The Commission considered the process for the further negotiation of the revision of the International Undertaking. Discussions were based on document CGRFA-EX2/96/6, which provides information on developments since the Commissions last session, where it was agreed that the current session should review any recent developments relating to the harmonization of the International Undertaking with the Convention on Biological Diversity in preparation for substantive negotiations to be held at the third extraordinary session.
Plenary discussion on this item focused on matters of procedure rather than substance. In particular, delegates deliberated the timing of the third extraordinary session of the Commission, especially as it relates to the third meeting of the Conference of Parties to the CBD; the timing, cost and mandate of a Working Group meeting to prepare a simplified draft negotiating text; and the status of observers in such a Working Group.
The Commission ultimately agreed that the third extraordinary session will be held in early December 1996 in order to further negotiations on the revision of the International Undertaking. Due to the substantial savings in holding meetings back-to-back, immediately prior to this meeting, the Commissions working group will convene with a twofold task: commenting on the structure of the Third Negotiating Draft, and preparing a simplified draft text concentrating on the three main issues of scope, access and equitable sharing of benefits. In addressing policy matters, this draft text will also draw on further proposals made by governments at the Leipzig Conference and technical information in agreements from the Conference. Members of the Commission who are not members of the working group will attend as fully participating observers.
Reflecting concerns raised by numerous delegations during the course of plenary debate, the report stresses that any simplified text resulting from the deliberations of the working group should in no way be a substitute for the proposals already contained in the Third Negotiating Draft. It will be for the Commission itself to evaluate the usefulness of any such text as a potential focus for future negotiations. Reflecting concerns raised by LESOTHO, the report further notes that every effort would be made to facilitate financially the participation of developing countries.
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