A. Programme of work on mountain biological diversity
The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice
1. Welcomes the notes by the Executive Secretary on status and trends
of, and threats to, mountain biological diversity (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/8/5), and on
measures taken for the conservation and sustainable use of mountain biological
2. Adopts the structure of the proposed programme of work on mountain
biological diversity, with its elements and goals, as specified in annex I;
3. Establishes an Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Mountain Biological
Diversity to assist the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and
Technological Advice, on the basis of the terms specified in annex II to the
present recommendation, in its further work on mountain biological diversity
before the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties. To the extent
possible, members shall be selected from those delegates that attended the
eighth meeting of the Subsidiary Body, which took place in Montreal from 10 to
14 March 2003;
4. Requests the Executive Secretary to consult with Parties,
Governments and relevant organizations on the proposed programme of work on
mountain biological diversity contained in annex I to the present
recommendation. The result of this consultation will be a list of actions for
possible inclusion in the proposed programme of work on mountain biological
diversity, and will serve as inputs for the work of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert
Group on Mountain Biological Diversity in order to carry out its mandate as
stated in annex II to the present recommendation.
PROGRAMME OF WORK ON MOUNTAIN BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
1. Mountain areas cover almost one quarter of the Earth's land surface and
host about 12% of its human inhabitants. Additionally, mountains provide vital
natural resources for lowland peoples. Mountains are both a unique environment
in their own right, and one that incorporates many of the existing thematic
programmes under the Convention. For example, forests, inland waters, dry and
sub-humid lands and agricultural programme elements can all be found in mountain
biological diversity. The present programme of work on mountain biological
diversity features goals and activities that are specific to mountain biological
diversity, although the existing programmes of work on forests, inland waters,
agricultural, and dry and sub-humid land biological diversity also apply to
mountain ecosystems. Therefore, the goals and activities contained in the
existing programmes of work of each of these thematic areas should also be
applied and implemented, whenever appropriate, for their respective areas in
2. Mountain biological diversity is of high importance for a number of
ecological functions. The integrity of soils is the prime focus for ecosystem
services and human needs. Soil retention and slope stability are closely
connected with the extent of above-ground and below-ground vegetation, both
essential to ecosystem resilience after disturbance. The high plant functional
diversity of mountain ecosystems may also add to their resiliency and, should
extreme disturbances occur, often provides effective barriers to high-energy
events such as rock falls and avalanches. It also may reduce extensive damage
levels at lower elevations. Although it has been to date impossible to provide a
thorough definition of mountains with both universal application and acceptance,
there are a number of characteristics that are unique to mountain ecosystems.
These are referred to in the note by the Executive Secretary on the status and
trends of, and threats to, mountain biodiversity prepared for the eighth meeting
of SBSTTA (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/8/5).
3. Information and input from international forums may also be taken into
account. In particular, chapter 13 of Agenda 21 that relates to sustainable
mountain development, and the World Summit on Sustainable Development which also
considered mountain ecosystems. Paragraph 42 of the Plan of Implementation of
the World Summit states that "mountain ecosystems support particular
livelihoods, and include significant watershed resources, biological diversity
and unique flora and fauna. Many are particularly fragile and vulnerable to the
adverse effects of climate change and need specific protection". The Plan of
Implementation proposed a number of specific actions to be undertaken in regard
to mountains. The 2002 International Year of the Mountains also provides
valuable input. In addition, a number of international agreements and bodies,
institutions, and program initiatives may be considered such as the Ramsar
Convention, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the International
Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the International Centre
for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), the International
Partnership for Sustainable Development in Mountain Regions, the International
Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP), the Centre for
Mountain Studies, the Consorcio para el Desarrollo de la Ecoregion Andina (CONDESAN),
the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI), the Global Mountain Biodiversity
Assessment (GMBA) of DIVERSITAS, the International Union of Forest Research
Organizations (IUFRO), the Alpine Convention, and the World Conservation
Monitoring Centre (WCMC).
B. Overall purpose and scope of the programme of work
4. The overall purpose of the programme of work is the significant reduction
of mountain biological diversity loss by 2010 at global, regional and national
levels through the implementation of the three main objectives of the Convention
on Biological Diversity.
5. The implementation of the programme of work aims at making a significant
contribution to poverty alleviation in mountain ecosystems and in lowlands
dependent on the goods and services of mountain ecosystems and thereby
contribute to the objectives of the Strategic Plan of the Convention on
Biological Diversity, the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on
Sustainable Development, and the Millennium Development Goals.
6. The programme of work focuses on addressing characteristics and problems
that are specific to mountain biological diversity. These include:
(a) The particularly high concentration of biological diversity hotspots in
mountain regions, including high ecosystem diversity, high species richness,
high number of endemic and endangered species, and high genetic diversity of
crop, livestock, and their wild relatives;
(b) The fragility of mountain ecosystems and species and their
vulnerability to human and natural disturbances, in particular to land use
change and global climate change;
(c) The upland-lowland interactions that characterize mountain ecosystems,
in particular with relation to water and soil resources;
(d) High levels of cultural diversity, and the particularly key role of
indigenous and local communities in the conservation and management of
mountain biological diversity.
7. The programme of work also seeks to avoid duplication with existing
thematic work programmes and other existing initiatives of the Convention on
Biological Diversity. Parties are encouraged to apply where appropriate the
objectives and activities from these thematic work programmes to the
conservation of mountain biological diversity, the sustainable use of mountain
biological diversity, and the equitable sharing of benefits arising from the
utilization of genetic resources.
8. The programme of work is intended to assist Parties in establishing
national programmes of work with targeted goals, objectives, and actions, with
specific actors, timeframes, inputs, and expected measurable outputs. Parties
may select from, adapt, and/or add to, the goals, objectives and actions
suggested in the current programme of work according to particular national and
local conditions, and their level of development. Implementation of this
programme of work should take into account the ecosystem approach of the
Convention on Biological Diversity. In determining national programmes of work,
Parties are encouraged to pay due regard to the social, economic, and
environmental costs and benefits of various options. In addition, Parties are
encouraged to consider the use of appropriate technologies, sources of finance,
and technical cooperation, and to ensure, through appropriate actions, the means
to meet the particular challenges and demands of their mountain ecosystems.
PROGRAMME ELEMENT 1: DIRECT ACTIONS FOR CONSERVATION,
SUSTAINABLE USE AND BENEFIT SHARING
Goal 1.1: To prevent and mitigate the negative impacts of key threats to
mountain biological diversity
1.1.1. Assess and address both local and long-range pollution issues.
1.1.2. Assess and address inappropriate land use practices in mountain
1.1.3. Implement actions directed at maintaining and/or enhancing soil
stability, and soil ecological integrity.
1.1.4. Prevent and mitigate the negative impacts of economic
development and enhance positive impacts of such development on mountain
biological diversity through the adequate treatment of biological
diversity in environmental, social, and cultural assessments at sectoral,
programme, and project level, taking into account cumulative impacts.
1.1.5. Prevent the introduction of alien species that threaten mountain
ecosystems and mitigate their negative impacts on mountain biological
diversity in accordance with international law.
1.1.6. Mitigate the impacts of global climate change on mountain
1.1.7. Prevent and mitigate loss of mountain biological diversity
arising from anthropogenic disturbances.
1.1.8. Implement programmes to address deforestation, erosion, land
degradation, disruption of water flows, retreat of glaciers and loss of
1.1.9. Identify and develop strategies to prevent, eradicate, and
control invasive alien species that may threaten mountain biological
Goal 1.2: To protect, recover, and restore mountain biological diversity
1.2.1. Assess and develop strategies aimed at minimizing the threats of
genetic erosion on food crops, paying particular attention to centres of
1.2.2. Identify and protect unique, fragile mountain ecosystems,
biological diversity hotspots and their associated species, and
narrowly-distributed endemic taxa, giving special consideration to
measures aimed at strict protection whenever feasible.
1.2.3. Develop strategies for land use planning at the landscape level,
taking into account elements of ecological connectivity, and establishing
national and subregional networks of protected areas, while respecting the
rights and full participation of indigenous and local communities.
1.2.4. Identify suitable practices for enhancing the degree of
ecosystem sustainability and site productivity, with particular emphasis
on degraded slopes.
1.2.5. Prevent and mitigate losses of mountain biological diversity due
to fragmentation and land use conversion.
Goal 1.3: To promote the sustainable use of mountain biological resources
1.3.1. Promote sustainable land use practices in relation to
agriculture, animal husbandry, and forestry in mountain ecosystems.
1.3.2. Develop, validate, and implement sustainable land use practices,
including those of indigenous and local communities, for the conservation
and use of agrobiodiversity in mountain ecosystems.
1.3.3. Develop, validate, and implement community-based management
systems to conserve and sustainably use mountain biological diversity.
1.3.4. Promote integrated watershed management practices at the local,
national, and regional levels.
1.3.5. Promote partnerships between all stakeholders, including
indigenous and local communities, involved in the sustainable use of
mountain biological resources.
1.3.6. Assess and manage the impact of tourism and sport activities on
mountain ecosystems, as well as the development of associated human
settlements and facilities, e.g., waste disposal facilities, ski lifts,
roads, and associated infrastructure.
1.3.7. Strengthening local capacity for tourism management, in order to
ensure that benefits derived from tourism activities are shared by local
communities, preserving natural and cultural heritage values.
Goal 1.4: To promote access to, and sharing of benefits arising from the
utilization of genetic resources related to mountain biological diversity in
accordance to national legislation where it exists
1.4.1. Strengthening capacity of indigenous and local communities,
particularly those living in developing countries, to have access to
genetic resources and to engage in equitable benefit-sharing arrangements.
Goal 1.5: To maintain genetic diversity in mountain ecosystems in
particular through the preservation and maintenance of traditional knowledge and
1.5.1. Implement activities aimed at maintaining the already high
levels of agrobiodiversity in mountain ecosystems, and the goods and
services it provides, both for meeting local demands and to ensure sources
of food security.
1.5.2. Implement provisions contained in Article 8(j) and related
provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity, taking into
consideration the needs of developing countries.
1.5.3. Develop, validate, and implement sustainable-use practices for
plant, animal, and microorganism genetic resources.
PROGRAMME ELEMENT 2: MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION FOR
CONSERVATION, SUSTAINABLE USE AND BENEFIT SHARING
Goal 2.1. To enhance the legal, policy, institutional, and economic
2.1.1. Develop and introduce incentive mechanisms for the provision and
maintenance of ecosystem goods and services and identify and address
perverse incentives and/or policy omissions that may impede the
implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity in mountain
2.1.2. Promote the diversification of income-generating activities in
support of conservation and sustainable use of mountain biological
2.1.3. Improve the understanding of the various underlying causes of
mountain biological diversity loss.
2.1.4. Integrate conservation and sustainable use of mountain
biological diversity into sectoral policies and programmes.
2.1.5. Review, revise and implement mountain land tenure and planning
systems which provide a sound basis for the conservation and sustainable
use of mountain ecosystems.
Goal 2.2. To respect, preserve, and maintain knowledge, practices and
innovations of indigenous and local communities in mountain regions
2.2.1. Promote networking and collaborative action, and facilitate the
full participation of indigenous and local communities in decision-making,
paying particular attention to the empowerment of women.
2.2.2. Encourage both decentralization and full participation and
involvement of local communities in decisions that affects them.
2.2.3. Implement activities aimed at the improvement of mountain
livelihoods and the maintenance of cultural self-determination.
2.2.4. Develop capacity-building measures to facilitate the involvement
of indigenous and local communities and the application of the knowledge
they hold, with their prior informed consent, in the management,
conservation, and sustainable use of mountain biological diversity.
Goal 2.3. To establish regional and transboundary collaboration and the
establishment of cooperative agreements
2.3.1. Promote international and concerted activities on mountain
ranges, in order to create integrated transboundary cooperation supported
by legislation, with protocols covering specific thematic issues such as
landscape management, mountain agriculture, mountain forest, tourism,
energy and conflict resolution.
2.3.2. Improve transboundary cooperation promoting international
research programmes on mountain ranges.
PROGRAMME ELEMENT 3: SUPPORTING ACTIONS FOR CONSERVATION,
SUSTAINABLE USE AND BENEFIT-SHARING
Goal 3.1. To develop work on identification, monitoring and assessment of
mountain biological diversity
3.1.1. Develop where appropriate, specific mountain surveys in priority
areas for conservation and sustainable use of mountain biological
3.1.2. Apply, whenever appropriate, the programme of work of the Global
3.1.3. Support the work of the Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment.
Goal 3.2. To improve knowledge on and methods for the assessment and
monitoring of the status and trends of mountain biological diversity, based on
3.2.1. Development of monitoring systems based on identification of key
abiotic and biotic indicators of changes in mountain ecosystem structure
Goal 3.3. To improve the infrastructure for data and information
management for accurate assessment and monitoring of mountain biological
diversity and develop associated databases
3.3.1. Develop and select international, regional and national criteria
and where appropriate quantifiable indicators for mountain biological
diversity, taking into account, as appropriate, existing work and
processes on criteria and indicators on sustainable mountain management,
as well as the knowledge held by indigenous and local communities.
3.3.2. Conduct key research programmes on the role and relationship of
mountain biological diversity and ecosystem functioning, considering
ecosystem components, structure, function and processes.
3.3.3. Enhance and improve the technical capacity at the national level
to monitor mountain biological diversity, benefiting from the
opportunities offered by the clearing-house mechanism of the Convention on
Biological Diversity and develop associated databases as required at the
Goal 3.4. To improve research, technical and scientific cooperation, and
other forms of capacity building related to mountain biological diversity
3.4.1. Foster exchange of experiences and knowledge on sustainable
development and ecosystem vulnerability among mountainous countries.
3.4.2. Conduct key research programs on mountain biological diversity,
and its relationship to ecosystem structure and function.
Goal 3.5. To increase public education, participation and awareness in
relation to mountain biological diversity
3.5.1. Promote educational and capacity-building systems tailored to
the specific conditions of mountain ecosystems.
3.5.2. Increase awareness of the potential contribution of knowledge,
practices and innovations of indigenous and local communities to
conservation and sustainable use of mountain biological diversity.
3.5.3. Develop, validate, and implement ecotourism activities aimed at
increasing awareness respect and knowledge for mountain biological
Goal 3.6. To promote the development, validation, and transfer of
appropriate technologies for mountain ecosystems, including indigenous
technologies in accordance with Article 8(j) of the Convention on Biological
Diversity and related provisions
TERMS OF REFERENCE AD HOC TECHNICAL EXPERT GROUP (AHTEG) ON
MOUNTAIN BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
1. The Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Mountain Biological Diversity will
(a) A review of suggested actions contained in the proposed programme of work
on mountain biological diversity as stated in annex I to SBSTTA recommendation
(b) The identification of gaps in suggested actions, and include new
suggested actions whenever appropriate, under the relevant programme element and
(c) The inclusion of the results of the consultation on the proposed
programme of work on mountain biological diversity, as noted in paragraph 4 of
SBSTTA recommendation VIII/I A.
Duration of work
2. The work of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Mountain Biological
Diversity should be completed before the ninth meeting of SBSTTA. The Ad Hoc
Technical Expert Group will hold a meeting immediately prior to the ninth
meeting of SBSTTA, and will subsequently report to SBSTTA.
B. Indicative list of technologies
The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice
requests the Executive Secretary to:
(a) Invite Parties, other Governments and relevant organizations to submit
additional comments on technology transfer and cooperation in the light of the
outcome of the eighth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical
and Technological Advice and remind those that have not done so to submit their
thematic reports on technology transfer and cooperation; and extend the deadline
for submission of these thematic reports to 31 May 2003;
(b) Revise and expand the indicative list of technologies, both specific and
broad mountain biodiversity technologies (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/8/7/Add.1) by taking
into account, inter alia, the thematic national reports; traditional
knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities; the
needs to implement the ongoing work programmes of the Convention; other thematic
and cross-cutting issues and initiatives (e.g., guidelines and guiding
principles) of the Convention; legal and socio-economic aspects; and the need of
developing countries and countries with economies in transition for
capacity-building. The table should include, inter alia, information on:
(i) Availability of relevant documentation;
(ii) Opportunities, requirements and possible barriers/obstacles to
access, transfer and cooperation and absorption/adaptation of the
technologies, including legal and socio-economic aspects; and
(iii) Assessment of the possible impact of the technologies on
(c) Synthesize information on positive and negative experiences on the
development and transfer of technologies and technical cooperation, and propose,
for consideration by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and
Technological Advice at its ninth meeting, a set of best practices on the
transfer of technologies relevant to the conservation and sustainable use of
mountain biodiversity and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising
from the utilization of genetic resources, taking into consideration the
national thematic reports, the recommendations of the Open-ended Inter-Sessional
Meeting on the Multi-Year Programme of Work and the outcome of the Norway/United
Nations Conference on Technology Transfer and Capacity-Building, to be held in
Trondheim, Norway, from 23 to 27 June 2003, and other relevant information;
(d) Develop, for consideration by the Subsidiary Body at its ninth meeting, a
proposal on how the role of the clearing-house mechanism of the Convention could
be enhanced so that it could become a central mechanism for exchange of
information on technologies relevant to the conservation and sustainable use of
biological diversity and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from
the utilization of genetic resources, access to these technologies, technology
development, technical cooperation and transfer of technologies. The proposal
could contain ways and means for:
(iv) Developing a searchable catalogue (including database) of
technologies that are in the public domain, taking into account ongoing
initiatives while avoiding unnecessary duplication, and including
reference to relevant examples or case studies;
(v) Setting up a portal that international organizations can be
encouraged to use to disseminate technologies;
(e) Integrate the specific issues related to mountain biological diversity
when preparing, for consideration by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific,
Technical and Technological Advice at its ninth meeting, proposals on measures,
including on training activities, that would facilitate and promote transfer of
technology and technology cooperation.