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Sustaining Agricultural Biodiversity

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Contact UKabc through Patrick Mulvany, ITDG, - Intermediate Technology Development Group: Practical Answers to Poverty

01/06/2000 •

ITDG lobby @ COP 5


Agricultural Biodiversity NGO lobby

Farmers and pastoralists have the opportunity to present a clear message at COP V:
"Recognise our Farmers' Rights: our agricultural biodiversity, our livelihoods"
ITDG is organising a lobby and activities at COP V on all issues relating to Agricultural Biodiversity. This is the first time that the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will be held in a country and a region where the economy and livelihoods depend primarily on agriculture thus presenting an opportunity to bring practical meaning to the term 'agricultural biodiversity ' and its sustainable use.


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ITDG lobby

ITDG, together with many other local, national and international organisations, is seizing this opportunity to bring those who internationally take decisions relating to agricultural biodiversity into contact with farmers and pastoralists and others who have direct experience of the challenges and opportunities for its sustainable use and ensuring that benefits from this use are equitably shared.

Since the agreement of the Biosafety Protocol in January this year and the failure of the December WTO meeting in Seattle to agree on the next round of world trade negotiations, agricultural biodiversity issues can now get back on the agenda. Governments and other significant stakeholders should use this opportunity, especially at the COP as well as at the subsequent FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, to commit to actions that will:

  • · Enhance the sustainable use of Agricultural Biodiversity and the integrity of agro-ecosystems
  • · Ensure equitable access to and benefit sharing from the use of these resources
  • · Defend Farmers' Rights: involve all stakeholders at local levels in plans and programmes for the development and conservation of agricultural biodiversity and ensure a successful conclusion of negotiations on the FAO International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, as requested by the COP.
  • · Outlaw patenting and biopiracy of genetic resources for food and farming, which would harm local access and benefit sharing: ensuring primacy of the CBD over the WTO
  • · Implement the Biosafety Protocol in ways that defend the interests of consumers, farmers and their communities i.e. Governments to sign up to the Biosafety Protocol at the COP, clarifying their interpretation of what it means and how it will be used to defend their countries, consumers and communities from corporate pressure to import and use GMOs and GE technologies

See UKabc Governance Pages for further details on these negotiations


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For the COP V NGO Agricultural Biodiversity lobby, ITDG is helping to organise:
  • A Workshop on Agricultural Biodiversity and Sustainable Livelihoods: the case of Dryland Ecosystems, within the 15th Global Forum on Biodiversity on 12th - 14th May.
  • Seed Fair on Monday 15th May, within UNEP compound, with participants from countries such as Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Peru, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda
  • Lobby to encourage Sign-ups-with-interpretation to the Biosafety Protocol
  • Lunchtime session organised in conjunction with others on 18th May 2000
  • Launch of IT Publications' latest book "Encouraging Diversity"
  • Lobby of COP discussions on Agricultural Biodiversity on 19th May


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We would like to invite you to participate in these activities at COP V.
We have more information if you want it. In particular could you let us know if: