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COP 6 Decision VI/21

Annex to The Hague Ministerial Declaration of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity

The Conference of the Parties,

Recalling its decision V/27 on the contribution of the Convention on Biological Diversity to the ten-year review of progress achieved since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development,

Noting the outcome of the third meeting of the Commission on Sustainable Development acting as the Preparatory Committee for the World Summit on Sustainable Development,

Convinced that the World Summit on Sustainable Development should be an excellent opportunity to mobilize more political will and resources to promote the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and reinvigorate the global commitment to sustainable development,

Deeply concerned that, despite many successful and continuing efforts of the international community since the entry into force of the Convention and the fact that some progress has been made, the condition of biodiversity in the world's major ecosystems continues to deteriorate, almost without exception and often at an accelerating rate,

Recalling resolution 55/199 of the United Nations General Assembly on the ten-year review of progress achieved in the implementation of the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development which invited, inter alia, conventions related to the Conference to participate fully in the ten-year review of progress achieved in the implementation of Agenda 21,

Noting with appreciation the outcomes of the International Conference on Financing for Development which took place in Monterrey, Mexico, in March 2002,

  1. Welcomes the contribution of the Executive Secretary to the preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development;
  2. Adopts the annexed contribution to the World Summit on Sustainable Development and requests the President of the Conference of the Parties to transmit this contribution from the Conference of the Parties to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, as well as prior to and on the occasion of the fourth preparatory committee meeting to be held in Bali, Indonesia;
  3. Requests the Executive Secretary to continue to participate actively in the preparatory process for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, and in the Summit itself, with a view to ensuring that the objectives of the Convention, particularly those relating to poverty eradication and sustainable development; are duly reflected in its outcome, and to report to the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties accordingly;
  4. Encourages Governments to promote partnership initiatives for biodiversity programmes involving the public and private sectors and other major stakeholders to be included in the outcome of the World Summit on Sustainable Development;
  5. Encourages Governments to involve national focal points for the Convention on Biological Diversity in the World Summit on Sustainable Development process, and other major stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations, to participate in that process, and invites developed countries to provide support to that end through appropriate channels;
  6. Requests the President of the Conference of the Parties, in close cooperation with the Bureau and the Executive Secretary, to analyse the outcome of the World Summit on Sustainable Development as it relates to the Convention process and to report thereon to the Conference of the Parties at its seventh meeting.

Annex

CONTRIBUTION FROM THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

A. Introduction: the Convention on Biological Diversity and Agenda 21

  1. The maintenance of biodiversity is a necessary condition for sustainable development and as such constitutes one of the great challenges of the modern era.
  2. The rate of biodiversity loss is increasing at an unprecedented rate, threatening the very existence of life as it is currently understood.
  3. Addressing the major threats to biodiversity will require long-term and fundamental changes in the way resources are used and benefits are distributed. Achieving this adjustment will require broad-based action among a wide range of actors.
  4. The importance of the biodiversity challenge was universally acknowledged at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, which met in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and through the adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  5. In becoming Parties to the Convention, States have committed themselves to undertaking national, regional and international measures aimed at achieving its three objectives: 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.
  6. The Conference of the Parties has met six times and, on each occasion, through its decisions has taken steps to translate the general provisions of the Convention into practical action. This process has initiated national biodiversity strategies and action plans in over 100 countries, raised awareness about biodiversity and led to the adoption of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, a treaty that provides an international regulatory framework for the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology.

    B. Experience gained and lessons learned in implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity

  7. The last ten years have clearly demonstrated that the Convention is the principal global instrument relevant to achieving the goals set out in chapter 15 of Agenda 21 titled "Conservation of Biological Diversity". During that period the Convention has realized significant achievements:
    • The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety was adopted by an extraordinary meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Montreal on 29 January 2000;
    • National biodiversity strategies and action plans have been developed by over 100 Parties to the Convention and are under active implementation;
    • A clearing-house mechanism has been established and operationalized to promote and facilitate technical and scientific cooperation amongst Parties;
    • Public awareness of the importance of biodiversity and of the objectives of the Convention has been raised considerably in many countries;
    • A Global Biodiversity Outlook which provides a general view on the status of biodiversity, the main pressures contributing to its loss, and the state of implementation of the Convention has been prepared and widely circulated;
    • Indigenous and local communities have been effectively involved in the Convention process;
    • A Strategic Plan for the Convention has been adopted; and
    • The Global Environment Facility as the institutional structure operating the financial mechanism of the Convention, other financial mechanisms, donors and international organizations have made significant contributions to the progress in the implementation of the Convention by Parties in the last decade, particularly through multi-stakeholder processes.
  8. Notwithstanding these important achievements much still remains to be done.
  9. The experience and lessons learnt from the work of the Convention also indicate several key areas where implementation of the Convention and of Agenda 21 can be mutually reinforcing. Such areas include:

    Agenda 21

    Convention on Biological Diversity

    Promoting education, public awareness and training (chapter 36)

    Public education and awareness (Article 13)

    Environmentally sound management of biotechnology (chapter 16)

    Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety

    Recognizing and strengthening the role of indigenous people and their communities (chapter 26)

    Traditional biodiversity knowledge (Article 8(j) and related provisions)

    Financial resources and mechanisms (chapter 33)

    Financial resources and mechanisms (Articles 20 and 21)

    Integrating environment and development in decisions making (chapter 8)

    National biodiversity planning and integration into plans, programmes and policies (Article 6)

    Promoting sustainable agriculture and rural development (chapter 14)

    Work programme on agricultural biological diversity

    Combating deforestation (chapter 11)

    Work programme on forest biological diversity

    Protection of oceans, all kinds of seas, including enclosed and semi-enclosed seas, and coastal areas and the protection, rational use and development of their living resources (chapter 17)

    Work programme on marine and coastal biological diversity

    Global action for women towards sustainable and equitable development (chapter 24)

    Traditional biodiversity-related knowledge (Article 8(j) and related provisions); Sustainable Use of Components of Biological Diversity (Articles 10(c) and 10(d))

  10. The most important lesson of the last ten years is that the objectives of the Convention will be impossible to meet until consideration of biodiversity is fully integrated into other sectors. The need to mainstream the conservation and sustainable use of biological resources across all sectors of the national economy, the society and the policy-making framework is a complex challenge at the heart of the Convention.
  11. While many countries have made some start in this, notably in those sectors most immediately associated with biodiversity such as forestry, fisheries and agriculture, much more needs to be done, particularly in areas that traditionally are economically and politically dominant such as industry, trade and transport. Even in those sectors where a start has been made in incorporating the consideration of biodiversity into decision-making, more cross-sectoral integration is needed, for example consideration of the impacts of forestry, agriculture or aquaculture on sustainable use of inland water biodiversity, of fishing on marine and coastal biodiversity, or of land-use change on forest or dry-land biodiversity.
  12. At the global level, what is needed above all is for other international regimes to take into consideration the concerns of this Convention.
  13. The experience of integration has been mixed. On some issues there have been encouraging advances, albeit slower than desired. In others no headway has been made.
  14. Another key lesson of the last ten years is the need for leadership in setting the international agenda on biodiversity. Leadership is required in order to ensure that a wide range of stakeholders involved in achieving the aims of the Convention work in harmony. Leadership is required in order to ensure that other sectors effectively consider the aims of the Convention in their activities. Leadership is required in order to ensure that conflicts over uses are minimized. Leadership is required in order to ensure that in the work of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in addressing the needs of the poor and promoting sustainable development, due account is taken of the role of biological diversity.
  15. Although the Convention has raised public awareness of biological diversity, of the goods and services it provides, and of the threats that human activities pose to its long-term viability, it is widely recognized that more needs to be done if the aims of the Convention are to be realized. A key need in this regard is increasing stakeholder involvement in implementation of the Convention at international, regional and national levels.
  16. The world's poor, particularly the rural poor, are often expected to bear much of the cost of maintaining biodiversity, for example in the form of foregone benefits of land conversion when areas are set aside for the protection of unique or threatened ecosystems or species. Unless they are fully involved in decision-making and benefit-sharing, it is unlikely that long-term solutions to the problem of biodiversity loss can be found. In developing mechanisms to ensure such involvement, it is vital that issues of gender and social structure are properly addressed. Already, there is a growing number of rural communities, especially in developing countries, who have begun to address their poverty issues through innovative approaches to the sustainable use of their biological resources, demonstrating their effectiveness. In this context, it should be ensured that such initiatives are promoted, communicated and supported, as they represent practical means to address the three objectives of the Convention.
  17. Biotechnology is a rapidly evolving technology that provides both challenges and opportunities for developing countries. As a knowledge-intensive, rather than a capital-intensive industry, biotechnology provides promising opportunities for developing countries to establish internationally competitive industries and gain market share. The application of this technology and the types of regulatory measures put in place are major policy issues that will receive increasing attention in the coming decade. Chapter 16 of Agenda 21 sets out a basic framework for the sustainable management of this technology. The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety is one of the principal global instruments for implementing this framework and provides an important opportunity for many developing countries to gain access to information and technology. In order for this opportunity to materialize, early ratification is required to enable the Protocol to enter into force and its institutions and procedures to be effectively established . There is also need to encourage Parties to take measures to accomplish their obligations as provided for in Article 16 of the Convention, in order to ensure the transfer of environmentally sound and safe technology to developing countries.
  18. Completing and adopting national biodiversity strategies and action plans is clearly a priority for all those countries that have not yet done so. For others, implementation of completed strategies and action plans is a high priority. Biodiversity strategies and action plans should be integral parts of national sustainable development strategies and, for those countries eligible for external assistance, they should be central to funding strategies and programming.
  19. Donor institutions have made great strides in recognizing the importance of incorporating environmental considerations into their plans, programmes and strategies. The Global Environment Facility as one of the donor institutions has contributed to the realization of these objectives. Nevertheless much more remains to be done, in particular with regard to mainstreaming biodiversity and treating it as an integrating factor, and not a subject to be treated separately from other development concerns. Donor countries could ensure, for example through the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, that their development assistance priorities are supportive of the Convention's objectives. The World Bank's Comprehensive Development Framework and Poverty Reduction Strategies offer the possibility for ensuring that the National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans and National Strategies for Sustainable Development of its borrowers become central to its overall lending. IMF stabilization and structural adjustment programmes could place more importance on national investments in environmental management and critically examine budget cuts for such measures.
  20. Donors of all types should commit to increasing funding for projects that directly address biodiversity. However, there is also a pressing need for donors to review the way in which such projects are funded. Most problems relating to the maintenance and sustainable use of biodiversity are not amenable to the "quick fix" solutions , and it is often clearly unrealistic to expect local sustainability of activities at the end of a three- or five-year project. Although there is increasing awareness of this in the international community, many donors still appear to be wedded to short-term project cycles. The long-term impact of this approach may be actively counter-productive and it is probable that longer-term commitments involving smaller annual disbursements may be more effective than spending larger amounts of money over a shorter period. Donors should also ensure that biodiversity planning processes are country-driven and not donor-driven, in order to increase their effectiveness and the prospects for sustainability at the end of the funding period.
  21. The proposed strengthening of the role of United Nations resident coordinators, contained in the Secretary-General's reform plan, will create the opportunity to provide harmonized and synergistic support by United Nations agencies to national implementation of the Convention through the country-level United Nations Development Assistance Framework. The current process of decentralisation from headquarters to regional centres offers the United Nations Development Programme the opportunity to ensure that regional and field office staff are familiar with the objectives and programmes of the Convention, and actively seek to identify with Governments opportunities for integrating these into its full range of development activities (from policy to operations) for simultaneous poverty reduction and environmental protection.
  22. The Convention has 183 Parties, making it one of the most inclusive multilateral agreements in any field. However membership is not universal. There is a small number of countries that have not yet ratified the Convention. Achieving the objectives of the Convention requires action on a global scale, and it is important that all countries make the commitment to work together for its implementation.

    C. Ideas and proposals for the way forward for the further implementation of Agenda 21

  23. In light of the foregoing and in order to assist in the further implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and of Agenda 21, the Conference of the Parties invites the World Summit on Sustainable Development to:

    1. Reaffirm that the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources are essential to achieving sustainable human development in the twenty-first century and that implementing the objectives of the Convention will require policy coherence between all relevant instruments and processes, renewed political will on the part of Governments, and a renewed commitment to cooperation and to providing the resources and technology required;
    2. Reaffirm further that biological diversity is an essential part of the national resource base and its value for sustainable development needs to be underlined while addressing other specific challenges such as poverty alleviation, unsustainable production and consumption patterns, and globalization;
    3. Recognize the important contribution that community-based sustainable management of biological resources can make to the alleviation of poverty and the achievement of conservation and sustainable use objectives;
    4. Acknowledge that the Convention on Biological Diversity is the principal International instrument for setting the global agenda and priorities of biological diversity and for achieving the goals of chapter 15 of Agenda 21 (Conservation of biological diversity) and that its Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety is one of the principal global instruments for achieving the goals of chapter16 of Agenda 21 (Environmentally sound management of biotechnology), and calling on Member States to take concrete measures to ensure the effective implementation of their provisions;
    5. Acknowledge the need to foster partnerships and linkages with other biodiversity-related conventions, urge biodiversity-related conventions, agreements and programmes to conclude cooperative arrangements with the Convention on Biological Diversity for fostering such partnerships and reaffirm the leading role of the Convention in such cooperative arrangements;
    6. Urge Member States who have not yet done so to become Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety;
    7. Urge Member States and all relevant stakeholders to make further efforts to incorporate and mainstream the objectives of the Convention into relevant national sectoral or cross-sectoral plans, programmes and policies and to recall that the conservation of sustainable use of biological diversity is a cross-cutting issue;
    8. Urge Member States to actively promote policy coherence in national positions under different international instruments and processes;
    9. Stress the importance of investing in programmes of public education and awareness as the principal way of engendering support for the changes in behaviour necessary at all levels of society in all countries if sustainable development is to be achieved, and the inclusion of promotion of the aims of the Convention in such programmes, and the role of information sharing in facilitating the implementation of the Convention;
    10. Stress the importance of increasing the active participation by all stakeholders in the implementation of Agenda 21 and of the Convention, in particular, in the elaboration, implementation and evaluation of national biodiversity strategies and action plans;
    11. Urge Member States to collaborate and actively promote the joint implementation of Agenda 21 and the Convention on Biological Diversity at the international, regional and national levels;
    12. Urge the United Nations, its programmes, related organizations and specialized agencies to take the opportunities offered by the proposed enhanced role of the United Nations resident coordinator contained in the reform plan of the Secretary-General and by the process of decentralization within the Organization, to provide harmonized and synergistic support at the national level to implementation of the Convention, including through national United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks;
    13. Invite Member States and international organizations to renew their commitments to leveraging and providing the necessary financial resources, promoting the transfer of technology and cooperation, and building capacities in order to facilitate more effective implementation of the Convention, in particular through the full replenishment of the Global Environment Facility and securing additional financial resources from the private sector.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme