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COP 4 Decision IV/1
Retired sections: A, paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 5, B, paragraphs 1 and 2, C, paragraphs 2, 5 and 6, D, paragraphs 1 and 3.

Report and recommendations of the third meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, and instructions by the Conference of the Parties to the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice

A. Report and recommendations of the third meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice

The Conference of the Parties,

Recalling its decision III/2, which, inter alia, noted recommendation II/11 of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice and decided to consider the recommendation further at its fourth meeting as part of the longer term review of the programme of work and the operations of the Conference of the Parties and subsidiary organs,

Also recalling its decision III/10 on identification, monitoring and assessment,

Further recalling past practice of noting the reports of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice,

1. Takes note of the report of the third meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, held in Montreal from 1 to 5 September 1997, contained in document UNEP/CBD/COP/4/2, bearing in mind that five of the seven recommendations - III/1 (inland water ecosystems); III/2 (marine and coastal biological diversity); III/3 (forest biological diversity); III/4 (agricultural biological diversity); and III/6 (clearing-house mechanism) - contain advice on matters that have been considered under other items on the agenda of the present meeting;

2. Takes note that the recommendations made at the third meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice constitute major inputs into the thematic work under the Convention;

Indicators

3. Endorses recommendation III/5 of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, and requests the Executive Secretary to undertake the work outlined in its annex, in accordance with the guidance contained in the same recommendation, for consideration by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice at its fourth meeting;

4. Proposes that further work on indicators by the Parties and by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice should take account of, inter alia, further work by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice on the development of the ecosystem approach;

Identification monitoring and assessment

5. Welcomes the contributions provided by the DIVERSITAS working group of experts to the Executive Secretary, in its recommendations on scientific research that should be undertaken for the effective implementation of Articles 7, 8, 9, 10 and 14 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, as contained in document UNEP/CBD/COP/4/Inf.18;

6. Decides to transmit those recommendations to the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice for further consideration and use and encourages the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice to further cooperate with DIVERSITAS and with other relevant international, regional and national organizations and institutions on such issues.

B.Ecosystem approach

The Conference of the Parties

Recognizing that in several decisions adopted at the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties the ecosystem approach has been addressed as a guiding principle, although the terminology used has varied, including: "ecosystem approach", "ecosystem process-oriented approach", "ecosystem management approach" and "ecosystem-based approach",

Acknowledging that, by paragraph 1 of its decision II/8, the ecosystem approach has been adopted as a framework for the analysis and implementation of the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and in the elaboration and implementation of the various thematic and cross-cutting work programmes under the Convention, as appropriate,

Acknowledging the need for a workable description and further elaboration of the ecosystem approach,

1. Takes note of the report of the workshop on the ecosystem approach, held in Lilongwe, Malawi, from 26 to 28 January 1998, as contained in document UNEP/CBD/COP/4/Inf.9;

2. Requests the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice to develop principles and other guidance on the ecosystem approach, taking into consideration, inter alia, the results of the Malawi workshop, and to report thereon to the Conference of the Parties at its fifth meeting.

Alien species that threaten ecosystems, habitats or species

The Conference of the Parties,

Noting the significant adverse ecological and economic effects of certain alien species on biological diversity and human health,

Recalling that the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, at its second meeting, considered the development of an indicative framework of processes and categories of activities that are likely to have significant adverse impacts on biological diversity to be a priority,

Recalling paragraphs 9 and 10 of its decision III/9, on the implementation of Articles 6 and 8 of the Convention, which address alien species that threaten ecosystems, habitats or species,

Recalling recommendations III/1, III/2 and III/3 of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, related to alien species as they affect inland water, marine and coastal, forest and agricultural biological diversity respectively in accordance with decisions II/10, III/11, III/12 and III/13 of the Conference of the Parties,

Recognizing the particular endemic biological diversity of geographically and/or evolutionarily isolated ecosystems, such as small islands, and the particularly damaging impacts, in terms of biological­diversity loss, that species introduction can have on such ecosystems,

Noting the importance of taking a precautionary and ecosystem approach when dealing with issues related to alien species,

Noting the need to address the issue of alien species as an integrated component of the various sectoral and thematic items under the programme of work of the Conference of the Parties,

Recognizing that there is also a need for complementary and consolidated action on alien species,

1. Decides that alien species is a cross-cutting issue for implementation of many of the themes of the Convention;

2. Requests the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice to develop guiding principles for the prevention, introduction and mitigation of impacts of alien species and to report on those principles and any related work programme to the Conference of the Parties at its fifth meeting;

3. Invites Parties to develop country­driven projects at national, regional, subregional and international levels to address the issue of alien species and requests the financial mechanism to provide adequate and timely support for those projects;

4. Invites the Parties to address the issue of alien species for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and to incorporate such activities into their national strategies, programmes and action plans;

5. Requests the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice to identify the priority work pertinent to the issue of alien species in geographically and evolutionarily isolated ecosystems and to report thereon to the Conference of the Parties at its fifth meeting;

6. Requests the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, at its next meeting, to examine the Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP), with a view to considering concerted action and developing proposals for further action under the Convention on this issue.

D.Global Taxonomy Initiative

The Conference of the Parties,

Noting decision III/10, supporting a Global Taxonomy Initiative, and the activities being supported by the financial mechanism on taxonomy,

Recognizing the need for taxonomic input in many activities aimed at the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and the lack of taxonomic capacity in a majority of countries,

Recalling that paragraph 3 of decision III/10, in which the Conference of the Parties endorsed the recommendation II/2 of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice concerning capacity-building for taxonomy through a Global Taxonomy Initiative,

Taking into account the urgency for the availability of taxonomic information to countries of origin, and the need of developing countries to develop national collections and human and institutional capacities in taxonomy,

1. Acknowledges the work already under way by the financial mechanism in response to decision III/10 of the Conference of the Parties, and requests the Global Environment Facility to report on these experiences at the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties;

2. Stresses the urgent need for the further implementation of recommendation II/2 of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice concerning capacity-building in all fields of taxonomy to assist in the implementation of the Convention, through the incorporation of targeted actions in its workplan, including promoting regional activities to set regional agendas;

3. Endorses, as initial advice, the Suggestions for Action in the annex to the present decision to develop and implement a Global Taxonomy Initiative, and requests the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice to examine and provide advice on the further advancement of a Global Taxonomy Initiative;

4. Recognizes that the implementation of a Global Taxonomy Initiative should occur on the basis of country­driven projects at the national, regional and subregional levels;

5. Invites the United Nations Environment Programme to assist in the global implementation of a Global Taxonomy Initiative, as offered by the Executive Director in his address to the Conference of the Parties at its fourth meeting;

6. Encourages Governments to make available appropriate resources to enhance the availability of taxonomic information;

7. Encourages Governments to develop bilateral and multilateral training and employment opportunities for taxonomists, particularly for those dealing with poorly known organisms;

8. Stresses the need to consider indigenous and traditional knowledge as an important existing information source that should be taken into account, and made available through appropriate mechanisms;

9. Stresses the urgent need for adequate financial resources to implement a Global Taxonomy Initiative and requests the institutional structure of the financial mechanism of the Convention to provide financial resources, particularly to assist in implementing, through country-driven activities within the context of the operational programmes of the Global Environment Facility, the Suggestions for Action annexed to the present decision.


Annex

SUGGESTIONS FOR ACTION

1. The Executive Secretary should, as a matter of urgency, seek means outside of core funding of the Convention, to appoint a Programme Officer with appropriate operational resources to have responsibility for the further development of a Global Taxonomy Initiative, through the network of existing global, regional and national relevant institutions and organizations. The officer should especially coordinate actions to meet the need, recognized by the meeting, for each country to conduct a national taxonomic needs assessment, and to link to national reporting under the Convention on Biological Diversity and immediately coordinate a global directory of taxonomic expertise and biological collections. This information resource should be made available in both electronic and paper form.

2. Parties and authorities responsible for museums and herbaria should invest, on a long-term basis, in the development of appropriate infrastructure for their national collections. As part of that investment, donors, both bilateral and multilateral, in their commitment to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity in countries where they provide investment support, should support infrastructural needs of collection-holding institutions.

3. Parties and international donors should encourage partnerships between institutions in developed and developing countries so as to promote scientific collaboration and infrastructure rationalization. Such collaboration should include the development of national, subregional, regional and global training initiatives. Taxonomic institutions in each nation, both individually and regionally, should develop national priorities in taxonomic training, infrastructure, new technology, capacity-building and market needs.

4. Parties and authorities should adopt internationally agreed levels of collection housing (climate control, fire protection systems, pest control, acceptable levels of workplace health and safety) that ensure protection of collections and the well-being of all people working on and accessing collections.

5. Parties and international donors should provide training programmes at different educational levels, relevant to the needs of individual countries, including vocational, technical and academic training. Parties should also recognize that ongoing employment for trainees is part of an effective training scheme.

6. Parties and authorities should utilize information systems to maximum effect in taxonomic institutions. In developing priority-setting criteria for information products, taxonomic institutions should consider the needs of the wide range of users of that information, including biological diversity managers. In particular, taxonomic information, literature and checklists should be put into electronic form.

7. Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity should report on measures adopted to strengthen national capacity in taxonomy, to designate national reference centres, and to make information housed in collections available to countries of origin.

8. Institutions, supported by Parties and international donors, should coordinate their efforts to establish and maintain effective mechanisms for the stable naming of biological taxa.

9. Governments members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) should endorse and support the recommendations from the OECD Megascience Forum's Biodiversity Informatics Subgroup, regarding the development of a Global Biodiversity Informatics Facility (GBIF) to allow people in all countries to share biological diversity information and to provide access to critical authority files.

Implementing the actions

10. The Executive Secretary should ensure that the clearing-house mechanism (in collaboration with the OECD Megascience Forum's Biodiversity Informatics Subgroup Initiative) develop protocols and strategies for coordinating access to and distribution of taxonomic information contained in collections. In addition, the clearing-house mechanism, through its national focal points, should establish and update directories of taxonomists and their research and identification expertise.

11. In addition, Parties should:

    (a) Ensure that institutions responsible for biological diversity inventories and taxonomic activities are financially and administratively stable, so as to have potential for continued and growing training and employment opportunities;
    (b) Assist institutions to establish consortia to conduct regional projects;
    (c) Select or use centres of expertise at different geographical levels, capable of offering training programmes individually or in combination, where such centres include universities, museums, herbaria, botanical and zoological gardens, research institutes and international or regional organizations;
    (d) Give special attention to international funding of fellowships for specialist training abroad or for attracting international experts to national or regional courses. Appropriate areas for funding should include conventional academic courses, expeditions, collaborative research projects, secondments, institutional partnerships, regional flora and fauna, internships and tutorial guidance;
    (e) Provide programmes for re-training of qualified professionals moving into taxonomy-related fields;
    (f) Adapt training methods to the particular technical or academic backgrounds and experience of candidates. Content of courses should respond to external user demands and modern needs, taking into account cost-effectiveness in their delivery;
    (g) Ensure training programmes address gaps in knowledge and the need for specialists in given taxonomic groups, and offer a comprehensive view of biological-diversity issues, including new scientific/technological approaches to taxonomy (e.g. molecular biology/informatics);
    (h) Provide business management training, of the nature commonly offered to private-sector executives, for managers of biological-diversity institutions, as part of other efforts to strengthen those organizations;
    (i) Develop and maintain a register of practising taxonomists, areas of expertise and description of collections through electronic and other means, which should be available on the Internet;
    (j) Hold workshops to determine national taxonomic priorities, in the context of national biological-diversity studies and action plans. Once national priorities have been identified, support development of regional taxonomic priorities, including plans to database collections using mutually agreed software, quality control and core-data requirements.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme