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III. Resolution 1/97

A. The conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources for food and agriculture
B. Major trends and policies in Food and Agriculture

A. The conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources for food and agriculture


Considering the importance given in Agenda 21 to promoting the conservation and utilization of biotic and abiotic resources for sustainable agricultural development of the world and the role of genetic resources for the promotion of sustainable agriculture and rural development,

Noting the call of the FAO Council, of the 7th Session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, and of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) for an effective and speedy completion of the revision of the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources,

Welcoming the outcome of the 4th International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources, in particular the Leipzig Global Plan of Action as adopted,

Recalling the World Food Summit Plan of Action committed governments with the support of international institutions to promote the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity:

1. Emphasizes that the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources for food and agriculture is a key objective in FAO policies and relevant programme areas and is a priority issue in the 1998-99 Programme of Work and Budget;

2. Encourages FAO to collaborate closely with the Executive Secretary of the CBD;

3. Calls upon Member Nations to continue negotiations for the revision of the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources in a constructive spirit of compromise in order to be able to report considerable results to the Fourth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and to finalize these negotiations, as early as possible;

4. Invites members to contribute extra-budgetary resources to support the convening of extraordinary meetings, if needed, necessary to finalize the negotiations;

5. Encourages FAO to facilitate and promote the implementation of the Leipzig Global Plan of Action, as adopted, by all stakeholders;

6. Recommends that FAO study the possibility of assisting developing countries in projects in conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources for food and agriculture in collaboration with UNDP, the World Bank and UNEP.

(Adopted on 17 November 1997)

B. Major trends and policies in Food and Agriculture

The World food summit and its follow-up

49. The Conference endorsed the report prepared by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) and submitted to it through the Council, in accordance with Resolution 2/95, on all aspects of the World Food Summit and its follow-up. It expressed appreciation for the contribution of all concerned to making the Summit a success and, stressing the importance of maintaining the momentum generated in order to permit achievement of the Summit's goals, welcomed the information provided on action already undertaken to ensure follow-up at the country, regional and international levels.

50. The Conference underlined the primary responsibility of national governments for implementing the WFS Plan of Action, and supported arrangements already made by the CFS for monitoring implementation, drawing mainly on national reports. Noting that the June 1998 session of the CFS would be crucial to establish a benchmark against which future progress would be measured, the Conference urged all countries to submit their reports on the first year of implementation of the Plan of Action by 31 January 1998, and subsequent reports in an equally timely fashion, to enable the CFS to fulfill the crucial role assigned to it by the Summit.

51. The Conference recalled that reporting on follow-up to the International Conference on Nutrition (ICN) would already occur as part of the monitoring of implementation of the WFS Plan of Action. Considering the scope of the Plan of Action and its coverage of the goals and issues covered by the Programme of Action of the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (WCARRD), the Conference considered that progress reporting could be covered in the CFS process, and therefore decided to discontinue separate progress reporting on WCARRD. It recommended that ECOSOC, which would be receiving reports on WFS follow up, adopt the same approach.

52. The Conference underlined the importance of coordination and cooperation within the UN System in the follow-up to the World Food Summit. In view of the multi-disciplinary nature of food security, the Conference encouraged other organizations, in particular those of the United Nations system, to participate actively in supporting follow-up efforts, and to provide information on their activities to the CFS. Bearing in mind the calendar of meetings in the forthcoming biennium, the Conference requested the CFS to provide, through the Council, a first report on implementation of the WFS Plan of Action to ECOSOC in 1999. It further decided to examine progress in follow-up to the World Food Summit at its Thirtieth Session in the same year.

53. During the debate many Member Nations reported on actions taken or underway at national level to implement the Summit commitments, including the preparation of national reports and action plans. Several countries also indicated that in preparing their plans or their reports to the CFS, they were making active efforts to involve all stakeholders, including civil society organizations. In this connection, it was recalled that the CFS would be considering ways of facilitating broader participation by non-governmental observers in its work. It was also noted that at the 1998 session of the CFS, the original reports to the CFS from all countries and organizations would be made available for reference. The Secretariat would provide a synthesis of these reports to facilitate the work of the Committee. With regard to the regional and subregional dimensions of the Plan of Action, the Conference noted that one full day would be devoted, by each FAO Regional Conference in 1998, to the question of Summit follow-up, and that the results of these debates would be reported in due course to the CFS and to the Council. Mention was also made of the need to give special attention to the particular problems of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), if possible by convening a special conference at an early date.

54. The Conference welcomed the establishment of the ACC Network on Rural Development and Food Security, operated jointly by FAO and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in close cooperation with the World Food Programme (WFP), as an important means of ensuring a multi-disciplinary input by the UN system to support national efforts to implement the Plan of Action. It was noted that the network was conceived as a two tiered mechanism, with a focus on action at the country level undertaken by inter-agency thematic groups on rural development and food security operating within the UN Resident Coordinator system. At the headquarters level, the network was to provide support for country level action and obtain feedback on experience which could be shared, as well as to facilitate dialogue between participating organizations largely through electronic means. It would also serve as a channel to mobilize reporting on follow-up to the WFS by UN System organizations, as required by the CFS, to monitor progress on the Plan of Action.

55. The Conference noted with appreciation the initiative taken by FAO to play a catalytic role in elaboration and definition of a Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping System (FIVIMS) in collaboration with concerned UN System organizations, competent national institutions and non-governmental organizations, and supported plans for its further development. It considered that accurate and timely data was fundamental to national and international response to the problem of hunger and malnutrition, and stressed the need for full participation by developing countries in the establishment of national FIVIMS to be linked within the decentralized international system. The Conference was informed that arrangements envisaged reliance to the maximum extent possible on existing data bases and mechanisms. The suggestion was made that the range of partners could be broadened to include other large-scale data bases covering themes related to food security.

56. The Conference welcomed the conclusion of the Memorandum of Understanding of May 1997 between FAO and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and expressed its support for the actions being taken. It welcomed, in particular the holding by the Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights of a general discussion on 1 December 1997 on the normative content of the right to food, to be followed by an expert seminar to better define and propose ways to implement the right to food, organized by the High Commissioner with support from relevant UN agencies including FAO. In this connection, one country raised a question as to the appropriateness of FAO providing technical assistance to the Committee or the High Commissioner on this matter. Some countries stressed the importance of national legislation on the right to food, with the assistance of FAO where necessary.

57. The Conference adopted the following Resolution:

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