Curtain raiser


The fourteenth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) begins today at the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya, and will continue until 21 May 2010. It will be followed by the third meeting of the CBD Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Review of Implementation of the Convention (WGRI), from 24-28 May 2010.

SBSTTA 14 will address in-depth reviews of implementation of the programmes of work on: mountain biodiversity; inland waters biodiversity; marine and coastal biodiversity; protected areas (PAs); biodiversity and climate change; and work on Article 10 (sustainable use). It will also consider, among other things: agricultural biodiversity, including biofuels; biodiversity of dry and sub-humid lands; forest biodiversity; invasive alien species (IAS); outcome-oriented goals and targets for the period beyond 2010; incentive measures; Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI); Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC); new and emerging issues; and ways and means to improve SBSTTA effectiveness. It will launch the third edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO).

WGRI 3 will address a revised and updated strategic plan including a revised biodiversity target, a multi-year programme of work for the period 2011–2022, as well as proposals for the periodicity of meetings after 2010. It will also: consider the outcome of the intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder meetings on an intergovernmental science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services (IPBES); and review the implementation of the Strategy for Resource Mobilization.

Both meetings are expected to adopt a series of recommendations, to be submitted to the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the CBD, to be held from 18-29 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan.


The CBD entered into force on 29 December 1993. There are currently 193 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. COP 7 established the WGRI with the mandate to address a range of implementation-related issues, such as progress in the implementation of the Strategic Plan, and impacts and effectiveness of existing CBD processes.

COPs 1-3: At its first three meetings (November-December 1994, Nassau, the Bahamas; November 1995, Jakarta, Indonesia; and November 1996, Buenos Aires, Argentina), the COP adopted decisions on, inter alia: the establishment of the Clearing-House Mechanism (CHM) and SBSTTA; the designation of the Global Environment Facility (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. The COP also considered CBD Article 8, and emphasized regional and international cooperation, and the importance of disseminating relevant experience.

COP 4: At its fourth meeting (May 1998, Bratislava, Slovakia), the COP adopted thematic programmes of work on inland waters ecosystems and marine and coastal biodiversity, and decided to consider PAs as one of the three main themes at COP 7. It also encouraged the CBD Executive Secretary to develop relationships with other processes to foster good management practices related to PAs, and established an Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on marine and coastal PAs.

COP 5: At its fifth meeting (May 2000, Nairobi, Kenya), the COP adopted work programmes on dry and sub-humid lands and on agricultural biodiversity, and decisions on access and benefit sharing (ABS), Article 8(j) (traditional knowledge), the ecosystem approach, sustainable use, biodiversity and tourism, IAS, incentive measures, GTI, and GSPC.

COP 6: At its sixth meeting (April 2002, The Hague, the Netherlands), the COP adopted the Convention’s Strategic Plan, including the target to reduce significantly the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. The meeting also adopted: an expanded work programme on forest biodiversity; the Bonn Guidelines on ABS; guiding principles for IAS; the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation; a work programme for the GTI; and decisions on incentive measures and Article 8(j).

COP 7: At its seventh meeting (February 2004, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), the COP adopted work programmes on mountain biodiversity, PAs, and technology transfer and cooperation, and mandated the Working Group on ABS to initiate negotiations on an international regime on ABS. The COP also adopted: a decision to review implementation of the Convention, its Strategic Plan and progress towards achieving the 2010 target; the Akwé: Kon Guidelines for cultural, environmental and social impact assessments; the Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines for sustainable use; and decisions on CEPA, incentive measures, inland waters, and marine and coastal biodiversity.

COP 8: At its eighth meeting (March 2006, Curitiba, Brazil), the COP adopted a work programme on island biodiversity and decisions on a range of issues including Article 8(j), CEPA, cooperation with other conventions and private sector engagement, PAs, including high seas PAs, incentive measures, biodiversity and climate change, and forest, marine and coastal, and agricultural biodiversity. COP 8 reaffirmed the COP 5 ban on the field-testing of genetic use restriction technologies, and instructed the ABS Working Group to complete its work with regard to an international regime on ABS at the earliest possible time before COP 10, to be held in 2010.

COP 9: At its ninth meeting (May 2008, Bonn, Germany), the COP adopted: a roadmap for the negotiation of the international ABS regime before the 2010 deadline; scientific criteria and guidance for marine areas in need of protection; and the Resource Mobilization Strategy for the Convention. It established an AHTEG on biodiversity and climate change, and adopted decisions concerning a wide range of issues, including biofuels, genetically modified trees, protected areas and language cautioning against ocean fertilization.


IPBES II: The Second Ad hoc Intergovernmental and Multi-stakeholder Meeting on an Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) met from 5-9 October 2009, at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. Participants discussed options to strengthen the science-policy interface, functions of an IPBES and possible governance structures. They also adopted a Chair’s Summary, in which they agreed, inter alia, that the UNEP Governing Council request to convene a third and final meeting to negotiate and decide whether to establish an IPBES.

ARTICLE 8(J) WORKING GROUP: The sixth meeting of the Ad hoc Open-ended Intersessional Working Group on Article 8(j) and related provisions of the CBD was held from 2-6 November 2009 in Montreal, Canada. The Working Group adopted a series of recommendations to be submitted to COP 10, including an advanced draft of an ethical code of conduct to ensure respect for the cultural and intellectual heritage of indigenous and local communities. They also transmitted detailed views on the international regime on ABS to the eighth meeting of the Working Group on ABS, held from 9-15 November 2009, in Montreal.

UNESCO BIODIVERSITY SCIENCE POLICY CONFERENCE: The Biodiversity Science Policy Conference of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was held from 25-29 January 2010, at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France. The conference adopted a statement and recommendations, including priorities for and modalities of action on: taxonomy; conservation biogeography; the role of indigenous and local knowledge in biodiversity conservation; biodiversity and gender; priority-setting in conservation; managing biodiversity at the landscape scale; biodiversity and development; and communication, education and public awareness.

TRONDHEIM CONFERENCE 6: The Sixth Trondheim Conference on Biodiversity was held from 1-5 February 2010, in Trondheim, Norway. Participants discussed: the status of, and lessons learned from, the 2010 target to reduce significantly the current rate of biodiversity loss, and challenges for setting post-2010 targets; the economics of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and mainstreaming biodiversity and ecosystem services into societal decisions. The Conference produced a Chair’s Report, which was forwarded as an information document to SBSTTA 14 and WGRI 3.

THIRD MEETING OF THE AD HOC OPEN- ENDED INFORMAL WORKING GROUP ON MARINE BIODIVERSITY BEYOND NATIONAL JURISDICTION: The third meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction (ABNJ) convened from 1-5 February 2010 at UN Headquarters in New York. Delegates agreed by consensus to a package of recommendations to the General Assembly to, inter alia: recognize the importance of further developing scientific and technical guidance on the implementation of environmental impact assessments (EIA) on planned activities in ABNJ; call for work towards the development of a common methodology for the identification and selection of marine protected areas based on existing criteria; and call upon states to make progress in the discussions on the legal regime on, and implementation gaps in, the conservation and sustainable use of marine genetic resources in ABNJ.

UNEP GOVERNING COUNCIL SPECIAL SESSION: The eleventh Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GCSS-11/GMEF) convened from 24-26 February 2010 in Bali, Indonesia. Ministers agreed to the Nusa Dua Declaration, in which they: committed to finalizing deliberations on improving the science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services in 2010; encouraged UNEP to continue to play a leadership role in advancing understanding of the economics of biodiversity and ecosystems services and its policy implications, and to contribute, during the sixty-fifth session of the General Assembly in 2010, to the high-level meeting on biodiversity; and recognized the importance of enhancing synergies between the biodiversity-related conventions, without prejudice to their specific objectives, and encouraged their COPs to consider strengthening efforts in this regard.

ABS 9: The ninth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on ABS of the CBD convened from 22-28 March 2010, in Santiago de Cali, Colombia. For the first time in the process, negotiations were conducted on the basis of a draft protocol, tabled as a Co-Chair’s text and developed upon a request made during the Co-Chairs’ Informal Inter-regional Consultation held prior to ABS 9. The Working Group agreed to: suspend ABS 9 and convene a resumed session in July 2010; and forward the draft protocol text, as revised in Cali, to the resumed session, with the understanding that the draft was not negotiated, is without prejudice to the rights of parties to make further amendments and additions to the text, and should be read together with the ABS 9 report reflecting parties’ views expressed at the meeting.

UNPFII 9: The ninth session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) was held from 19-30 April 2010 at UN Headquarters in New York. It considered: the results of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference and the implications for indigenous peoples’ local adaptation and mitigation measures; and studies on the impact of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures on reindeer herding and on the extent to which climate change policies and projects adhere to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The Forum recommended that global processes, including ongoing negotiations on an international ABS regime, integrate indigenous knowledge systems into their work, in accordance with UNDRIP, and called for a three-day international expert group meeting on indigenous peoples and forests reporting to UNPFII 10.

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <> is written and edited by Asheline Appleton, Johannes Gnann, Elisa Morgera, Ph.D., Anne Roemer-Mahler, Ph.D., and Tanya Rosen. The Digital Editor is Tallash Kantai. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. <>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the United Kingdom (through the Department for International Development – DFID), the Government of the United States of America (through the Department of State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs), the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Commission (DG-ENV), and the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea. General Support for the Bulletin during 2010 is provided by the Government of Australia, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, the Ministry of Environment of Sweden, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, SWAN International, Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES), the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (through the Global Industrial and Social Progress Research Institute - GISPRI), the Government of Iceland, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the World Bank. Funding for translation of the Bulletin into French has been provided by the Government of France, the Belgium Walloon Region, the Province of Québec, and the International Organization of the Francophone (OIF and IEPF). Funding for translation of the Bulletin into Spanish has been provided by the Spanish Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs. The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications with appropriate academic citation. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11A, New York, New York 10022, USA. The ENB team at SBSTTA 14 can be contacted by e-mail at <>.


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