The Second Extraordinary Session of the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA-EX2) was held at FAO Headquarters in Rome from 22-27 April 1996. During the week-long meeting, delegates worked their way through all agenda items in spite of a staggeringly slow start, persistent procedural problems and a near-paralysis in plenary over forests, funding and follow-up. Nonetheless, delegates addressed several issues in preparation for the Fourth International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources to be held in Leipzig, Germany, from 17-23 June 1996. These include: the first comprehensive state-of-the-world report on plant genetic resources, which will be forwarded to the Conference; and a heavily bracketed Global Plan of Action, which will be further consolidated by a two-day working group meeting held immediately prior to the Leipzig Conference. The draft text of the Leipzig Declaration, which is expected to be one the Conferences key outputs, remains subject to substantial negotiation. Delegates also agreed to hold the Commissions next extraordinary session on the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources in early December 1996, immediately preceded by a meeting of the working group that will prepare a simplified text to serve as a basis for the Commissions negotiations.