Focuses of implementation I 3.2 335 For the implementation ofthe principles and triad of objectives set out in the preamble, the CBD commits contracting parties to a number of measures (WBGU, 1996). Articles 5–21 relate to substantive questions and call in particular for • the development of national strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity andthe revision of existing plans and programmes with regard to their impact on biological diversity (Section I 220.127.116.11), • assessment, research and monitoring of biological diversity (Sections I 3.2.6 and I 3.2.7), • the reinforcement of in-situ measures (eg through the development of a system of protected areas) and complementing that with support for ex-situ measures (eg in botanical and zoological gardens and gene banks; Sections I 3.3.1 and I 18.104.22.168), • the improvement of institutional parameters, application of (eg economic) incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity andthe reduction of negative incentives (Section I 3.5), • national capacity building, strengthening and expanding scientific-technical cooperation, educational and training programmes andthe exchange of information (Sections I 3.2.2 and I 3.2.3). The institutional framework for cooperation ofthe parties in the implementation ofthe Convention is established in Articles 23–42. The Conference ofthe Parties (COP) is the decision-making body and after an initial phase of annual conferences it is now convened every two years. The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) prepares the decisions ofthe COP and accepts commissions for work. The Convention Secretariat in Montreal coordinates the cooperation ofthe parties and organizes the exchange of information on the establishment and expansion of a communications system, the Clearing House Mechanism (Section I 3.2.2). Since the CBD entered into force in December 1993 four COPs and four meetings ofthe SBSTTA as well as numerous sessions of informal working groups have taken place (WBGU, 1996, 1998a). The first COP in Nassau (1994) addressed organizational and substantive planning for the convention’s work, established the appropriate bodies and adopted a medium-term programme of work. The topics ofthe subsequent COPs in Jakarta (1995), Buenos Aires (1996) and Bratislava (1998) focused on establishing priorities. If one takes stock ofthe negotiating process up to this point one will see a wealth of decisions and recommendations on a broad range of topics. Programmes of work for various ecosystems and use systems were adopted and working groups or expert bodies established to advise on special crosssectoral topics (eg biosafety, access to genetic resources). The dialogue ofthe parties within the binding framework ofthe CBD, if sometimes criticized as too vague, has proven indispensable. To develop a comprehensive biosphere policy, both the will of each party to cooperate andthe dynamic further development ofthe CBD system itself are crucial. Thus the interlinkage ofthe work being done under the CBD with that under other conventions and in other processes serving world environmental policy is becoming ever more important. Furthermore, deficits in scientific policy advice and implementation (Section I 2.1) would seem to advocate further development ofthe existing bodies ofthe CBD or supplementing the same. I 3.2 Focuses of implementation In May 2000 the COP-5 will take place in Nairobi. High hopes are attached to that meeting. One topic due to be hotly discussed is biosafety (Section D 3.2). The original plan to adopt a Biosafety Protocol on the cross-border traffic of genetically modified organisms in Nairobi will take much longer given the failed final talks in Cartagena in February 1999 and will tie up negotiating capacity. Much more than a status report on this topic should not be expected at the COP-5. Given its importance this topic is dealt with separately in Section D 3.2. Progress ofthe CBD in the area of ecosystems can be seen, however.The COPs in Jakarta, Buenos Aires and Bratislava developed programmes of work for marine and coastal biodiversity, forest biodiversity, agrobiodiversity and biodiversity in inland waters, andthe stage of implementation reached in each is to be discussed. For future conferences it is planned to develop programmes of work for arid areas, grasslands and savannahs andthe Mediterranean region. As cross-sectoral topics there will be discussion amongst other things about the ecosystem approach, alien species (Sections E 3.6 and I 3.2.7), the development of indicators and promotion of taxonomy. Ongoing discussions regarding measures to implement the CBD continue – specifically tourism, incentive mechanisms, information exchange, education and training and impact assessments. The COP-5 will continue to build on the results ofthe working group on the implementation of Article 8(j) on the role of indigenous and local communities (probably in Spain, January 2000) and on the expert meeting on access to genetic resources and benefitsharing (Costa Rica, October 1999).
336 I Global biosphere policy I 3.2.1 Innovative structures One fundamental and overarching topic in the preparation phase ofthe COP-5 has been a revision ofthe way the CBD works. The existing bodies allow for continuous cooperation among the parties, but so far they do not provide for the incorporation of independent scientific experts and can only provide insufficient guarantees in the crucial monitoring of progress. An informal meeting of experts (London, January 1998) discussed the possibility of improving the structure and working methods ofthe CBD and forwarded recommendations to the COP-4 that took place in May 1998 in Bratislava. These recommendations related in particular to an improvement in the scientific advice and monitoring of implementation, the incorporation of non-governmental players and cooperation with other conventions and programmes. The fact that a special working meeting was convened in June 1999 (ISOC) shows what importance the community of parties accords this topic. The establishment of a new Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI), a proposal for which many parties from the Group of 77 and China had called, however, made it more difficult to achieve agreement. The Council recommends that the German federal government support the further development ofthe CBD institutional system and in that context in particular take up the recommendations and arguments discussed in the following Sections I 22.214.171.124 and I 126.96.36.199. I 188.8.131.52 Establishment of an IPBD to provide scientific advice Experience from a variety of negotiating processes in international environmental and sustainability policy make it clear that there is a need for well founded and independent scientific advice. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) fulfils this role for climate policy (WBGU, 1997, 1998a).There is no comparable institution to provide for advice and follow-through on international biodiversity policy. The vagueness ofthe scientific foundations, terms and concepts with which work is being conducted in the negotiations is increasingly becoming an obstacle to the development and implementation of decisions by the contracting countries. One example for this situation is the discussion on the definition and design ofthe ecosystem approach (Section I 3.2.3) that is one ofthe fundamental concepts ofthe CBD. The scientific deficit may be seen at two levels. First of all, the knowledge available on the state and loss of biological diversity andthe consequences of this trend is still insufficient and patchy. The gaps must be identified systematically and worked on. At the same time sound scientific follow-through of topics that have already been processed politically is also important. Furthermore, there is the failure to translate the results of scientific research into politically relevant options for action andthe integration of scientific, socio-economic and legal expertise. A first attempt to do justice to these shortcomings was undertaken with the Global Biodiversity Assessment (GBA; WBGU, 1996). This GEF-financed report was published by UNEP in 1995 and submitted to the COP-2 in Jakarta (Heywood and Watson, 1995).As the original title indicates, it was initially an exercise in taking stock that constitutes a very good scientific basis for international biodiversity policy. The report was produced with the broad, international participation of scientists and involved peer review procedures very similar to the work ofthe IPCC.A continuation and supplement to the GBA in the form of a continual evaluation and advisory procedure was not envisaged and it remained at a oneoff endeavour– with many unresolved questions of practical policy against the background ofthe established dramatic and irreversible loss of biological diversity. Providing scientific-technical advice in biodiversity policy has up to now been the job of two permanent bodies: SBSTTA andthe Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) ofthe GEF.These bodies, however, fulfil firmly delineated tasks within the political process. STAP is first and foremost responsible for evaluating GEF project applications and evaluations and does not provide policy advice beyond that task. It is the function of SBSTTA in the CBD system to suggest and evaluate scientific expertise in response to specific requests from the COP. The results ofthese expert assessments must then be packaged into motions for decision by the COP. SBSTTA, as a subsidiary body subject to instructions from the COP, is closely bound to the programme of work ofthe CBD, must work on the instructions from the COP and is not free to select the topics it investigates. In the force field of political interests the independent scientific work that would be necessary cannot be realized. Often at SBSTTA meetings instead of independent scientists it is government representatives who are present and who conduct discussions at the political level ofthe COP: SBSTTA is increasingly becoming a ‘mini COP’. It remains to be seen whether the envisaged establishment of an Ad Hoc