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Report of main proceedings for 5 November 1996


Delegates to the third Conference of the Parties (COP-3) of the Convention on BiologicalDiversity discussed issues related to agricultural biodiversity and finance during morningand afternoon meetings of the Committee of the Whole (COW). An open-ended workinggroup was formed and met during the evening to continue discussing agriculturalbiodiversity issues. Delegates learned that the Ministerial Segment will commence at9:00 am on Wednesday, 13 November. Argentine President Carlos Menem will speak at6:00 pm. The Segment will focus on four topics: experiences in domesticimplementation; experiences in international implementation; criteria to evaluate success;and COP-3’s message to the Special Session of the UNGA. The GRULAC appointedJohn Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) and Maria Julia Alsogaray (Argentina) to the Bureau.


Chair Currat (Switzerland) suggested that delegates’ decisions put less burden on theSecretariat and more on themselves. The Bureau will make a proposal to COP-4regarding the use of small groups.

AGRICULTURAL BIODIVERSITY: SWITZERLAND said sustainableagriculture requires combining the wisdom of traditional methods with the efficacy ofmodern ones and agreed with SBSTTA's call for a gap analysis, to be conducted in closecollaboration with the FAO. INDONESIA and GHANA stressed the need to recognizeanimals and microorganisms as forms of agricultural biodiversity. COLOMBIA called fora study on farmers’ rights encompassing agricultural and cultural aspects and technologytransfer. SOUTH AFRICA noted the need to harmonize sustainable agriculturalproduction with biodiversity conservation and apply an integrated approach to resourcemanagement.

SLOVAKIA, on behalf of the Central Eastern European (CEE) countries, supportedglobal actions for conservation of agricultural biodiversity. ZAIRE called for: study ofecosystems as a form of agricultural biodiversity; a reduction in the use of pesticides; anddevelopment of guidelines on non-domestic food resources. ARGENTINA called for: development of an institutional database; intersectoral integration; and recognition of theeffects of non-biodegradable chemical agents on agricultural biodiversity.

MOROCCO stated that the GPA exemplifies a wide yet fragile consensus on PGRFA thatneeds to be equipped with the necessary financial means to achieve its goals. A protocolto the CBD on PGRFA should be considered. JAPAN stressed the need for gap analysisand said that the proposal to establish a working group on Articles 16 and 18 ontechnology transfer and scientific cooperation is premature. NEW ZEALAND noted thatParties must now agree on measures for immediate action and prioritize the objectives ofthe CBD. SWEDEN suggested that the COP provide a mandate for sustainableagriculture based on the ecosystem approach that emphasizes indigenous knowledge andthe empowerment of people. The gap analysis should focus on soils and on integratedland use and resource management. The THIRD WORLD NETWORK said the COPshould send a strong message to the World Food Summit about the importance ofagricultural biodiversity to world food security. She expressed concern that excessiveemphasis was being placed on the role of the Bretton Woods institutions in addressingagricultural biodiversity issues.

INDIA called for the principle of sovereign rights over biological resources to bereflected in the revised International Undertaking and for the concept of farmers’ rights tobe included in benefit-sharing. MALAWI called on the COP to consider under-exploitedanimal and plant genetic resources and the impact of structural adjustment programmeson agro-biodiversity. URUGUAY underscored the effects of subsidies on sustainableagriculture and international trade.

The US stated that in order to meet the world’s escalating needs for food, fiber andenergy, countries will need to employ a portfolio of agricultural approaches.BANGLADESH called for “banking” and democratic decision-making that involveswomen and poor people. The PHILIPPINES called on the COP to address ex situcollections acquired prior to the CBD and stated that countries of origin should exercisesovereignty over these collections.

MAURITIUS underscored the special vulnerabilities of SIDS and called on the COP toconsider agro-biodiversity and coastal and marine biodiversity in a holistic manner.ETHIOPIA and AUSTRIA took issue with the Secretariat paper’s contention that land-intensive agriculture reduces biodiversity, noting that it is misguided agriculturalpractices that reduce biodiversity.

The NETHERLANDS called for integration of the sustainable use of genetic resourceswith an agro-ecosystem approach to conservation. The EUROPEAN COMMUNITYdescribed incentive measures aimed at farmers to conserve ecosystems and geneticresources. CANADA suggested three topics for gap analysis: land use pressures; agro-forestry; and atmospheric stress. VIA CAMPESINA listed four fundamentals: rejectingIPR on life forms and social knowledge; a moratorium on bioprospecting; food security;and the rights of farmers.

TUNISIA called for financial resources to implement the GPA and for impact studies onagricultural intensification. SOUTH KOREA highlighted the unequal distribution ofagricultural genetic resources and their unequal utilization. MEXICO emphasizedincentive measures to maintain agricultural crop varieties, such as organic certification.

CUBA underscored the CBD’s third objective, equitable sharing of benefits, and calledfor financial resources for implementation. GERMANY called upon COP-3 to take theGPA as the basis for complementary activities. BOLIVIA called for concreterecommendations to the next meeting of the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources.ECUADOR stated that agro-industry should become a “point of reference” for financingagro-biodiversity programmes.

PERU called for indicators to monitor the success of in situ conservation efforts.VENEZUELA called for evaluation of techniques to monitor savannah ecosystems.IRAN called for official development assistance for research to increase publicparticipation in species conservation. BURKINA FASO stated that the GPA’s successwill depend on accompanying measures such as poverty alleviation.

HAITI emphasized the difficulty of preserving biodiversity where population growth andfood security are major concerns. GUATEMALA stated that the indiscriminate use ofexotic species has worsened with research on transgenic organisms. The FAO stressedsupport for the CBD through FAO processes. The CGIAR called the GPA a blueprint forgenetic resources work.

FINANCIAL ISSUES: Peter Schei, Chair of SBSTTA-2, presentedrecommendations formulated at SBSTTA-2 calling on the GEF to support the GlobalTaxonomy Initiative, the CHM and capacity building in biosafety. Several countriessupported these recommendations. Executive Secretary Juma presented documents thataddressed Agenda Items 6.1 to 6.6 (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/5-10 and 37).

The G-77/CHINA, the PHILIPPINES and MALAYSIA stated that the COP must betterassert its authority over the GEF. These countries and MALAWI said that it is prematureto designate the final institutional structure of the financial mechanism. ARGENTINAsupported the GEF in its role as the temporary institutional structure. He said thereplenishment of funds is not tied to the legal status of the GEF. CANADA, the EU andAUSTRALIA supported designation at COP-3. The EU noted that donors and recipientsneed certainty regarding the long-term role of the GEF. SLOVAKIA, on behalf of theCEE, supported the GEF as the permanent financial mechanism, recognizing that themechanism could be changed if necessary. MAURITIUS proposed asking the Secretariatto draft a paper identifying other possible institutional structures.

A number of countries approved of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), withMEXICO calling it compatible with the CBD, NORWAY calling it a well-balancedcompromise, and CHINA stating that it was acceptable. SLOVAKIA, on behalf of theCEE, approved it as well. Several countries, including MAURITIUS, POLAND andINDONESIA, desired COP-3 to take a decision on the MOU. The PHILIPPINES said theMOU must be consistent with Article 21.1 (the financial mechanism) in determining theamount of funding required for implementation of the CBD. CANADA and MALAWIsupported using CBD language to improve the MOU. MALAYSIA and COLOMBIAsaid the MOU should contain explicit reference to the interim nature of the financialmechanism. SWITZERLAND called for an enhanced dialogue between the GEF and theCOP and modifications to the MOU. ARGENTINA and SWITZERLAND willcoordinate efforts to re-draft the MOU text.

IRELAND, on behalf of the EU, highlighted the COP’s responsibility in delineatingpolicies, strategies, programme priorities and eligibility criteria for the use of the financialmechanism’s resources. The PHILIPPINES, CHINA, ZIMBABWE, NEW ZEALANDand the EU stressed the need for focused guidance from the COP to the financialmechanism. MALAYSIA noted that the Secretariat should play a proactive role inensuring that the financial mechanism implements the COP’s decisions. NEWZEALAND said review of GEF guidelines should be transparent and that the COP shouldredetermine the GEF’s status every 2-3 years. BRAZIL noted that the GEF has becomemore responsive to the views of the Parties. He called for refinements to the GEFguidelines and denounced joint determination of GEF funds, stating that the COP shouldmake the full determination. MEXICO and COLOMBIA emphasized balance inimplementing all three CBD goals.

ZIMBABWE called on the GEF to finance agricultural research and capacity building forproposal writing and policy analysis. COTE D’IVOIRE has had difficulty in obtainingresources for its report. ROMANIA stated that the GEF has played an important role inits domestic implementation. URUGUAY identified important project areas, such ascountries with shared ecosystems. EL SALVADOR identified a need to improve thecommunication between national focal points and the GEF.

INDONESIA noted that GEF funds alone are not adequate, and proposed creating anOECD private sector trust fund. AUSTRALIA expressed concern that some of the dataused in UNEP/CBD/COP/3/37 (additional financial resources) was not reliable, andsupported an undertaking at COP-4 to examine the role that the private sector can play inCBD funding.


During the evening Working Group, chaired by Manfred Schneider (Austria), delegatescontinued to comment on the agricultural biodiversity papers. They then discussedwhether to base their negotiations on the SBSTTA recommendations or a text thatreflected the proposals made in the COW. The Group was expected to meet untilmidnight.


Delegates privately have begun articulating a wide range of views on the issues ofliability and compensation and socioeconomic considerations, discussed at the firstmeeting of the Biosafety Working Group in Aarhus earlier this year. On the former issue,delegates appear to support either: calling on COP-3 to instruct the Working Group toinclude these issues in a biosafety protocol; a separate protocol; or no internationalagreement on this issue. Some expect these positions to take shape during the discussionon this topic later in the week.


COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE: The COW will continue its consideration offinancial issues during the morning in Saln Dorado. The afternoon meeting is expectedto address the clearing-house mechanism and Articles 6 and 8, among other issues.

WORKING GROUP: The Working Group may continue to consider agricultural biodiversity issues today.

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