Daily report for 8 October 2015
6th Session of the Governing Body (GB 6) of the ITPGRFA
Plenary convened in morning, afternoon and evening sessions, to consider revised draft resolutions on the Global Crop Diversity Trust (Trust), measures to enhance the Multilateral System (MLS), the Funding Strategy, and the multi-year programme of work (MYPOW), and address administrative matters. Two contact groups addressed the Funding Strategy, and farmers’ rights and sustainable use. The budget committee, and a Friends of the Chair group on the MYPOW also met.
Plenary heard a report on credentials. PAPUA NEW GUINEA noted that, together with Côte d’Ivoire, they face an emergency situation as their collections placed under the authority of the GB according to Article 15 (ex situ collections held by the CGIAR and other institutions) are threatened by diseases.
COOPERATION WITH THE GLOBAL CROP DIVERSITY TRUST: Delegates agreed, with a minor addition, to the revised draft resolution on policy guidance to the Trust as amended by the contact group, including on: cooperation between the Trust and the Treaty on resource mobilization to enhance complementarities, synergies and implementation of different elements of the Funding Strategy; a request to publicize the Trust’s Global Crop Conservation Strategies as key guiding documents for ex situ conservation; establishment of minimum Quality Management Systems to be implemented in all genebanks receiving long-term support from the Trust; a recommendation to the Trust to develop more programmatic and synergistic approaches with the Treaty at the project level; and collaboration on the Global Information System, including through the joint development of Genesys and the DivSeek initiative.
MEASURES TO ENHANCE THE MLS: Delegates endorsed the revised draft resolution as agreed by the contact group without amendment. On reviews and assessments foreseen under Article 11(4) (assessment of progress in including relevant PGRFA in the MLS), the resolution states that the GB decides to again postpone such reviews to GB 7.
CONTACT GROUP ON THE FUNDING STRATEGY
A long discussion took place on whether to reference the annual target of US$23 million, incorporated into the Strategic Plan for the implementation of the Benefit-sharing Fund (BSF) 2009-2014, in its extension on an ad hoc basis for the 2015-2017 biennium. Some participants argued that the annual target is unrealistic and will only add to future disappointment, while others underscored the importance of recalling the Treaty’s past ambition. Consensus was reached by moving the reference to the annual target into the preamble, also adding that “all relevant provisions” be considered when extending the BSF Strategic Plan to the next biennium.
Other amendments included: a reference to the development of a funding target for the BSF for the 2018-2023 period; and adding expected results, indicators and an appropriate monitoring and evaluation system to the objectives associated with the development of a long-term investment strategy for the BSF.
On short-term measures for resource mobilization, delegates discussed, without reaching agreement, a proposal to welcome contributions with a crop- or region-specific focus. Some donor countries noted additional opportunities for funding. Others opposed, pointing out conflict with the BSF project cycle procedures. Discussion continued in an informal group on a proposal to explore welcoming such funds as a pilot measure.
Delegates could not reach agreement on whether to hold a donor conference and its timing. Informal discussions continued on a proposal to hold such a conference after agreeing to the revised Funding Strategy at GB 7, with some noting that this would be inappropriate as a short-term measure.
Delegates agreed in principle on a suggestion to strengthen collaboration with institutions working on climate change adaptation of agriculture, but continued to discuss appropriate language.
CONTACT GROUP ON SUSTAINABLE USE AND FARMERS’ RIGHTS
Participants held a lengthy discussion on the proposed study or compilation of national experiences on implementation of farmers’ rights, including whether it should address also interactions between the Treaty and relevant international instruments, without reaching agreement.
On a Joint Capacity-Building Programme with the Global Forum on Agricultural Research, they discussed language on launching and developing the programme, subject to available financial resources, while deleting similar language in the draft resolution on sustainable use, to avoid duplication. On the educational module on farmers’ rights, they discussed, without reaching agreement, whether the Bureau should be consulted before finalization, with some noting that other modules were published without GB consideration. It was also proposed that finalization of the module is subject to available financial resources.
Deliberations continued in the afternoon. Delegates agreed to request the Secretariat, in consultation with the Bureau, to finalize the module on farmers’ rights as set out in Article 9 of the Treaty, but did not reach agreement on subjecting it to the availability of financial resources. They discussed, without reaching agreement, reference to the funding needs of different activities and a paragraph calling upon parties, in a position to do so, to provide financial resources for implementation.
Delegates then held a lengthy discussion on a paragraph regarding identification of possible areas of interrelation between the Treaty, UPOV and WIPO, as well as additional language on commissioning a study on such interrelations, and organizing a joint symposium and side-events.
They finally agreed to request the Secretariat to continue engaging, in a mutually supportive manner with UPOV and WIPO, to jointly finalize the process for the identification of possible areas of interrelations between their respective instruments and the Treaty, including through a participatory process, as appropriate and subject to available resources, and report on the outcomes to GB 7. A small group was tasked with discussing pending issues, including references to the availability of resources and the request for a study or compilation of national experiences on implementation of farmers’ rights.
FUNDING STRATEGY: Delegates addressed the revised draft resolution as amended by the contact group. Discussion focused on the terms of reference for the Ad hoc Advisory Committee on the Funding Strategy for the 2016-2017 biennium, namely the consideration of resource mobilization opportunities in strengthening appropriate cooperation, subject to available funding, with institutions such as the national operational focal points of the GEF, the Trust, the CGIAR, and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
JAPAN expressed concerns and asked for more time for consideration. The UK suggested reference to the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, while AUSTRALIA proposed reference to its relevant elements. ETHIOPIA questioned the rationale for including national operational focal points of the GEF rather than the GEF itself, as well as the reference subjecting the activity to available funding. CANADA noted that national operational focal points are not institutions. NAMIBIA said that the focal points are based in institutions and language including them would allow countries to prioritize GEF funding and comfort donor countries.
A small Friends of the Co-Chairs group was tasked with addressing the issue.
ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS: Delegates elected the GB 7 Bureau: Francis Leku Azenaku (Cameroon), for Africa; Bell Batta Torheim (Norway), for ERG; Javad Mozafari (Iran), for Near East; Michael Ryan (Australia), for Southwest Pacific; Felicitas Katepa-Mupondwa (Canada) for North America; Antonio Ricarte (Brazil), for GRULAC; and Muhamad Sabran (Indonesia), for Asia. Muhamad Sabran was elected as GB 7 Chair.
On the renewal of the term of office of the Treaty Secretary, the FAO legal counsel presented, and plenary discussed, the relevant document (IT/GB-6/15/26), including proposals for selection, appointment and renewal of the Treaty Secretary. Chair Worrell, in consultation with the legal counsel, will draft a revised text for plenary’s consideration on Friday.
MYPOW: Plenary approved, with minor amendments, a revised draft resolution on the MYPOW, including that the theme for GB 7 will be “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Role of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.”
IN THE CORRIDORS
Delegates migrated back and forth between plenary and contact groups in efforts to finalize discussions on outstanding issues. As the resolution on the process for enhancing the MLS was happily approved, attention turned towards farmers’ rights. Hopes for an early night were shattered however as debates on matters all-too-familiar, such as the degree of involvement of the Governing Body in national implementation efforts and interlinkages with the work of UPOV and WIPO first exhausted interpretation time and then delegates. While one participant expressed his discontent at the slow proceedings on apparently procedural matters, a seasoned delegate expressed no surprise: “Farmers’ rights was a controversial issue since before the Treaty’s inception, and it will always be,” he said, pointing to the extremely varied national circumstances regarding farmers and agriculture in general, as well as to the complex links with intellectual property rights and other issues.
Meanwhile, agreement on the Funding Strategy was almost reached. Yet, the outcome received mixed reviews. Pointing to the lengthy discussions on short-term fund raising activities, many of which were transformed into long-term endeavors, one delegate commented that “with such a dependence on donors, benefit-sharing fund is hardly the appropriate name for this mechanism.”
ENB SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS: The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary and analysis of ITPGRFA GB 6 will be available on Monday, 12 October 2015, online at: http://enb.iisd.org/biodiv/itpgrfa/gb6/