Daily report for 2 March 2000

CSD 8 Ad Hoc Intersessional Working Groups

The Intersessional AHWG met in the afternoon to consider the Co- Chairs' draft Summary of the Discussion and Possible Elements for  a Draft CSD-8 Decision on Sustainable Agriculture and Rural  Development (SARD). Delegates spent the morning reviewing the  drafts. The Co-Chairs' revised draft Summary of the Discussion and  Elements for a Possible Decision on Integrated Planning and  Management of Land Resources was distributed during the meeting of  the AHWG.


The following is a summary of the Co-Chairs' preliminary paper  setting out Possible Elements for a Draft Decision on SARD.  [Editor's Note: Due to space constraints we are not providing an  outline of the Co-Chairs' draft Summary of the Discussion on  SARD.

Introduction: This section notes that the major objective of SARD  is to increase food production and enhance food security in a  sustainable manner. 

Priority Issues: This section identifies the following priority  issues: implementation of SARD goals; poverty alleviation;  financing for SARD; technology transfer and capacity building;  biotechnology; genetic resources; and integrated pest management.  It urges governments to: reaffirm their commitment to reaching the  World Food Summit (WFS) target; promote innovative agricultural  practices; pursue an ecosystem approach to SARD; implement the  World Summit for Social Development commitments; further explore  the potential of biotechnology for increasing food security and  sustainable agricultural practices; ratify the Biosafety Protocol;  strengthen efforts in protecting biodiversity and conserving  genetic resources; eliminate unsustainable use of agricultural  chemicals; and, with relevant international organizations, support  increased capacity building and technology transfer. The  international community is urged to fulfill Agenda 21 commitments  on financial assistance, and to develop strategies to attract  private capital flows to more developing countries. The Conference  of the Parties to the UNFCCC and the GEF are encouraged to support  environmentally sound farming systems.

International Cooperation: This section urges governments to: work  towards further liberalization of trade in agriculture products  while providing for social and environmental concerns; ratify  relevant UN Conventions; develop innovative institutional  mechanisms for stakeholder participation; and, with international  organizations, promote farmers' access to information,  technologies and markets.  The section also calls upon the FAO and  relevant international organizations to assist in developing  policies, regulations, and data collection methodologies; and  encourages the International Fund for Agricultural Development to  strengthen assistance to rural communities in developing  countries.


Co-Chair Modesto Francisco Fernandez Diaz-Silveira (Cuba) opened  the meeting of the AHWG at 3:00 pm. He invited CSD-8 Chair Juan  Mayr (Colombia) to brief delegates on a meeting of the CSD Bureau,  which had taken place that morning. Mayr informed delegates that  he expected the results from the two CSD Intersessional AHWGs to  provide an excellent foundation for debates at the High-Level  Segment at CSD-8. He reported that open invitations had been  distributed to governments. The CSD-8 Chair said he wished to have  the CSD operate as an open forum for an exchange of ideas, with  few formal inputs. Mayr also reported that he had extended an  invitation to the UN Secretary-General to deliver an opening  statement at CSD-8.


Co-Chair Diaz-Silveira invited comments on the Co-Chairs' Summary  of the Discussion and Possible Elements for a Draft Decision by  CSD-8 on Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development.

On the Summary, the G-77/CHINA pointed out that an AHWG document  on water had not been distributed or discussed, and asked that the  Summary specify that the issue would be taken up in April. He also  asked that the Summary give greater prominence to desertification  and to funding for the Convention to Combat Desertification. The  EU, supported by JAPAN, the REPUBLIC OF KOREA and SWITZERLAND,  noted surprise at a description of the multifunctional character  of agriculture as a new concept. The G-77/CHINA, supported by  BRAZIL, said the concept had not gone through an intergovernmental  process. On the impacts of trade liberalization, the EU noted that  many delegations drew a distinction between different types of  subsidies, and added that trade distorting policies do not only  impact developing countries. On trade distorting policies, JAPAN,  supported by the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, specified "environmentally  harmful" policies. The US proposed text on emergency preparedness,  with reference to building capacity for early warning and  environmental monitoring systems. On organic agriculture, EGYPT  recalled his request that developed countries assist developing  countries. AUSTRALIA noted recent debate in other forums about the  precise meaning of the precautionary principle. SWITZERLAND  proposed relocating reference to some countries' concerns about  the use of organic agriculture standards as trade barriers, to a  paragraph on trade liberalization. The SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE  FOOD SYSTEM & TRADE UNION CAUCUS  noted that blanket support for  trade liberalization in agriculture contradicted SARD. CONSUMERS  INTERNATIONAL noted that the AHWG had overlooked the critical role  of consumers and expressed doubt on the role of biotechnology in  improving food security.


The Co-Chair invited comments on the Co-Chairs' preliminary draft  Elements for a Possible CSD-8 Decision on SARD.

General Comments: The EC suggested improving the draft's treatment  of the role of agriculture in society, and highlighting the  importance of, inter alia, rural development. On the WFS, the US  suggested emphasizing more sustainable agricultural development.  NORWAY asked for a reference to indigenous "peoples."  Introduction: The G-77/CHINA urged implementation of international  agreements to support agriculture in developing countries, and  stressed the link between food security and poverty. The US  requested the use of the WFS definition of food security.

PRIORITY ISSUES: General Comments: The EU suggested a new priority  issue on desertification and, with the US, on access to land and  security of tenure. MEXICO proposed a priority issue on  participation, and supported the US-proposed priority issue on  "emergency preparedness."

Implementation of SARD: The EU suggested inclusion of additional  paragraphs urging governments to: develop sustainable development  strategies by 2002; integrate agriculture in rural development  frameworks; consider the health impacts of agriculture; and  support the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the FAO.  With the US, he suggested replacing "hunger" with "the number of  undernourished."  He suggested references to organic farming, and  to energy efficiency funded through the Clean Development  Mechanism and the GEF. The G-77/CHINA, supported by POLAND, added  reference to the "sustainable use" of agro-biodioversity. On  support for environmentally sound farming, the Group suggested  adding reference to the CBD and the Global Mechanism of the CCD.  MEXICO proposed reference to protecting indigenous knowledge.  JAPAN emphasized the role of domestic food production in ensuring  food security. CANADA suggested a paragraph, urging governments to  develop participatory rural development policies. AUSTRALIA  underlined the importance of livestock management, and, with the  US, emphasized the role of governments and international bodies in  pursuing environmentally sound farming systems, in line with  UNFCCC and GEF commitments.

Poverty Alleviation: The G-77/CHINA, with EGYPT, suggested  shifting this subsection to the end of the Priorities section. NEW  ZEALAND suggested including it under "Implementation of SARD  Goals" and, with the EC, changing the title to "Poverty  Eradication". The EC defended the prominence given to the poverty  subsection. MEXICO suggested a special emphasis on zones of high  poverty and biodiversity. On poverty alleviation, EGYPT  recommended adding text from the Agenda 21 on SARD. 

Financing for SARD: The EC added a paragraph on domestic  resources. The US included reference to rural financial mechanisms  and to urging the use of existing financial mechanisms. The  RUSSIAN FEDERATION suggested reference to economies in transition  (EITs).

Technology Transfer and Capacity Building: The G-77/CHINA  encouraged international financial institutions to promote  technology transfer. The EC proposed dissemination of  environmentally sound technologies held by international  organizations. NEW ZEALAND supported the EC's call for information  dissemination. The US emphasized the role of the private sector  and farmer participation. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION called for  reference to EITs. JAPAN called for specific reference to the  multifunctional aspects of agriculture.

Biotechnology: The G-77/CHINA, with the EC and AUSTRALIA,  emphasized the role of the precautionary principle, with AUSTRALIA  noting Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration. The EC recommended  provision for public health, and urged ratification of the  Biosafety Protocol. The US proposed text highlighting the role of  international organizations and the private sector, and removing  specific reference to the precautionary principle.

Genetic Resources: On genetic resources, the G-77/CHINA objected  to a reference to  "world" resources. POLAND proposed replacing  "protection" with "sustainable use" of genetic resources, and  suggested adding reference to farm-animal genetic resources,  noting the FAO's country-driven strategy.

Integrated Pest Management: The US emphasized the potential of  sustainable alternatives to unsustainable chemical use. NEW  ZEALAND highlighted the role of farmers and the private sector.  The EC called for reference to sustainable plant nutrition, and  urged governments to finalize negotiations on Persistent Organic  Pollutants.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION: Agricultural Trade: The G-77/CHINA  suggested deleting references to social and environmental concerns  and environmentally harmful subsidies. On LDCs, the EC, with  NORWAY, added paragraphs on improved market access and on  implementation of the Marrakesh Decision, the WTO Plan of Action,  and Joint Commitment of the IMF, World Bank and WTO. The REPUBLIC  OF KOREA, with JAPAN, stressed food security, environmental  concerns and country specific conditions. The US added references  to public health and safety, and rural development. MEXICO  underscored the importance of small-scale farmers. NORWAY  introduced a reference to Agenda 21's chapter on SARD.

Information Exchange and Dissemination: The G-77/CHINA added  reference to information technology. The US suggested encouraging  the private sector to promote access to information for groups,  including farm workers, women and small-scale farmers. The EC  suggested an additional sentence, specifying access for women,  marginalized groups, and indigenous and local communities. 

UN Activities: The EC, with JAPAN, suggested changing the title to  "UN and Other International Activities," and, on data collection,  added reference to the CBD and to monitoring. The EC added a new  sentence on the Consultative Group on International Agricultural  Research. INDONESIA added emergency preparedness activities. 

Participation: On effective participation, the US added reference  to partnership with the private sector. The EC agreed, and added a  new paragraph calling for the creation of an ad hoc, informal,  open-ended working group on SARD to further develop the outcomes  of CSD-8 in preparation for CSD-10. NEW ZEALAND highlighted the  importance of women, empowerment and participation. 


The Co-Chair closed the meeting after informing delegates that the  AHWG would reconvene at 3:00 pm Friday to comment on the Co- Chairs' revised drafts on Integrated Planning and Management of  Land Resources & Sustainable Agriculture.


Representatives of indigenous people, trade unions and other  stakeholder groups have reported that Chair Mayr has invited them  to use the Multi-stakeholder Dialogue to provoke and inform CSD-8  with ideas and analyses to be channeled into the Commission's  deliberations. The stakeholders also received an invitation to  work with Mayr on raising the CSD-8's media profile and enhancing  its transparency. 


AHWG FINAL PLENARY: The final Plenary meeting of the AHWG will  commence at 3:00 pm. Copies of the Co-Chairs' revised Summary of Discussion and Elements paper on SARD will be available at 10:00  am in Conference Room 4.

Further information