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A Reporting Service for Environment and Development Negotiations
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Volume 09 Number 600 - Monday, 22 April 2013
SUMMARY OF THE FOURTEENTH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON GENETIC RESOURCES FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE
15-19 APRIL 2013

The fourteenth session of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA 14) was held from 15-19 April 2013, at FAO headquarters, in Rome, Italy, and marked the Commission’s 30th anniversary. The meeting gathered more than 200 participants, including representatives of governments, intergovernmental, non-governmental and farmers’ organizations, and international agricultural research centers. 

The Commission addressed a series of sectorial and cross-sectorial issues under its Multi-Year Programme of Work (MYPOW), including: the preparation of state of the world reports on biodiversity for food and agriculture, and on forest, animal and aquatic genetic resources (GR); targets and indicators; climate change; access and benefit-sharing (ABS) arrangements for genetic resources for food and agriculture (GRFA); biodiversity and nutrition; and various issues related to plant, forest, animal and aquatic GR, and micro-organisms and invertebrates. It also reviewed its relationship with the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR) and cooperation with other international instruments and organizations, as well as the CGRFA’s status and mode of operation. Finally, the Commission reviewed issues related to its MYPOW implementation, including human and financial resources, and adopted the Strategic Plan 2014-2021.

The meeting was preceded by a special information seminar, held on 13 April 2013, on biodiversity for food and agriculture. The seminar offered the opportunity for an exchange of views on the status and contributions of biodiversity to food and nutrition security, human well-being and sustainability, and on the challenges to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. Participants also addressed challenges related to the preparation of the first report on the state of the world’s biodiversity for food and agriculture. The report of the seminar is available at: http://www.iisd.ca/biodiv/cgrfa14/html/crsvol168num3e.html.

CGRFA 14 adopted two important new documents, the Global Plan of Action on forest GR, and the genebank standards for plant GR, which are expected to provide valuable guidance for national action on GR conservation and sustainable use. Delegates also participated in lengthy debates exploring the Commission’s role and place in an interconnected international policy environment on ABS, climate change, and aquatic GR. Through a series of mostly procedural decisions, the Commission will continue to address these issues, aiming to provide targeted input to policy-makers as well as mainstream GRFA across relevant international processes.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CGRFA

The FAO Commission on Plant Genetic Resources was established in 1983. Renamed the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture in 1995, to reflect its broadened mandate to encompass all components of biodiversity for food and agriculture in addition to plants, including animal, aquatic, forest, invertebrate and micro-organism GR, it currently comprises 177 countries and the European Union (EU). The Commission’s main objectives are to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of GRFA, as well as the fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived from their use.

The Commission develops and monitors the Global System on Plant GR and the Global Strategy for the Management of Farm Animal GR. It also facilitates cooperation between the FAO and other relevant bodies on GRFA policy issues, including the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Its regular sessions are held every two years and extraordinary sessions are convened when necessary. The Commission also maintains three subsidiary bodies, the Intergovernmental Technical Working Groups (ITWGs) on plant, animal and forest GR to address specific issues in these sectors.

PLANT GENETIC RESOURCES: The development of the Global System on Plant GR began in 1983. The first Report on the State of the World’s Plant GR was presented at the fourth International Technical Conference held in Leipzig, Germany, in 1996. The Global Plan of Action (GPA), adopted through the Leipzig Declaration, comprises a set of activities covering capacity building and in situ and ex situ conservation of plant GRFA. The GPA for the conservation and sustainable utilization of plant GRFA also recognizes the crucial roles played by farmers, seed curators and breeders in managing these resources.

ANIMAL GENETIC RESOURCES: Initiated in 1993, the Global Strategy for the Management of Farm Animal GR provides a technical and operational framework for assisting countries. It comprises: an intergovernmental mechanism for policy development; a country-based global infrastructure to help states plan and implement national strategies; a technical support programme aimed at the country level; and a reporting and evaluation system to guide the Strategy’s implementation and facilitate collaboration. A communication and information tool, called the Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS), assists in the Strategy’s implementation.

CGRFA 9: The ninth session of the CGRFA, held in Rome, Italy, in October 2002, addressed issues related to animal and plant GR, including development of the first state of the world report on animal GR, and implementation and monitoring of the GPA on plant GR. Delegates also revised the interim Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) between the international agricultural research centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and the FAO, and considered the status of the draft code of conduct on biotechnology.

CGRFA 10: At its tenth session, held in Rome, Italy, in November 2004, the Commission agreed to hold an international technical conference on animal GR in 2007 to mark the completion of the first Report on the State of the World’s Animal GR. Regarding its future work, the Commission requested the Secretariat to prepare a MYPOW for submission to CGRFA 11, with a view to implementing the Commission’s full mandate in the medium and long term, which would include: a study on the status and needs of forestry, fishery and microbial GR; biodiversity for food and agriculture; the agro-ecosystem approach to genetic resource conservation; and cross-sectorial matters.

ITPGR: The ITPGR entered into force on 29 June 2004. With 128 parties to date, the ITPGR is a legally binding instrument that targets the conservation and sustainable use of plant GRFA and equitable benefit-sharing for sustainable agriculture and food security. The ITPGR establishes a Multilateral System (MLS) of ABS, which facilitates access to a specified list of plant GRFA, balanced by benefit-sharing in the areas of information exchange, technology transfer, capacity building and commercial development. The list of crops contained in Annex I defines the scope of the MLS, and includes 35 crop genera and 29 forage species.

The treaty negotiations were based on the revision of the non-binding International Undertaking (IU), which was originally founded on the principle that plant GRFA should be “preserved … and freely available for use” under the concept of “common heritage of mankind.” This concept was subsequently subjected to “the sovereignty of states over their plant GR,” according to FAO Resolution 3/91. In April 1993, the CGRFA decided that the IU should be revised to be in harmony with the CBD. Negotiations spanned more than seven years, until the 31st FAO Conference adopted the ITPGR on 3 November 2001.

CGRFA 11: At its eleventh session, in Rome in June 2007, the Commission adopted its MYPOW, a rolling 10-year work plan covering the totality of biodiversity for food and agriculture, including plant, animal, forest, aquatic, micro-organism and invertebrate GR, and including major outputs and milestones. The MYPOW also covers a range of cross-sectorial matters relevant to several or all components of biodiversity for food and agriculture. Delegates also agreed on the draft Interlaken Declaration on Animal GR and the elements of a GPA for animal GR, incorporating priority activity areas.

FIRST INTERNATIONAL TECHNICAL CONFERENCE ON ANIMAL GR: The first International Technical Conference on Animal GR took place from 3-7 September 2007, in Interlaken, Switzerland. The meeting included: a forum on the scientific aspects of animal GR; presentation of the Report on the State of the World’s Animal GR; and negotiations on, and adoption of, the GPA for animal GR and the Interlaken Declaration on Animal GR.

CGRFA 12: At its twelfth session, held in October 2009 in Rome, the Commission adopted the Strategic Plan 2010-2017 for implementation of the MYPOW, identifying processes and cooperation needed to achieve the agreed outputs and milestones. The Commission also adopted its new rules of procedure and a resolution on policies and arrangements for ABS for GRFA. It agreed to the funding strategy for the implementation of the GPA for animal GR; approved the outline of the state of the world report on forest GR; and agreed to create an ITWG on forest GR.

CGRFA 13: At its thirteenth session, held in July 2011 in Rome, the Commission adopted the second GPA on plant GR, a major milestone in its MYPOW. CGRFA 13 also amended its MYPOW to lay out major outputs and milestones between 2013 and 2021; agreed on the need for a roadmap or work programme on climate change and GRFA; decided to establish an Ad Hoc Technical Working Group on ABS for GRFA; and addressed cooperation with other processes including the ITPGR and the CBD.

CGRFA 14 REPORT

On Monday, 15 April, the session started with a video outlining the importance of the Commission’s work in securing livelihoods and food security and designing future food systems. CGRFA Chair Brad Fraleigh (Canada) opened the meeting congratulating FAO on their foresight in establishing the Commission 30 years ago. Daniel Gustafson, FAO Deputy Director-General, said the CGRFA’s work cuts across all strategic priorities of FAO’s work, and links national and global levels by enabling country-driven assessments and conducting global assessments.

Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD Executive Secretary, underscored long-lasting cooperation between the CBD and FAO, including their joint work programme, to ensure both protection of biodiversity and food security. Dias highlighted FAO’s role in developing indicators for agriculture and global assessments, and monitoring. He stressed the potential for complementarity and harmonious implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on ABS and the ITPGR, and cooperation with the CGRFA on ABS.

Linda Collette, CGRFA Secretary, highlighted past achievements and future challenges for the Commission, including contributing to the implementation of the Rio+20 outcome document, and raising awareness on the need to invest in conservation of GRFA. She welcomed Belarus, Montenegro, Palau and Marshall Islands as new CGRFA members, and thanked Norway, Sweden, Spain, Germany and Switzerland for their financial support.

Chair Fraleigh reported on an informal joint consultation of the CGRFA and ITPGR Bureaus, held on Sunday, 14 April, noting that Bureau members called for more formal meetings to discuss the legal, administrative and financial implications of the transfer of activities from the CGRFA to the ITPGR Governing Body (CGRFA-14/13/23).

Chair Fraleigh announced that CGRFA Bureau member Modesto Fernández Díaz-Silveira (Cuba) was replaced by Teresita Borges Hernández (Cuba); and reported on the special information seminar on biodiversity for food and agriculture, held on Saturday, 13 April 2013.

The plenary then adopted the agenda and timetable (CGRFA-14/13/1 and 2). The Secretariat highlighted the proposed introduction of a ten-year cycle for launching the state of the world reports, which would require changing the launch dates for several reports.

This report summarizes discussions and outcomes under each agenda item, which were finalized on Friday in the context of the adoption of the report of the meeting.

CROSS-SECTORIAL MATTERS

PREPARATION OF THE STATE OF THE WORLD’S BIODIVERSITY FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE: On Monday, the Secretariat introduced relevant documents (CGRFA-14/13/3 and Inf.23). The Latin America and Caribbean Group (GRULAC) underlined the need for technical and financial assistance at the national level. Africa emphasized the need for an integrated approach and stakeholder participation.

Japan recommended focusing on the gap analysis, and cautioned against including elements of an action plan in the report. The US suggested the report provide lessons learned and success stories. The European Regional Group (ERG): noted that the report, as the first of its kind, will offer preliminary and incomplete findings; suggested developing means to ensure participation of relevant organizations including the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES); and underscored the need to mainstream conservation of GRFA into other processes.

Ecuador called for inclusion of a thematic study on the role of biodiversity in combating climate change. The Southwest Pacific expressed concern about additional country reports, suggesting that the CGRFA consider existing information and identify gaps instead, so that countries can provide additional information if needed. The Near East suggested the report be integrative and prioritize a cross-sectorial and regional synthesis, and requested that developing countries’ centers of excellence be included in the process.

The Southeast Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment (SEARICE) called for addressing the crucial role of small producers in managing GRFA and implementation of farmers’ rights. The Platform for Agro-Biodiversity Research recommended an integrated analytical approach taking into account production systems and landscapes.

Final Outcome: In the report of the meeting (CGRFA-14/13/DR), the Commission:

•  requests FAO to: prepare the state of the world’s biodiversity for food and agriculture for consideration at CGRFA 16; ensure that information gaps are assessed and highlighted in the report; and include lessons learned and success stories;

•  endorses the annexed proposed structure and content of the report;

•  invites relevant international organizations, including IPBES and other initiatives such as The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) to participate in the preparatory process;

•  requests the CGRFA Secretary to: explore ways to ensure that the report contributes to mainstreaming GRFA in other relevant international initiatives such as the UN Decade on Biodiversity and the achievement of the Aichi targets; and review the budget, including resources from the FAO Regular Programme to ensure the effective use of financial resources; and

•  urges donors to provide the financial resources for the preparation of the report.

The annexed proposed structure and content of the report lists chapters and their scope and indicative contents, including: drivers and change; current status and trends of biodiversity for food and agriculture; state of use of biodiversity; state of interventions in conservation and use of biodiversity; and future agendas for conservation and sustainable use.

TARGETS AND INDICATORS FOR BIODIVERSITY FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE: Biodiversity for food and agriculture: On Monday, the Secretariat introduced the relevant document (CGRFA-14/3/4). Africa underlined indicators of relevance to the Aichi targets, as set out in the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. The ERG called for developing high-order indicators, and stressed the need for feasible and reliable data to monitor progress. Switzerland suggested including reference to Aichi Targets 3 (incentives) and 8 (pollution). Ecuador called for a participatory process, including farmers’ expertise.

The International Planning Committee on Food Sovereignty (IPC) urged emphasizing small producers’ knowledge and informal seed systems.

Final Outcome: In the report of the meeting (CGRFA-14/13/DR), the Commission requests FAO to:

•  continue developing, testing and applying indicators for biodiversity for food and agriculture at the genetic level and whenever relevant, at species and ecosystem levels, with attention to headline and higher-order indicators;

•  strengthen work on targets and indicators in relation to the implementation of the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the monitoring of the Aichi biodiversity targets;

•  develop a thematic study on indicators for the state of GR in fisheries and aquaculture; and

•  report on food and nutrition indicators to CGRFA 15.

The Commission also stresses: the need for resources to ensure the effective use of indicators in developing countries; the importance of keeping indicators to an appropriate level; and a participatory approach, involving experts at all levels, including small-scale producers and farmers.

Plant Genetic Resources: On Monday, the Secretariat introduced relevant documents (CGRFA-14/13/4.1 Rev.1 and Inf. 9/Rev.1). Amar Tahiri (Morocco), Chair of the ITWG on plant GR, reported on the ITWG deliberations and tabled its recommendations. 

On the draft revised indicators for monitoring implementation of the second GPA on plant GR, the US sought a number of clarifications, including whether the indicators refer to work of national governments only, and noted that information may be difficult to procure, recommending broad scales or ranges rather than specific data collection. Underscoring the need for realistic and reliable targets and indicators, the ERG called for their further revision and reduction, and said the region would propose priority indicators that could replace a longer list. Ecuador called for developing composite indices. Commenting on the priority activity on assisting farmers in disaster situations to restore crop systems, Eritrea preferred focus on participatory plant breeding and in situ conservation. 

SEARICE asked to highlight the contribution of small mixed farms. Stressing the need for globally applicable indicators that accommodate countries’ realities, Bioversity International called for adoption of the indicators at this session, and stressed the need for agreement on a standard to determine risk status to identify threatened GRFA. The ERG opposed adoption of the list in its current form, while Ecuador noted the list was endorsed by the ITWG on plant GR. Chair Fraleigh established a Friends of the Chair group to consider the issue. On Tuesday, Amar Tahiri, facilitator of the Friends of the Chair group, reported that the group: agreed to retain the list of indicators, noting the possibility to revise them on the basis of their usefulness; and suggested enabling governments to provide comments to the Secretariat on the reporting format before its finalization.

Final Outcome: In the report of the meeting (CGRFA-14/13/DR), the Commission:

•  adopts the indicators for monitoring the implementation of the second GPA for plant GR;

•  invites member countries to provide comments on the reporting format for monitoring implementation of the second GPA by 20 May 2013 in order to provide clarity and a common understanding of the questionnaire, provide flexibility for reporting countries and ensure data consistency;

•  requests FAO to: apply and revise the indicators and report to CGRFA 15; revise the reporting format; and elaborate higher order composite indices for each of the targets; and

•  requests the ITWG to review these indices and make recommendations to the Commission.

Animal GR: On Monday, the Secretariat introduced relevant documents (CGRFA-14/13/4.2 and Inf.5). The ERG suggested including other factors causing breeds to be at risk, such as demographic concentrations and levels of inbreeding. Asia proposed including global and regional clearing-house mechanisms as sources of information for breed categorization. Ethiopia recommended conducting pilot studies and including the contribution of specialized organizations in relation to trends in risk status of breeds.

Canada recommended that the proposed development of definitions of “sustainable production and consumption,” and “sustainable management” in the livestock sector include elements of functionality and be tailored to each region. The US urged developing definitions that recognize country, economy, time and consumer specificities. The Secretariat explained that the definitions will be developed through a technical consultation with stakeholder and CBD involvement, and then be considered by the ITWG on animal GR, which will submit recommendations to the Commission. Argentina considered development of such definitions to be beyond the mandate of FAO and the CBD.

During the closing plenary, the US noted lack of consensus on proposed guidance requesting FAO, in collaboration with partners, like the CBD, to contribute to the development of definitions of what constitutes sustainable production and consumption and sustainable management in the livestock sector. Delegates agreed to delete the reference in the report.

Final Outcome: In the report of the meeting (CGRFA-14/13/DR), the Commission:

•  agrees to use the proposed processes and resource indicators and related targets to monitor implementation of the GPA on animal GR;

•  requests FAO to: introduce, for the purpose of calculating breed risk status, a cut-off point of 10 years after which risk status will be considered unknown if no updated data is provided; further develop DAD-IS, for example, to make it more user-friendly, and to allow for automated data entry; and

•  invites donors to provide support to enable the maintenance and development of DAD-IS.

Forest GR: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced the document (CGRFA-14/13/4.3). Lolona Ramamonjisoa (Madagascar), Chair of the ITWG on forest GR, presented the provisional list of indicators addressing the State-Pressure-Benefit-Response loop.

Ethiopia, for Africa, called for an inclusive definition of forest GR. He suggested that indicators need to include more verifiable measures, and focus on continuous ecosystem services and ex situ conservation measures. On the definition, the Secretariat responded that countries will select the forest species to focus on.

The ERG suggested linkages to the strategic priorities for action on forest GR, and taking into account indicators developed in other processes. The US stressed that countries should choose the relevant indicators with the support of, but not as prescribed by, FAO. With Canada, she underlined taking feasibility into account and focusing on implementation of the strategic priorities.

Bioversity International stressed that while the tentative list of indicators is grouped by scale and type, subsets should be applied in different situations.

Final Outcome: In the report of the meeting (CGRFA-14/13/DR), the Commission requests FAO to continue working on the provisional list of indicators to monitor the state of the world’s forest GR and to link it to processes such as a possible implementation strategy for the GPA on forest GR adopted at CGRFA 14.

CLIMATE CHANGE: On Tuesday, the Secretariat introduced relevant documents, including a proposed roadmap or work programme for 2013-2017 (CGRFA-14/13/5 and Inf.10). Canada recommended referring to the proposed outcome as a work programme, and delegates agreed. The ERG recommended harnessing GRFA to ensure food security in light of climate change and mainstreaming it into other work, as part of the work programme. The Southwest Pacific expressed concern regarding the impact of climate change on future food production and called for adaptation measures.

GRULAC supported focus on adaptation, while Thailand stressed the equal importance of mitigation. Africa stressed the role of GRFA in both mitigation and adaptation, and, with Canada and the US, called for equally reflecting the role of GRFA in both mitigation and adaptation. Brazil, with Argentina, stressed the essential role of GRFA for adaptation, and recalled the importance of respecting the mandate and principles of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in particular the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) in relation to mitigation activities. The US opposed referring to the CBDR principle, noting the document focuses on provision of information, and Brazil clarified that no reference to the principle is required in information-related activities. Canada noted that the Commission cannot make recommendations regarding work of other bodies, and delegates agreed that the CGRFA contribute to already existing programmes under the UNFCCC.

Africa called for: more concrete cooperation with the UNFCCC, including a joint programme; capacity building; and funding for implementation. Iran requested adding concrete activities to the work programme, such as reducing emissions in production systems, focusing on low-input production systems, and using crop wild relatives and underutilized species. Ecuador called for information on hotspots under threat from climate change to be compiled in 2013. India suggested focus on crop wild relatives and in situ conservation with regard to awareness raising. Bhutan and the Philippines requested that expert meetings include, and awareness-raising activities focus on, farmers. SEARICE urged increased recognition of the role of farmers and pastoralists in building resilience to climate change.

Chair Fraleigh suggested the report include reference to mitigation and adaptation, wherever appropriate, without qualifications. Upon a request by Brazil, a revised version of the work programme was circulated in the evening, for further discussion. This was considered in plenary on Thursday and then referred to a Friends of the Chair group, which met on Friday morning and reached consensus on the guidance and work programme on climate change.

Final Outcome: In the report of the meeting (CGRFA-14/13/DR), the Commission:

•  reaffirms the importance of GRFA for coping with climate change and the need for raising awareness of their potential roles, as appropriate;

•  adopts the programme of work on climate change and GRFA;

•  requests FAO to provide CGRFA 15 with information on human and financial resources necessary for its implementation;

•  requests the CGRFA Secretary, subject to availability of funding, to initiate its implementation and to report on progress to CGRFA 16; and

•  invites members and other donors to provide the financial resources needed for its implementation.

The appended programme of work on climate change and GRFA sets out two objectives: to promote understanding of the roles and importance of GRFA in food security and nutrition and in ecosystem function and system resilience in light of climate change; and to provide technical information to enable countries to understand the role of GRFA in climate change adaptation and mitigation. It then sets out specific tools and technologies and strategies and policies for each year from 2013 to 2016.

ACCESS AND BENEFIT-SHARING: On Tuesday, Raj Patil (Australia) introduced the report of the first session of the Ad Hoc Technical Working Group on ABS for GRFA (CGRFA-14/13/6) and the Secretariat introduced the document on the need for and modalities of ABS arrangements for GRFA (CGRFA-14/13/7).

The ERG, Canada and Africa considered it premature to start negotiations on specialized international instruments. Africa stressed that any CGRFA guidance on ABS should not run counter to the objectives of the CBD and Nagoya Protocol, and called for national and regional dialogue and capacity building. The ERG welcomed the list of distinctive features of GRFA, noting that GRFA sub-sectors have different features, and, with Africa, that actual use can confirm whether a genetic resource is a GRFA. The ERG also supported ensuring collaboration with the Nagoya Protocol on model contractual clauses and codes of conduct, and developing a matrix on international practices and instruments of relevance to sub-sectors, to be shared with the CBD.

Canada supported: greater priority for animal GR; focus on sub-sectors that are not addressed by the ITPGR; development of principles corresponding to existing best practices, including guidance provided in the GPA on animal GR; and compilation of information on model contractual clauses and codes of conduct from all sources. Japan proposed that the Commission send a message that formulation of national ABS legislation should take into account the distinctive features of GRFA.

ITPGR Secretary Shakeel Bhatti invited the Commission to avoid duplication with work under the treaty and promote efficient governance. The CBD drew attention to Nagoya Protocol provisions on GRFA and specialized ABS instruments, and highlighted ongoing information gathering on model contractual clauses, guidelines and best practices. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) reported on ongoing negotiations on intellectual property and genetic resources, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. The International Seed Federation recommended complete consistency with the ITPGR. The IPC underlined restitution of farmers’ rights over genetic resources and access of farmers to all genebanks.

SEARICE said that ABS should benefit small farmers, and called for a review of the impact of intellectual property rights (IPRs) on farmers’ rights and GRFA conservation and use. Namibia supported a study on the impact of IPRs on ABS for GRFA. A lengthy discussion ensued, and it was clarified that in CBD Decision X/34 (agricultural biodiversity), the CBD, in collaboration with FAO and CGRFA, is already mandated to conduct a study on the impact of IPRs on several sectors of genetic resources, indigenous and local communities and farmers. On Thursday evening, delegates discussed language proposed by Namibia on a study of the links between IPRs and the management of GRFA, indigenous and local communities and farmers, on the basis of CBD Decision X/34 (agricultural biodiversity), eventually deciding against its inclusion in the report.

Delegates then discussed whether the table of distinctive features of GRFA identified by the Working Group on ABS should be appended to the meeting’s report. Africa opposed, noting its limited utility. The ERG, Australia and Switzerland called for retaining it. Delegates eventually agreed to append the table, noting the contention regarding its usefulness and the need for further work with focus on utilization as GRFA.

Regarding future work on elements of voluntary guidelines for domestic ABS measures for different GRFA sub-sectors, Africa called for “exploratory” voluntary guidelines without prejudice to national measures. The ERG suggested developing such elements to anticipate future national measures to implement the Nagoya Protocol. The US considered the development of guidelines premature.

On process, the US, supported by Canada, proposed continuing work on ABS in the forest, animal and plant ITWGs, to identify relevant stakeholders and existing international practices, initiatives and instruments. The Southwest Pacific also preferred continuing work in the ITWGs. Africa, GRULAC and Asia favored continuation of the Technical Working Group on ABS. The ERG preferred the establishment of a group of technical and legal experts. Chair Fraleigh drew attention to diverging views, and a Friends of the Chair group was established to address the issue.

On Thursday evening, delegates agreed on compromise language elaborated by the Friends of the Chair group. Namibia requested to clarify in the meeting’s report that the outcome of this process will not amount to a new “international instrument” as referred to in the Nagoya Protocol.

On Friday, the US objected to language in the report on “acknowledging that voluntary measures are not a potential substitute for legally binding provisions developed as part of domestic legislative, administrative or policy measures.” Namibia recalled explained that according to some ABS-related legislative proposals, such as that of the European Commission, voluntary tools can be turned into “semi-legal instruments” associated with lower levels of compliance. Iran and Argentina favored retaining the language. The UK noted that countries may contemplate the use of voluntary measures to complement legally binding ones. Namibia then requested, opposed by the US, Brazil, Canada and the ERG, inserting new text whereby the Commission agrees that the draft elements to facilitate domestic implementation of ABS for different sub-sectors of GRFA are not intended to be and will not be turned into a new specialized international ABS instrument or instruments.

In the evening, following informal consultations, Namibia offered compromise language acknowledging that voluntary measures “should not undermine” legally binding provisions and referring to the draft elements as voluntary tools to assist national governments, “not new international ABS instruments.” Delegates agreed to the report as amended.

Final Outcome: In the report of the meeting (CGRFA-14/13/DR),  the Commission:

•  agrees that it is premature to negotiate an international agreement or agreements on ABS for GRFA;

•  invites the ITPGR Governing Body to continue to closely coordinate with the Commission to address in a complementary way the distinctive features and specific uses of plant GRFA, especially in light of the development of ABS measures at the national and international levels, and invites the Intergovernmental Committee for the Nagoya Protocol, other international organizations and the private sector to coordinate with the Commission to ensure complementarity;

•  requests the Secretary to invite stakeholder groups to report on voluntary codes of conduct, guidelines and best practices in relation to ABS for all sub-sectors of GRFA, while acknowledging that voluntary measures should not undermine legally binding provisions developed as part of domestic legislative, administrative or policy measures;

•  requests the Secretary to develop explanatory notes to the distinctive features identified in an appendix to the report, taking into account the specificities of the different sub-sectors, for review by the ITWGs and for consideration by CGRFA 15, while acknowledging the need to further refine the list of distinctive features and to focus on the utilization of GRFA;

•  requests all ITWGs to explore ABS issues for their respective sub-sectors, with each region appointing up to two representatives to form a team of technical and legal experts on ABS to help prepare intersessionally for the ITWG meetings and participate in portions of these meetings dedicated to ABS to help inform and shape the ITWG discussions and outputs; and

•  clarifies that the outcome will be draft elements as a voluntary tool, not new international ABS instruments, to facilitate domestic implementation of ABS for different sub-sectors of GRFA, taking into account relevant international instruments on ABS.

The appended distinctive features of GRFA requiring specific solutions for ABS are presented in seven clusters: the role of GRFA for food security; the role of human management; international exchange and independence; the nature of innovation processes; holders and users of GRFA; GRFA exchange practices; and benefits generated with the use of GRFA. The appendix also specifies that:

•  not every feature is necessarily applicable to each and every GRFA;

•  the various sub-sectors often have different features;

•  further detailing of subsector-specific features may still be developed; and

•  the features are distinctive, but not necessarily unique to GRFA, although the specific combination of the listed features distinguishes GRFA from most other genetic resources.

BIODIVERSITY AND NUTRITION: On Tuesday, the Secretariat presented relevant documents (CGRFA-14/13/8, Inf.11, Inf.12 and Inf.13). Asia noted the importance of nutrition security, emphasizing the use of underutilized crops and encouraging research in suggested priority areas. GRULAC proposed deleting reference to characterization of ecosystems for sustainable diets as a key area for research. The ERG underlined the need to avoid overlap with other fora by focusing on the link between nutrition and genetic resources. Australia and Iran stressed the importance of supportive market policies, with Canada enquiring about the contribution of food exports and imports to nutritional diversity. Argentina requested that this work should comply with the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Final Outcome: In the report of the meeting (CGRFA-14/13/DR), the Commission highlights the importance of biodiversity for food and nutrition noting its potential role in nutrition is underexplored and undervalued, and requests the FAO to:

•  continue its leading role in the crosscutting initiative on biodiversity for food and nutrition;

•  further develop its work on biodiversity and nutrition;

•  continue to incorporate biodiversity into relevant nutrition activities and to further mainstream nutrition within its work on biodiversity, in compliance with the rules of the WTO;

•  develop new survey methods and guidelines for modifying existing methods of dietary consumption; and

•  develop draft guidelines for mainstreaming biodiversity into policies, programmes, and national and regional plans of action on nutrition.

The Commission requests its ITWGs to review the draft guidelines and to provide recommendations at CGRFA 15.

FOREST GENETIC RESOURCES

STATE OF THE WORLD’S FOREST GENETIC RESOURCES: On Tuesday, the Secretariat provided a detailed overview of the draft report on the state of the world’s forest GR and introduced relevant documents (CGRFA-14/13/9 and 11). Many delegates welcomed the draft report and thanked FAO for the significant work involved in compiling the information. The Southwest Pacific said the finalized report will support actions towards sustainable use. Ethiopia lamented that the report is based on secondary data, and called for FAO-led data collection and analysis. Iran noted missing information, such as synthesis of regional gaps, needs and threats.

The US welcomed the scope and depth of the report and supported its finalization according to the proposed schedule. Ecuador called for requesting countries that have not done so to submit their reports and, with the ERG, suggested extending the timelines for finalization of the report. The Secretariat said information received covers 90% of the world’s forested area, but noted that key country reports from some regions are missing. Brazil said that the publication of the report has already been significantly delayed.

The ERG called for involving CGRFA members in the finalization of the report. The Secretariat explained that the CGRFA provides guidance on preparation, as well as comments on drafts, but does not adopt the report, as FAO remains fully and solely responsible for its content. Delegates eventually agreed that the report will be published in 2013, after CGRFA members have been given an opportunity to comment on the final draft.  

Final Outcome: In the report of the meeting (CGRFA-14/13/DR), the Commission: recognizes the progress made in the preparation of the state of the world’s forest GR; takes note of the current draft; provides comments that should be taken into consideration in the finalization of the report; and requests FAO to finalize the report on the state of the world’s forest GR, in line with the proposed schedule allowing Commission members to comment on the final draft.

GLOBAL PLAN OF ACTION (STRATEGIC PRIORITIES FOR ACTION): On Wednesday, Lolona Ramamonjisoa (Madagascar), Chair of the ITWG on forest GR, presented the ITWG report (CGRFA-14/13/10) and the Secretariat provided an overview of the draft strategic priorities for action on forest GR (CGRFA-14/13/11). On Thursday, delegates agreed to rename the draft strategic priorities for action on forest GR to the Global Plan of Action on forest GR.

Asia proposed language to ensure mobilization of adequate financial resources to support implementation by developing countries. GRULAC emphasized the need to take into account relevant work in other fora. Africa highlighted capacity development for ex situ conservation and differentiation between in situ and ex situ measures.

The ERG supported the strategic priorities as agreed by the ITWG on forest GR. Norway called for language on networking of concerned countries on diseases and pests affecting genetic resources. Bhutan called for sustainable incentives and a sustainable financing mechanism for developing countries. Argentina suggested that access to and use of forest GR be consistent with the international IPR regime. The Near East requested reference to the evaluation and enhancement of forest GR in strategic priorities on assessment of forest GR and related traditional knowledge.

Final Outcome: In the report of the meeting (CGRFA-14/13/DR), the Commission:

•  requests the FAO Conference to adopt the GPA on forest GR at its 38th session in June 2013; and to develop an implementation strategy for the GPA on forest GR;

•  encourages the mobilization of adequate financial resources, preferably from voluntary contributions, particularly to support developing countries in the implementation of the GPA; and

•  requests the CGRFA Secretary to prepare an informative working document to support the discussions of the ITWG on forest GR on the scope of forest GRFA, taking into consideration the mandate of the Commission.

The appended GPA for forest GR contains 27 strategic priorities for action, their rationale, and their aims. The strategic priorities are structured into four priority areas on: improving the availability and access to information on forest GR; conservation of forest GR; sustainable use, development and management of forest GR; and policies, institutions and capacity building. Each strategic priority sets out specific rationales and actions.

ANIMAL GENETIC RESOURCES

IMPLEMENTATION OF INTERLAKEN OUTCOMES: On Wednesday, Arthur da Silva Mariante (Brazil), Chair of the ITWG on animal GR, introduced the ITWG report (CGRFA-14/13/12) and the Secretariat presented a progress report on the implementation of the GPA for animal GR and the Interlaken Declaration (CGRFA-14/13/13 and 14).

The ERG, the US and Canada endorsed the draft guidelines on in vivo conservation of animal GR. Africa supported continued FAO technical assistance for countries in their implementation efforts, with the ERG underscoring the importance of enhancing financial resource mobilization. The Arab Organization for Agricultural Development called for more technical assistance to evaluate local breeds and wild resources.

Canada recommended avoiding duplication of work with other international organizations in relation to the proposed technical guidelines on animal identification, traceability and performance recording; and considered it premature to explore payments for ecosystem services provided by livestock species and breeds, with Australia recommending to identify the nature of the services before addressing payments. Asia highlighted the contribution of small-scale livestock keepers and pastoralists. Delegates agreed to request FAO to identify the nature of ecosystem services provided by the livestock sector, with special consideration of the contribution of small-scale livestock keepers and pastoralists.

PREPARATION OF THE SECOND STATE OF THE WORLD’S ANIMAL GR: On Wednesday, the Secretariat introduced the relevant document (CGRFA-14/13/15). The US, Canada and the ERG expressed concern about the questionnaire for collecting national data. Delegates endorsed the questionnaire in principle and agreed to a period for comments and revision, with the next version to be reviewed by the CGRFA Bureau.

The ERG urged that the second report be an update of the first, with limited country reporting obligations. Practical Action urged that the report: be comprehensive, with focus on herders and small livestock keepers, especially women; highlight innovative mechanisms and increased corporate control over the sector; and focus on maintaining livestock diversity. The Arab Organization for Agricultural Development proposed to add success stories on non-conventional species.

Final Outcome: In the report of the meeting (CGRFA-14/13/DR), regarding the implementation of the GPA, the Commission requests FAO to:

•  continue providing technical assistance to countries and regions in their implementation efforts, including in the establishment of regional focal points;

•  provide technical support to facilitate data collection and entry by developing countries;

•  continue developing technical guidelines on animal identification, traceability and performance recording; and

•  identify the nature of ecosystem services provided by livestock species and breeds, kept by all livestock keepers, with special consideration to the contributions of small-scale livestock keepers and pastoralists.

The Commission further endorses the draft guidelines on in vivo conservation of animal GR.

Regarding the funding strategy for the implementation of the GPA for Animal GR, the Commission requests FAO to continue providing Regular Programme funds and technical advice to support country implementation and to continue pursuing partnerships with other international mechanisms and organizations to enhance the mobilization of financial and in-kind resources. The Commission adopts the procedures for monitoring and independent evaluation of projects granted, which include, among others: use of standard reporting and monitoring procedures; minimum requirements for a terminal, independent evaluation of the project portfolio; and minimum contents of the terminal evaluation report. With regard to future calls for proposals, the Commission: decides that countries should submit a single-country concept note and join, in addition, one multiple-country concept note; and requests that, for the next call for proposals, regional focal points compile lists of qualified and suitable concept notes from their regions. The Commission mandates the Secretariat of the Working Group on animal GR to launch a second call for proposals once US$1 million is available in the Trust Account.

The Commission agrees to change the Funding Strategy to include, among others: submission of the project proposals directly by the proponent to the Secretariat; and screening of and responses to concept notes, as well as appraisals of proposals by the Bureau of the Working Group.

Regarding the preparation of the second report on the state of the world’s animal GRFA, the Commission requests FAO to: prepare the report, focusing on changes since the preparation of the first report, for presentation to CGRFA 15; review the budget, with a view to increasing the proportion covered by Regular Programme resources; and present a draft to the eighth session of the Working Group. The Commission furthermore: endorses the draft questionnaire for collecting national data to support the preparation of the second report; appeals to all FAO members and international organizations to provide, in a timely manner, the information required, noting that some countries may need technical support in this respect; and urges all FAO members and relevant international mechanisms, funds and bodies to provide voluntary and extrabudgetary resources for the preparation of the second report.

AQUATIC GENETIC RESOURCES

REVIEW OF SCOPING POLICY ANALYSIS: On Thursday, the Secretariat introduced documents on gaps and opportunities on aquatic GR (CGRFA-14/13/18 and Inf.24). Eritrea emphasized the need for capacity assessment and development, especially in Africa. GRULAC called for further consultation with states in the preparation of the report on the state of the world’s aquatic GR, noting that the examples of policies and legislation should not address areas beyond national jurisdiction.

STATE OF THE WORLD’S AQUATIC GENETIC RESOURCES: On Wednesday, the Secretariat introduced relevant documents (CGRFA-14/13/16 and 17). On the preparation of the first report on the state of the world’s aquatic GR, Japan and the ERG suggested focus on aquaculture. The US, with the Southwest Pacific, recommended inclusion of information from all marine areas. The US opposed a study of policies and legislation on aquatic GRs in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

The ERG supported the creation of the advisory working group on GRs and technologies under the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI). Africa and several countries supported the establishment of an ITWG on aquatic GR, with GRULAC stressing that the ambit of its work should be limited to areas within national jurisdiction, given ongoing work on marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction under the UN General Assembly. Australia indicated it would only support an ITWG if it did not duplicate work of the COFI advisory working group and, along with others, requested further information on budgetary implications.

A Friends of the Chair group was established to address issues related to the scope of the state of the world report. On Thursday afternoon, facilitator Elzbieta Martyniuk (Poland) reported on deliberations in the group, noting agreement reached on all issues addressed. She underlined that the scope of the state of the world report is farmed aquatic species and their wild relatives within national jurisdiction. She added that countries are invited to provide a list of nationally important aquatic GR of capture fisheries within national jurisdiction; and suggested that the Secretariat adjust the draft guidelines (CGRFA 14/13/Inf.25) and thematic studies (CGRFA 14/13/16) to reflect the scope of the report. She noted that certain elements related to scientific and technical aspects are already included in the draft guidelines, and suggested that the Secretariat revise the proposed structure of the report (CGRFA 14/13/16, Appendix 2). She further noted that the CGIAR centers and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community are invited as relevant stakeholders to participate in the process of preparing the state of the world report.

Delegates discussed the establishment of an ITWG on aquatic GR. They debated GRULAC’s request to limit its terms of reference to areas within national jurisdiction; and potential overlap or complementarity between the proposed ITWG and the advisory working group on GR and technologies, in the process of being established by COFI. Australia reiterated concerns over duplication, and proposed to refrain from establishing the ITWG while requesting COFI for additional information. Noting broad support, Sri Lanka urged establishment of the ITWG. The Southwest Pacific noted that the narrow scope of the state of the world report did not warrant establishing an ITWG. The ERG proposed to invite input from the advisory group in the state of the world report. Delegates eventually agreed not to establish the ITWG and to instead invite COFI, in case they set up the advisory group, to contribute to the preparation of the state of the world report.

During the closing plenary, delegates discussed a reference in the report of the meeting stating that “the Commission expressed various views on the establishment” of an ITWG on aquatic GR and “decided to revisit this issue at its next session.” Following a lengthy debate, they decided to state that the Commission “did not reach consensus on the establishment of an ITWG at this session.”

Final Outcome: In the report of the meeting (CGRFA-14/13/DR), the Commission:

•  decides that the scope of the first report on the state of the world’s aquatic GRFA would be farmed aquatic species and their wild relatives in areas within national jurisdiction;

•  agrees on the structure of the report, which includes, among others: in situ and ex situ conservation of aquatic GR, relevant policies and legislation including ABS, and international collaboration;

•  requests FAO to: continue its work towards the preparation of the report taking care not to duplicate the work of other UN agencies; adjust the draft guidelines for the preparation of country reports on aquatic GR and reduce the number of thematic studies; provide, in the report, examples of relevant national policies and legislation that specifically address the conservation and sustainable use of farmed aquatic GR and their wild relatives; prepare, in consultation with countries, an overview of drivers affecting aquatic GR; and undertake capacity-building activities; and

•  calls on countries to participate in the process by preparing national reports on aquatic GR and to strengthen related information systems, and invites relevant stakeholders to participate in the preparation of the report. 

MICRO-ORGANISMS AND INVERTEBRATES

On Wednesday, the Secretariat introduced relevant documents (CGRFA-14/13/19 and background study papers 61-65). The Southwest Pacific stressed the variety of functions performed by micro-organisms improving soil productivity, and highlighted that intensive use of fertilizers and pesticides has depleted soil micro-organisms and reduced farmers’ income in the region. The ERG underlined the unexploited potential of micro-organisms, and called for coordination with relevant initiatives to avoid overlap. He suggested that the proposed FAO review focus on the “most recent” developments in biotechnologies; and that the report on the state of the world’s biodiversity for food and agriculture address the contribution of micro-organisms to human and animal nutrition, health, pollination, soil biodiversity and crop protection, in addition to ecosystem services.

The US supported the proposed targeted assessments on the status and trends of soil micro-organisms, biological control agents and plant pathogens for major food crops, such as wheat and maize. Brazil suggested adding reference to soybeans. Argentina proposed the assessments also address characterization of micro-organisms. Asia called for encouraging studies on ruminant micro-organisms, and related funding and capacity building. The Central African Republic stressed that assessing services from micro-organisms and invertebrates will allow the formation of more effective strategies for other genetic resources.

Final Outcome: In the report of the meeting (CGRFA-14/13/DR), the Commission requests FAO to:

•  undertake focused targeted assessments of the status of, and trends in, the characterization, conservation and use of soil micro-organisms, biological control agents and plant pathogens;

•  report on developments in the characterization, conservation and use of micro-organisms in ruminant digestion in soils under different crop production systems, agro-industrial processes and food processing, where relevant;

•  present information on new developments to CGRFA 15, when it will review the work of ITWGs on the most recent application and integration of biotechnologies for the conservation and sustainable use of GRFA; and

•  address the role of micro-organisms and invertebrates in, inter alia, the delivery of ecosystem services for food and agriculture, human nutrition and health, sustainable agriculture, pollination and soil biodiversity  in the state of the world’s biodiversity for food and agriculture.

PLANT GENETIC RESOURCES

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SECOND GLOBAL PLAN OF ACTION: On Wednesday, Amar Tahiri, Chair of the ITWG on PGRFA, presented the ITWG report (CGRFA-14/13/20), and the Secretariat introduced the review of implementation of the second GPA (CGRFA-14/13/21), noting that activities mentioned will also contribute to the third report on the state of the world’s plant GRFA. Australia requested reference to the ITPGR, where relevant, in the guidance. Canada cautioned against neglecting ex situ conservation, and requested avoiding duplication with the ITPGR work programme on sustainable use. Africa emphasized the need to support plant breeding by public research institutions and at the community level and, with the ERG and others, commended FAO for strengthening capacities at the national level. The ERG stressed that the third state of the world report must be fully integrated with the process of monitoring implementation of the second GPA, and called for prioritizing activities to be covered by extrabudgetary resources. The US highlighted that responsibility for its implementation rests with national governments.

Many supported requesting FAO to submit a concept note on a global network for in situ conservation and on-farm management. Africa and Brazil stressed the need for a detailed concept note, and Canada and Ethiopia proposed separating the two issues. On Friday evening, Brazil recommended that the proposed concept note on the global network also address governance.

Final Outcome: In the report of the meeting (CGRFA-14/13/DR),  the Commission requests:

•  FAO to continue supporting countries in strengthening their capacities for the implementation of the second GPA, in close collaboration with the ITPGR and other partners;

•  FAO to prepare a concept note detailing the governance, structure, functions and financial implications of the establishment of either a global network for in situ conservation and on-farm management or two networks separately addressing these areas for consideration by the Working Group on plant GR and CGRFA 15, as well as considering the means of improving and strengthening national and regional networks and means of avoiding duplication of efforts;

•  its Working Group on plant GR to review the draft guidelines for national seed policy formulation for consideration by CGRFA 15;

•  FAO to prepare draft guidelines for national plant GR strategies for review by the Working Group and CGRFA 15;

•  FAO to consider providing technical support in establishing genetic reserves for in situ conservation of priority crop wild relatives; and

•  FAO to provide a detailed outline of the third report on the state of the world’s plant GRFA to the Working Group on Plant GR and CGRFA 15, endorsing the proposed timeline for its preparation.

GENEBANK STANDARDS: On Wednesday, the Secretariat introduced the draft genebank standards (CGRFA-14/13/22), with several countries supporting their endorsement. Many delegations called for FAO to publish and widely distribute the standards, and raise awareness on the importance of their implementation among decision-makers and stakeholders; and for members to provide resources for capacity development for implementation in developing countries. The US emphasized that the standards are a source of guidance for genebanks wishing to develop standard operating procedures. On Friday evening, the ERG requested, and delegates agreed, to add reference to “taking into account the voluntary nature of these standards.”

Africa and Canada favored that FAO monitor the standards’ implementation and report on their impact at a future CGRFA meeting. The US considered inappropriate, and the ERG premature, for FAO to monitor and evaluate the standards’ implementation, with the US suggesting that FAO rather survey experiences of genebanks with regard to the utility of the standards. Australia recommended that the standards be kept updated in light of technological developments.

Delegates agreed that FAO survey experiences of genebanks in using the standards, as well as survey their impact, relevance and efficacy, so that information be reported back to the Commission with a view to deciding whether and how to further update them.

Africa and the ERG considered it premature for FAO to initiate work on species-specific standards. Canada proposed that crop-specific networks develop crop-specific standards. Iran proposed that FAO consider updating, as appropriate, and developing subsector-specific standards in collaboration with appropriate international organizations.

Final Outcome: In the report of the meeting (CGRFA-14/13/DR),  the Commission:

•  endorses the genebank standards for plant GRFA;

•  recognizes the standards as a significant accomplishment and notes that they will be extremely valuable for facilitating germplasm conservation worldwide;

•  requests FAO to publish and disseminate the standards widely, raise awareness about their importance, and assist countries in developing capacities for their application; and

•  notes that specific fora might care to develop crop-specific standards.

The genebank standards for plant GRFA (CGRFA-14/13/22) include underlying principles providing the overarching framework for effective and efficient management of genebanks; and detailed standards for three types of genebanks, namely genebank for orthodox seeds, field genebank, and in vitro culture and cryopreservation. The standards clarify that they:

•  arise from the revision of the FAO genebank standards published in 1994, in light of scientific and technological advances and changes in the global policy landscape, such as the CBD, ITPGR, the International Plant Protection Convention and the WTO Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement, as well as the potential for impact on germplasm exchange of the Nagoya Protocol on ABS; and

•  are voluntary and should be viewed as targets for developing efficient, effective and rational ex situ conservation in genebanks that provide optimal maintenance of seed viability and genetic integrity, thereby ensuring access to, and use of high-quality seeds.

The underlying principles are the preservation of germplasm identity, maintenance of viability and genetic integrity, maintenance of germplasm health, physical security of collections, promotion of access by ensuring availability and use of germplasm, availability of information and proactive management of genebanks. Among other things, the standards clarify that if the collection of germplasm material comes from farmers’ fields or community areas, prior informed consent may be required in accordance with relevant national, regional or international law; if germplasm material has to be exported from a country, an appropriate MTA should be used; and, in the case of plant GRFA, the export can be accompanied with the standard MTA or other similar permits in compliance with national regulations on ABS.

COOPERATION WITH THE INTERNATIONAL TREATY: On Wednesday, ITPGR Secretary Shakeel Bhatti highlighted common areas of interest between the ITPGR Governing Body (GB) and the CGRFA; presented examples on sharing of experiences; and underlined that close cooperation may lead to a functional division of tasks and assist decision making. FAO Senior Legal Officer Annick van Houtte presented the document on legal, administrative and financial implications of a potential transfer of activities from the CGRFA to the ITPGR GB (CGRFA-14/13/23). CGRFA Secretary Linda Collette highlighted continued relevance of the CGRFA 13 document on policy coherence and complementarity of the work of the CGRFA and the ITPGR GB (CGRFA-13/11/7).

A number of delegations requested more information on cost implications and asked to keep the issue under review. The ERG did not support transfer of tasks at this stage, pointing to governance and financial implications. GRULAC called for postponing discussions to CGRFA 15. Africa said the implications require further consideration. Iran noted that key information was lacking and any transfer should be gradual. The US opposed any transfer of activities and, with Argentina, opposed the development of a draft timetable for the transfer of tasks.

Canada supported very close collaboration between the two bodies as a minimum, as well as transfer to the ITPGR GB, subject to appropriate review, of: preparation of the report on the state of the world’s plant GR; updating and monitoring of the implementation of the GPA on Plant GR; operation of the World Information and Early Warning System; and, with Japan, activities related to the Code of Conduct for Germplasm Collecting and Transfer. Australia supported a transfer of all plant GR-related activities following a step-by-step approach. Ecuador urged focus on cooperation and, opposed by the US, proposed that the CGRFA and ITPGR Secretariats draft a vision document to ensure coherence of their work.

Final Outcome: In the report of the meeting (CGRFA-14/13/DR), the Commission:

•  requires additional information on transfer of activities or tasks from CGRFA to the ITPGR GB, especially with regard to financial and administrative implications;

•  requests early circulation of documents with the necessary information to facilitate the decision-making process; and

•  notes that there is no consensus among its members on the transfer of tasks or activities and stresses the need for close cooperation in areas of common interest between CGRFA and ITPGR.

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MULTI-YEAR PROGRAMME OF WORK

HUMAN AND FINANCIAL RESOURCES: On Thursday, the Secretariat introduced the relevant document (CGRFA-14/13/24). GRULAC stressed the need for “predictable” financial resources. The ERG said the budget should be kept stable and requested that financial and human resources be accounted for separately. Africa called for adequate financial resources to attend CGRFA activities. Canada favored zero nominal growth. Australia urged the CGRFA to articulate its role in the restructured FAO to get adequate resources.

Final Outcome: In the report of the meeting (CGRFA-14/13/DR),  the Commission:

•  takes note of the human and financial resources available within FAO for the implementation of the MYPOW, and requests that more detailed information be provided to CGRFA 15; and

•  invites FAO to continue to mobilize extrabudgetary resources for work on all sectors of GRFA and, in particular, in the context of the implementation of the MYPOW.

STRATEGIC PLAN 2014-2021: On Thursday, the Secretariat introduced the relevant document (CGRFA-14/13/25).

Ten-Year Cycle for State of the World Reports: Several delegations favored the proposed ten-year cycle for the launch of the state of the world reports, foreseeing the launch of one report per CGRFA session. GRULAC, Africa, the US and Canada preferred postponing the launch of the report on biodiversity for food and agriculture to CGRFA 17, so that it can benefit from the earlier finalization of all sectorial reports. The Near East and Asia favored launching it at CGRFA 16, with the Near East noting that its preparations appear more advanced than those for the report on aquatic GR. The ERG suggested launching both reports at CGRFA 16 as an exception, to contribute to the UN Decade on Biodiversity and the work of IPBES.

Chair Fraleigh noted agreement on launching the report on aquatic GR at CGRFA 16, and called for informal consultations on the launch of the report on biodiversity. In the evening, the Netherlands reported that all regions expressed readiness to launch the report on biodiversity at CGRFA 16, together with the report on aquatic GR.

Strategic Plan: Canada called for maintaining Annex 1 of the Strategic Plan 2010-2017 on processes needed to achieve MYPOW outputs and milestones and organizations with which to cooperate, noting it provides valuable guidance. The ERG suggested that CGRFA 17 review the cycle of reports focusing on lessons learned; and, opposed by the US, proposed inviting IPBES to use the Strategic Plan. The US called for reference to “access” alongside “sharing of benefits” in the strategic goals and objectives. In response to a question from the US, the Secretariat noted that stakeholder involvement will be covered from extrabudgetary funds. Chair Fraleigh noted that the Commission approves the Strategic Plan as amended during discussions.

Final Outcome: In the report of the meeting (CGRFA-14/13/DR),  the Commission:

•  adopts the Strategic Plan 2014-2021 for the implementation of the MYPOW;

•  welcomes the ten-year cycle for the launch of the state of the world reports, with the exception that it requests FAO to launch both the state of the world reports on biodiversity for food and agriculture and on aquatic GR at CGRFA 16;

•  requests FAO to strengthen existing, and establish new, cooperative arrangements with relevant international organizations to support the implementation of the Strategic Plan;

•  requests FAO to explore the establishment of a trust fund to facilitate the preparation of the state of the world reports; and

•  requests the Commission to align the Strategic Plan with the FAO reviewed Strategic Framework and Medium-Term Plan 2014-2017/Programme of Work and Budget 2014-15.

The Strategic Plan 2014-2021 contains a vision of conserving biodiversity for food and agriculture and promoting its use in support of global food security and sustainable development for present and future generations; and a mission for the Commission to strive to halt the loss of GRFA and ensure world food security and sustainable development by promoting their conservation and sustainable use, including exchange, as well as ABS from their use. The Strategic Plan contains five goals, associated with specific objectives, whereby the Commission:

•  has a coordinating role and deals with policy, sectorial and cross-sectorial matters related to the conservation and sustainable use of GRFA;

•  monitors the state of the world’s GRFA;

•  strives to reach international consensus on policies and action programmes to ensure the conservation and sustainable utilization of GRFA, as well as ABS from their use;

•  contributes to the strengthening of national and regional policies on biodiversity for food and agriculture and promotes cooperation in capacity building; and

•  maintains and strengthens cooperation and partnership on biodiversity for food and agriculture.

The Strategic Plan then contains sections on: its rationale; implementation, monitoring and review; and partnerships. It also contains a table detailing the major outputs and milestones (2013-2021) for the MYPOW.

COOPERATION WITH INTERNATIONAL INSTRUMENTS AND ORGANIZATIONS

On Thursday, the Secretariat introduced the relevant documents (CGRFA-14/13/26 and Inf.21, 22 and 26). Bioversity International presented the report of the CGIAR Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centres (CGRFA-14/13/Inf.22) describing joint work with the CGRFA, especially in the field of micro-organisms. The Global Crop Diversity Trust introduced its report (CGRFA-14/13/Inf.21), highlighting its new headquarters in Bonn, Germany, and the number of accessions to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) called for access to a maximum amount of GR as key to plant breeding. Practical Action called for greater community involvement in CGRFA activities. Many delegates welcomed cooperation of different organizations with the Commission, and highlighted the need for ongoing support from the Global Crop Diversity Trust. Africa urged ongoing capacity building through international organizations. Norway welcomed cooperation with the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, noting it stores duplicates of about 40% of the world’s accessions.

Final Outcome: In the report of the meeting (CGRFA-14/13/DR), the Commission thanks the international instruments and organizations for their submissions and commends their work in supporting its activities; and requests the CGRFA Secretary to continue to seek inputs on the prioritized themes for regular CGRFA sessions from international organizations.

MODE OF OPERATION OF THE CGRFA

STATUS AND OPERATIONS: On Thursday, the Secretariat introduced the document (CGRFA-14/13/27). Canada, the ERG, GRULAC, Africa, the US and Sri Lanka supported retaining the current status of the Commission as a body established under Article VI.1 of the FAO Constitution, as well as the proposed amendments to the rules of procedure aiming at improving efficiency. Chair Fraleigh clarified that the status of observers is under review in the FAO and the Secretariat will report on new developments.

ITWG COMPOSITION: On Thursday, the Secretariat introduced the relevant document (CGRFA-14/13/28). Canada, opposed by the G-77/China, proposed to decrease by one the number of representatives for each region in each ITWG. The Near East requested an additional representative for his region in all ITWGs. Asia requested to increase his regional representation by one in the ITWG on PGRFA. The ERG and the US supported the ITWGs’ current composition. Eritrea proposed the elaboration of criteria to address regional representativeness in the ITWGs at future meetings.

ITWG NOMINATIONS: On Thursday, regions elected the countries to participate in the ITWGs. Regarding the ITWG on plant GR, regions nominated: Benin, South Africa, Algeria, Kenya and the Central African Republic (Africa); Spain, Hungary, Poland, Turkey and the Netherlands (ERG); Yemen, Kuwait and Egypt (Near East); the US and Canada (North America); the Cook Islands and Fiji (Southwest Pacific); Japan, the Philippines, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Pakistan (Asia); and Argentina, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, and Trinidad and Tobago (GRULAC).

Regarding the ITWG on animal GR, regions nominated: Eritrea, Cameroon, Togo, Morocco and Namibia (Africa); Germany, France, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland (ERG); Qatar, Sudan and Iraq (Near East); the US and Canada (North America); the Cook Islands and Fiji (Southwest Pacific); Malaysia, Thailand, India, Mongolia and Bhutan (Asia); and Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica and Suriname (GRULAC). 

Representatives to the ITWG on forest GR are: Mali,  Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Madagascar and Algeria (Africa); France, Norway, Poland, the Russian Federation and Finland (ERG); Lebanon, Iran and Sudan (Near East); the US and Canada (North America); Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea (Southwest Pacific); Vietnam, Lao PDR, China, the Republic of Korea and Indonesia (Asia); and Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, and Trinidad and Tobago (GRULAC).

Final Outcome: In the report of the meeting (CGRFA-14/13/DR),  the Commission:

•  reaffirms the position that it should maintain its current status as a Commission established under Article VI.1 of the FAO Constitution;

•  decides to amend its rules of procedure to clarify that: regular sessions shall be held within timing that enables the FAO Programme and Finance Committees to take into consideration the report of the Commission in formulating advice to the FAO Council; and the Commission shall make every effort to ensure that recommendations are precise and can be implemented;

•  requests the Secretariat to report to CGRFA 15 on new developments in the FAO with regard to the status of observers;

•  decides to maintain the composition of the ITWGs, but to discuss this matter further at CGRFA 15, with the Secretariat being requested to provide information on possible criteria for the ITWG composition;

•  agrees to consider the issue of the attendance of observers and alternates at ITWG sessions; and

•  requests the ITWGs to meet prior to CGRFA 15 and elect their members as nominated by regions.

OTHER MATTERS

On Thursday, FAO Assistant Director-General for Forestry Eduardo Rojas-Briales reported on UN participation at the EXPO 2015 in Milan, Italy, with the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” drawing attention to thematic clusters focusing on food and biodiversity, and opportunities for country participation.

ELECTION OF CHAIR AND VICE-CHAIRS: On Thursday, the Commission elected Amar Tahiri (Morocco) to be CGRFA 15 Chair; and K.C. Bansal (India), Paula Rassi Brasil (Brazil), Christine Dawson (US), Elzbieta Martyniuk (Poland), Javad Mozafari (Iran) and William Wigmore (Cook Islands) to be Vice-Chairs. Elzbieta Martyniuk was elected Rapporteur.

CLOSING PLENARY

On Friday afternoon, the plenary convened to adopt the report (CGRFA-14/13/DR)  reflecting the meeting’s deliberations and containing its decisions. All the regions praised the Chair and the Secretariat for a successful meeting. Practical Action highlighted the importance of the CGRFA in providing overarching governance for all biodiversity for food and agriculture, and called on the Commission to further improve its engagement with civil society, especially farmers’ social movements, particularly in the preparation of the state of the world’s report on biodiversity for food and agriculture.

CGRFA Secretary Linda Collette stated that the Commission has started a new decade of intergovernmental work for biodiversity and agriculture, thanks to its new Strategic Plan with ambitious outputs. She also highlighted among the results of CGRFA 14: the Global Plan of Action on forest GR, the work programme on climate change and GR, and future work on ABS. In closing, Chair Fraleigh emphasized the adoption of the GPA on forest GR and the genebank standards. He gaveled the meeting to a close at 11:03 pm.

A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF CGRFA 14

The fourteenth session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA 14) marked the Commission’s 30th anniversary, celebrated at the headquarters of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and highlighted in a series of awareness-raising videos. Since its inception back in 1983 and an initial mandate focused only on plant genetic resources, the Commission has come a long way and can now showcase a number of important achievements. Its history includes accomplishments ranging from the negotiation and final adoption of the legally binding International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR) to a broadened mandate covering the entire spectrum of genetic resources for food and agriculture: plant, animal, forest, aquatic and microbial genetic resources, as well as the adoption of global plans of action for the three most evolved thematic areas aiming at catalyzing implementation at the national level.

Yet at the same time, the Commission’s work has grown more complex, as demonstrated by a range of cross-sectorial issues such as access and benefit-sharing (ABS) and climate change. This was reflected in the meeting’s overloaded agenda, which kept delegates working round the clock all week. Eventually, the meeting came to a successful conclusion, adopting two important new guidance documents: the Global Plan of Action on forest genetic resources and the genebank standards for plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. Furthermore, delegates adopted indicators aimed at monitoring implementation and agreed on future work on ABS and on climate change, aimed at mainstreaming genetic resources for food and agriculture in relevant policy-making processes. Focusing on these main outcomes, this brief analysis will explore the Commission’s role in facilitating national implementation by providing authoritative scientific and technical information, as well as the Commission’s challenges in identifying its place in an interconnected international policy arena. 

GOING LOCAL: BRINGING KNOWLEDGE TO THE NATIONAL LEVEL

The Commission has long-standing experience in overseeing global assessments of the state of the world’s genetic resources for food and agriculture. Conducted under the authority of FAO with regular input by the Commission and its Intergovernmental Technical Working Groups (ITWGs), these assessments bring together an impressive body of knowledge. Not only do they reflect the most pertinent scientific information, providing a strong basis for policy work at the national and global levels; they also stimulate stakeholder consultations and information-gathering processes at the national level by relying on, and requiring, country reports. This often leads to lasting positive effects for national institution building and inter-institutional coordination. In the framework of the Commission’s Multi-Year Programme of Work (MYPOW), a number of such assessments are currently in the pipeline, including the unprecedented cross-cutting report on the state of the world’s biodiversity for food and agriculture. Aiming to provide a comprehensive picture of very complex subject-matter, this report is expected to stimulate an intense information-gathering exercise at the national and international levels. The report is currently under preparation and will be launched at CGRFA 16 in 2017.  It is already anticipated to be a valuable contribution to the UN Decade on Biodiversity and the implementation of the Aichi biodiversity targets, adopted as part of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Strategic Plan 2011-2020.

Another outcome that will have significant impacts on the ground is the new genebank standards for plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, which aim to ensure continued exchange of genetic material for agricultural research by providing the most up-to-date knowledge and best practices in seed storage, information and communication technology. Pending since CGRFA 13 in 2011, these standards are intended to serve genebanks conserving plant collections for many years to come, and were developed on the basis of a series of consultations involving a large number of experts and the genebanks themselves.

The brand-new Global Plan of Action (GPA) on forest genetic resources also has the potential to have an impact at the national level. Initially named “strategic priorities for action,” the document was renamed a day before the end of the meeting, to ensure consistency with similar documents adopted on plant and animal genetic resources. Some participants, however, cautioned that the adoption of such an action-oriented document usually follows completion of the related global assessment, so that it can build on the information gathered in the report. Still, a feeling of accomplishment prevailed at its adoption, as most acknowledged that the new GPA is based on significant expertise. Many also underscored its potential to reach the national and local level by providing guidance to countries through a menu of strategic priorities and associated actions, to be followed in accordance with their special circumstances, such as their environment, production systems, or management and financial capacities.

GOING GLOBAL: THE COMMISSION IN THE INTERNATIONAL POLICY ARENA

Albeit highly technical, CGRFA 14 deliberations also touched on highly politicized areas of the international governance of genetic resources, such as access and benefit-sharing. With references to national sovereignty, research and development, human and indigenous rights, intellectual property rights and corporate accountability, ABS has provoked passionate debates and lengthy negotiations. The 2010 Nagoya Protocol, which was adopted under the framework of the CBD and not yet in force, is considered to be the general instrument covering the entire spectrum of ABS activities while building in a degree of flexibility for specialized ABS instruments and recognizing the special role of GRFA for food security. At the same time, the ITPGR, the scope of which covers all plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, has established a Multilateral System for ABS covering a specified list of crops considered to be crucial for food security, which has been in operation for almost a decade.

Against this background, CGRFA deliberations on ABS were not easy, with some delegations worrying about the Commission developing new specialized ABS instruments that could compete with the Nagoya Protocol, which serves as the default regime. The final agreement focused on devising an innovative process. Attempting to merge its technical with its policy-related work, the Commission mandated its ITWGs on plant, animal and forest genetic resources to explore ABS issues for their respective sub-sector, assisted by a team of 14 technical and legal experts on ABS—two per FAO region. They will aim to draft elements to facilitate domestic implementation of ABS for the different sub-sectors of genetic resources for food and agriculture, taking into account all the existing international instruments. This solution raises hope that assistance will be provided to policy-makers attempting to navigate this increasingly convoluted landscape. This much needed, although highly complex, task will—according to seasoned ABS practitioners—benefit from specific inputs from stakeholders engaged in ABS practices in the various sub-sectors.

 Overall, due to its experience and expertise, as well as long and intense collaboration with the CBD and the ITPGR, the Commission is well positioned to address ABS issues for genetic resources for food and agriculture. The same cannot be said about its position in climate change-related processes. The Commission, as well as the entire FAO, has been trying to position themselves in the climate change debate by stressing the importance of GRFA for food security in the face of climate change. But CGRFA 14 deliberations were complicated by sensitivities surrounding currently unresolved issues under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, such as responsibility for mitigation. Eventually, the Commission successfully adopted a programme of work on climate change with a two-pronged objective: to promote the understanding of the importance of genetic resources for food security and system resilience to climate change; and to provide technical information regarding the role of genetic resources for food and agriculture in climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Similarly, the contribution of the Commission to the oceans governance landscape was not off to an easy start: delegates decided against establishing an ITWG on aquatic genetic resources and limited the scope of the state of the world report to aquatic genetic resources in areas within national jurisdiction, due to concerns about overlap with the ongoing work on marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction under the UN General Assembly. This decision provides a preliminary indication of how rocky the shores are for the CGRFA launching into the highly politicized debate over marine genetic resources.

LOOKING AHEAD: WHERE ARE WE GOING FROM HERE?

The Commission has long been recognized as a broker of valuable scientific knowledge both to other international processes as well to its own member states, thereby informing policy development from the global to the national and local level on issues related to genetic resources for food and agriculture. In view of its broadening mandate and its placement in an increasingly complex international policy environment, however, a number of challenges lie ahead. Streamlining the CGRFA agenda and operations remains an issue, as is the need for a renewed sense of direction in managing the interconnection between its traditional technical work and its more recent policy-related cross-sectorial tasks. While a degree of uncertainty is understandable, particularly in light of the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol, the Commission may still need to refine its role in promoting the mainstreaming of genetic resources for food and agriculture across relevant international and national processes. The preparation of the unprecedented state of the world report on biodiversity for food and agriculture will provide a fertile ground for better defining the niche of the Commission in international biodiversity governance.

UPCOMING MEETINGS

WIPO IGC 24: The 24th session of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will continue negotiations on an international instrument/instruments, with focus on traditional knowledge. dates: 22-26 April 2013  location: Geneva, Switzerland  contact: WIPO Secretariat   phone : +41-22 338 9111   fax: +41-22 733 5428  www: http://www.wipo.int/meetings/en/details.jsp?meeting_id=28647

146th session of FAO Council: The 146th session of the FAO Council will address programme, budgetary, financial and administrative matters, including the medium term plan 2014-2017 and programme of work and budget 2014-2015, as well as constitutional, legal and governance matters.  dates: 22-26 April 2013  location: Rome, Italy  contact: FAO Secretariat  phone: +39 06 57051  fax: +39 06 570 53152  email: FAO-HQ@fao.org www: http://www.fao.org/bodies/council/cl146/en/

International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition: This Conference, organized by FAO in partnership with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), the World Bank and Bioversity International, will focus on the impact of forests, trees on farms and agroforestry on food security and nutrition. Objectives include exploring policy options and improving available information and technology that will support the contribution of forests to food security, especially in developing countries.  dates: 13-15 May 2013  location: Rome, Italy  contact: FAO Secretariat  phone: +39 06 57051   fax: +39 0657055514  email: Forestsfoodsecurity@fao.org www: http://www.fao.org/forestry/food-security/en/

38th session of FAO Conference: Among other issues, the FAO Conference will address the report of CGRFA 14.  dates: 15-22 June 2013  location: Rome, Italy  contact: FAO Secretariat  phone: +39 06 57051  fax: +39 06 570 53152  email: FAO-HQ@fao.org www: http://www.fao.org/bodies/conf/c2013/en/

High-level Policy Dialogue and Roundtable on the International Treaty: These events will address issues related to the implementation of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.  dates: 1-2 July 2013  location: Bandung, Indonesia   contact: ITPGR Secretariat  phone: +39-06-570-53441  fax: +39-06-570-56347  email: pgrfa-treaty@fao.org www: http://www.planttreaty.org/content/high-level-policy-dialogue-international-treaty

International Conference on Biodiversity, Climate Change and Food Security: Under the theme “Global Food: From Diversity to Security in Changing World,” this conference aims to develop a common understanding on the impact of climate change and the importance of biodiversity in formulating effective and appropriate adaptation and mitigation strategies for food security.  dates: 2-4 July 2013  location: Bandung, Indonesia  contact: Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development   phone: +62-21-7806202   fax: +62-21-7800644  email: bioccfs@litbang.deptan.go.id www: http://pangan.litbang.deptan.go.id/en/highlight/international-conference-on--biodiversity--climate-change-and-food-security

ITPGR GB 5: The fifth session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture will address issues related to implementation of its Multilateral System and the standard Material Transfer Agreement, progress in the Funding Strategy and in particular the Benefit-Sharing Fund, innovative approaches to resource mobilization, a possible programme of work on sustainable use, and farmers’ rights.  dates: 24-28 September 2013  location: Muscat, Oman  contact: ITPGR Secretariat  phone: +39-06-570-53441  fax: +39-06-570-56347  email: pgrfa-treaty@fao.org www: http://www.planttreaty.org

8th meeting of CBD Working Group on Article 8(j): The Working Group on Article 8(j) of the Convention on Biological Diversity is expected to consider, among other issues, a draft plan of action on customary sustainable use, as well as the terminology related to “indigenous peoples and local communities.” An in-depth dialogue will be held on “connecting traditional knowledge systems and science, such as under the IPBES, including gender dimensions.”  dates: 7-11 October 2013  location: Montreal, Canada   contact: CBD Secretariat   phone: +1-514-288-2220   fax: +1-514-288-6588   email: secretariat@cbd.int www: http://www.cbd.int/doc/?meeting=WG8J-08

CFS 40: The Committee on World Food Security was reformed to be the most inclusive international and intergovernmental platform for all stakeholders to work together in a coordinated way to ensure food security and nutrition for all. At its 40th session, it is expected to address a series of policy and implementation-related issues.  dates: 7-11 October 2013   location: Rome, Italy  contact: FAO Secretariat   phone: +39 06 57051   fax: +39 0657055514  email: CFS@fao.org www: http://www.fao.org/cfs/en/

CBD SBSTTA 17: The 17th meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice of the Convention on Biological Diversity is expected to address a series of ecosystem-related and cross-cutting issues.  dates: 14-18 October 2013   location: Montreal, Canada    contact: CBD Secretariat   phone: +1-514-288-2220   fax: +1-514-288-6588  email:secretariat@cbd.int www: http://www.cbd.int/meetings

ICNP 3: The third meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit-sharing to the Convention on Biological Diversity will address issues related to the ABS clearing-house, compliance, codes of conduct and model clauses and the multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism.  dates: 3-7 February 2014   location: Montreal, Canada (tentative)   contact: CBD Secretariat   phone: +1-514-288-2220   fax: +1-514-288-6588   email: secretariat@cbd.int  www:  http://www.cbd.int/meetings

3rd International Genetic Resource Symposium: Held within the framework of the 29th International Horticultural Congress and co-convened by the International Society for Horticultural Science, the Global Crop Diversity Trust and Griffith University, this symposium will focus on genetic resources for climate change. It will provide a forum to present and discuss the latest research on strategies and technologies for plant genetic resources characterization, conservation and use.  dates: 17-22 August 2014  location: Brisbane, Australia  contact: Congress Secretariat   phone : +61-7-3255 1002  fax: +61-7-3255-1004   email: info@ihc2014.org  www: http://www.ihc2014.com/symposium_27.html

CBD SBSTTA 18: The 18th meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice of the Convention on Biological Diversity is expected to address a series of ecosystem-related and cross-cutting issues.  dates: 16-20 June 2014 (tentative)  location: Montreal, Canada    contact: CBD Secretariat   phone: +1-514-288-2220   fax: +1-514-288-6588  email: secretariat@cbd.int   www: http://www.cbd.int/meetings

CBD WGRI 5: The fifth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Review of Implementation of the Convention will convene following SBSTTA 18.  dates: 23-27 June 2014 (tentative) location: Montreal, Canada contact: CBD Secretariat phone: +1-514-288-2220   fax: +1-514-288-6588  email:secretariat@cbd.int www: http://www.cbd.int/meetings

Biosafety Protocol COP/MOP 7: The seventh Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity will address a range of issues related to its implementation.  dates: October 2014 (tentative) location: Republic of Korea   contact: CBD Secretariat   phone: +1-514-288-2220  fax: +1-514-288-6588   email:secretariat@cbd.int   www: http://www.cbd.int/meetings

CBD COP 12: The 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity is expected to conduct, among other issues, a mid-term review of the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi targets.  dates: October 2014 (tentative)  location: Republic of Korea   contact: CBD Secretariat   phone: +1-514-288-2220  fax: +1-514-288-6588   email: secretariat@cbd.int www: http://www.cbd.int/meetings

Nagoya Protocol COP/MOP 1: Depending on entry into force, the first Meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit-sharing will be held concurrently with CBD COP 12.  dates: October 2014   location: Republic of Korea   contact: CBD Secretariat   phone: +1-514-288-2220   fax: +1-514-288-6588   email: secretariat@cbd.int www: http://www.cbd.int/meetings

CGRFA 15: The 15th regular session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture is expected to address a range of issues related to its Multi-Year Programme of Work.  dates: 19-23 January 2015  location: Rome, Italy  contact: Linda Collette, CGRFA Secretary   phone: +39 6 570 54981  fax: +39 6 570 53152  email: cgrfa@fao.org www: http://www.fao.org/nr/cgrfa/cgrfa-home/en/

GLOSSARY
ABS
CBD
CGIAR

CGRFA
DAD-IS
ERG
FAO
GPA
GR
GRFA
GRULAC
IPBES
IPRs
IPC
ITPGR
ITWG
MTA      
MYPOW
SEARICE
UNFCCC
Access and benefit-sharing
Convention on Biological Diversity
Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centres (formerly the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research)
Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
Domestic Animal Diversity Information Service
European Regional Group
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Global Plan of Action
Genetic resources
Genetic resources for food and agriculture
Latin America and Caribbean Group
Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
Intellectual property rights
International Planning Committee on Food Sovereignty
International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
Intergovernmental Technical Working Group
Material Transfer Agreement
Multi-Year Programme of Work
Southeast Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
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This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org> is written and edited by Elisa Morgera, Ph.D., Nicole Schabus, Elsa Tsioumani and Asterios Tsioumanis, Ph.D. The Digital Editor is Mike Muzurakis. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. <pam@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the European Commission (DG-ENV), the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), and the Government of Australia. General Support for the Bulletin during 2013 is provided by the Ministry of Environment of Sweden, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, SWAN International, the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Specific funding for coverage of this meeting has been provided by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Funding for translation of the Bulletin into French has been provided by the Government of France, the Belgium Walloon Region, Québec, and the International Organization of the Francophone (OIF and IEPF). The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications with appropriate academic citation. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11D, New York, NY 10022 USA.
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