Plenary began formal consideration of the draft Leipzig Declaration on Wednesday evening. The Secretariat introduced document CGRFA-EX2/96/4, which contains a preliminary draft of a declaration that might be adopted during the Fourth International Technical Conference (the Leipzig Declaration), either as part of the Global Plan of Action or separately, prepared by the sixth session of the Commission for further negotiation at its second extraordinary session. The Secretariat noted that the text had been slightly amended in order to reflect the preparatory process that took place largely after the adoption of the report of the sixth session of the Commission (as contained in Appendix G of document CGRFA-6/95/REP). However, the bracketed text that emerged from the Commissions sixth session remained for consideration at this session.
Following completion of the single plenary session devoted to the draft Declaration, the AFRICAN GROUP, GRULAC and the EU each tabled their own written versions of the Leipzig Declaration. These regional drafts were consolidated into a new draft Declaration that was heavily debated in plenary and will serve as the basis for further negotiation in Leipzig. The EU text represented a substantial rewrite of the whole declaration.
In plenary, countries made initial comments and then worked through the Leipzig Declaration (LD) paragraph-by-paragraph. A large amount of the LD remains in brackets since there was no time to consolidate the various comments and statements presented by delegations and regional groups.
In opening the general discussion, COLOMBIA, on behalf of GRULAC, said that the LD needed to support the strengthening of institutional capacities in developing countries and to fit within the context of the CBD and Agenda 21. The EU called for a delay in discussions until the GPA had been resolved, stating that this was a Leipzig Declaration and not a Rome Declaration.
The introductory paragraph committed countries to the conservation and sustainable development of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture and to the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of their use. COLOMBIA, on behalf of GRULAC, and supported by the AFRICAN GROUP, asked for text to refer to the need for benefit- sharing arising from knowledge, innovations and practices. CANADA did not support this text. The EU, supported by the NETHERLANDS, FINLAND, SENEGAL and CONGO wanted a reference to forests in the LD. BRAZIL, supported by MALAYSIA, MEXICO, ARGENTINA, INDONESIA, INDIA and URUGUAY, on behalf of GRULAC, opposed any reference to forests. The US, supported by JAPAN, requested a reference to food security in defining PGRFA. The US also wanted brackets around the reference to the CBD since some countries were not signatories to this convention. FRANCE suggested that reference to the CBD was needed somewhere in the Declaration.
The second paragraph referred to the sovereign rights of countries over their biological resources. This text created difficulties for some countries. The UK was concerned that the text was paraphrasing the CBD and this was dangerous. The EU recommended deletion of the entire text. ETHIOPIA, supported by SYRIA and MALAYSIA, wanted the text to remain. The AFRICAN GROUP, in their written proposal, wanted specific recognition on the need for agricultural development. GRULAC presented text stating the need for all countries to have PGR if they are to meet changes in the environment, including climate change.
The third paragraph referred to the importance of PGR for world food security. GERMANY said the text did not refer to growing human populations and the need for more efficiency. The EU provided more detailed comments based on its written text and referred to the need for countries to diversify agricultural production. This new text, with minor modifications from the US, was supported by INDONESIA. GRULAC preferred the original text.
The fourth paragraph acknowledged the role of farmers, women, indigenous populations, breeders and scientists in conserving PGR. The US, supported by the UK and YEMEN, wanted reference to women deleted. The NETHERLANDS, VENEZUELA and COSTA RICA wanted reference to women retained. Some countries had difficulties with the terminology referring to indigenous populations. INDIA preferred the term indigenous peoples. The corresponding EU text (paragraph 3) noted the speedy loss of diversity in fields and forests and in gene banks.
The fifth paragraph referred to the concern that many gene banks cannot maintain international standards. COLOMBIA, supported by BRAZIL, called for the removal of text referring to forests. This was opposed by NORWAY, FINLAND, CONGO and INDIA.
The sixth paragraph acknowledged the weaknesses in national and international capacity to assess PGRFA. INDIA asked that a particular reference to developing countries to be removed.
The seventh paragraph acknowledged the need to access and share PGRFA. COLOMBIA wanted reference to access to technology and the need to guarantee intellectual property rights. The US wanted direct reference to world food security.
The eighth paragraph acknowledges the importance of the need to secure ex situ and in situ PGR. The AFRICAN GROUP wanted a change from the reference to securing PGR to sustaining PGR. GRULAC presented substantial alterations to the text. They sought specific reference to recognizing the need of indigenous and local communities and recognizing the need for preferential access for developing countries to appropriate technology.
The ninth paragraph notes the need to integrate the best traditional knowledge and modern technologies. SYRIA asked for a reference to researchers in national and international programmes. GRULACs written submission deleted this paragraph.
The tenth paragraph was a pledge for common action. GRULAC called for a commitment based on the CBD, Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration.
The eleventh paragraph is a vow to implement the Global Plan of Action. GRULAC revised this text to call for the mobilization of new and additional financial resources. The corresponding EU text (paragraph 4) stated the importance of long-term national commitments to integrated national plans and a commitment to the priorities yet to be determined in the Global Plan of Action. The EU also made specific reference to the International Undertaking, suggesting that it will include a multilateral framework on access and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits.
The twelfth paragraph is a commitment to the Declaration and a further commitment to the GPA. GRULAC deleted this text in its document.
The large amount of brackets still remaining in the LD indicate that there is a long way to go before some of the key issues are resolved. The text, including three versions of the last three paragraphs, was sent onto Leipzig for further negotiation.
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