Experts meet in Montreal, Canada, on UN biodiversity convention

11 November 2003

More than 500 representatives of governments and civil society started a one-week conference in Montreal, Canada, today to devise ways to measure progress on implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted at the 1992 United Nations summit on the environment.

The ninth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-9) will continue its work assessing the status of biological diversity; reviewing measures taken to meet CBD provisions and answering technical questions from the Conference of the Parties to the CBD (COP). The previous eight SBSTTA meetings sent 78 recommendations to COP.

"Clearly, a transfer of technologies is needed to enable most countries to make significant progress towards the conservation of biodiversity and towards reaching our 2010 target of a significant reduction in the rate of loss of biodiversity," CBD executive secretary Hamdallah Zedan said.

The Strategic Plan of the Convention adopted by COP in 2002 includes a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national levels by 2010.

"Much has been accomplished in the implementation of the Convention's programmes of work. Much still remains to be done to reach full implementation by 2010. Success in reaching the targets requires the adoption of indicators to measure and monitor biodiversity -- one of the principal topics of the meeting," SBSTTA-9 chairman Alfred Oteng-Yeboah, a botanist, said.

Recommendations from this meeting will be sent to the seventh COP meeting to be held in February in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Meanwhile, the 164-member Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) said the internationally agreed trade regulations for the commercially valuable big-leaf mahogany timber would enter into force on 15 November.

The neotropical populations of big-leaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) will now be listed on CITES Appendix II. The listing requires that the $100 million a year shipments of the timber carry CITES export permits to reduce the illegal logging that had threatened the species with commercial extinction.

 

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