week3.2.issue_emergence - College of Natural Resources

ESPM 169: Agenda Setting and Early Negotiations in the CBD
September 11, 2003
 library follow-up
1. Big Picture
 the “dirty work” in international environmental politics; the work we’re doing here might
help you understand why many international conventions appear so weak.
a. Agenda Setting
- who drives the agenda setting process? What are their major concerns?
- factors necessary for getting a problem on the agenda
- framing (last week)
- issue sponsors
- states - lead and laggard; coalitions: Nordic countries; China, Brazil, India; G77
- helpful factors for getting a problem on the agenda
- crisis
- powerful sponsor
- popular pressure
b. Negotiating - Trade-Offs
- concept of national interest
- alliances among states - G77
- fundamental conflicts (in IEP: north/south; “jobs vs. environment”; who pays?)
- proximate conflicts (conservation vs. biotech; common vs. sovereign resources)
- factors contributing to successful negotiations: leadership; compromise and trade-off
 the special place of Mustapha Tolba in IEP
 bargaining tactics: what do you do to get countries to sign on?
c. Terms in international law
Treaty: "an agreement between two or more parties who seek to have their
relationship with each other defined and formalized. It gives rise to binding
obligations between the parties who make them, and is arrived at by negotiation and
agreement." Not often used in IEL.
Agreement: More general term for "treaty", which is rather formal and narrow
Convention: The most general form of international agreement - "framework
convention" cf. "umbrella convention"; encompasses a large number of states, who
sign up to an initial definition of the issue plus general obligations for action; sets in
train a longer negotiation process to set up specific obligations
Protocol: a legal instrument with specific substantive obligations that implement the
general objectives of a previous framework or umbrella convention
Ratification: whereby signatories receive approval (or not) from domestic actors,
usually through legislative approval
2. Agenda Setting and Early Negotiations in the CBD: up to Rio, June 1992
a. Threats to BD
 write down threats!
- fixed and malleable
- anthropogenic threats - again, framing
- habitat conversion, fragmentation, destruction (desertification, salinization)
- in particular, forest loss, development of wetlands and swamps
- 1980: 113,000 km2 of tropical forest was cleared, up to 169,000 in 1990
- invasive, introduced species (rabbits in Australia as eg of both!)
- climate change
- chemical pollution - waste, acid rain, oil spills
- nitrogen deposition from fertilizers, fossil fuel burning (algae blooms)
- population growth
- consumption
 what would you expect to find in a treaty protecting global biodiversity?
b. Issue Sponsorship and Emergence onto International Agenda
Early 1980s: scientific consensus
Early issue sponsor: IUCN - International Union for the Conservation of Nature (now World
Conservation Union); drew up initial draft convention
- large, professional international NGO: Founded in 1948, The World Conservation
Union brings together States, government agencies and a diverse range of non-governmental
organizations in a unique world partnership: over 980 members in all, spread across some 140
c. Negotiations begin!
1987: US urged UNEP Governing Council to create ad-hoc working group to study an "umbrella
convention" - that would bring together existing conservation agreements (CITES, Ramsar,
World Heritage Convention, Bonn Convention on Migratory Species - see Koester) - so, US
played an early lead role!
1988 - first meeting of Ad-hoc working group
1990: Group of Experts began meeting towards drawing up a convention; meets 7 times over
next two years:
access to and control over genetic resources became a major issue - pushed by Southern
countries, who wanted right to control own resources against multilateral influence - as opposed
to "common resource of humankind" approach or "hotspots"
 therefore, early debate over scope of convention - conservation/biotechnology; sovereignty
vs. common heritage
Reasons for G77 position: history of exploitation by foreign interests; using international
negotiation processes to assert sovereignty and rights in international community
- most BD in south - therefore strong negotiating position
 supported by Nordics
 national sovereignty, access to be negotiated, benefit sharing; "conservation" of BD a
global good
 CBD became forum for IPR conflicts after attempts to reform other international
organizations/agreements failed
Other areas of conflict:
- whether focus should be on wild or both wild and domesticated species
- access to and transfer of technology - including biotech - which would enable countries
to conserve BD
- eventual sources and methods of funding: resources and mechanisms
- consequences for trade and SD; relationship with trade regime, IPRs
- quantitative targets vs. incentives for BD protection
- rights of indigenous peoples
May 1992: final negotiating round pre-Rio - Tolba role ("paralyzed mice"; breaking up the
working groups, to reach final decisions in plenary, overnight if necessary); time constraints; at
the last minute, agreement reached (but fudge) on funding - Global Environment Facility, pilot
scheme, with World Bank input. - Convention Text agreed upon.
June 1992: open for signature at Rio - where 153 countries signed (not US at that point)
3. General Points
- what enabled a Convention to be signed at all? Tolba, deadline
- why an umbrella convention wouldn't have flown ; framework, instead
- levels of compromise and uncertainty, and indeed bitterness over the terms
- beginnings of issue transformation: conservation to biotechnology
- strength of Southern countries
4. For Next Week
a. the shape of it - structure, language
b. Group exercise
c. Readings: two critiques; check www.biodiv.org