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Drafting Group C convened Thursday morning to consider the Chair's draft on sectoral issues and biotechnology (Chapters 10-16). Chair Henry Aryamanya-Mugisha (Uganda) asked the US delegation to express the group's sympathy to relatives of the explosion victims in Oklahoma City, and asked for a minute of silence.

Discussion on forests was postponed until the annex on the forest panel was distributed. Discussion on mountains was deferred until Friday at the request of the EU.

OVERALL CONSIDERATIONS: The EU and the US observed that some parts of the text are not faithful to the decisions of the intersessional working group. In paragraph 1 (integrated approach), the G-77/China and Malaysia added references to conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use of its components. In paragraph 4 (sharing scientific knowledge and technology transfer), Australia suggested using language from the Biodiversity Convention.

INTEGRATED APPROACH TO THE PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT OF LAND RESOURCES: The US, the EU, Japan and the G-77/China disagreed over the latter's proposed references to new and additional financial resources and technology transfer. The EU proposed deleting paragraphs 7 (human-induced soil degradation) and 8 (convergence of poverty, hunger and environmental degradation), but China objected. In paragraph 9 (integrated approach), Australia added references to water and the "efficient" meeting of land-use needs. The G-77/China added that land allocation must satisfy needs in a "sustainable" way, and deleted "taking into account conservation requirements." In paragraph 14 (uneven pace of implementation), Australia added a reference to community-driven approaches and, in paragraph 15 (time-frame priorities), Australia inserted a reference to "sustainable production." In paragraph 16 (national land use programmes), Australia, supported by the US, added reference to local land-use planning programmes. In paragraph 18 (government and UN system cooperation), the G-77/China added sub-paragraph 18(e) linking new environmental technology and financial resources to implementation of Chapter 10. In sub-paragraph 18(c) (land and water conflicts), the EU added a reference to freshwater issues.

COMBATING DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT: The US proposed beginning with paragraph 28, which stresses the implementation of the Convention to Combat Desertification.

Japan, the EU, Saudi Arabia and the US proposed the deletion of the statistics on the economic loss caused by desertification in paragraph 26. Burkina Faso and Algeria disagreed since the statistics highlight the economic dimension of desertification. Sweden, supported by Australia and Algeria, proposed a new paragraph 28 bis that underlines the four pillars of the Convention.

The EU felt that paragraph 32 (improving scientific knowledge), should emphasize the great wealth of existing data and information on desertification. The US did not want to "develop a monitoring system" since this would go beyond the provisions of the Convention and create a new institution.

PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT: In paragraph 49 (liberalizing agricultural trade), the G-77/China proposed language on the impacts of trade policies on developing countries. Australia, on behalf of the Cairns Group, proposed a substitute paragraph on the need for additional initiatives for an agricultural trading environment that supports sustainable development. Japan and the US preferred the language in the report of the working group on sectoral issues, which attaches more importance to the Final Act of the Uruguay Round.

The G-77/China proposed a new paragraph 50 bis on the adverse environmental consequences of production-distorting agriculture policies in industrialized countries. In paragraph 50, the US did not think the FAO is the proper body to analyze the implications for sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD) in the Final Act of the Uruguay Round.

The EC, supported by Japan and Saudi Arabia, proposed replacing paragraphs 55-57 (energy for rural development) with language that encourages governments to integrate action on energy into their efforts for SARD and to support developing countries in their transition to an appropriate mix of fossil and renewable energy sources. Argentina also proposed deleting paragraphs 56 and 57.

New Zealand wanted to delete paragraph 58 that invites the FAO to broaden the mandate of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources.

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