Introducing this item, the Secretariat explained that in light of the FAO Conferences decision to broaden the Commissions mandate in a step-by-step process, the FAOs usual report on PGR (CGRFA-7/97/8.1) was complemented by a report on other fields of agricultural biodiversity, with special emphasis on animal genetic resources (CGRFA- 7/97/8.2).
In a formal statement to the Commission, Dr. Louisa Fresco, Assistant Director of FAOs Sustainable Development Department, underscored the need to develop an integrated approach to biodiversity. Regarding plant genetic resources, Fresco noted the success of the Leipzig meeting and the challenge of implementing its outputs. Regarding forest genetic resources, she highlighted the importance of regional activities in developing a more comprehensive GPA. Regarding animal genetic resources, Fresco underscored the development of a Global Strategy for which a country-based network could serve as an implementing structure. She added that the FAO has not yet established a formal structure to address fish genetic resources. Finally, the CBD and FAO, with support from the Netherlands and involvement of the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI) and UNESCO, will convene a meeting to develop a joint work programme for implementing the CBD COP-3 decision on agro-biodiversity.
CANADA, supported by the US, deplored the documents arrival only one week prior to the Commission meeting, which crippled delegates ability to advise the FAO on its programme. Nonetheless, he underscored the documents consideration of the economic valuation of genetic resources as well as a study of the interaction between biodiversity and trade.