The CHAIR announced that the friends of the Chair CG had reached consensus on outstanding issues regarding the GPA, its financing and implementation, and the LD. Before beginning discussions on these documents, he invited two NGO groups to speak. VIA CAMPESINA pointed out that this was the first time a farmers organization was participating in the FAO process. He expressed concern that national agreements on FR were being negotiated without consultation with farmers. He emphasized that the group was against the patenting of life, and of the genetic materials that farmers had conserved for centuries. He called upon the Conference to request the FAO to establish a permanent and flexible mechanism to guarantee the participation of peasants, Indigenous Peoples and farmer organizations in the implementation of the GPA, and in future FAO activities.
Two youth networks, PLAY FAIR EUROPE and A SEED EUROPE, presented a combined statement noting that the political results of the Conference would impact the destiny of many. She stated the groups' opposition to the patenting of life, and expressed concern over the sale of genetically altered organisms She also expressed disappointment with a GPA that consolidates control over biological and cultural resources of the world, and continues a process of transforming them into commercial products, thereby contributing to their destruction. The Plenary then adjourned briefly to allow for reproduction of critical documents.
After all the documents had been received in all languages, the Plenary resumed. The CHAIR urged delegations to adopt all amended documents as a single package. The main amendments related to four areas: benefit-sharing; FR; technology transfer; and financing. Final language on benefit-sharing was changed from "the needs and rights of farmers and farming communities to have access" to "the needs and individual rights of farmers and, collectively, where recognized by national law, to have non-discriminatory access" in reference to germplasm, information, technologies and financial resources. Final language on FR read "to realize Farmers' Rights, as defined in FAO Resolution 5/89," rather than realizing "the concept of " FR.
A reference in earlier amendments to technology transfer "under the terms of the Convention on Biological Diversity, in particular Article 16," was replaced with "under fair and most favourable terms, including on concessional and preferential terms, as mutually agreed to by all parties to the transaction." Regarding financing of the GPA, the meeting adopted text stating that "funding should come from developed countries and/or other sources, and should, where possible, seek to facilitate the leveraging of other funding sources and mechanisms, and assist countries to implement the GPA."
CHINA, supported by many other countries, endorsed the Chairs package proposal and, on behalf of all delegations, paid tribute to the Chairs leadership, and thanked both the government of Germany for its hospitality and the Secretariat for its hard work. He said that since 1992 countries have marched a long path to reach a conclusion on the GPA and the LD.
Many countries indicated that they were not entirely happy with the final documents but realized that these are the result of intense negotiations and represent a delicate balance of interests. AUSTRALIA, supported by the EU, endorsed the Chairs package proposal and suggested an amendment to the Report of the Conference to delete reference to the development of a project portfolio to facilitate implementation of the GPA, as this had not been agreed upon by the CG. Australias proposal was adopted. ARGENTINA, supported by PERU, accepted the documents, but underscored her government's reservation regarding the GPA's reference to other sub-sets of PGR as the concept was not adequately defined. The CHAIR concluded by reiterating a delegation's comment that "we cant get everything at one go" but we have achieved a great deal.
The Rapporteur, R.B.Singh (India), thanked the Chair for his brilliant leadership and noted that the documents had been received by acclamation. On behalf of the FAO Director-General, Dr. Sawadogo thanked all delegates and pointed out that while the cost of conserving PGR is high, it is far less than the cost of their continued degradation. The EU, supported by VENEZUELA, nominated the Chair to present the Report of ITCPGR-4 to both the CBD COP-3 and the World Food Summit. The closing Plenary concluded at 4:00 am on Sunday morning.
[Return to start of article]