Focuses of implementation I 3.2 339 in order to be able to achieve a fundamental understanding in the population for the importance of biological diversity and thus an interest in their longterm preservation. Support should be given to the development in the biodiversity rich countries of research institutions oftheir own and to the mobilization of corresponding corporate investment. The Council recommends that the German federal government take a close look when it develops a national strategy at the opportunities for enhanced technology transfer for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.This is only possible in close cooperation with the BMZ (Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development). I 3.2.3 Programmes of work in line with the ‘triad of objectives’ At the forefront ofthe gradual development of topicspecific programmes of work under the CBD for the various ecosystems (so far, marine and coastal ecosystems, forests, agrobiodiversity and inland waters) is an integrated consideration for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. In this way, the hitherto prevailing spatial restriction to natural or semi-natural ecosystems or protected areas was lifted. This reorientation leads to biodiversity issues gaining a greater relevance to a larger area and being given greater consideration in land use planning as a whole.At the COP-3 it was decided to place savannahs, arid areas, grasslands and mountain ecosystems on the agenda of forthcoming COPs. I 3.2.4 Ecosystem approach The ecosystem approach is a concept fundamental to the implementation ofthe CBD and to which, for example, reference is made in many ofthe programmes of work and decisions ofthe COP. Furthermore, this integrative concept is also important for bioregional management (Section E 3.9). Currently, however, it is being used in the CBD without a clear definition or indeed an unanimous view on its content. Since the ecosystem approach entered the CBD without prior validation by means of independent scientific debate or deliberation by the SBSTTA, and in many instances has perturbed some players, it seems that an improved scientific grounding for this approach is more necessary than ever. This process has already begun with relevant expert workshops within the CBD framework (most recently in Trondheim, September 1999). The Council recommends giving priority to the advancement ofthe substantiation of this concept. I 3.2.5 Indicators and monitoring Within the framework ofthe convention the elaboration of a coherent system of indicators for monitoring the global status of biological diversity has advanced very little. There are still major uncertainties regarding methodology and scientific bases that should be addressed in targeted research (Section J 2.1). It would also make sense to bring together various existing projects on indicator development for biodiversity at international level (CSD, IUCN, IFF, CCD, OECD, etc). It would be desirable for the iterative development and binding introduction of an internationally compatible core set of biodiversity indicators to assess, at the various levels of aggregation, pressures, status/trends and responses to intervention. It is important for this to be linked to the development of sustainability indicators as is currently being advanced for instance by the OECD and CSD. In order to speed up this process, consideration should be given to convening an international expert dialogue whose work could be continued by a future IPBD. I 3.2.6 Taxonomy From scientific circles time and again warnings have been issued about the lack of capacity building in the field of taxonomy. Taxonomy is even often referred to as a ‘dying science’. This is particularly true of developing countries, but even in industrialized countries the recording of biological diversity has often been seriously neglected in terms of both personnel and funding. In light of this situation, the Council recommends increased research support for taxonomy (Section J 3.1.1). The Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI) attempts to counteract the crisis in taxonomy by developing an international support programme (Eberhard, 1999). Recently, there has been discussion about whether the GTI ought to be institutionalized as a framework project. At the 4th meeting ofthe SBSTTA ofthe CBD the overwhelming majority ofthe delegates supported the promotion ofthe GTI within the CBD process. It was disputed however, whether it should be tied to UNEP. An upgrading of taxonomy would however bring with it a change in GEF policy since the latter would have to draw up clear and specific guidelines in the context of new or existing GEF pro-
340 I Global biosphere policy jects. The GTI would also have to be linked to existing information networks, in particular the Clearing House Mechanism. I 3.2.7 Alien species The phenomenon ofthe spread of alien species has been addressed many times by the Council (WBGU, 2000a; Section E 3.6). Particular attention has been drawn in that context to the need for an analysis of ecological risk from the planned introduction of alien species. The Council also recommended the introduction of international regulations pertaining to the release of organisms not only for the purposes of biological control, but also for food production. For agriculture and forestry there are already clear parameters. A comprehensive risk analysis for all potential ‘newcomers’ is not possible, but for instance most innovations today in the classic area of pest control in which the introduction of new alien species plays a role call for a risk analysis to be carried out (WBGU, 2000a). Furthermore, the FAO has developed a code of conduct for the import and release of exotic organisms that serves as a guideline for governments, exporters and importers and should contribute towards risk minimization (WBGU, 2000a). In the Council’s view it is necessary to harmonize existing regulations governing the introduction of alien species and to expandthem to include the areas of application mentioned above (Section E 3.6).The deficits in preventive risk analysis should be reduced using models and scenarios. Central to this in the Council’s view should be the precautionary principle, or specifically, the avoidance of introducing alien species. In detail, the Council recommends: • Harmonization of relevant terms and provisions: In order to ensure that the terms used in national legislation in connection with the introduction of alien species are consistent, it is necessary to establish clear definitions and content of terminology. Furthermore, the provisions in connection with the introduction of alien species and genetically modified species should be harmonized, since numerous issues are similar in the two cases. • Institutional responsibilities and scope for checking regulations on intentional release: There is already in many countries an obligation to obtain approval for the introduction of alien organisms; deficits prevail in many countries with regard to the extent to which existing regulations and possible sanctions can be checked for violations. The precautionary principle should be the basis on which the release of alien species is carried out. Therefore, prior to any intentional release, environmental impact assessments must be carried out. These must also apply to releases in the context of agriculture and forestry.As a matter of principle, those responsible for the introduction of alien species should be liable for potential follow-on damage. The responsibilities of international institutions and national agencies for prevention and management in cases of emergency must be clarified. • Prevention of unintended introduction: Unintended introduction should be prevented by border and seed controls, logistical measures such as shorter waiting times in container traffic, but also awareness-raising in the population and important target groups (tourists, hunters, fishermen, aquarists, foresters, farmers, garden owners, etc). Already today, various approaches relating to the analysis of introductions in various areas for similarities and differences can be employed for the purpose of early warning and prevention. These approaches should be developed further in the direction of an early warning system. I 3.2.8 Terminator technology ‘Terminator technologies’ are new developments in plant breeding using bioengineering procedures in which the ability of plant genetic resources to germinate is restricted or prevented altogether.The seed ofthese new varieties when sold is not affected, but the harvested plant is incapable of reproduction.The use ofthe harvested material for replanting is thus rendered impossible and so the seed has to be bought anew each time. The first patented Technology Protection System from the company Delta & Pine Lands is an application of this technology. Other applications produce limitations to the natural resistance of plants (eg Novartis’ patent on ‘systematic acquired resistance genes’).The fears that cultivation ofthese new varieties could lead to an impairment of biological diversity have so far not been sufficiently grounded in scientific studies. However, these technologies became an issue of contention during the COP-4 as a risk to nature and society that is difficult to quantify.The dependence on the use of terminator technologies andthe increasing control of plant production by influential seed companies raises at the very least socio-economic problems.The Council recommends research on the ecological and socio-economic impact of terminator technologies in order to allow for a scientifically based treatment ofthe topic.