biodiversity of dry and sub-humid lands; carry out a feasibility study for developing a toolkit to support the efforts of local and indigenous communities on, inter alia, sustainable pastoralism, soil erosion control, and carbon capture; and prepare a compilation of experiences on climate change adaptation, soil management and pastoralism; and
- request the Executive Secretary to explore, with the FAO, the means to strengthen collaboration in pastoralism and agricultural use of dry and sub-humid lands, and produce a report for further consideration by SBSTTA 14.
SBSTTA further requests the Executive Secretary to undertake the following activities and report on progress at COP 9:
- work with other organizations to harmonize the delineation of dry and sub-humid lands, using the UNEP-WCMC work on these definitions;
- strengthen collaboration on assessment of status and trends of, and threats to, biodiversity in dry and sub-humid lands with the UNCCD, UNFCCC and the FAO; and
- liaise with relevant partners on activities necessary to fill gaps in baseline information and data prior to assessing progress towards the 2010 target, bearing in mind the need to take a pragmatic approach to overcome gaps.
NEW AND EMERGING ISSUES: Chair Prip introduced the agenda item on new and emerging issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/12/9) on Monday, noting that the Bureau decided to focus SBSTTA 12 discussions on liquid biofuel production and biodiversity. The Committee of the Whole considered the issue on Thursday, establishing an informal drafting group to finalize a recommendation on the procedure for the identification and consideration of emerging issues. A contact group, co-chaired by Alfred Oteng-Yeboah (Ghana) and Asghar Mohammadi Fazel (Iran) met on Thursday and Friday, to resolve outstanding issues on the draft recommendation on biofuels.
Procedure: Delegates discussed how SBSTTA selects and addresses new and emerging issues. Proposals included: undertaking regional consultations prior to consideration by SBSTTA; defining criteria for prioritization; and receiving advice from the Bureau to the Secretariat on sources of information.
In the closing plenary, delegates debated whether emerging issues should relate to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, or to the three objectives of the Convention, as favored by Brazil and Colombia. They agreed to language used in Decision VIII/10 (SBSTTA’s modus operandi) and to reflect the concerns of Brazil and Colombia in the report of the meeting. Several parties voiced concerns about limiting the number of emerging issues to be considered at each SBSTTA session to one, but decided to retain the reference in order not to reopen text agreed upon by the drafting group. Delegates adopted the recommendation as amended.
Final Recommendation: In its final recommendation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/12/L.7), SBSTTA recommends that the Executive Secretary: seek the views of parties on elements of a procedure for the identification of emerging issues, the conditions for their inclusion in the agenda of relevant meetings, and appropriate ways to respond to new and emerging issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity; prepare in consultation with the SBSTTA Bureau the views received; and present them for consideration by SBSTTA 13.
The recommendation contains an annex outlining the procedure for the identification and consideration of emerging issues. Suggested activities to be carried out before SBSTTA meetings include: facilitation of consultations by the Executive Secretary; advice through the SBSTTA Bureau to the Executive Secretary on appropriate sources of information; preparation of documentation in accordance with the SBSTTA modus operandi; and identification of no more than one emerging issue for each SBSTTA meeting.
Biofuels: In the substantive discussion, many proposals focused on the provision of further information on impacts of biofuel production and use on biodiversity, including: requesting the Executive Secretary to compile further information on the impacts of biomass production and consumption for consideration by COP 9; sharing experiences through the CHM; undertaking integrated full lifecycle impact assessments; further research on impacts on food security; and establishing a technical expert group on the impacts of biofuels.
With regard to the development of guidance on biofuel production and use, proposals included: developing biodiversity standards for certification schemes; developing principles or guidelines for national policy frameworks for consideration by COP 9, including discouraging conversion of land with high biodiversity value, applying the ecosystem approach and relevant CBD guidelines; taking into account socioeconomic factors; and developing guidance based on assessments of existing standards and experiences in coordination with the FAO and UNFCCC.
Many parties also called for collaboration with other international bodies, such as UNFCCC and UN-Energy, with some cautioning against duplication and underscoring that UN-Energy is the principle interagency mechanism for coordinating work on bioenergy.
Delegates raised concerns about: biosafety implications of biofuels production using genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or invasive alien species; negative impacts on food security; extensive use of agrochemicals; and rural unemployment resulting from large-scale monoculture plantations. Several delegates emphasized that biofuels not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but can also contribute to alleviating poverty.
In the Committee of the Whole, Brazil and others opposed the draft recommendation as a basis for negotiations, noting that current experiences are not adequately reflected. Co-Chair Prip referred the issue to a contact group for further deliberation.
In the contact group, delegates sought to resolve contentious issues relating to, inter alia: the types of information to be provided by parties; requesting the Executive Secretary to organize a scientific conference; noting issues discussed at SBSTTA 12; and bringing the issue to the attention of the Article 8(j) Working Group. On providing information on impacts of biofuels on biodiversity, some biofuel-producing countries preferred only referring to relevant information, rather than specifying information on avoiding negative impacts, sustainability concerns and experience with policy frameworks. Delegates agreed on specifying information on how impacts have been addressed.
Many parties requested a scientific conference on biofuels to provide further information. This was met with opposition from biofuel-producing countries, who also resisted recalling it as issue discussed at SBSTTA 12. Delegates further discussed a request to bring biofuels to the attention to the Article 8(j) Working Group, without reaching agreement. A draft recommendation, with bracketed text on outstanding issues, was forwarded to the closing plenary where it was adopted without further amendment.
Final Recommendation: In its final recommendation (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/12/L.9), SBSTTA requests the Executive Secretary to, inter alia:
- invite parties and other governments to provide relevant information on the impacts on biodiversity along the full lifecycle of the production and use of biofuels and how these are being addressed;
- compile, in collaboration with UNEP, UNFCCC, other members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, as well as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the International Energy Agency, the Global Bioenergy Partnership, private sector partnerships, indigenous and local communities and NGOs, additional relevant information, including on sustainable use;
- identify options for the consideration of biofuels in CBD work programmes, including the work programmes on agricultural and forest biodiversity; and submit this information to COP 9.
The recommendation includes a bracketed reference requesting the Executive Secretary to bring the issue to the attention of the Article 8(j) Working Group.
- positive impacts of biofuels on biodiversity and human wellbeing in association with, among others, reduction in the consumption of fossil fuels, decreases in land area used for agricultural purposes associated with the increase in energy output per area, and an increasing income base for farmers and forest owners and improvement of employment opportunities;
- adverse impacts of biofuels on biodiversity and human wellbeing associated with, among others, loss, fragmentation and degradation of valuable habitats, competition for land used for food production or managed by indigenous and local communities or small-holder farmers, increased water consumption and application of agrochemicals, and uncontrolled cultivation, introduction and spread of GMOs or invasive alien species;
- knowledge gaps on impacts of biofuels, including impacts of second-generation feedstocks and the application of the EA; and
- recognition that knowledge gaps can be addressed, among others, by compiling and sharing information, promoting research on actual and potential impacts, promoting international cooperation and technology transfer, and encouraging greater scientific input.
The reference to an international scientific conference in collaboration with the CBD Secretariat and other relevant organizations and partners remains bracketed.
On Friday, 6 July, in the closing plenary, delegates adopted the report of the meeting (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/12/L.1) and reports of WG-I (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/12/L.1/Add.1) and WG-II (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/12/L.1/Add.2) with minor amendments. The provisional agenda for SBSTTA 13 (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/12/10) was amended to include an item on climate change, namely options for mutually supportive actions on climate change between the three Rio Conventions.
CBD Executive Secretary Ahmed Djoghlaf congratulated delegates and the Bureau on their efforts, commending consideration of emerging issues at SBSTTA 12. Chair Prip thanked participants and the Secretariat for their work and patience in the learning exercise of introducing new ways of conducting SBSTTA meetings, and welcomed the incoming SBSTTA 13 Chair Asghar Mohammadi Fazel. Ghana, on behalf of the African Group, called for continued funding for African delegates to ensure balanced geographic representation.
Chair Prip gaveled the meeting to a close at 6:00 pm.
WGRI 2 REPORT
The second meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Review of Implementation (WGRI 2) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) opened on Monday, 9 July 2007, at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France.
WGRI Chair Amb. Antnio Jos Rezende de Castro (Brazil), on behalf of COP President Marina Silva, called on delegates to reaffirm their commitment to achieving the three objectives of the CBD and the 2010 biodiversity target, and to conclude negotiations on an international regime on access and benefit-sharing (ABS) before COP 10. He invited WGRI 2 to: assess progress in the Convention’s implementation; strengthen implementation by all parties; and ensure that developing countries have access to the necessary financial, human and technical resources.
Pointing to the inter-linkages between biodiversity and climate change, CBD Executive Secretary Ahmed Djoghlaf welcomed the renewed political commitment of G8 leaders to implement the 2010 biodiversity target, calling for actions to counteract the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s predictions on biodiversity loss due to climate change. He urged WGRI 2 delegates to institutionalize the CBD’s new phase of enhanced implementation, for example by using national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs) as vectors for integrating biodiversity considerations into development strategies. Welcoming participation by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), he emphasized the need for additional financial resources for implementation.
Walter Erdelen, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, highlighted three points critical to the implementation of the CBD, namely: communication, education and public awareness in mainstreaming the messages of the Convention; the universal application of the ecosystem approach; and partnerships to strengthen cooperation.
Noting the GEF’s intention to revitalize dialogue with the CBD, GEF CEO/Chair Monique Barbut called for biodiversity commitments to equal those on climate change. She also reported on the recent reforms approved by the GEF Council, including: a shorter and more effective project cycle; a Public-Private Partnerships Initiative; and a restructured Secretariat to facilitate integration across focal areas.
ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Delegates elected Mary Fosi (Cameroon) as the meeting’s Rapporteur and adopted the agenda and organization of work (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/2/1 and Add.1) with an amendment suggested by Canada and others regarding the sequence of agenda items. They agreed to conduct all discussions in plenary and limit the number of informal consultations.
This report summarizes discussions and recommendations on the agenda items under the following three clusters: the in-depth review of the implementation of goals 2 and 3 of the Strategic Plan; financial matters; and other substantive matters. Unless otherwise stated, all recommendations were adopted in plenary on Friday, 13 July, with minor or no amendments.
Discussions on the in-depth review of the implementation of goals 2 and 3 of the Strategic Plan encompassed agenda items on: status of NBSAPs and their implementation, resource provision, and the identification of obstacles; guidance for the development, implementation, and evaluation of NBSAPs; priority areas for action for capacity building, access to and transfer of technology and technology cooperation; mechanisms for implementation of the Convention; and inputs to the process of revising the Strategic Plan beyond 2010.
Issues arising from discussions on these agenda items were consolidated into one draft recommendation, which was considered in plenary from Wednesday to Friday, and in a Friends of the Chair group, facilitated by Amb. Donald Cooper (Bahamas), on Thursday.
Many developing countries identified inadequate institutional capacity, technology, and financial resources as obstacles to implementing NBSAPs. Delegates called for: mainstreaming biodiversity concerns into development cooperation and development sectors; new and additional, domestic and international, resources; mechanisms for economic valuation of biodiversity; using local financial and human resources; and strengthening ties with the GEF and other biodiversity-related conventions.
Many parties reported on the development and implementation of NBSAPs, highlighting the need to update them to reflect, among others, the EA, the 2010 biodiversity target, and climate change considerations. Delegates further requested: support to parties in developing and reviewing NBSAPs (Brazil); incorporating ABS into NBSAPs (Colombia and Tanzania); national targets (Indonesia); regional and subregional cooperation (African Group); and developing standards for measuring progress in regional and subregional implementation and providing tangible benefits for communities (South Africa).
GUIDANCE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT, IMPLEMENTATION AND EVALUATION OF NBSAPS: This agenda item (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/2/3) was introduced on Monday and a draft recommendation was discussed on Wednesday and Thursday. A Friends of the Chair group addressed contentious issues regarding guidance to parties in developing, implementing and revising NBSAPs. Remaining issues were resolved in informal consultations and in plenary on Friday.
Brazil and others requested noting inadequate financial, human and technical capacity as the most widespread constraint to implementation, while the European Union (EU) requested also noting inadequate mainstreaming of biodiversity. Brazil and others commented that this does not reflect country experiences, and delegates agreed to Nigeria’s proposal to keep both constraints but not qualify either as “the most widespread constraint.”
The EU, Australia, Norway and others, opposed by Brazil, Burkina Faso and Nigeria, requested deleting text on ensuring that NBSAPs be based on the Rio Declaration principles. Delegates agreed to Canada’s suggestion that NBSAPs should “take into account” these principles.
Switzerland requested to also reference access to genetic resources alongside benefit-sharing. Following opposition by several developing countries, he supported suggestions by Canada and the EU to instead refer to the three objectives of the Convention. Throughout the text, delegates agreed to refer to the three objectives of the Convention, rather than listing any or all of these objectives.
Kiribati proposed improving the participation of indigenous and local communities in NBSAPs. Yemen and Argentina requested references to the involvement of relevant stakeholders from all major groups. Participants agreed to acknowledge that references to indigenous and local communities are separate from stakeholders, and to take into account traditional knowledge.
The EU requested a detailed reference to national and subnational targets, including assessing progress towards achieving the 2010 target. New Zealand, opposed by Nigeria, requested deleting reference to the 2010 target, suggesting instead that national and subnational targets should include a limited number of quantified and time-bound targets. Delegates agreed to only retain the general reference to national and subnational targets to support NBSAP implementation.
On references to the EA, the EU preferred describing it as the primary framework for implementation of the Convention to be applied universally, while Brazil favored referring to it as a useful tool, to be applied where appropriate. After informal consultations, delegates agreed to “take into account the EA,” and to delete the limiting provision “as appropriate.”
Discussions on the draft recommendation continued in plenary on Friday. On strengthening national institutional arrangements, Uganda asked to delete reference to inter-ministerial coordination committees and refer to stakeholder advisory committees instead. Delegates agreed to delete references specifying examples of bodies.
On adequate funding for developing countries for the implementation and revision of NBSAPs, delegates agreed to invite the financial mechanism, and urge governments and other donors, to provide adequate funding.
PRIORITY AREAS FOR CAPACITY BUILDING, ACCESS TO AND TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY COOPERATION: This agenda item (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/2/2/Add.1 and INF/2, 3 and 11) was introduced on Monday. Many developing countries emphasized the importance of capacity building, and technology transfer and cooperation for effectively implementing the Convention. They underscored South-South cooperation as a mechanism to exchange best practices and lessons learned. Noting that scientific and technical cooperation under the CBD has failed to build adequate implementation capacity in developing countries, Brazil suggested developing indicators for technology transfer.
The EU pointed to the analysis of local needs and priorities, and the consideration of stakeholder concerns as prerequisites to enhanced capacity building and technology transfer. New Zealand urged consistency with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, while Canada emphasized transferring technologies that create synergies in the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). The International Chamber of Commerce advocated: facilitated access to technology for the private sector; stable legal frameworks; government support programmes and investment; and incentives for industry involvement in technology transfer and cooperation.
Considering the draft recommendation, delegates debated references to the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on Technology Transfer and Cooperation. Noting that it had not yet met, Australia opposed “emphasizing its important role,” with the EU proposing to note its role in collecting information and proposing strategies for technology transfer and cooperation. Brazil and Nigeria opposed, emphasizing the AHTEG’s role in facilitating access to and transfer of technology. Following informal consultations, delegates agreed to emphasize the importance of the issue of access to and transfer of technology and scientific and technological cooperation in implementation and, in that respect, of the mandate of the AHTEG established in decision VIII/12 (technology transfer and cooperation).
Brazil, supported by several developing countries, proposed requesting the Executive Secretary to: develop and submit to COP 9 a range of instruments to support parties in implementing their NBSAPs; allocate time at future subsidiary body meetings to discuss NBSAP development; and organize regional workshops to support the implementation of NBSAPs and the 2010 target. Several developed countries expressed concern with requesting the Executive Secretary to organize capacity-building workshops on a regular basis with resources from the mandatory Trust Fund and agreed instead to reaffirm decision VIII/8 (implementation of the Convention and its Strategic Plan) on the need for regional and subregional meetings to discuss national experiences in implementing NBSAPs. New Zealand urged caution in making NBSAP discussions a standing item of all future meetings.
South Africa proposed requesting SBSTTA to evaluate options for national mechanisms, including legal instruments, to mobilize human and technological resources. Australia opposed the text, noting that SBSTTA should not be reviewing legal instruments. After several attempts to find compromise language, delegates agreed to “consider developing a framework of options to mobilize human and technological resources at the national level, drawing on and taking full consideration of existing instruments, initiatives and experiences.”
Delegates further debated references to integrating biodiversity issues into the “One UN” programmes, with Australia, Mexico and Nigeria emphasizing that these are ongoing processes, the outcomes of which have not been formally endorsed by the UN General Assembly. In plenary on Friday, delegates agreed to Canada’s proposal to take note of the opportunity provided by the ongoing development of “One UN” programmes and encourage parties, including the pilot countries, to consider biodiversity issues identified in their NBSAPs in the development of these programmes.
Brazil proposed to invite parties to contribute to initiatives aimed at assessing, inter alia: the economic benefits of biodiversity conservation; sustainable use; fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources; and costs of biodiversity loss. Canada proposed, and delegates agreed, to invite parties and others to contribute to initiatives aimed at assessing the benefits of biodiversity conservation. Burkina Faso favored retaining the specific reference to the “loss of biodiversity.”
The EU, opposed by Brazil, favored “synergies,” rather than “cooperation and collaboration” with Rio Conventions and other biodiversity-related MEAs. No agreement was reached, and the reference in the draft recommendation was deleted.
MECHANISMS FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTION: Chair Rezende de Castro introduced the agenda item on Tuesday, noting links to priority areas for action for capacity building, access to and transfer of technology, and technology cooperation.
Stressing the need to focus on regional, national and local implementation, the EU noted that the CBD Secretariat should not become an implementation body. Canada stated that the Executive Secretary can play a role in facilitating implementation. Mexico suggested that whenever the Executive Secretary is requested to undertake an activity, the Secretariat indicate if it has the necessary capacity to fulfill the task. China urged the COP to prioritize, and to adopt fewer decisions to ensure their effective implementation, and for national implementation mechanisms to be evaluated. The African Group called for strengthening the CBD Secretariat, and pointed to key CBD mechanisms for effective implementation, including, NBSAPs, application of the EA and the Global Taxonomy Initiative.
Executive Secretary Djoghlaf stressed that the Secretariat does not strive to become an implementing agency, and noted limited opportunities for the Secretariat to provide parties with cost estimates for COP decisions.
INPUTS TO THE PROCESS OF REVISING THE STRATEGIC PLAN BEYOND 2010: On Tuesday, Chair Rezende de Castro introduced the agenda item (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/2/INF/6), noting that no draft recommendation on this issue was prepared. Delegations noted: the need to harmonize the revision process of the different biodiversity-related MEAs; the importance of including national and long-term targets, milestones, baseline indicators, and indicators on ABS; taking into consideration future scenarios and other projections; and mainstreaming biodiversity concerns into other sectors.
On Thursday, delegates were presented with a draft recommendation. The EU noted it had no added value and, supported by the African Group, proposed additional text specifying, inter alia, that the revised Strategic Plan should include national outcome-oriented and, if possible, quantitative targets, and that the revision should be based on the third Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO 3). Australia and New Zealand opposed the EU’s proposal noting that it goes beyond the WGRI’s mandate. Delegates later agreed to discard this draft recommendation and add a paragraph to the draft recommendation on the implementation of goals 2 and 3 of the Strategic Plan (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/2/L.5), noting that WGRI 2 discussions arising from the in-depth review of goals 2 and 3 provided input to revising the Strategic Plan beyond 2010, noting that WGRI discussions provided input to revising the Strategic Plan beyond 2010.
On Friday in plenary, Mexico suggested requesting the Executive Secretary to prepare, as a contribution to the review of the Strategic Plan, an updated overview of the effectiveness of guidance generated in the framework of the Convention. Brazil expressed concern that this will duplicate previous work and result in reconsidering already-agreed guidelines and principles, and any such analysis should be undertaken by parties. Mexico underscored the need to assess the usefulness of the existing tools and instruments. Offering compromise text, Australia suggested requesting the Executive Secretary to provide an updated overview, and to request parties to comment on the effectiveness of that guidance.
Colombia proposed recommending that COP 9 consider whether to continue the WGRI, in view of its contribution to the preparation and implementation of the decisions taken in the framework of the Convention. After initial opposition by New Zealand, delegates agreed to recommend that COP 9 consider the WGRI’s continuation.
Final Recommendation: In the final recommendation on implementation of goals 2 and 3 of the Strategic Plan (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/2/L.5), WGRI 2 recommends that the COP: emphasize that NBSAPs and equivalent instruments are key implementation tools of the Convention and highlight that practical implementation should be one of the key messages in the Convention’s work; note with concern the insufficient financial, human and technical resources, the inadequate mainstreaming of biodiversity, and the paucity of information in relation to NBSAP implementation; and urge parties that have not yet done so to develop NBSAPs.
WGRI 2 recommends that the COP urge parties, in developing, implementing and revising their NBSAPs in implementing the three objectives of the Convention, to, inter alia:
- ensure that NBSAPs are action-driven, practical and prioritized, and provide an effective national framework for implementation, and take into account the Rio Declaration principles;
- emphasize the integration of the Convention’s three objectives into relevant sectoral or cross-sectoral plans, programmes and policies;
- identify priority actions at national or regional levels, including strategic actions;
- develop a plan to mobilize national, regional and international financial resources in support of priority activities, considering existing and new funding sources;
- highlight the contribution of biodiversity to poverty eradication, national development and human wellbeing, and economic, social, cultural and other values, making use, as appropriate, of the methodologies and conceptual framework of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment;
- as appropriate, establish national, or where applicable, subnational, targets to support the Convention’s implementation, consistent with the flexible framework established in Decisions VII/30 (Strategic Plan) and VIII/15 (framework for monitoring implementation towards achieving the 2010 target);
- engage indigenous and local communities, all relevant sectors and stakeholders in, inter alia: preparing updating and implementing NBSAPs; identifying relevant stakeholders from all major groups; and strengthening the scientific community’s contribution;
- respect and maintain traditional knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities consistent with Article 8(j) (traditional knowledge);
- establish or strengthen national institutional arrangements for promoting, coordinating and monitoring of NBSAP implementation;
- develop and implement a communication strategy for NBSAPs;
- establish national mechanisms, including indicators, and promote regional cooperation to monitor NBSAP implementation;
- address the existing planning process to mainstream biodiversity;
- review NBSAPs to identify successes and impediments to implementation, and identify ways and means of addressing such impediments;
- make available through the Clearing-House Mechanism NBSAPs, case studies of good practices and lessons learned; and
- invite the financial mechanism and urge governments and other donors to provide adequate funding.
On priority areas for capacity building, access to and transfer of technology, WGRI, inter alia:
- emphasizes the importance of the issue of access to and transfer of technology and scientific and technological cooperation and scientific and technical cooperation in the implementation of the convention and in that respect of the mandate of the AHTEG established in Decision VIII/12 (technology transfer and cooperation);
- encourages relevant implementing agencies to address nationally identified capacity needs for the implementation of the Convention;
- takes note of the opportunity provided by the ongoing development of “One UN” programmes and encourages parties, including the “One UN” pilot countries, to give due consideration to integrating biodiversity issues as identified in their NBSAPs in the ongoing development of the programmes; and
- notes the need to provide parties with additional information on guidance, initiatives, mechanisms, systems and tools to improve technology transfer and cooperation, including: approaches to technology transfer and cooperation based on NBSAPs; bilateral and multilateral cooperation agreements; and guidance to increase private sector engagement and investment.
It recommends that capacity building for NBSAPs focus on: elaborating and updating NBSAPs, based on nationally-identified needs and obstacles, with broad stakeholder participation; effective delivery and implementation of NBSAPs; monitoring implementation of NBSAPs; and mobilization of financial resources for development, review and implementation of NBSAPs. The WGRI also reaffirms the need for regional and subregional meetings to discuss national experience in implementing NBSAPs, and the integration of biodiversity concerns into relevant sectors.
It further requests the Executive Secretary to:
- facilitate, in cooperation with partner organizations, continued exchange of best practices and lessons learned from the preparation, updating and implementation of NBSAPs, through, inter alia, the CHM, strengthened cooperation with regional processes, South-South cooperation and voluntary peer-review;
- continue to build upon existing databases and to compile a range of instruments to support parties in the development, review and implementation of NBSAPs; and
- identify opportunities in the organization of work of the bodies of the Convention, as appropriate, to support development, review and implementation of NBSAPs.
The WGRI invites:
UNEP, UNDP and the FAO to further examine ways and means to support national implementation of the Convention;
- development cooperation agencies to promote mainstreaming of the environment, including biodiversity, into development cooperation activities; and
- parties and others to contribute to initiatives aimed at assessing the benefits of implementing the three objectives of the Convention, and the costs of the failure to take measures to fulfill these objectives; and consider developing a framework of options to mobilize human and technological resources at the national level.
On mechanisms for implementation of the Convention and inputs to the process of revising the Strategic Plan beyond 2010, the WGRI recommends that the COP:
- agree that the recommendations from WGRI 2 arising from the in-depth review of goals 2 and 3 of the Strategic Plan provide an input to the review of the Plan beyond 2010;
- request the Executive Secretary, as a contribution to the review of the Strategic Plan, to prepare an updated overview of guidance generated in the Convention’s framework, including, inter alia, guidelines, principles and work programmes, and an analysis of the relationship of the thematic work programmes with cross-cutting issues;
- request the Executive Secretary to invite parties to submit views on the effectiveness of the guidance summarized in the overview prepared by the Executive Secretary; and
- consider the continuation of the WGRI, taking into account the importance of making progress in the implementation of the Convention.
Discussions focused on, inter alia: conveying a message from COP 9 on biodiversity and financing for development; establishing an advisory task force to further develop a strategy for resource mobilization; reviewing financing options from existing instruments and exploring innovative funding sources; and indentifying specific elements of a resource mobilization strategy.
On the task force, Chile and others made proposals on its composition and mandate while Australia and others opposed its creation, citing lack of a COP mandate. On financing options, delegates underscored the need to review existing instruments and innovative sources, and list the elements that the strategy should address. Noting that the efficient use of resources is as important as increasing financing, the EU called for improving synergies between multiple development objectives.
During discussions on the draft recommendation, delegates debated who should provide comments on a resource mobilization strategy, with the African Group and Brazil proposing regional economic integration groups, and Australia, partner organizations and donors.
The revised draft recommendation was presented on Friday, and adopted with minor amendments, including deletion of text recommending that the COP encourage parties to collect data for aid targeting the implementation of the CBD, undertaken by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Final Recommendation: In the final recommendation (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/2/L.3), the WGRI, inter alia:
- recommends that COP 9 adopt a strategy for resource mobilization to support implementation of the Convention;
- requests the Executive Secretary in preparation for COP 9 to: seek views and further suggestions from parties and others on the strategy and compile the information received; undertake informal consultations on the development of the strategy in conjunction with intersessional meetings; and submit a draft strategy to COP 9;
- recommends that COP 9 mandate its President to transmit a message on biodiversity and financing for development to the Follow up International Conference on Financing for Development, based on consultations with parties; and
- invites the GEF to provide inputs to the strategy.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR STREAMLINING THE GUIDANCE PROVIDED TO THE GEF: Chair Rezende de Castro introduced the agenda item (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/2/5 and INF/8) on Wednesday, and delegates considered the draft recommendation on Thursday, finalizing outstanding issues in informal consultations.
Discussions revolved around the GEF reforms with many commending the shorter GEF project cycle. On guidance from the COP, Mexico called for indicators on how guidance has been implemented, and the African Group suggested that the COP adopt a mechanism to monitor the GEF’s interpretation of COP guidance. Many urged greater cooperation between GEF and CBD national focal points.
On programme priorities, Brazil suggested a four-year framework for programme priorities related to utilization of GEF resources for biodiversity, to coincide with the fifth GEF replenishment cycle; Canada and Norway questioned the role of the Bureau in developing the framework; and Switzerland and others supported organizing discussions on the issue prior to COP 9.
On streamlining guidance to the GEF, New Zealand introduced text calling for, inter alia, parties to submit their views on priorities before COP 9, and for the COP to adopt a stand-alone item on guidance. Delegates agreed that the Executive Secretary should take the lead in the dialogue with the GEF CEO/Chairperson and the COP 9 President should transmit the four-year framework for programme priorities to the GEF Council.
Delegates also debated who should take the lead on the dialogue with the GEF CEO/Chair and transmit the four-year framework for programme priorities to the GEF Council.
Final Recommendation: In the final recommendation (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/2/L.4), the WGRI recommends that the COP, inter alia:
- welcome the dialogue between the GEF CEO/Chair and the COP 8 Bureau on 8 July 2007 and encourage furthering such a dialogue with the Executive Secretary;
- encourage national collaboration between the focal points of the CBD, other related MEAs and the GEF;
- highlight the important role of NBSAPs as a tool in identifying national needs and priorities for GEF financing;
- recognize the need to provide guidance to the GEF, and adopt a four-year framework for programme priorities related to the utilization of GEF resources for biodiversity, coinciding with its fifth replenishment cycle, and for the COP 9 President to transmit it to the GEF Council before the fifth replenishment; and
- invite parties and others to provide input on the four-year framework by December 2007.
The WGRI further requests the Executive Secretary to:
- prepare for COP 9 elements for the four-year framework and recommendations on formulating and consolidating guidance to the financial mechanism, taking into account the views expressed at WGRI 2, submissions by parties and others, and national priorities identified in NBSAPs; and
- organize a dialogue session between parties and the GEF CEO/Chair, prior to COP 9 on the framework and procedures for streamlining guidance to the GEF.
OTHER SUBSTANTIVE MATTERS
GLOBAL BIODIVERSITY OUTLOOK: Chair Rezende de Castro introduced this agenda item on lessons learned from the preparation of GBO 2 and proposals on the scope and focus of GBO 3 (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/2/6 and INF/13) on Tuesday. Delegates considered the draft recommendation on Thursday and adopted the revised recommendation with amendments on Friday.
Discussions focused on issues to be included in GBO 3, the need for scientific input, a communication strategy and funding. Delegates stressed that GBO 3 should be based on systematic collection of comparable data sets and authoritative and independent scientific sources and have an effective communication strategy. Many delegates agreed that GBO 3 should be placed under the oversight of SBSTTA, not WGRI, and have its final draft reviewed at SBSTTA 14.
Delegates agreed that GBO 3 include bioregional case studies and information on, inter alia: socioeconomic implications of biodiversity loss; direct and indirect benefits of biodiversity conservation; and impacts of invasive alien species on aquatic ecosystems. The EU and Mexico, opposed by the African Group, suggested referring to the full set of 2010 biodiversity indicators. Many delegates supported that GBO 3 monitor the implementation of the 2010 target and headline indicators. Brazil eventually agreed to take into account progress made in and constraints to achieving the 2010 target. On employing scenarios beyond 2010, Brazil, opposed by Mexico, preferred urging parties to focus on work up to 2010; delegates agreed to an EU proposal to employ scenarios “as appropriate.”
Delegates supported: building on past collaborative efforts between the GBO and UNEP’s Global Environmental Outlook and current initiatives on harmonizing national reporting processes, including the use of a joint reporting framework on specific themes; and reflect WGRI 2 discussions on GBO 3 in an annex to the recommendation. On Friday, delegates clarified references to the 2010 biodiversity target and the provisional headline indicators. Delegates amended the annex on views expressed at WGRI 2 on the scope of GBO 3, following suggestions by Nepal to refer not only to aquatic environments and invasive alien species, but also to terrestrial environments, and by Burundi to refer to the social, cultural and economic implications of biodiversity loss.
Final Recommendation: In the final recommendation (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/2/L.2), the WGRI requests the Executive Secretary to:
- revise the proposed scope and format, work plan, communication strategy and financial plan for GBO 3, addressing the progress made and the constraints to achieving the 2010 biodiversity target, taking into account views expressed at WGRI 2, as well as comments by national focal points and other relevant organizations, and submit a revised proposal for consideration by COP 9; and
- continue collaborating with other biodiversity-related conventions and processes in the preparation of GBO 3.
It further recommends that COP 9 request the GEF, urge parties, and invite other governments and donors to contribute to the production of GBO 3 and the full set of 2010 indicators, and the communication strategy, to finalize GBO 3 before COP 10 in all UN languages and, if possible, to review its draft at SBSTTA 14.
The recommendation’s annex contains views expressed at WGRI 2 on the scope of GBO 3.
OPERATIONS OF THE CONVENTION: Chair Rezende de Castro introduced this agenda item (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/2/7, INF/12, and Adds.1 and 2) on Wednesday. The draft recommendation was considered on Thursday, with informal consultations continuing into the evening. The final recommendation was adopted in plenary on Friday.
Retirement of decisions: Many delegates supported the eight-year period for the review and retirement of COP decisions. Pointing to the consideration of triennial COP meetings after COP 10, Brazil proposed retiring decisions during the interval between COPs. Delegates agreed to review the issue at COP 10, in conjunction with the review of the periodicity of the COP itself. Mexico urged not following a timeframe and suggested using the CITES model of identifying decisions that are still relevant or that may need amendment. Some delegates expressed concern that in retiring decisions guidance on policy and programme matters could be lost. Others requested that retired decisions be made available online.
Admission of observers: Colombia called for the strict application of qualification criteria in the admission of NGOs to CBD meetings, and for the Secretariat and parties to be able to check applications. Canada and the EU preferred a flexible process to ensure open access for all qualified organizations. Nigeria stressed that the COP should be presented with a list of observers and vote on their admission at each meeting and, with Australia, suggested a general rule limiting admission to plenary and working group meetings, leaving access to informal meetings at the discretion of those convening the meetings. Indigenous representatives and NGOs called for continued flexible access to the meetings.
Delegates debated procedures for admission of observers annexed to the recommendation and could not agree whether to mandate the COP to vote on the issue. Following informal discussions, delegates agreed to refer to the appropriate article of the Convention and its Rules of Procedure, thereby implying that the COP can vote on the issue, rather than including a specific reference to a vote. On Friday, Colombia agreed to the annex and, with Nigeria, noted that the procedure outlined within it cannot prejudice the ability of the COP to take a decision or vote on the information that will be provided to them.
Final Recommendation: The final recommendation on operations of the Convention (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/2/L.6), has two sections: review and retirement of decisions, and admission of bodies and agencies, whether governmental or non-governmental.
On retirement of decisions, the WGRI suggests that the COP decide to review and, if appropriate, retire decisions, taking care to avoid retiring guiding principles and decisions that have not been implemented, at an interval of eight years, and to re-examine that periodicity at COP 10. The WGRI also recommends that the COP request the Executive Secretary to make proposals to COP 10 regarding the retirement of decisions taken at COP 6 and to maintain the full text of all decisions on the CBD website indicating which decisions have been retired.
On the admission of observers, the WGRI recommends that the COP recall Article 23 of the Convention (COP rules on observers) and Rule 7 of the Rules of Procedure (observers) and decide to adopt the steps for admission of observers as contained in the annex, which sets out the following: an interested body or agency should inform the Executive Secretary of its wish to be represented as an observer to meetings of the COP and its subsidiary bodies, and include its statutes and other relevant information; the Executive Secretary will prepare a list of bodies and agencies wishing to be represented and having provided the necessary information, and submit this list to each COP and in advance to the COP Bureau; and once listed, a body or agency need not re-submit the information provided, but should notify the Secretariat of any relevant change in the information provided that may affect their admission as an observer.
On Friday, 13 July, Rapporteur Mary Fosi presented, and delegates adopted, the report of WGRI 2 (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/2/L.1).
Executive Secretary Djoghlaf congratulated delegates on a successful meeting. Noting WGRI 2’s focus on practical implementation of the Convention at the national level, Chair Rezende de Castro highlighted, inter alia, mechanisms to support implementation, guidance to the GEF and preparations for GBO 3. Underscoring that lack of resources is the most widespread constraint to CBD implementation, he expressed hope that a resource mobilization strategy to be considered at COP 9 will help mobilize funds for achieving all three objectives of the Convention. He gaveled the meeting to a close at 6:34 pm.
A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF SBSTTA 12 AND WGRI 2
Since COP 8 heralded the beginning of the new phase of “enhanced implementation” for the CBD, after a year-long respite SBSTTA 12 and WGRI 2 marked the prelude to a busy period in the run-up to COP 9 and COP 10 in the final push towards achieving the global target of significantly reducing the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. The meetings provided an opportunity to review the implementation of the Convention thus far and signal necessary measures in order to meet this challenge. This analysis will revisit the adjustments in CBD’s course emerging from SBSTTA 12 and WGRI 2, in three clusters: review of implementation; reform of subsidiary bodies’ operations and other processes; and response to emerging and rapidly-evolving issues.
REVIEW – BOOSTING NATIONAL IMPLEMENTATION
Until relatively recently, the COP and its subsidiary bodies focused almost exclusively on policy development, resulting in limited feedback on progress in national implementation of the Convention. The first meeting of the WGRI in 2005 turned attention to national implementation by deciding to streamline reporting and initiating a review of financial resources available for implementation. WGRI 2 took the next step by reviewing the implementation of national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs) and assessing the status of capacity building and technology transfer – instruments that are key for achieving the 2010 target.
The resulting recommendation contains a set of practical measures to boost national implementation, and was commended by many for achieving the balance between national obligations and international support measures. Developing countries hailed the substantial measures for assistance in NBSAP formulation, implementation and monitoring. For their part, developed countries welcomed references to outcome-oriented targets and a commitment by all parties to identify gaps in implementation and capacity-building needs, which will in turn allow donors and implementing agencies to provide more targeted assistance.
The in-depth reviews undertaken by SBSTTA 12 were conducted in a similar spirit to address obstacles to implementation on the ground. Discussions on the application of the ecosystem approach revealed that the approach has been successfully applied in some areas, such as forest ecosystem management, but limited in others, like fisheries. Overall progress in its implementation was seen by many as somewhat unsatisfactory, especially since the approach is intended to be the primary framework for action under the Convention. Implementation of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC), on the other hand, was hailed a success story, with its outcome-oriented targets and a set of indicators allowing for assessment of progress at an early stage. In both cases, SBSTTA adopted recommendations that focus on enhancing national implementation, such as the development of the GSPC toolkit or the ecosystem approach sourcebook, that were welcomed as helpful steps in this regard.
In general, delegates concluded that the “review” task of both SBSTTA and WGRI has assisted parties in developing a clearer picture of the obstacles hindering implementation as well as the means available to overcome them, thereby enabling parties to play an active role in the CBD’s move towards enhanced implementation and the 2010 target.
REFORM – WORKING “SMARTER”
The two meetings also contributed to broader efforts to improve the Convention’s operations and make it work “smarter” and more effectively. For instance, the SBSTTA Bureau decided to conduct most of SBSTTA 12’s deliberations in a Committee of the Whole rather than in working groups, in part to facilitate participation of small delegations, and to provide stronger scientific input through keynote presentations on substantive agenda items. The result was the first SBSTTA meeting in a long time that did not involve late-night sessions. While this success may have been partly due to SBSTTA’s light agenda – a consequence of COP 8 decisions – most delegates did acknowledge the usefulness of the new format. Some were curious to see how the format will perform under SBSTTA 13’s much heavier agenda, noting that the Committee of the Whole may not be the most suitable format to progress negotiations on contentious issues.
Regarding efforts to raise SBSTTA’s scientific profile, numerous participants commented that as long as SBSTTA makes recommendations to the COP, discussions will always be dominated by political, rather than scientific, concerns. The ongoing consultative process towards an international mechanism for scientific expertise on biodiversity (IMoSEB), initiated by some parties aiming at strengthening delivery of biodiversity-related expertise, but perceived by others as competing with SBSTTA, has nonetheless given impetus to revitalizing SBSTTA’s scientific advisory role. An IMoSEB side event showed that a clear vision of the objective and structure of such a mechanism is yet to emerge, while during WGRI discussions, some suggested that one task for IMoSEB could be to help consolidate independent scientific information for GBO 3. While most participants agreed that there is a general need for enhancing scientific expertise on biodiversity issues, establishing a new mechanism may not be as straightforward as simply copying the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change model, since demands for biodiversity expertise tend to be as diverse as the issue in question.
Replicating another model from the climate change arena, G8+5 environment ministers came forward at a G8 summit preparatory meeting in March 2007 with an initiative to conduct a review of the economic value of biodiversity and the cost of inaction on biodiversity conservation. Proponents of this idea – known as the “Stern-like” review on biodiversity – hope it will give a similar boost to public awareness as was triggered by the Stern Review of the Economic Impacts of Climate Change. While welcoming the idea, some, however, remained skeptical about the prospects of achieving this clearly ambitious task.
Another important issue on WGRI 2’s agenda was funding, reflected in the discussions on the development of a resource mobilization strategy to support implementation and streamlining guidance to the GEF. Guidance to the GEF has been a recurring issue in SBSTTA meetings, with some parties calling for reviews of how to improve guidance and to monitor how this guidance is being interpreted by the GEF, and others insisting that GEF guidance be addressed only by the COP. The tone at this meeting notably changed, as many participants welcomed a more open and collaborative attitude, reflected, among others, in the constructive participation of the GEF CEO/Chairperson during WGRI 2. This paved the way to the possible adoption of a new framework for streamlining guidance that would have parties setting priorities in a four-year interval aligned with GEF replenishment cycles. The positive debate on the issue was applauded by many as a breakthrough, hoping that it will substantially improve communication between the CBD and the GEF.
The development of a strategy for resource mobilization aims to diversify sources of funding for implementation projects. Similar approaches are being explored by other MEAs, such as the UN Forum on Forests and UNFCCC, in order to reduce dependency on donor agencies and create opportunities for the engagement of other actors, such as the private sector. Such discussions have often encountered difficulties in establishing a legitimate basis for negotiations because expectations diverge widely among potential donors and recipients as to what constitutes a valid and reliable source of funding. Deliberations at WGRI 2 thus focused on the establishment of a process, involving the elaboration of a draft strategy by an informal group for consideration by COP 9, rather than a substantive discussion on the strategy itself. Some parties expressed their disappointment about this missed opportunity to begin exchanging ideas, while others noted that ambiguities in the relevant COP decision would inevitably have led to a prolonged procedural debate. While the recommendation now provides clarity about the procedure, some wondered whether the time left before COP 9 will be sufficient to prepare a better basis for discussion and whether parties will be able to tackle the challenge of elaborating and agreeing on a strategy for resource mobilization during the upcoming COP.
RESPONSE – KEEPING ABREAST OF RAPIDLY EVOLVING ISSUESS
Along with reviewing implementation and making recommendations on possible ways to work smarter, the CBD’s subsidiary bodies also have the mandate to advise the COP on responses to emerging and rapidly evolving issues, and SBSTTA 12 addressed not just one but two such issues, namely climate change and production of biofuels.
On the linkages between climate change and biodiversity, a number of European countries pushed for mutually beneficial activities, such as avoided deforestation, to be developed in collaboration with UNFCCC – very much in line with recent changes in EU policy on climate change and pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Others, including Australia and Brazil, opposed, noting that such proposals should have been developed at a meeting of the Joint Liaison Group of the Rio Conventions, which took place on 7 June 2007, too late for its report to be considered by SBSTTA 12. The background, as delegates from these countries explained, is that the UNFCCC has no mandate to develop such proposals with the CBD, which is perhaps the reason for the absence of UNFCCC representatives at SBSTTA 12 despite the prominence of climate change on its agenda. The request for cooperation is so far one-sided and, while there is good reason for enhanced cooperation, the UNFCCC COP is less enthusiastic to do so because the CBD has scarce resources to offer for implementing collaborative activities. One delegate noted that the UNFCCC COP suspects that the CBD has a degree of “climate envy,” wanting to share some of climate change’s spotlight and tap into its coveted coffer.
On a more positive note, SBSTTA did adopt guidance for the integration of climate change concerns in the CBD work programmes and provided for testing this guidance at SBSTTA 13 in the context of the in-depth reviews of the work programmes on forest and agricultural biodiversity. SBSTTA 12 thus set the stage for the CBD’s urgently needed response to climate change issues at COP 9.
At the outset, the scenario on biodiversity and biofuel production mirrored that on climate change, with the EU pushing for guidance on the development of national policy frameworks for sustainable production and consumption of biofuels. This was met with strong resistance by biofuel-exporting countries including Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia and Argentina, who opposed all references that could be interpreted as a move towards the development of standards. Biofuel producers explained that they wanted to ensure that political decisions should only be taken by the COP, while others speculated that their main concern was to avoid recommendations that might turn out to have trade implications in the long run. One delegate pointed out the irony in SBSTTA not taking a stronger stance on the sustainability concerns of biofuel production, while concurrently a high-level political agreement was concluded between Brazil and the EU to develop the international biofuel market, including measures that would force producers to meet strict environmental standards. Despite the lack of a far-reaching substantive outcome, many delegates commented on the usefulness of the exchange of views at SBSTTA 12. More broadly, deliberations on both issues highlighted interactions with other processes, such as the UNFCCC or trade negotiations, and showed that the CBD has to carefully carve its niche in addressing these issues. Perhaps of even greater importance may be an agreement reached on the sidelines of the biofuels discussion on the procedure for selecting and addressing emerging issues, potentially leading to speedier response to emerging issues in the future.
SCIENCE AND IMPLEMENTATION TOWARDS 2010
Overall, despite SBSTTA 12 and WGRI 2 agendas providing sufficient time and space for substantive discussions, the meetings did not produce detailed outcomes on emerging issues, nor a draft resource mobilization strategy. On the other hand, SBSTTA 12 and WGRI 2 used the opportunity to take stock of the Convention’s implementation and progress towards the 2010 target. While there was no feeling of 2010 panic, obstacles to national implementation are still significant; the outcomes on NBSAPs, capacity building and guidance to the GEF were largely seen as timely and pertinent interventions to address these key concerns for developing countries.
The future of the CBD’s efforts to review its implementation, however, is not as yet crystal clear. Many delegates agreed that the idea of institutionalizing WGRI along the lines of the UNFCCC’s Subsidiary Body on Implementation, which has been toyed with since COP 4, will not garner sufficient support, since a number of countries think that scarce resources could be used more effectively on other activities, such as regional coordination processes. Nor does it seem that COP 9 will discontinue WGRI meetings, as suggested by some. The provisional status quo is therefore likely to remain until at least COP 10, when parties will revisit the issue of the periodicity of the COP itself, which in turn will remodel the intersessional landscape. In the long run, if WGRI manages to take on more substantive reviews of implementation issues and suggest reforms within the CBD, it might enable SBSTTA to lead more scientific debates and provide much-needed response to reducing the rate of biodiversity loss.
FIRST HIGH-LEVEL BIOFUELS SEMINAR IN AFRICA: This meeting will take place from 30 July - 1 August 2007, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and is being organized by the African Union Commission, the Government of Brazil and the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). Participants will discuss perspectives for biofuels industry in Africa, focusing on the policy and regulatory frameworks, environmental considerations, financing and investment opportunities; and South-South partnerships. For more information, contact: Alois Mhlanga, UNIDO, tel: +43-1-26026-5169; fax: +43-1-26026-6855; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.unido.org/en/doc/68431; or: Philippe Niyongabo, Head of Energy and Infrastructure Section, African Union Commission; tel: +251-11-551-9310; fax: 251-11-551-0290; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.africa-union.org/biofuel.htm
FIRST INTERNATIONAL TECHNICAL CONFERENCE ON ANIMAL GENETIC RESOURCES: This conference will take place from 3-7 September 2007, in Interlaken, Switzerland. It will aim to address priorities for the sustainable use, development and conservation of animal genetic resources. For more information, contact: the Conference Secretariat; tel: +39-06-570-54698; fax: +39-06-570-53927; e-mail: Interlaken-AnGR@fao.org; internet: http://www.fao.org/ag/againfo/programmes/en/genetics/angrvent2007.html
UNCCD COP 8: The eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification will take place from 3-14 September 2007, in Madrid, Spain. The sixth session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention and the eighth session of the Committee on Science and Technology will also be held in conjunction with COP 8. For more information, contact: UNCCD Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-2800; fax: +49-228-815-2898; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.unccd.int
FIRST MEETING OF THE CBD AD HOC TECHNICAL EXPERT GROUP ON TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AND SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COOPERATION: This meeting will take place from 10-12 September 2007, in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.cbd.int/meetings/default.shtml
IMOSEB ASIAN REGIONAL CONSULTATION: The fourth in a series of regional consultations of the Consultative Process Towards an International Mechanism of Scientific Expertise on Biodiversity (IMoSEB) is scheduled to take place from 24-25 September 2007, in Beijing, China. For more information, contact: IMoSEB Executive Secretariat, tel: +33-4-67-59-3923 / 3743; fax: +33-4-67-59-3909; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.imoseb.net
ABS-5: The fifth meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing will take place from 8-12 October 2007, in Montreal, Canada. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.cbd.int/doc/meeting.aspx?mtg=ABSWG-05
FIFTH MEETING OF THE ARTICLE 8(J) WORKING GROUP: The fifth meeting of the CBD’s Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions will take place from 15-19 October 2007, in Montreal, Canada. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.cbd.int/doc/meeting.aspx?mtg=WG8J-05
THIRD MEETING OF THE PARTIES TO ACCOBAMS: This meeting will be held from 22-25 October 2007, in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and is organized by the Secretariat to the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic Area. For more information, contact: ACCOBAMS Secretariat; tel: +377-9898-2078; fax: + 377-9898-4208; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.accobams.org/2006.php/parties/show/5
FOURTH MEETING OF THE WORKING GROUP ON LIABILITY AND REDRESS IN THE CONTEXT OF THE CARTAGENA PROTOCOL ON BIOSAFETY: This meeting will take place from 22-26 October 2007, in Montreal, Canada. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.cbd.int/meetings/default.shtml
SECOND SESSION OF THE ITPGR GOVERNING BODY: Organized by the FAO, the second session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture will be held from 28 October - 2 November 2007, in Rome, Italy. For more information, contact: Shakeel Bhatti, ITPGR Secretary; tel: +39-06-570-53441; fax: +39-06-570-53057; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.fao.org/ag/cgrfa/itpgr.htm
FIFTH TRONDHEIM CONFERENCE ON BIODIVERSITY: The fifth Trondheim Conference on Biodiversity will be held from 29 October - 2 November 2007, in Trondheim, Norway, under the theme “Ecosystems and people – biodiversity for development – the road to 2010 and beyond.” For more information, contact: Norway’s Directorate for Nature Management; tel: +47-7358-0500, fax: +47-7358-0501; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.trondheimconference.org/
ABS 6: The sixth meeting of the CBD’s Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing will take place from 21-25 January 2008, in Montreal, Canada. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.cbd.int/doc/meeting.aspx?mtg=ABSWG-06
SECOND MEETING OF THE CBD AD HOC OPEN-ENDED WORKING GROUP ON PROTECTED AREAS: The meeting will take place from 11-15 February 2008, in Rome, Italy. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.cbd.int/meetings/default.shtml
SBSTTA 13: The 13th meeting of the CBD’s Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice will take place from 18-22 February 2008, in Rome, Italy. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: email@example.com ; internet: http://www.cbd.int/meetings/default.shtml
CARTAGENA PROTOCOL COP/MOP 4: The fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (COP/MOP-4) will take place from 12-16 May 2008, in Bonn, Germany. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.cbd.int/
CBD COP 9: The ninth Conference of the Parties to the CBD will take place in Bonn, Germany, from 19-30 May 2008. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.cbd.int/
|Access and benefit-sharing
Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group
Convention on Biological Diversity
Conference of the Parties
Global Biodiversity Outlook
Global Environment Facility
Global Strategy for Plant Conservation
Global Taxonomy Initiative
International Mechanism of Scientific Expertise on Biodiversity
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
Millennium Development Goals
Multilateral environmental agreement
National biodiversity strategies and action plans
Subsidiary Body for Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice
UN Convention to Combat Desertification
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Review of Implementation