19 MAY 2000

Intervention to Working Group 1, presented by Patrick Mulvany, ITDG on behalf of Civil Society Organisations at COP 5

NGO Intervention to Working Group 1, presented by Patrick Mulvany, ITDG on behalf of Civil Society Organisations at COP 5, Friday 19th May 2000

Thank you Chair

In addition to the intervention which has just been made Civil Society Organisations on GURTs, which ITDG fully supports, I am presenting this second intervention on behalf of a similar group of Civil Society Organisations participating in COP 5 including my own ITDG and also, RAFI, Sunshine Project, Kalpavriksh, ECOROPA, Diverse Women for Diversity, ELCI, IUCN, WGTRR, Navdanya, Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, Quaker Peace and Service, GE Network, SEARICE and othersÉ(NOTE 1)

While welcoming the development of the Programme of Work arising out of your landmark Decision III/11 and recognising the significant contributions of SBSTTA, FAO and others not least in stressing the importance of agro-ecosystem functions, the current draft text is deficient, mainly that it does not stress sufficiently the need for this programme to centred on women and men farmers, including pastoralists, fisherfolk and other food producers and hunter/gatherers. We wish to make 3 points.

1. The Agricultural Biodiversity Programme of Work must be farmer-centred if it is to be effective.
We support the interventions of many delegations including Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and others who have stressed the importance of farmers as key participants in developing work on agricultural biodiversity for sustainable food production, biological support to production and ecosystem services.
The CBD must actively collaborate with farming communities and their institutions as principal partners.

Specific textual changes have been proposed by NGOs in the 15th Global Biodiversity Forum report of the Workshop on Agricultural Biodiversity and Sustainable Livelihoods (see below) covering the need for additional clauses in each of the four elements of the proposed programme of work, addressing the need for farmer-centred approaches and practices, and for increased consumer awareness. This Decision must include a demand that full reports are provided to 6th Conference of the Parties (COP 6).

2. We support the many delegations which have called for a rapid conclusion of the negotiations in the FAO CGRFA on the International Undertaking. Given the distinctive nature, origin and problems of PGRFA and the farmers' knowledge embodied in these, The International Undertaking will need to provide a framework which simultaneously permits:

  • facilitated access and exchange through a multilateral system of access to the resources with no patents or Intellectual Property Rights permitted on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture,
  • provides benefits related to end use i.e. food security and
  • implements internationally recognised Farmers' Rights.

This meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 5) must urge the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture to submit a pro-farmer International Undertaking to COP 6 as a legally-binding instrument.

3. Finally, we would urge Parties to ensure consistency in all its deliberations which relate to or impact on the conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity, Access, Biosafety, Art 8j, other ecosystems programmes of work such as drylands, to name but four, and ensure that farmers and local and indigenous communities and their institutions are at the centre of programmes, policies and, as key participants, they are provided with necessary incentives.

Sir, you have a real challenge before you. How can you support farmers' efforts to Sustain Life on Earth: to maintain the functions and integrity of agro-ecosystems through the sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity in order to achieve food security? A good Decision on Agricultural Biodiversity that loses none of the gains made in previous Decisions and adds a farmer-centred focus to the CBD's work, will be a good step forward.

Thank You 19/05/2000 16:00
(NOTE 1) For reasons of time pressure, some text was not read out.

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