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SBSTTA Recomendación

. Agenda Item 3, 7.1 and 7.2




A. Recommendation concerning agenda item 3


Recalling that decision III/13 of the Conference of the Parties requested the SBSTTA to provide the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties with scientific, technical and technological advice on the status and trends of biological diversity in inland water ecosystems and the identification of options for conservation and sustainable use,

Having examined the Notes prepared by the Executive Secretary(UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/3/2, UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/3/7 and UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/3/8); and the other information provided to the third meeting of the SBSTTA,

Recognizing the importance of inland water ecosystems for global biological diversity and human welfare, and also their vulnerability to human actions,

Recognizing the importance of adopting an ecosystem-based approach that integrates the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits of inland waters,

Recognizing the link between human communities, inland waters and biological diversity of inland waters and the importance of local community participation and awareness in achieving conservation and sustainable use of inland water biological diversity, and

Recognizing the crucial part played by technical and scientific cooperation in all aspects of biological diversity, including the transfer of technology, and recognizing also the necessity of capacity-building to enable Parties to carry out identification, monitoring and assessment of biological diversity as required by Article 7 of the Convention,

Recommends to the Conference of the Parties:

I. General Recommendations

(a) That the Executive Secretary continue and further develop the collaboration with organizations, institutions, and conventions working with research, management and conservation of inland water biological diversity. These include (but are not limited to) the Ramsar Convention, FAO, ICLARM, Global Water Partnership, World Water Council, UNDP, UNEP, Diversitas, Wetlands International, IUCN, World Bank, Bonn Convention, et al;

(b) That, at the earliest opportunity, the Conference of the Parties should further encourage the Executive Secretary of this Convention and the Secretary-General of the Ramsar Convention to elaborate a work plan that ensures cooperation, and avoids overlap between the two conventions, noting the Memorandum of Cooperation with the Ramsar Convention, and decision III/21 of the Conference of the Parties, whereby the Ramsar Convention would be a lead partner in inland water ecosystems;

(c) That the Conference of the Parties should continue the close cooperation with the Commission on Sustainable Development in their development of the Strategic Approach to Freshwater Management to ensure that biological diversity issues are considered in this process;

(d) That the Conference of the Parties request that the Executive Secretary develop a roster of experts on the conservation and sustainable use of the biological diversity of inland waters, and urge Governments to nominate experts to the roster, noting also that the Ramsar Bureau is establishing a similar list of experts;

(e) That the clearing-house mechanism be used to promote and facilitate the exchange of information and the transfer of technology relevant to the conservation and sustainable use of inland water biological diversity.

II. SBSTTA Work Plan

The SBSTTA further recommends to the Conference of the Parties that a work plan for the SBSTTA be developed in cooperation with relevant organizations, Governments and Parties that should build upon the ongoing efforts in inland water ecosystem conservation. The work plan should include:

Status and Trends

(a) Using existing information and drawing upon relevant organizations and experts, develop an improved picture of inland water biological diversity, its uses and its threats, around the world. The output should identify areas where the lack of information severely limits the quality of assessments. This will help to focus attention on these areas;

(b) Developing and disseminating regional guidelines for rapid assessment of inland water biological diversity for different types of inland water ecosystems;

Conservation and Sustainable Use

(a) Compiling case studies of effective watershed management and best practices, to synthesize the lessons that emerge from these studies, and to disseminate information through the clearing-house mechanism. Five areas where the SBSTTA should concentrate their efforts include:

(i) Examples of watershed management that incorporate inland water biological diversity with special reference to examples that use the ecosystem-based approach to meet water management goals;

(ii) Examples of water resource development projects (water supply and sanitation, irrigation, hydropower, flood control, navigation, groundwater extraction) that incorporate biological diversity considerations;

(iii) Impact assessment and other methodologies that address inland water biological diversity issues in an adaptive management framework;

(iv) Successful case studies of remedial action, including restoration and rehabilitation of degraded inland water ecosystems;

(v) Examples of equitable sharing of benefits derived from use of inland water biological diversity.

(b) Developing methods and techniques for the valuation of goods and services of inland water ecosystems, incentives and policy reform, and the understanding of ecosystem function.

III. Recommendations to Parties

SBSTTA further recommends to the Conference of the Parties that Parties:

Watershed Management

- Encourage the use of integrated watershed management approach as a basis of the planning and taking decisions in relation to the use of land and water resources, including biological resources, within river catchment;

Appropriate Technologies

- Encourage the use of low-cost (appropriate)technology, non-structural and innovative approaches to meet watershed management goals, such as using wetlands to improve water quality, using forests and wetlands to recharge groundwater and maintain the hydrological cycle, to protect water supplies and using natural floodplains to prevent flood damage, and to use indigenous species for aquaculture;

Technology transfer

- Emphasize more effective conservation and efficiency in water use, together with non-engineering solutions. Environmentally appropriate technologies should be identified, such as low-cost sewage treatment and recycling of industrial water to assist in the conservation and sustainable use of inland waters;


- Encourage research on the application of ecosystem-based approaches;

Monitoring and assessment

- Identify the most cost-effective approaches and methods to describe the status, trends and threats of inland waters and indicate their condition in functional as well as species terms;

- Promote the development of criteria and indicators for the evaluation of impact on inland water ecosystems from both physical infrastructure projects and watershed activities, including, inter alia, agriculture, forestry, mining and physical alteration, taking into consideration the natural variability of water conditions;

- Initiate studies on ecological functions and services to improve understanding of effects of exploitation on non-target species;

- Undertake assessments in such inland water ecosystems which may be regarded as important in accordance with the terms of Annex I of the Convention. Furthermore Parties should undertake assessments of threatened species and conduct inventories and impact assessments of alien species within their inland water ecosystems;

Sustainable use

- Encourage valuation of inland water biological diversity;

- Produce and promote guidance on the sustainable use of inland waters to maintain biological diversity;

- Consider the use and/or establishment of gene banks for fish and other species;

Environmental Impact Assessments

- Encourage environmental impact assessments (EIAs) of water development projects, aquaculture, and watershed activities including agriculture, forestry, and mining. EIAs need to gather adequate biological data to document effects on biological diversity, provide predictions on the effects of alternative project scenarios on ecosystems and consider the valuation of the goods and services of potentially affected ecosystems, and test predictions with well-designed sampling schemes that can adequately distinguish the effects of anthropogenic activities from natural processes;

Alien species, genotypes and genetically modified organisms

- Raise awareness of the possible problems and costs associated with the deliberate or accidental introduction of alien species, genotypes and genetically modified organisms which adversely affect aquatic biological diversity, bearing in mind the activities relating to the development of a Protocol on Biosafety under the Convention. Policies and guidelines should be developed to prevent and control such introductions, and to rehabilitate sites where possible;

Education and Public Awareness

- Strengthen education and awareness programmes, recognizing that responsible environmental stewardship requires an informed public. Participatory-based management approaches are most effective when people are well informed of both the economic and environmental consequences of management. Inland waters provide both a challenge and an opportunity to educate the public and policy makers about the need to take an ecosystem-based approach to management. Environmental education should be built into school curricula and should emphasize integration using inland waters as a model subject to teach problem-solving;

Collaboration with Broader Water Resource Community

- Promote effective collaboration among ecologists, planners, engineers, and economists (both within countries and among countries) in the planning and implementation of development projects to better integrate inland water biological diversity with water resource development when considering projects likely to have an adverse impact on inland water ecosystems;

Transboundary Cooperation

- Develop effective cooperation for sustainable management of transboundary watersheds and migratory species including watershed planning commissions;

Involvement of Local and Indigenous Communities

- Involve, as far as possible and appropriate, local and indigenous communities in the development of management plans and in projects that may affect inland water biological diversity;

- Implement Article 8 (j) as related to inland water biological diversity;

Economic and Legal Instruments

- Review the range and effectiveness of national incentives, subsidies, regulations, and other relevant financial mechanisms which have the ability to affect inland water ecosystems, whether adversely or beneficially;

- Redirect financial support measures which run counter to the objectives of the Convention regarding the biological diversity of inland waters;

- Implement targeted incentive and regulatory measures that have positive impacts on the biological diversity of inland waters;

- Develop the policy research capacity needed to inform the decision-making process in a multi-disciplinary and sectorally integrated manner.

IV. Financing

The SBSTTA recommends to the Conference of the Parties:

(a) That guidance be provided to the Global Environment Facility regarding the importance of projects concerning inland water biological diversity, and that the GEF be encouraged to consider the importance of inland water biological diversity in projects in its other focal areas;

(b) That ways be considered of mobilizing financial resources from other sources.

B. Recommendation concerning agenda item 7.1


Emphasizing that, since many inland aquatic ecosystems are highly modified and degraded, the elaboration of terms in Annex I of the Convention should be undertaken with a view to expediting the implementation of the Convention as a whole, and in particular Articles 6 and 8. Parties should give particular importance in this regard to the implementation of Articles 8 (f) and 10 (d) of the Convention concerning remedial action in degraded ecosystems,

Recommends that the Conference of the Parties advise Parties to prepare indicative lists of inland water ecosystems, using the criteria set out in Annex I of the Convention. The Conference of the Parties should direct the secretariat to work closely with the Ramsar Bureau and further direct the SBSTTA to work jointly with the Ramsar Convention Science and Technical Review Panel to achieve desirable convergence between approaches on criteria and classification of inland water ecosystems between the two Conventions,

Recommends to the Conference of the Parties that Parties take note of the work of the IUCN in the ongoing review and application of criteria for the assessment of threatened species and populations, including the further development of such criteria for application at the regional and national levels.

C. Recommendation concerning agenda item 7.2


Recognizing the importance of the clearing-house mechanism in the dissemination of methodologies for assessment of biological diversity:

1. Recommends that the Conference of the Parties urge Parties to adopt an integrated approach in their assessment, management and where possible remedial action of inland water ecosystems, including associated terrestrial and inshore marine ecosystems. Assessments should involve all stakeholders, should be cross-sectoral and should make full use of indigenous knowledge;

2. Recommends that suitable organisms be identified as being particularly important in the assessment of inland water ecosystems. Ideally, such groups should meet the following criteria:

the group should contain a reasonable number of species with varied ecological requirements;

the taxonomy of the group should be reasonably well understood;

the species should be easy to identify;

the group should be easy to sample or observe so that density - absolute or as indices - can be assessed, used objectively and treated statistically;

the group should serve as indicators of overall ecosystem health or indicators of development of a key threat to ecosystem health;

3. Recommends that, in view of the great economic importance of some groups (e.g. inland water fish species), and of the large gaps in taxonomic knowledge for many species, the Conference of the Parties consider this as a specific focus of the capacity-building in taxonomy recommended by the SBSTTA in its recommendation II/2 and endorsed by the Conference of the Parties in decision III/10;

4. Recommends that the Conference of the Parties advise Parties and relevant international organizations that issues of biological diversity and subsistence use of fisheries should be more fully addressed in fisheries reporting and management. In particular species composition of total catch should be reported and the contribution that indigenous species make to capture fisheries should be reported separately;

5. Recommends to the Conference of the Parties that the transboundary nature of many inland water ecosystems be fully taken into account in assessments, and notes that it may be appropriate for relevant regional and international bodies to contribute to such assessments;

6. Stresses that, in accordance with recommendation II/1 of the SBSTTA, endorsed by the Conference of the Parties in decision III/10, assessments should be simple, inexpensive, rapid and easy to use. It stresses, however, that such rapid assessment programmes will never replace thorough inventories. The Conference of the Parties should take note of and evaluate specific rapid assessment programmes for inland water ecosystems currently under development;

7. Stresses that assessments should be carried out with a view to implementing other articles of the Convention and, in particular, to addressing the threats to inland water ecosystems within an appropriate framework such as that included in paragraphs 39-41 of document UNEP/CBD/COP/3/12. Of particular importance is the undertaking of environmental impact assessments on biological diversity of major development projects involving inland water ecosystems.

D. Recommendation concerning the urgency of needed action on taxonomy


Recalling recommendation II/2 of the SBSTTA and decision III/10 of the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties, which urged Parties to develop a global taxonomy initiative,

Noting that, at the third meeting of the SBSTTA, there were continued calls in discussions on inland water ecosystems for improved taxonomic capacity, and that there remains a general concern for increased effort in taxonomic activity world-wide,

Recommends that the Conference of the Parties direct the Executive Secretary to take decisive action to advance the Global Taxonomy Initiative as detailed in decision III/10 of the Conference of the Parties, which should be implemented as soon as possible.