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Sixth Extraordinary Session of the Commission
On Genetic Resources For Food And Agriculture

FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy; 25 - 30 June 2001


Update for Tuesday, 26 June:

On Tuesday, delegates met in parallel sessions of the Plenary and the Committee of the Whole (COW). Plenary considered and concluded discussion of 10 articles. The COW held general discussion on ensuring the UI's autonomy under Article XIV of the FAO Constitution and began considering institutional issues. The working groups on the list of crops and and on definitions met in the late evening. Above left: View from the back of the Green Room during the afternoon's session of the COW.


RealAudio by ENB - click to listenGRAIN, on behalf of a coalition of NGOs, highlighted food security over narrow trade interests, emphasized the central role of farming communities, and reinforced free access and exchange of plant genetic resources. More information available at

RealAudio by ENB - click to listenBIOS, representing the biotech industry, supported more effective use of the IU system to ensure food security and flow of benefits to those who provide access.
CANADA opposed reference to smallholder farmers who generate and use their own crops, suggesting text on farmers who use PGRFA.
In Article 1, on the IU's objectives of conservation and sustainable use of PGRFA and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their use, delegates discussed the IU's link with the CBD and the FAO. The US (left) proposed deferring debate pending resolution of the legal relationship between the IU and FAO Article 14.
In 6.2(b), on strengthening research that enhances biodiversity, CUBA proposed replacing reference to enhancing biodiversity with reference to preserving biodiversity.
ETHIOPIA stated that the link between the IU and CBD concerns the substantial issue of food biodiversity, not administrative matters.

Committee of the Whole

Chair Francis Montanaro Mifsud (Malta, shown below) noted COW's mandate to ensure maximum autonomy for the IU's Governing Body (GB), and to negotiate on the basis of text prepared by the legal working group.
Right: View from the back of the Red Room, where today's COW met.

RealAudio by ENB - click to listenThe US suggested a new subparagraph 19.5bis stating that consensus would be required for all GB decisions relating to: the acquisition, utilization or allocation of financial resources; agreements under Article15 with international agricultural research centers of the CGIAR or other international institutions and in the implementation of such agreements; dispute settlement procedures; benefit-sharing; and compliance.
Chair Mifsud and FAO Legal Council Edison.
In the hallway between the two meeting rooms, the wheeling and dealing continue: here we can observe four different informal groups discussing proposals.


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