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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A





¶1. Summary: The Tenth Subsidiary Body on

Scientific, Technical and Technological advice

(SBSTTA) to the Convention on Biological

Diversity (CBD) was held in Bangkok on

February 7-11, 2005. The main goal of the

meeting was to develop a program of work on

island biodiversity. Other major themes

included further development of indicators to

assess progress toward meeting the “2010 goal”

for significant reduction of loss of

biological diversity, and to measure progress

toward several agreed upon “targets.” Parties

also agreed on terms of reference for an Ad

Hoc Technical Experts Group on climate change

and biodiversity. As previously in SBSTTA

meetings, political issues surrounding

traditional knowledge and access and benefit-

sharing dominated the thematic discussions,

and posed a significant challenge to achieving

agreement on substantive scientific and

technical biodiversity issues. Once again,

U.S. status as a non-Party complicated

delegation efforts to secure USG objectives.

Working diligently on the margins, the U.S.

delegation was able to secure all key USG

objectives. Australia remains the primary

U.S. ally, followed closely by Canada and New

Zealand; it would not have been possible to

secure U.S. objectives without their active

support. End summary.


Island Biodiversity


¶2. With participation from about twenty

island countries, in particular Pacific

Islands, a skeletal program of work (POW) on

Island Biodiversity was agreed. The POW

adapts CBHD’s global targets to island-

specific priority actions. The actions remain

at the general level; more specific

“supporting activities” will be negotiated at

COP8. Overall, the draft POW meets USG

objectives such as encouraging the use of

integrated, ecosystem approaches, such as

White Water to Blue Water, promotes broadly

inclusive participatory processes and

strengthens science-based decision-making.

Outstanding issues revolve around Access and

Benefit Sharing (ABS) related issues and the

“rights” of indigenous and local communities.


Indicators and Targets


¶3. The development of a common set of

indicators was considered for assessing

progress towards the 2010 Target of

significantly reducing biodiversity loss.

Indicators for immediate use had general

support, while there was some disagreement on

five additional indicators proposed for

immediate testing. The gap between theory and

practical reporting of the indicators was

stressed, and delegates called for a detailed

description of each. Additional comments

included the need for flexibility in reporting

and especially on the use of various sources

of data suited to countries. Linkage of

reporting to national reporting and to the

Global Biodiversity Outlook was also

requested. Parties agreed on “Ecological

Footprint” as an additional indicator for

development as well as some investigation of

biodiversity indicators of climate change.


¶4. The CBD is working to integrate “targets”

for achieving actions into the different

programs of work. Draft Global Outcome-

Oriented Targets for the Programme of Work on

Inland Waters and on Marine and Coastal

Biological Diversity were developed based on

the Global targets adopted at COP7. Targets

such as “at least 10 percent of each of the

world’s known inland waters ecological regions

effectively conserved” and a similar target

for the marine environment were supported by

Parties. The U.S., working with others,

managed to successfully rebuff attempts to

expand this target to areas beyond national

jurisdiction (e.g., high seas). The U.S. also

emphasized the idea that marine protected

areas (MPAs) are only one of a suite of

management options that can achieve marine

conservation goals.


Climate Change: Terms of Reference of an Ad

Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG)


¶5. Australia and New Zealand, supported by

the U.S., pushed for deferral of consideration

of an AHTEG on adaptation, noting that work on

adaptation under the UNFCCC was still at a

very early stage. Despite those concerns, the

SBSTTA established an AHTEG on Biodiversity

and Climate Change and agreed to a Terms of

Reference. The AHTEG will undertake an

assessment of the integration of biodiversity

considerations into the implementation of

climate change adaptation activities. The

work of the AHTEG will be completed in time

for consideration by SBSTTA-11.


Agricultural Biodiversity


¶6. GURTS (Genetic Use Restriction

Technology): Canada, supported by Australia

and New Zealand, staunchly objected that the

report of the GURTS Ad Hoc Technical Experts

Group (AFTEG) was presented as a consensus

report when, in fact, consensus on the

recommendations at the AHTEG meeting had not

been achieved. A paper developed at SBSTTA

reiterated that the SBSTTA body could not

reach consensus on the report and recommended

that the Conference of the Parties urge

Parties to conduct further research on impacts

and support capacity building. Certain NGOs

condemned the SBSTTA recommendations saying

that they “leave the door wide open” to GURTS;

however, the U.S. found this outcome positive.


¶7. Nanotechnology Side Event: The ETC Group

hosted a side meeting to present information

on the implications of nanotechnology for

human health and the environment as well as

the potential risks to biodiversity and

agriculture. They stressed that there is a

lack of mechanisms for assessing and

regulating potential environmental and health

risks. The ETC Group called for an

international regulatory body to evaluate all

new emerging technologies, particularly



¶8. Cross Cutting Initiative on Biodiversity

for Food and Nutrition: The scope for a new

initiative on biodiversity for food and

nutrition, to be developed in conjunction with

FAO, IPGRI and other relevant organizations,

was generally welcomed by Parties. U.S.,

Canadian and Australian views were that the

initiative remain within the scope of the CBD,

does not duplicate existing initiatives, and

takes a balanced view of conservation and

developments aspects. For the time being,

these criteria have been met; however, we will

need to closely monitor progress.


¶9. International Soil Diversity Initiative:

Parties supported the framework for an

International Soil Biodiversity Initiative

that would help raise awareness and promote

understanding of soil biodiversity and

ecosystem services. The U.S. was supportive

of suggestions that the Initiative support

conservation and sustainable use of soil

biodiversity in terrestrial systems, and not

be restricted only to agriculture.


Perverse Incentives


¶10. This sleeper issue became on of the most

contentious at the meeting with Argentina

adamantly opposing recommendations on this

issue, apparently echoing their concern with

incentives in other fora. Disagreement on

whether the recommendations provide a step-by-

step approach to removing or mitigating

perverse incentives or provide only a

conceptual outline pitted the EC and EU

members against Argentina and New Zealand.

Agreement was reached only with respect to

bracketing the recommendations and sending

them down the line for further work at a later



Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA)


¶11. The MA draft executive summary for

biodiversity was presented for review by

SBSTTA, and comments were taken from the

floor. While there are not any contentious

issues, general sentiment was that the quality

of the MA has been highly variable. Comments

may be incorporated by the authors, and the

report will be revisited at SBSTTA-11.


Clearing House Mechanism (CHM)


¶12. On the role of the CHM in Promoting

Technical Cooperation, the U.S. emphasized

the use of common reporting formats for

information sharing on biodiversity so that

they are compatible, particularly for

development of global and regional networks.

We were successful in including these issues

in the Draft Recommendations of the SBSTTA

and in the Asia-Pacific CHM Meeting Report,

held just prior to SBSTTA, as key to

promoting technical cooperation and

facilitating information exchange to meet

the 2010 targets.



Written by thaicables

August 26, 2011 at 5:17 am

Posted in Unclassified

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