Hundred and Twenty-seventh Session
Rome, 22 - 27 November 2004
PROGRESS REPORT FROM THE SECRETARIAT OF THE COMMISSION ON GENETIC RESOURCES FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE
1. The Tenth Regular Session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (8-12 November 2004, Rome) will be its twentieth anniversary. The session will be held back-to-back with the Second Meeting of Commission Acting as Interim Committee for the Treaty (15-19 November 2004, Rome), which will prepare the first meeting of the Treaty’s Governing Body. The reports of both meetings will be presented to the Council, for discussion and/or information.
2. Since the last session of the Council, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which was negotiated by the Commission and adopted by the Conference in November 2001, entered into force on 29 June 2004, ninety day after the deposit of the fortieth instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession. The ratification process has continued rapidly: at the time of preparing this document (8 September 2004), 57 states and the European Community had deposited their instruments.1 The Interim Committee for the Treaty was established by the FAO Conference to prepare the First meeting of the Governing Body.
3. This document provides information on the background and agendas of the sessions of the Commission, both regular and as the Interim Committee for the Treaty.
4. Since the Ninth Regular Session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (14-18 October 2002), its two subsidiary Working Groups, on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, met, from 31 March - 2 April 2004 and from 31 March - 2 April 2004 respectively. The Commission will review their reports, in particular in relation to the preparation of the first Report on the State of the World’s Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, and the updating of the first Report on the State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
5. The Commission will also consider FAO policies, programmes and activities on agricultural biological diversity; reports from international organizations on their policies, programmes and activities on agricultural biological diversity; cooperation with the Convention on Biological Diversity; progress in the Code of Conduct on Biotechnology as it relates to Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture; and its future work.
6. By Resolution 3/2001, the Conference decided that the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, acting as Interim Committee for the Treaty, should prepare the first meeting of the Governing Body. It requested the Director-General to convene meetings of the Interim Committee as necessary, subject to the availability of necessary resources.
7. The First Meeting of the Interim Committee (9-11 October 2002), held with extra-budgetary resources, adopted the Interim Committee’s Rules of Procedure; established an Open-Ended Expert Working Group on the Rules of Procedure for the Governing Body, the Draft Financial Rules for the Governing Body, and Compliance; and adopted the Terms of Reference for the Expert Group on the Terms of the Standard Material Transfer Agreement. Both bodies were to report to the Second Meeting of the Interim Committee.
8. The Interim Committee also noted the Consolidated Work Programme and Indicative Budget of US$ 2,886,965, for the meetings that had been agreed, including the second meeting of the Interim Committee; incremental secretariat needs to implement the work programme; and support for the participation of developing countries.
9. The Interim Committee “recognized that substantial extra-budgetary resources would be required in the interim period, and in the initial phase of the implementation of the Treaty”. Nonetheless, it has proved extremely difficult to mobilize more than a small part of the extra-budgetary resources needed.
10. The Director-General’s Programme of Work and Budget, 2004-05,2 proposed an allocation of US$ 360,000 for the convening and running of the Second Meeting of the Interim Committee for the Treaty, but the Programme of Work and Budget, as adopted, provided only US$ 180,000 for this purpose. With these Regular Programme and extra-budgetary resources from a variety of donors3 the Second Meeting of the Interim Committee has been convened. Adequate resources had not, however, been made available to allow the convening of the Open-Ended Expert Working Group on the Rules of Procedure, the Draft Financial Rules, and Compliance. The Expert Group on the Terms of the Standard Material Transfer Agreement will meet in Brussels from 4-8 October, generously hosted by the European Commission, and report to the Interim Committee. A lack of adequate extra-budgetary resources also made it impossible to engage staff as foreseen in the Consolidated Work Programme and Indicative Budget for the Interim Committee.
11. The Interim Committee is expected to discuss the completion of the work programme of the Interim Committee and the convening of the First Meeting of the Governing Body, including the budgetary needs. There are currently no financial resources available for any activities after the Second Session of the Interim Committee, including for the preparation and holding of the First Meeting of the Governing Body, and to engage the necessary staff.
1 An up-to-date list is maintained on the Internet at http://www.fao.org/Legal/TREATIES/033s-e.htm.
2 C2003/3. See also C 2003/INF/10, International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
3 Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States of America.