LOCAL AUTHORITIES: Panelists in the dialogue session with local authorities shared experiences in developing Local Agenda 21s in Dubai, London, Marrakech, Barcelona, Cajamarca (Peru) and Leicester (UK). They highlighted: partnerships between local authorities internationally; decentralization and local governance; and the progress of the Local Agenda 21 movement. Panelists proposed that the CSD focus on: the human settlements sector and the Habitat Agenda; application of Agenda 21 principles by TNCs; capacity-building; harmonization of policies between different levels of government; initiatives to improve coordination of agencies; and developing local authority networks. Panelists also called for: a meeting between local authorities and global leaders; a global target for Local Agenda 21s; partnerships on all government levels dealing with freshwater issues; a study prior to CSD-6 to investigate barriers to local sustainable development imposed by central authorities; and language pertaining to local authorities in the Co-Chairs' text on capacity-building. Presenters also described: green spaces programmes; increased public transport; air quality improvements; privatization of water and sanitation departments; housing programmes; and institutional frameworks for consensus-building.
FARMERS: The dialogue session on farmers included representatives from the US, Denmark, Sweden, Canada, Burkina Faso, Nicaragua, India and the Russian Federation. Panelists discussed: farm management techniques and voluntary programmes; partnerships; farmers organizations; and priorities and strategies. Discussants highlighted: farming as an economic activity; environmentally-friendly production measures; the impact of agriculture on water use and conservation; industrial encroachment into prime farmland; poverty among small-scale farmers, especially women; the public image of farmers; the role of organic farming; the definition of sustainable agriculture; and local product distribution.
Discussants also noted: the implications of international trade and private sector investments on production; long-term land tenure as an incentive for sustainable practices; and the role of the WTO. Some discussants noted problems with equitable distribution of food as opposed to its production. Others underscored: farmers as a component of rural communities; IPR-related problems; low net income for farmers leading to short-term survival plantings; and irresponsible feed technologies. One participant noted that the Co-Chairs text does not refer to the Leipzig meeting on plant genetic resources, the FAO International Undertaking or the upcoming biosafety protocol under the CBD. Panelists also highlighted the need for: increased farmers income; agricultural research, including biotechnology; strengthened farmers' rights; completion of the biosafety protocol; elimination of TRIPs from agriculture; a moratorium on bio- prospecting; and an international convention on food security.
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