Delegates adopted the Leipzig Declaration on Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITCPGR/96/6 Rev.2), a twelve-point political statement in which governments, inter alia:
SUB-TITLE: Based on a proposal from the US, delegates first agreed to remove the sub-headings that described the Declaration as a call for "commitment" or "global effort" on conservation and sustainable utilization of PGRFA.
PARAGRAPH 1: In the opening paragraph, which underscores the Conference's key objectives and its contribution to both the CBD and Agenda 21, delegates extensively debated text that read "recognition of the vital importance of PGRFA [including forests] [excluding forests] to [food security]." On the basis of the CGRFA-EX2 decision that "forests not be included in the GPA", delegates agreed to remove references to forests as PGRFA in the Declaration. EGYPT's proposal to remove the reference to food security, explaining that it was covered by a subsequent paragraph, was supported by FRANCE, SUDAN, CHINA, on behalf developing countries of Asia, MALTA, SOUTH AFRICA and ARGENTINA. The US disagreed and expressed its preference to explicitly link PGRFA to food security in the first sentence of the Declaration. This proposal was supported by PERU, PAPUA NEW GUINEA and SWEDEN, who noted that the Declaration would be the Conference's main message to the World Food Summit. The reference to food security was retained on the basis of compromise language put forth by both ARGENTINA (who suggested replacing "vital" with "essential") and PERU (who suggested adding the qualifier "in particular" before food security).
In a subsequent sentence in the first paragraph, delegates debated a reference to the sharing of benefits from the use of PGRFA. The Chair's initial proposal to replace the bracketed text with agreed language from the GPA was supported by COLOMBIA, CHINA, PERU, INDIA, on behalf of developing countries of Asia, SWEDEN and the US. Noting the need for a succinct and balanced presentation of the Conference's three main objectives in the opening paragraph, CANADA, supported by FRANCE, suggested limiting the reference to "sharing of benefits from use of such resources". However, in the interest of achieving consensus, both countries accepted the longer formulation of the GPA which read: "sharing of benefits from the use of PGRFA, recognizing the desirability of sharing equitably benefits arising from the use of traditional knowledge, innovations and practices."
Also within the first paragraph, delegates deliberated bracketed text that read: "We are convinced that these efforts are an essential contribution to the implementation of the CBD and Agenda 21." CHINA, on behalf of developing countries of Asia and the Pacific, COLOMBIA, on behalf of GRULAC, TANZANIA, ZIMBABWE, PERU, SUDAN and TURKEY proposed retaining the text intact. SWEDEN's proposal to add "World Food Summit," and IRAN's proposal to add "food security" were ultimately rejected. The CONGO's proposal to replace "efforts" with the stronger word "commitment" was supported by BURKINA FASO and COLOMBIA but opposed by the US. The US proposed replacing "implementation" with "realizing the objectives" of the CBD. The Chair's compromise proposal to retain "implementation" (for Parties) and add "realization of the objectives" (for non-Parties) was supported by POLAND, TANZANIA, on behalf of the African Group, BRAZIL, BOLIVIA, COLOMBIA, on behalf of GRULAC, and CHINA, on behalf of developing countries of Asia and the Pacific. Based on informal consultations, the amended text was eventually adopted to read: "We are convinced that these efforts can be an essential contribution to achieving the objectives, and facilitating the implementation, of the CBD and Agenda 21."
PARAGRAPH 2: Delegates then deliberated the Declaration's second paragraph, regarding "States' sovereign rights over their biological resources" and "common and individual responsibilities in respect of this heritage." The Chair's suggestion to retain language consistent with the GPA concerning "recognizing the rights of sovereign States over their biological resources" was supported by CANADA, FRANCE and the US. COLOMBIA's request to remove the reference, "confirming our common and individual responsibilities" was rejected while MEXICO's proposal to replace the word "heritage" with "resources" was accepted. With this last amendment, the original text was accepted.
CANADA's proposal to relocate the paragraph to the middle of the Declaration was opposed by MEXICO, CHINA, on behalf of developing countries of Asia and the Pacific, PERU and SENEGAL, largely on the basis that sovereignty over resources was a "generic" principle that belonged at the beginning. Noting an impasse, the Chair deferred the issue to informal consultations where delegates supported its original location.
PARAGRAPH 3: The third paragraph, regarding the importance of PGR, was modified by the delegates' decision to remove, "are essential for world food security" upon the recommendation of the Chair. Delegates also agreed to retain the phrase, "agricultural production" in the sentence that read: "All countries require plant genetic resources if they are to increase food supplies and agricultural production sustainably and meet the related challenges of changes to the environment, including climate change."
PARAGRAPH 4: Delegates discussed the role of various groups in collecting, conserving, improving and sustainably using PGRFA, using text proposed by BELGIUM, which acknowledged "the role of generations of farmers and plant breeders". ARGENTINA, supported by INDONESIA, CANADA and SWEDEN, called for a specific reference to women farmers. FRANCE, supported by SOUTH AFRICA and CYPRUS, maintained that such a reference was unnecessary. MEXICO, supported by SWEDEN and VENEZUELA, called for reference to indigenous and local communities. Delegates adopted the Chair's proposal that broadened the Belgian text to read: "the roles played by generations of men and women farmers and plant breeders, and by indigenous and local communities".
PARAGRAPH 5: Delegates then considered the paragraph on serious threats to PGR security. In reference to "efforts to conserve, develop and sustainably use genetic resources", the US preference for the option "[could be improved]" rather than "[are inadequate]" was adopted, while its preference for "PGRFA" rather than "genetic diversity" was not. Following further debate on whether "ecosystems" or "farms and nature" should be employed in reference to the loss of genetic diversity, delegates adopted the Chair's formulation, "fields and other ecosystems".
PARAGRAPH 6: In the paragraph pertaining to major gaps and weaknesses in national and international capacity vis-�-vis PGRFA, delegates agreed to delete the phrase "notably in developing countries" in reference to the inadequacy of existing institutions, based on objections raised by CHINA, INDONESIA and FRANCE.
In a subsequent sentence, which noted that the linkage between PGR conservation and utilization could be improved, FRANCE, the US, ISRAEL, INDONESIA and FINLAND objected to the phrase, "[particularly in many developing countries]". PERU and SENEGAL called for its retention. Following informal consultations, BELGIUM introduced text that read: "It is necessary to strengthen national capabilities, particularly in developing countries" as the concluding sentence. The paragraph was adopted with minor changes introduced by TANZANIA and BRAZIL.
PARAGRAPH 7: The paragraph pertaining to technology transfer largely reflected the conclusion of the Contact Group's deliberations on this matter and reads: "access to and sharing of technologies with developing countries should be provided and/or facilitated under fair and most favourable terms, including on concessional and preferential terms, as mutually agreed to by all parties to the transaction. In the case of technology subject to patents and other intellectual property rights, access and transfer of technology should be provided on terms which recognize and are consistent with the adequate and effective protection of IPR." The agreed language reproduces wording from CBD Article 16.2 on "access to and transfer of technology". It replaces "transfer" with "sharing" with respect to technologies and adds the phrase, "all parties to the transaction." The bracketed text referring to international and regional cooperation between countries, IGOs, NGOs and the private sector, was adopted without amendment.
PARAGRAPH 8: In the paragraph regarding the importance of PGR diversity to breeders and farmers, delegates added a reference to "indigenous and local communities" as proposed by MEXICO and BRAZIL. Delegates also chose "sustain" rather than "secure" ex situ collections of PGR, and changed in situ "sites" of PGR to in situ "habitats".
PARAGRAPH 9: In the paragraph regarding the Conference's primary objective, a formulation by CHINA, which read "our primary objective must be to enhance world food security through conserving PGR, and using them sustainably," was modified by the US to read "conserving and sustainably using PGR" and adopted. In a subsequent sentence, CHINA suggested deletion of bracketed text on benefit-sharing, since it had been covered earlier. PERU, supported by BELGIUM, preferred retention of the text here. Informal consultations resulted in a new text which read: "Means are needed to identify, increase, and share fairly and equitably the benefits derived from the sustainable use of PGR." Delegates adopted this text, with the addition of "conservation" to "sustainable use of PGR", as proposed by COLOMBIA.
PARAGRAPH 10: The paragraph pertaining to the financing and implementation of the GPA reflected the results of the contact group on this matter. Initial references to "commitment to taking the necessary steps to implement the GPA" and "mobilization of the necessary financial resources" for "priority areas" was replaced with references to the GPA as a "coherent framework for activities...in institution- and capacity-building," which will "contribute to creating synergies among ongoing activities, as well as the more efficient use of available resources."
PARAGRAPH 11: This paragraph, regarding the relationship between the GPA, the IU and the FAO Global System, was the subject of protracted negotiation. Compromise language stating that the "GPA and the non-binding IU are elements of the FAO Global System for the conservation and sustainable utilization of PGRFA," and advocating revision of the IU, was acceptable to all. However, the remainder of the paragraph asserting that "the Global System be strengthened, reviewed and adjusted in harmony with the CBD" was unacceptable to the US and VENEZUELA and was revised to read: "We believe it important to revise the International Undertaking and to adjust the Global System, in line with the Convention on Biological Diversity."
PARAGRAPH 12: Delegates then turned to the closing paragraph of the Declaration, regarding future responsibilities and difficulties with regard to PGRFA. SWEDEN's proposal to add "our fundamental responsibilities for meeting the most basic human rights, the right to life and the right to freedom from hunger" was rejected by MALTA as too pedantic, and by the US due to domestic political overtones of "right to life." FRANCE and PERU objected to introducing a hierarchy of human rights, and proposed "right to freedom from hunger" instead. ARGENTINA's proposal for a simplified text served as the basis for the adopted paragraph. Most notably, delegates agreed that the conservation and sustainable use of PGRFA in agricultural policy was "an essential element" rather than "a cornerstone" of food security. The Conference "invited attention to be paid to" the GPA at the World Food Summit, and called upon "all people" rather than "all parties concerned" to join in its common cause.
[Return to start of article]