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The Bureau met briefly during the afternoon and selected Louis Currat (Switzerland) as the Chair of the Committee of the Whole (COW). Chair Currat noted the need for the COW to establish its objectives to carry out the fundamental goals of the CBD. He highlighted the need to regulate the use of time; called for enhanced trust among the Parties; and said objectives should be framed for the long term rather than the short term.

The Executive Secretary introduced the Secretariat’s report on agricultural biodiversity (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/14). The G-77/CHINA, generally supported by the EU, proposed creating two working groups, one on financial and legal aspects of the CBD, the other on such issues as Article 8j, agrobiodiversity, access to genetic resources, benefit-sharing, and technology transfer.

SRI LANKA underscored the need to address the biodiversity of agro-ecosystems. The EU highlighted integrated land use planning to minimize negative environmental impacts and underscored the Leipzig Technical Conference and the FAO GPA. ZIMBABWE highlighted the role of indigenous farmers and traditional communities in managing natural resources and achieving food security as discussed at a recent CGIAR International Centres meeting. BRAZIL stated that agriculture should be the major focus of the CBD, and called for a work programme including: ex situ and in situ conservation; access; technology transfer; biosafety; sustainable use; benefit sharing; and economic valuation.

NORWAY noted the need for an integrative approach in agriculture. He stressed the importance of focusing the work that is decided upon, and called for a proactive approach on the identified gaps. He stated that the FAO GPA is relevant for the Convention and for GEF funding, and suggested sending a message to FAO calling for a speedy renegotiation of the International Undertaking. MALAYSIA regretted that the fragile consensus reached during the Leipzig Technical Conference has diminished the opportunity for the GPA to be truly implemented. Farmers’ Rights and benefit-sharing arrangements were among the issues he did not believe were adequately covered. He stressed the importance of resolving the issue of access to ex situ collections, and called for a built-in mechanism for their fair and equitable utilization.

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