United Nations

A/S-19/13


General Assembly

 Distr. GENERAL
1 May 1997
ORIGINAL: ARABIC/CHINESE/
                                                          ENGLISH/FRENCH/
                                                          RUSSIAN/SPANISH


        OVERALL REVIEW AND APPRAISAL OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF AGENDA 21

           Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity

                         Note by the Secretary-General


1.   The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit to the General
Assembly, pursuant to Assembly resolution 50/113 of 20 December 1995,
the attached decision III/19 of the Conference of the Parties to the
Convention on Biological Diversity.  The annex to the decision
contains a statement from the Conference of the Parties to the
Assembly at its special session.

2.   The information referred to in paragraph 2 of the decision was
transmitted to the Commission on Sustainable Development at its fifth
session (see E/CN.17/1997/21), which will also be made available to
the Assembly.


            DECISION III/19 OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE
                      CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY

               Special session of the General Assembly to review
                          implementation of Agenda 21

     The Conference of the Parties,

     Recalling the provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity
and the relevant chapters of Agenda 21,

     Recalling General Assembly resolution 50/113, which invited the
Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity to
provide inputs to the special session of the General Assembly to
review progress in implementing Agenda 21,

     Recognizing the importance of the special session of the General
Assembly in 1997 to review progress made to date in the implementation
of Agenda 21,

     Mindful of the role of the Convention on Biological Diversity in
promoting sustainable development, and reaffirming its commitment to
the three objectives of the Convention,

     1.  Requests the President of the Conference of the Parties to
transmit the annexed statement from the Conference of the Parties to
the special session of the General Assembly in 1997;

     2.  Also requests the Executive Secretary to provide to the
special session of the General Assembly and to the preparatory process
such information related to activities and developments under the
Convention as may be required, including the reports of the meetings
of the Conference of the Parties.


                                     Annex

          STATEMENT FROM THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE CONVENTION
           ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY TO THE SPECIAL SESSION OF THE UNITED
                           NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY


1.   The Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological
Diversity takes this opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to the
three objectives of the Convention, namely the conservation of
biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the
fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization
of genetic resources.


           A.  The Convention on Biological Diversity and Agenda 21

2.   The Conference of the Parties emphasizes the significance of the
Convention, and activities carried out in implementation of the
Convention, to the achievement of goals set out in many of the
chapters of Agenda 21.  Sustainable development cannot be achieved
without the sustainable use of the world's biological diversity.  The
Convention provides a set of legally binding commitments and is an
important tool for translating the principles of the Rio Declaration
on Environment and Development and Agenda 21 into concrete actions.

3.   The Convention on Biological Diversity entered into force on
29 December 1993.  The Conference of the Parties, at its first three
meetings, adopted a number of decisions aimed at elaborating and
implementing the provisions of the Convention.  The Convention adopts
an ecosystem approach, both in its provisions and in its programme of
work.  The integration of biological diversity considerations into
relevant sectoral or cross-sectoral plans, programmes and policies is
central to the Convention.  In addition, the Conference of the Parties
attaches particular importance to cooperation with other biological
diversity-related conventions, institutions and processes.

4.   The Conference of the Parties recognizes that biological diversity
is a cross-cutting issue.  The provisions of the Convention are of the
utmost relevance to a number of the issues reviewed by the Commission
on Sustainable Development to date, including:  the planning and
management of land resources; combating deforestation; managing
fragile ecosystems; promoting sustainable agriculture and rural
development; and consideration of marine and coastal biological
diversity.

5.   The provisions of the Convention are also relevant to the cross-
sectoral issues reviewed by the Commission on Sustainable Development. 
In its statement to the third session of the Commission on Sustainable
Development, the Conference of the Parties noted in particular the
relevance of the following cross-sectoral issues on the agenda of the
third session of the Commission on Sustainable Development:  combating
poverty; demographic dynamics and sustainability; integrating
environment and development in decision-making; environmentally sound
management of biotechnology; roles of major groups; financial
resources and mechanisms; transfer of technology; science for
sustainable development; and information for decision-making.


                B.  The Convention and chapter 15 of Agenda 21

6.   The Convention is the principal global instrument relevant to
achieving the goals set out in chapter 15 of Agenda 21, Conservation
of Biological Diversity.  At its third session, the Commission on
Sustainable Development urged States to sign, ratify, accede to and
implement the Convention on Biological Diversity.  At the time of the
third meeting of the Conference of the Parties, 161 States and one
regional economic integration organization had done so, making this
Convention the principal instrument for advancing global cooperation
and practical action in its field.

7.   The first meeting of the Conference of the Parties, held in
Nassau, the Bahamas, in December 1994, set in place the mechanisms
provided for by the Convention.  The second meeting, held in Jakarta,
Indonesia, in November 1995, adopted substantive decisions aimed at
facilitating the implementation of the Convention.


               C.  The relevance of the Convention to other chapters
                   of Agenda 21

8.   Significant work has already been undertaken or initiated under
the Convention in relation to a number of key areas.  For example:

(a)  National planning processes

9.   The Convention requires Parties, in accordance with their
particular conditions and capabilities, to develop national
strategies, plans and programmes for the conservation and sustainable
use of biological diversity.  The second meeting of the Conference of
the Parties decided that the first national reports of the Parties,
due at its fourth meeting, will focus on measures taken for the
implementation of article 6 of the Convention (General measures for
conservation and sustainable use).

(b)  Marine and coastal biological diversity

10.  The second meeting of the Conference of the Parties adopted
decision II/10 on marine and coastal biological diversity, the Jakarta
Mandate.  This decision proposed a framework for global action.  The
salient features of the mandate are:

     (i) support for and cooperation with other international efforts;

    (ii) development of a programme of work for the Convention
         process, on the basis of five thematic areas, namely: 
         integrated marine and coastal area management; marine and
         coastal protected areas; sustainable use of coastal and
         marine living resources; mariculture; and alien species; and

   (iii) the establishment of a roster of experts on the basis of
         country input, which will draw upon expertise from
         scientific, technical, technological, social, management,
         economic, policy, legal and indigenous and traditional
         knowledge.

11.  The first meeting of experts drawn from the roster is to be held
in Jakarta early in 1997.  The Conference of the Parties also
forwarded its decision on marine and coastal biological diversity to
the fourth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development in
1996.  Integral to the implementation of the Jakarta Mandate will be
cooperation with other relevant institutions, processes and
international agreements.

(c)  Terrestrial biological diversity

12.  The second meeting of the Conference of the Parties submitted a
statement to the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests, and the
Conference of the Parties has considered further inputs.  The
Conference of the Parties has also begun to consider further work in
the area of terrestrial biological diversity, including in relation to
drylands and to the biological diversity of mountain regions.  At its
third meeting, major consideration was given to agricultural
biological diversity.

(d)  Environmentally sound management of biotechnology

13.  Chapter 16 of Agenda 21 addresses the environmentally sound
management of biotechnology.  The second meeting of the Conference of
the Parties established an Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group on
Biosafety to develop, in the field of the safe transfer, handling and
use of living modified organisms, a protocol on biosafety,
specifically focusing on transboundary movement, of any living
modified organism resulting from modern biotechnology that may have
adverse effects on the conservation and sustainable use of biological
diversity, setting out for consideration, in particular, appropriate
procedure for advance informed agreement.  The Working Group held its
first meeting in July 1996 and reported to the third meeting of the
Conference of the Parties.  The Working Group aims to complete its
work by 1998.

(e)  Technical and scientific cooperation, and capacity-building

14.  A number of articles of the Convention address the issues of
technical and scientific cooperation and capacity-building, in which
the clearing-house mechanism will play a significant role.  The second
meeting of the Conference of the Parties reaffirmed the importance of
the clearing-house mechanism, accessible to all countries, to support
implementation of the Convention at the national level.  The
Conference of the Parties noted that enhanced cooperation with other
information systems and activities would contribute to the development
of the clearing-house mechanism.  A pilot phase of the clearing-house
mechanism was established.

(f)  Financial resources

15.  The Convention recognizes the need for new and additional
financial resources to enable developing country Parties to meet their
commitments under the Convention and to benefit from its provisions. 
The Conference of the Parties has encouraged exploration of
availability of additional financial resources, and ways in which the
activities of funding institutions might be more supportive of the
objectives of the Convention.  In this regard, the Conference of the
Parties encourages bilateral and multilateral funding agencies to
incorporate more fully biological diversity considerations into their
activities.

(g)  Financial mechanism

16.  The Convention foresees that there shall be a mechanism for the
provision of financial resources to developing country Parties for the
purposes of the Convention.  The Conference of the Parties decided at
its second meeting that the restructured Global Environment Facility
should continue to serve on an interim basis as the institutional
structure to operate the financial mechanism under the Convention.  It
also decided to undertake the first review of the effectiveness of the
financial mechanism at its fourth meeting and to undertake a review
every three years thereafter.

17.  The Conference of the Parties specifically requested the Global
Environment Facility as the interim institutional structure to
implement the relevant provisions of the following decisions:  II/3
and III/4 on the clearing-house mechanism; II/7 and III/9 on
consideration of articles 6 and 8 of the Convention; II/8 on
preliminary consideration of components of biological diversity
particularly under threat and action which could be taken under the
Convention; II/17 on the form and intervals of national reports by
Parties; III/10 on identification, monitoring and assessment; III/11
on conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biological
diversity; III/14 on implementation of article 8 (j); III/15 on access
to genetic resources; III/18 on incentive measures; and III/20 on
issues related to biosafety.  The additional guidance to the financial
mechanism given by the Conference of the Parties at its third meeting
is contained in consolidated form in decision III/5.

(h)  Major groups

18.  The major groups, identified in section 3 of Agenda 21,
participate in the processes of the Convention, allowing them an
opportunity to engage with Governments over the implementation of the
commitments made under the Convention.  In particular, certain
provisions of the Convention specifically address the interests of
indigenous people and their communities, as well as of other local
communities.


                            D.  Recent developments

19.  The Conference of the Parties also draws to the attention of the
special session of the General Assembly the report of its third
meeting, held in Buenos Aires, Argentina (document UNEP/CBD/COP/3/38). 
The third meeting considered, inter alia:

     (a) The financial mechanism and financial resources for the
effective implementation of the Convention;

     (b) Implementation of articles 6 and 8 of the Convention;

     (c) The conservation and sustainable use of agricultural
biological diversity;

     (d) Terrestrial biological diversity;

     (e) The implementation of article 8 (j);

     (f) Access to genetic resources;

     (g) Technology transfer;

     (h) The impacts of intellectual property rights on the
conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity;

     (i) Incentive measures; and

     (j) Cooperation with other conventions, institutions and
processes.


                     E.  Future work under the Convention

20.  The Conference of the Parties draws to the attention of the
special session the further work envisaged under the Convention's
medium-term programme of work, including such areas as:

     (a) Consideration of inland water ecosystems;

     (b) Linkages between in situ and ex situ conservation;

     (c) Public awareness and education;

     (d) Impact assessment and minimizing adverse impacts;

     (e) Matters related to benefit sharing;

     (f) Technical and scientific cooperation;

     (g) Conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biological
diversity;

     (h) Forest biological diversity;

     (i) Implementation of article 8 (j); and

     (j) Indicators and methodologies for assessments.

21.  At its fourth meeting, the Conference of the Parties will
undertake a longer-term review of the work programme of the Convention
and the operation of the Conference of the Parties and subsidiary
organs, in the light of progress and experience to date.


      F.  Cooperation with other conventions, institutions and processes

22.  The Conference of the Parties affirms the importance it attaches
to cooperation and coordination between the Convention on Biological
Diversity and other conventions, institutions and processes of
relevance.  A number of measures have already been taken to enhance
such cooperation, including the agreement of memoranda of cooperation
between the Convention secretariat and the secretariats of certain
other biological diversity-related conventions.  The Conference of the
Parties emphasizes its commitment to continue to explore effective
mechanisms to cooperate with other conventions, institutions and
processes of relevance, and in particular the Commission on
Sustainable Development, to avoid duplication and promote efficient
use of resources in implementing its objectives and objectives
contained in Agenda 21 in an expeditious manner.


                             G.  Future challenges

23.  In spite of the progress made to date in implementing the
objectives of the Convention, Parties remain aware that biological
diversity is being destroyed by human activities at unprecedented
rates.  The Conference of the Parties notes that a significant amount
of work remains to be undertaken, in collaboration with relevant
conventions, institutions and processes, in order fully to implement
the Convention.  It therefore calls upon the special session to
recognize the urgency of this work and to support it.

24.  In particular, the Conference of the Parties recognizes that
attention needs to be paid, inter alia, to:

     (a) The further raising of public awareness and the understanding
of the importance of biological diversity through educational
programmes and information;

     (b) The rapid development and implementation of national
strategies, plans or programmes for the conservation and sustainable
use of biological diversity;

     (c) The consideration of appropriate arrangements for access to
genetic resources, and for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits
arising out of the utilization of such resources;

     (d) The development of effective means to respect, preserve and
maintain the knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and
local communities and the equitable sharing of the benefits arising
out of the utilization thereof;

     (e) The transfer of and access to technologies relevant to the
Convention; and

     (f) The provision of new and additional financial resources for
the implementation of the Convention.


                                     -----

 


This document has been posted online by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Reproduction and dissemination of the document - in electronic and/or printed format - is encouraged, provided acknowledgement is made of the role of the United Nations in making it available.

Date last posted: 15 January 2000 16:15:30
Comments and suggestions: esa@un.org