Recalling that the Conference of the Parties decided to address, at its second meeting, preliminary considerations of components of biological diversity particularly under threat and actions which could be taken under the Convention;
Recalling also that, in its decision I/7 taken at its first meeting, the Conference of the Parties requested the SBSTTA to advise on how the Conference of the Parties could start the process of considering these components;
Recalling further the provisions of Article 20,paragraph 4, of the Convention on Biological Diversity;
The first meeting of the SBSTTA recommends to the second meeting of the Conference of the Parties to consider the following:
1. Conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and its components should be addressed in a holistic manner, taking into account the three levels of biological organization (genomes and genes; species and communities; and ecosystems, habitats and landscapes) and fully considering socio-economic and cultural factors. However, the ecosystem approach should be the primary framework of action to be taken under the Convention.
2. Assessment of the status and trends of components of biological diversity and causes of biodiversity losses provides baseline data which can assist countries to formulate their biodiversity strategies, plans and programmes to implement the provisions of the Convention. This activity leads to the identification of both components under threat and those components that might become threatened, and for which urgent action might be needed to stop or prevent their loss. There is, however, a need to identify, evaluate, develop and share methods needed for the assessment and conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. Specifically there is a need to:
(i) Further describe the categories of components of biological diversity set down in Annex I of the Convention;
(ii) Evaluate methodologies for identification, characterization and classification of biological diversity and their components so as to identify methods suitable for different conditions of data availability and how their effectiveness can be enhanced;
(iii) Identify methodologies for detecting national and international negative trends in biological diversity;
(iv) Promote exchange of information on existing methodologies through various information systems including electronic mail;
(v) Identify and develop methods for integration of biodiversity concerns into all relevant sectoral policies, plans and actions; integrate biodiversity considerations into area planning mechanisms and processes; and to develop methods for an integrated management approach;
(vi) Develop methods for identifying the links between socio-economic and cultural factors and biological diversity change or loss, and also identify how these factors should be included when deciding upon effective action to correct for unsustainable use/influence, including environmental impact assessment;
(vii) Develop methods for management of biological diversity based on limited knowledge;
(viii) Develop or refine models of processes responsible for biological diversity maintenance and those relating to ecological services provided by biological diversity for different ecosystems through multidisciplinary groups consisting, inter alia, of ecologists, natural history experts, oceanographers, economists and sociologists. Identification and targeting of ecological processes and functions should be the basis for conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and its components;
(ix) Encourage Governments to carry out case studies to learn about ecosystem management efforts, identifying barriers to implementing the ecosystem approach as well as ways and means of overcoming such barriers. Major issue areas influencing the effectiveness of the ecosystem approach may be examined in such studies, including, inter alia, budget issues, institutional issues, public participation, science and information as well as legal authorities. The results of such studies should be reported to the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity for dissemination and further methodological work.
3. While there is merit in assessing the status and trends of components of biological diversity, it is essential to identify the driving forces determining the status and trends, so that appropriate action can be taken to control them.
4. There is a need for each Party to start assessing the effectiveness of measures taken under the Convention. However, methods for assessing the effectiveness of measures to conserve or sustainably use biological diversity should be reviewed. The use of indicators of biological diversity and the status of its components is particularly time- and cost-effective. Several indicators are currently being used and developed. They should be reviewed and their use promoted.
5. The Conference of the Parties should organize international cooperation:
(i) To respond to the needs formulated under paragraphs 1 to 4 above and, more specifically, to compile and assess the above-mentioned methodologies, taking into account existing data, processes and reference materials;
(ii) To identify possible concrete actions for the conservation of biological diversity and to use its components sustainably;
(iii) To make these studies available through the clearing-house mechanism established by the Convention to promote technical and scientifical cooperation, and to promote a regional approach to further enhance the collection and analysis of relevant information.
6. These studies should yield concrete information, useful to various national sectors, and assist Contracting Parties in implementing the provisions of the Convention.
7. The financial and administrative implications of all these recommendations, if they are approved by the Conference of the Parties, should be taken into consideration in the budget of the Convention. The Conference of the Parties should request Parties to provide enough financial resources to undertake this process.
8. Noting that an Intergovernmental Panel on Forests has been established by the CSD and recognizing the importance of forests for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, the SBSTTA recommends that the Conference of the Parties consider whether an input to that process would be desirable. In this context, the SBSTTA suggests that the following main elements be considered:
(i) There is an urgent need to identify the main causes that lead to the decline of forest biological diversity, develop and promote the use of methods for the management, conservation and sustainable use of forests, based on the identification and targeting of ecological processes and the multiple roles and functions of forest ecosystems, including ecological landscape planning and environmental impact assessment;
(ii) Urgent development and application of ways and means to ensure fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived from the use of forest genetic resources would provide a major incentive for efforts to maintain forest biological diversity;
(iii) The protection of the knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles, and compensation through the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of such knowledge, innovations and practices, in accordance with Article 8(j) of the Convention on Biological Diversity, should be promoted in order to improve conservation and sustainable use of forest biological diversity.
9. The SBSTTA encourages all Parties and observers to submit their view on the scientific, technical and technological dimensions of the conservation and sustainable use of forest biological diversity to the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity in good time before the second session of the Conference of the Parties in order to facilitate for the Conference of the Parties, should it so decide, the preparation of an input to the Panel.