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The drafting group met in the morning to complete its second reading of the draft decisions on sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD) and sustainable mountain development and its third reading of the decision on biotechnology. In the afternoon, the group considered the draft decisions on biodiversity and progress in the implementation of decisions by the second session of the CSD. An informal-informal group also met to negotiate the draft decision on forests. After the Chair suspended the meeting at 7:00 pm, a small group of delegates met to clean the texts on biodiversity and biotechnology. As of 11:30 pm, the informal-informal group on forestry had not emerged and Drafting Group C remained in a state of suspension.

SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT: The group agreed to delete both of the bracketed alternatives in paragraph 46 (promoting sustainable agriculture and rural development), since international trade is covered elsewhere. In paragraph 53 (research and technology development), the US proposed new language on promoting sustainable farming methods and strategic problem solving. The G-77/China, India and Malaysia preferred the original text. The paragraph was bracketed. Brackets remain around 'low cost' and 'cost efficient' in paragraph 54 (developing location specific technologies for farming systems). India preferred low cost agricultural practices and inputs since most farmers are poor. Australia thought both low cost and cost efficient could remain in the text. The EC's alternative paragraphs for paragraphs 55-57 (energy for rural development) were accepted.

In the afternoon, Australia, Chair of the Cairns Group, introduced new paragraphs 49, 50, and 50 bis after informal-informals with the G- 77/China, the US, the EU and Japan. Paragraph 49 (framework) welcomes the Final Act of the Uruguay Round as an important step towards an undistorted sectoral and economy-wide policy framework, and calls for monitoring the impacts on developing countries. Paragraph 50 (implications for SARD) requests the FAO, within existing resources, to collaborate in analyzing the implications of the Final Act for SARD. Malaysia bracketed a reference to UNEP. Paragraph 50 bis notes the importance of examining the environmental consequences of agricultural policies and practices, taking account of the impact on LDCs and net food importing developing countries.

SUSTAINABLE MOUNTAIN DEVELOPMENT: On behalf of an informal-informal group, Switzerland reported a number of revisions to the draft. The bracketed paragraph 38 (institutional mechanisms) was deleted. A new paragraph 37 addresses strategies for empowerment and cultural diversity. In paragraph 38 bis (resources), references to 'new and additional' financial resources and EST transfers are bracketed. The paragraph is to be relocated. Paragraph 39 is split into two new paragraphs on eco-system fragility and strengthening institutional mechanisms. Paragraph 42 (ecological security) calls for an appropriate institutional framework to protect mountain communities.

ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND MANAGEMENT OF BIOTECHNOLOGY: The US insisted that brackets remain around the precautionary approach in paragraph 71 (reporting on biotechnology). The EU, supported by the G- 77/China and Australia, proposed compromise text on regulating biotechnology in paragraph 73 (biosafety), but the US objected. The EU provided new language for paragraph 75(e) (voluntary guidelines for biosafety), but the G-77/China preferred to delete it. The paragraph remains bracketed. The US objected to paragraph 75(f) (indigenous knowledge and practices). Malaysia proposed replacing 75(f) with paragraph 67 of Chapter 15. The text was bracketed. The G-77/China then proposed an amendment to paragraph 73, welcoming the COP's consideration of the knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities in its medium-term programme of work. The US, Australia and the EU said that they could accept the amendment to paragraph 73 if 75(f) was deleted. The G-77/China thought both paragraphs were necessary. An informal- informal group met later in the evening and removed all of the brackets from the text, however, the US continued to reserve its position on a remaining reference to the precautionary principle.

CONSERVATION OF BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY: In paragraph 65 (conserving biodiversity), poverty reduction is bracketed. A shortened paragraph 66 (new and additional resources) remains in brackets. In paragraph 67 (indigenous knowledge and practices), the US reserved on a G-77/China reference to Resolution 3 of the Nairobi Final Act of the Biodiversity Convention. Paragraph 68 (biotechnology) remains bracketed after prolonged discussion on the importance (US) versus the risks (Malaysia) of biotechnology. In paragraph 69 (GEF), Malaysia objected to the deletion of a reference to GEF replenishment. In the chapeau of paragraph 70 the EU affirmed the implementation role of the Biodiversity Convention. Brackets remain around sub-paragraph 70(b) and a reference to CBD collaboration with UNEP in 70(c). The US reserved on a reformulation of sub-paragraph 70(e) and (e) bis (indigenous communities) welcoming the Biodiversity COP's consideration of local knowledge and practices. Sub-paragraph 70(j) (access to technologies) is bracketed. The G-77/China accepted a proposal to delete sub- paragraph 70(k) (new resources). An informal-informal group met later in the evening and removed all of the remaining brackets from the text.

PROGRESS IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF DECISIONS BY THE SECOND SESSION OF THE CSD: The US reminded the Chair that it had submitted a short paragraph on the international coral reef initiative. The EU amended the title to reflect that this decision only addresses progress in the implementation of the decisions on sectoral issues. Australia wanted to delete references to financial support in paragraph 4 (freshwater resources) and the development of an internationally legally-binding instrument in paragraph 5 (toxic chemicals). Both were bracketed. The EU amended paragraph 7 (lead reduction) on transfer of technology, taking into account the need to protect intellectual property rights. Australia proposed alternative language. Belarus reintroduced its three proposed paragraphs on sharing of government experiences, a conference on sustainable development in countries with economies in transition, and the CSD review of regional initiatives. Various delegations had problems with these proposals and all three were bracketed.

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