The Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources (ITCPGR/96/5 - Rev.2, plus amendments contained in documents Add. 1, 2 and 3) is part of the FAO Global System for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of PGRFA, and was developed by the CGRFA. The GPA is a "rolling action plan" designed to be periodically updated, with programmes and activities aimed at filling in gaps, overcoming constraints and facing emergency situations identified in the RSW pertaining to PGRFA. The GPA is intended to allow the CGRFA to recommend priorities and promote the rationalization and coordination of efforts in order to promote world food security.
The GPA comprises 20 activity areas organized into four groups. The first group, "In Situ Conservation and Development," contains the following priorities: surveying and inventorying PGRFA; on-farm management of PGRFA; disaster assistance to restore agriculture; and promoting in situ conservation of wild crop relatives and plants. The second group, "Ex Situ Conservation" contains the following priorities: sustaining ex situ collections; regenerating threatened ex situ accessions; planned collecting of PGRFA; and expanding ex situ conservation.
The third group, "Utilization of PGR," contains the following priorities: expanding core collections to facilitate use; increasing genetic enhancement; sustainable agriculture through diversification; commercialization of under-utilized species; seed production and distribution; and new markets for local varieties. The fourth group, "Institutions and Capacity Building," contains the following priorities: strengthening national programmes; networks for PGRFA; information systems for PGRFA; monitoring for loss of PGRFA; improving education; and promoting public awareness.
Negotiation of the GPA in Leipzig began on Tuesday, 18 June, when the Chair announced the decision to form an open-ended working group (WG) on the GPA, chaired by Fernando Gerbasi (Venezuela). The WG began deliberations on the revised draft GPA (ITCPGR/96/5 - Rev 1) forwarded to ITCPGR-4 following pre-Conference consultations in Rome, which took place from 10-12 June 1996. These consultations had produced a document containing only 12 sets of brackets. The WG focused its deliberations on these sections of bracketed text.
The Chair also created a closed contact group on Agenda item 9, implementation and financing of the GPA, one of the most sensitive issues remaining. This contact group was chaired by Jurgen Detken (Germany) and included two delegates from each of the seven FAO regions.
The WG completed its work during a late night session on 19 June. However, by the penultimate Plenary session on 22 June, unresolved issues still remained, including benefit-sharing, Farmers' Rights, technology transfer, and implementation and financing. The Chair of the Plenary formed a "Friends of the Chair" contact group that met until midnight to resolve all remaining differences. On convening the closing Plenary, the Chair, noting the "delicate balance" of compromise arrived at by the "Friends of the Chair," urged delegates to adopt all the amendments as a single package, which was accomplished with little further discussion.
The following sections describe negotiations over key areas in the text of the GPA.
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