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9. Implementation of the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Clause
9. Application de la clause de l’information et du consentement préalabl·es (ICP)
9. Aplicación de la cláusula relativa al principio de información y consentimiento previos (PICP)

LE PRESIDENT: Nous allons commencer par un point qui retiendra l’attention du Conseil, mais qui n'occupera sûrement pas beaucoup de temps: le point 9 "application de la clause de l’information et du consentement préalables" (CL 99/20).

Il s'agit du Code international de conduite pour la distribution et l’utilisation des pesticides - mise en oeuvre de la clause de l’information et du consentement préalables.

Je donne la parole pour introduire le sujet à Monsieur de Haen, Sous-Directeur général chargé du Département de l’agriculture.

H. de HAEN (Assistant Director-General, Agriculture Department): The document CL 99/20 is presented in the context of the Secretariat's obligation to inform you on a regular basis about the operation of the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides, which has been in operation for almost six years.

I wish to recall that the Code, which was adopted in 1985 and amended in 1989, in both cases by consensus, represents a wide consensus of opinions among governments, non-governmental organizations and the pesticides industry.

Just to remind you, “The objectives of this Code are to set forth responsibilities and establish voluntary standards of conduct for all public and private entities engaged in or affecting the distribution and the use of pesticides, particularly where there is no or an inadequate national law to regulate pesticides". This is quoted from the Code and I just quote it to indicate and underline again that in my view we have an example here of FAO's activities in the field of international norms, and hence in one of the fields where several delegates - and of course we share this view - see one of FAO's comparative advantages. A very important area of our work certainly.

The present review in the Council will address mainly the progress made towards implementation of the provisions of the Code, in particular the Prior Informed Consent or PIC procedure, which was introduced into the Code during the last Conference, and please recall what Prior Informed Consent means, and here I just quote again. It refers to "the principle that international shipment of a pesticide that is banned or severely restricted" - somewhere in the world I add - "in order to protect human health or the environment should not proceed without the agreement, where such agreement exists, or contrary to the decision of the designated national authority in the participating importing country". Apparently this procedure was introduced because there happens to be a discrepancy in some cases that pesticides are banned in certain countries but are not banned from export to other countries. This is the background, just to bring you up to date, about the historical development.

The introduction of the Prior Informed Consent into the Code of Conduct was the result of a very long process. The Conference decided to introduce it in 1987, and FAO went through a number of meetings and consultations to achieve an acceptable text and procedure, and parallel to this - this is again important to underline - UNEP, the United Nations Environmental Programme, developed its text on Prior Informed Consent within the "London Guidelines for the Exchange of Information for Chemicals in International Trade", and due to the close cooperation and consultation between these two Secretariats, a mutually compatible procedure was agreed upon and a joint programme on the implementation of PIC was established.

The Council document before you states the steps taken up until now, and in particular those to initiate the PIC procedure, and I summarize them very briefly:

1. The appointment of designated national authorities in member countries. At present there are ninety-seven countries which have appointed one or more designated national authorities, and of these fifty-six have appointed one for pesticides, while fifty-eight others have appointed joint national authorities for both pesticides and chemicals in general.

2. The joint FAO/UNEP Expert Group has now met three times and this Group has inter alia worked out procedures for the implementation of PIC and provided advice as to which pesticides are to be included in the PIC procedure. Details on these types of pesticides are provided in paragraphs 12 and 13 of the Council document.

Distinguished delegates, in order to avoid wastage of scarce resources on the preparation of documentation on chemicals that have fallen into disuse or are of little use at present, a priority list of pesticides was established in which not only bans or severe restrictions were , considered, but also the present use of the chemicals was addressed,

3. Documentation has been prepared for the guidance of governments on the manner of providing information on actions taken to ban or severely restrict a chemical, and the appropriate action to be taken on chemicals which are banned or severely restricted in the country of export when such information is received by the importing country before shipment takes place - this is important, before the shipment takes place. As a guide to the countries which are expected to benefit from the PIC, procedure decision guidance documents have been prepared and the programme is close to becoming fully operational. However, it should be pointed out that FAO, due to resource constraints, has been unable to give the full attention this programme deserves in our view.

The close cooperation of FAO and UNEP has been exemplary, and we underline this as a very positive element on this procedure. In order to formalize this cooperation, a memorandum of understanding is under preparation and is expected to be finalized before the next Council session, that is within the next months.

FAO has addressed the operation of PIC for a total of 108 countries in regional workshops held in Bangkok in 1988, in Noumea, Manila and Accra in 1989, in Santiago in 1990 and in Cotonou and Harare in 1991, and there.will be another workshop in Barbados in July this year.

In addition to the regional workshops, national workshops were held in Belize in 1989 and in El Salvador in 1990. Regional workshops are being held in Barbados, Accra, Cotonou as I mentioned, so you see that very active and frequent series of communications and discussions have been held at various levels.

FAO also plans to hold a joint workshop with UNEP, for participants from 27 member countries in the Asia and Pacific region, in the Philippines at the end of July this year, to consider the PIC procedure for both pesticides and other chemicals. Further, FAO has also been assisting member countries on the issues relating to the implementation of the Code of Conduct. Thus, a Japan-funded project is strengthening the infrastructure of pesticide management in Southeast Asia and this project is now being extended to the Caribbean region. Another project for Central America is in an advanced stage of development and for Africa a project which will be funded by UNDP is now in its final stage of preparation and prior to signature. TCP funds have been used to fund three workshops, and this has provided direct assistance to member countries. Furthermore, funding was made available by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency of the

United States of America for the holding of workshops in Santiago de Chile and in Uruguay. This underlines in general the very wide support which this activity gets from various donors and governments.

Finally ladies and gentlemen, I wish to touch on the issue of amending the Code of Conduct and the issuance of a Convention. At the last FAO Conference, several delegates raised this issue as to whether the Code should be converted or not into a Convention, and in this regard FAO has requested the joint FAO/UNEP Expert Group to review the conclusion reached in October 1990, and this conclusion was that it was premature to convert the Code into a Convention at that time.

In closing, I would like to state that FAO is ready to launch an initial operational phase of this Code of Conduct including the Prior Informed Consent procedure within the next few months, and that both organizations would be ready to launch the full operation early next year. Thank you for your attention.

LE PRESIDENT: Comme il s'agit d'un point pour information et que le document est très complet, je demanderai à tous les intervenants d'éviter toute littérature, d'aller a l’essentiel, et de faire un effort pour être aussi courts que possible. Je ne veux pas vous imposer un temps de parole ni proposer qu'on en impose un, même de .l’accord, du Conseil, mais je vous demanderai d'etre le plus concis, le plus bref possible sur ce point de l’ordre du jour.

Mσuin HAMZE (Liban): Ma délégation souhaite confirmer son intérêt pour cette question, le code de conduite pour la distribution et l'utilisation des pesticides. Nous pensoni que la clause d'information et de consentement préalables est un principe d'ordre humanitaire qui doit discipliner les relations entre les consommateurs et les producteurs, ainsi que les agriculteurs qui doivent utiliser les pesticides.

Vous savez que les produits chimiques utilises par les agriculteurs sont très importants comme intrants agricoles. Nous savons que cependant ils suacitent des préoccupations quant aux effets de leur utilisation sur la production. Parfois nous avons l’impression que nous combattons un mal qui est presque plus fort que nous, mais beaucoup de pays, y compris les pays en développement, reconnaissent maintenant qu'il s'agit de produits dangereux qui peuvent avoir un effet néfaste sur l’homme et sur l’environnement.

Nous sommes d'accord avec ce qui est dit dans le document 99/20.

Nous souhaitons souligner la nécessité de compléter cette politique avec deux facteurs vitaux pour garantir l'efficacité de la discipline internationale dans ce domaine ainsi que l'efficacité du code de conduite.

Le premier facteur serait la responsabilité des pays producteurs de pesticides, surtout pour les pesticides qui sont interdits. Cette responsabilité ne doit pas être négligeable. Naturellement, nous sommes d'accord sur le principe du libre choix des pays importateurs.

Le deuxième facteur est le suivant: il s'agit de solutions de rechange à ces pesticides toxiques. Il ne serait pas suffisant en effet de mettre en place un code de conduite sur l’utilisation et la distribution des pesticides, sans proposer des solutions de rechange, d'autres options, qui permettent de protéger la production agricole et qui permettent également de sauvegarder l’environnement et la santé des consommãteurs. Ces pesticides de remplacement n'existent peut-être pas encore mais nous savons que des expérimentations ont été conduites.

Gerhard LIEBER (Germany): My delegation would like to express its appreciation for the work developed by the Joint FAO/UNEP Expert Group on Prior Informed Consent. Thanks to this work, important organizational and technical conditions have been created or are under way to introduce this scheme. We do hope that this procedure will prove an effective instrument for strengthening the function of the International Code of Conduct oil the Distribution and Use of Pesticides to the benefit of human health and the environment. Therefore, my delegation gives its approval to document CL 99/20.

I wish to conclude by referring to the statement that my delegation made at the 95th Session of the Council, calling attention to a very special problem. I cite that my country holds the view that PIG is very useful for all those countries which neither possess sufficient regulatory and control infrastructures nor a procedure for the registration of pesticides. The introduction of the PIC principle should help in dispensing the importation and sharing of such regulatory and control mechanisms. Such mechanisms are necessary to assess the adequate ways specific pesticides could or even should be imported for specific cases. They are also indispensable for regulating and monitoring the proper use of pesticides.

PIC should thus not lead to the cessation of efforts to establish such regulatory and control mechanisms where they do not yet exist or where they are inadequate.

Philippe PIOTET (France): Je serai très bref. Ma délégation se félicite que les principe.s de l’information et du consentement préalables étaient inclus dans le code lors de la conférence de 1987 et que notre dernière conférence en 1989 ait pris les dispositions permettant à la FAO, en collaboration avec le PNUE, d'établir un programme opérationnel pour l’application de cette procédure.

Ma délégation attache la plus grande importance aux travaux du Groupe mixte d'experts sur l’information et le consentement préalables, mis en place par les deux organisations, FAO et PNUE, et elle souhaite que le Conseil soit prochainement saisi des résultats des travaux de ce groupe et qu'il puisse examiner ces propositions, notamment en ce qui concerne le projet de liste initiale des produits chimiques à inclure dans la procédure de l’ICP. Une telle disposition est, me semble-t-il, de nature à réunir, tant parmi les producteurs que parmi les consommateurs de ces produits, les conditions les plus favorables pour que l’on puisse appliquer de façon efficace le code des pesticides.

J'ajoute que mon pays, conscient à la fois des importants enjeux de ce dossier et des ressources limitées dont dispose notre Organisation pour y répondre, est prêt à mettre en place quelques moyens complémentaires, au plan technique notamment, pour assister la FAO dans ses travaux.

Paul ARES (Canada): Since this document is presented for information only and in the interest of time, Canada will be brief on this item.

We are pleased to note this follow-up to the Resolution of the 25th FAO Conference on the amendment of the Code of Conduct for the Distribution and Use of Pesticides. We note with appreciation the work of the Director-General and the Secretariat on the Joint Programme with UNEP on the harmonization of the prior informed zones, or the PIC procedures.

Canada is supportive of the PIC procedures. Outlined in the report is a follow-up to the invitation to countries to nominate the designated national authority. Canada has designated the Director of the Information Division, Pesticides Directorate (Agriculture) Canada as the national authority. In compliance with the procedures agreed to, a list of pesticides that also have been subject to regulatory action has been submitted to FAO.

For your information, in addition the Canadian Pest Control Products Act and the Canadian Environment Protection Act, adopted in 1988, provide authority for the regulation of the export of all toxic substances, including pesticides, that have been banned or severely restricted in Canada. Monitoring in compliance with PIC will be carried out, using existing compliance procedures.

The reporting format established by the Joint FAO/UNEP Expert Group on PIC is acceptable to us, and has been incorporated into national procedures. In order to facilitate reporting procedures, it is suggested that FAO add to page 8 of the written form the domiciliary number of the FAO Desk to which reporting should be sent.

In response to a proposal in the report, Canada wishes to acknowledge its support for the development of a list of acutely hazardous pesticide formulations. We would stress the list should be extended to include not only those acutely hazardous to human health, but also those hazardous to the environment. Included in the latter group would be the highly leachable persistent pesticides with high toxicity. Since the definition "acutely hazardous" is critical, we would be prepared to participate in an expert panel to develop appropriate criteria.

Finally, my delegation notes with appreciation the workshops organized by FAO in cooperation with other international organizations to further the implementation of the Code of Conduct in Asia and the Pacific and its intention to proceed in the same manner in Central America, parts of South America, Africa and also the Caribbean.

The harmonization and implementation of PIC and the Code of Conduct is a positive step forward which we fully appreciate. Canada welcomes the comments of the Secretariat and the exemplary collaboration between FAO and UNEP on the Prior Informed Consent procedures.

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Haruo ISHII (Japan): My country would like to welcome the outcome and efforts of FAO to ensure the proper and safe use of pesticides. Most pesticides are chemical in their nature, as everyone knows, and are utilized in other fields as vector control agents, industrial chemicals, etc. Considering their versatile nature, cooperation among relevant agencies at national, regional and global level is indispensable. My country would like to reiterate its support for FAO's efforts to coordinate and cooperate with other international organizations, especially with UNEP, in this field.

Another important aspect for the proper execution of PIC is to strengthen national capacity to control pesticides and encourage their proper and safe use in individual countries. My country appreciates FAO's initiative in executing various training courses, workshops and so on to enhance national capacity. Responding to these FAO efforts, my country has been contributing trust funds for the implementation of the Code of Conduct which started in 1988 to provide technical assistance necessary for executing the Code of Conduct to the Asian and Pacific countries. The number of present recipient countries is 26 and responding to the request from Latin American countries, part of the activities will be commenced in Latin American countries, starting this year. This project provides national and regional training courses for the safe use of pesticides, regional workshops for the harmonization of pesticide registration requirement, and expert consultation on pesticide residues. During the five-year period in this project operation the total budget will be US$2.7 million.

My country is in the position that these steady efforts are of vital importance in executing PIC. We realized its ultimate purpose, to ensure the safe and proper use of pesticides. Converting this Code into a legal and binding thing does not seem make a contribution to attain this final goal.

LE PRESIDENT: Je remercie le délégué du Japon qui nous a indiqué la volonté de son pays de nous aider, notamment par les moyens financiers mis à la disposition de la FAO par le biais des fonds fiduciaires pour l'Asie et, demain, pour l'Amérique latine.

Nous sommes dans un processus évolutif et nous pensons que cette évolution va tendre petit à petit à trouver des formules non pas contraignantes mais largement acceptées par l’ensemble de la communauté Internationale. Sur ce point, la FAO a montré la voie. La collaboration de tous les pays est extrêmement importante en ce sens.

J.B. SHARPE (Australia): In the interest of moving the agenda along as quickly as possible we will be exceedingly brief on this item.

My delegation supports the principle of PIC and is encouraged by the promise made regarding the development of a documentation data base and for providing assistance to countries who have indicated their intention to participate. The continuing community concern over the hazards presented by pesticide use makes the exchange of information between governments essential. This will help in this process. This desirable implementation should be progressed with the greatest speed possible.

LE PRESIDENT: Je vous remercle très vivement à la fois de votre intervention et de la procédure suivie, qui est particulièrement expéditive.

Dato Wan Jaafar ABDULLAH (Malaysia): My delegation would like to thank the Secretariat for the preparation of document CL 99/20 on the progress of action taken by FAO regarding the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides.

As you may be aware, Malaysia is one of the countries which adopted Resolution 6/89 on the amendments of Articles 2 and 9 of the Code at the 25th Session of the FAO Conference in 1989. Since then Malaysia has nominated its Pesticides Board as its designated national authority to handle pesticides, and its Department of the Environment as its designated national authority to handle other chemicals.

Malaysia supports the efforts of UNEP in developing the software for personal computers to make the data base on PIC available to Member Nations. This should be done as soon as possible.

Malaysia is an active participant in the FAO/Asia/Pacific Regional Project for the implementation of the Code. In addition to participating in the various workshops organized by the project, Malaysia has also contributed experts in the sphere of various pesticides in support of the activities of the project.

Malaysia will be participating in the Workshop on PIC organized by the project in July 1991.

In the development of harmonized efficacy protocols for the region, Malaysia also played a key role. On the possibility of converting the Code and the London Guidelines into legally binding instruments instead of the present voluntary Code, Malaysia feels the same way as the FAO/UNEP Panel, that it may be premature at the moment.

With regard to PIC, although there is an efficient registration system for pesticides in the country, Malaysia will nevertheless support its implementation in the form as adopted at the Twenty-fifth SeΓssion of the Conference.

J. Davson AHALT (United States of America): In trying to respond to your suggestions to be brief, Mr Chairman, I will be exactly that.

The United States delegation supports the Prior Informed Consent procedures as adopted. We believe that the substantive approaches to implementation of PIC are appropriate. We especially applaud FAO and UNEP for approaching this in a joint programme, which will avoid duplication of effort and confusion among participating governments.

We are also pleased to note from Dr de Haen's statement that FAO will be ready to officially start the programme.

Finally, we would also like to note that the United States delegation specifically agrees with the approach taken by the Joint Expert Group with respect to acutely toxic pesticides.

J.R. GOLDSACK (United Kingdom): I too shall be brief. The United Kingdom agrees with the findings of the FAO/UNEP Expert Group, that it would be premature to introduce a legally binding instrument on PIC at this stage.

Jaime MARTINEZ TORRES (México): Muy brevemente la delegación de México desea hacer dos comentarios.

El primero es para felicitar a la FAO y al PNUMA por el esfuerzo realizado para establecer un programa que aplique los procedimientos del Principio de Información y Consentimiento Previos y el segundo para concordar plenamente con el planteamiento formulado por los expertos en el párrafo 16. Como ellos, estimamos que es prematuro convertir al Código de la FAO y a las Directrices de Londres en instrumentos juridicamente vinculantes.

H. de HAEN (Assistant Director-General, Agriculture Department): First of all, on behalf of the Secretariat, I would like to thank you for your very helpful and encouraging comments with regard to the state of operation of the Code. There were only a few remarks, rather than questions, on which I would like to comment.

The distinguished delegate of Lebanon mentioned that besides the operation of the Code, we should not lose sight of the need, and the countries themselves should not lose sight of the need, to establish and develop alternatives to the chemicals thus banned. I can assure you that FAO, in several of its programmes, is assisting countries in this development of alternatives. If I may give you just two examples: One alternative is to use less chemicals and not to replace them at all by others, because they are not very effective anyway, and this comes under the heading of Integrated Pest Management, where on other occasions we have reported about our work. The second example is support of methods of biological pest control, where a number of success stories can be written and which are being implemented already.

Le délégué de la France nous a demandé si nous pouvions mettre à sa disposition une liste préliminaire des pesticides dangereux. Je peux lui fournir cette liste, qui n'est pas encore très longue, en dehors de cette seance. A cette occasion, je le remercie aussi de sa gentille offre d'appuyer le programme d'opération de code par des moyens financiers.

I also thank the other donors, in particular Japan, who have mentioned past and future support programmes, Trust Fund Programmes, to assist governments in their training activities.

The distinguished delegate of Canada asked whether the list of hazardous chemicals could not be expanded by the criteria "dangerous for the environment". Just to inform all delegates: The PIC pesticides are those which are banned or severely restricted for reasons of human health or the

environment, and such chemicals are notified for that reason to the FAO/UNEP Joint Programme. There is another category of chemicals which are not banned or severely restricted, but are toxic. These pesticides were added to the list recently, as it seemed impossible to use them safely in developing countries. I repeat: although are not banned or severely restricted, information is also provided on this category, which is the category of toxic chemicals according to the WHO List 1A.

We understand your proposal to have a third category of chemicals not banned or severely restricted, but hazardous to the environment. We have noted this proposal, but we will have to investigate in more detail whether this is easy to define, because the environment is, of course, a system which is difficult to delineate, so it may not be very easy to have a clear-cut category of chemicals which are not banned, not severely restricted, but hazardous to the environment. We have, however, noted your proposal and we will report to you later.

LE PRESIDENT: Nous allons conclure l’examen de ce point de I'ordre du jour. Comme il a été clairement souligné, il s'agit d'une matière évolutive et nous allons progressivement tendre vers la perfection. Je crois qu'il y a encore du chemin à faire. Il y a d'ailleurs une relation étroite entre ce point et celui que nous avons discuté précédemment. Je crois que les réflexions sur l’environnement, le développement rural et les différentes questions de l’agriculture ainsi que les préoccupations qui ont été évoquées lors de l'examen du point précédent devraient nous inspirer dans l'examen de ce point, qui ne nous est pas présenté pour décision, mais uniquement pour information.

Le service de M. de Haen a fait un effort considérable. Je m'associe également aux remerciements qui ont été adressés aux pays qui soutiennent finaneièrement cet important programme. Je crois que le financement de ces programmes est indispensable à son développement et à son déroulement à l'avenir.

10. Report of the Fourth Session of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources (Rome. 15-19 April 1991)

10. Rapport de la quatrième session de la Commission des réssources phytogénétiques (Rome. 15-19 avril 1991)

10. Informe del cuarto periodo de sesiones de la Comisión de Recursos Fitogenéticos (Roma. 15-19 de abril de 1991)

LE PRESIDENT: Comme vous le savez, la quatrième session de la Commission des ressources phytogénétiques s'est tenue il y a fort peu de temps puisqu'il y a un peu moins de deux mois. Les matières qui y ont été examinées sont particulièrement intéressantes et, sur un certain nombre de points, notamment sur un avant-projet de résolution, la Commission a poussé ses travaux très loin et s'est grandement rapprochée des accords que nous souhaitons tous.

Je vous propose de ne pas entrer dans les détails sur ce point précis du projet de résolution car, après la discussion et si vous l'estimez utile, je voudrais faire une proposition opérationnelle en vue de constituer un petit groupe de travail pour examiner plus avant les points de convergence et de divergence de façon à réduire ces derniers pour arriver à une convergence globale, cela afin d'arriver, peut-être au début de la semaine prochaine, à un accord.

Nous ne prendrons. done pas de décision définitive sur le rapport de la Commission des ressources phytogénétiques, compte tenu du fait que, dans ce projet de résolution, on peut relever de nombreux points de convergence et très peu de points de divergence, et que ces derniers pourraient être surmontés.

Je vais demander à Monsieur de Haen d'avoir l'obligeance de presenter le rapport de la Commission phytogénétique afin que nous en entamions l’examen.

H. de HAEN (Assistant Director-General, Agriculture Department): The Fourth Session of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources was held here in Rome in April this year, and many of you participated. As of today, 111 member countries have become members of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources, and 102 countries have adhered to the International Undertaking. I am happy to report that in the course of the last session of the Commission the USSR adhered to the International Undertaking, and has also expressed its interest in joining the Commission.

The Commission agreed that the various institutional elements of the Global System for the Conservation and Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources were well in place, but that many legal and political difficulties would have to be overcome and therefore much work remained to be done in this area.

The Commission discussed the farmers' rights, the principles set forth in the text of the international undertaking, and agreed that the best way to support these rights would be through an international fund of plant genetic resources. This fund would have to finance a global plan of action for the conservation and utilization of these resources. The Commission felt that as the conservation and sustainable utilization of plant genetic resources was a continuing need - I underline continuing - the international fund should be sustainable and transparent. The opinions were divided as to whether this meant that the fund should be mandatory or voluntary, and this will be discussed in the just-mentioned Appendix H, which is when the draft resolution shall be discussed. The draft resolution which, as I said, appears as Appendix H, proposes a new Annex 3 to the international undertaking on plant genetic resources, and it is related to the implementation of farmers' rights through such a sustainable fund and through the availability of breeders' lines.

Although the Commission agreed in principle on the need for such a resolution, several substantive modifications were proposed, and the time of the session was not adequate for a full consensus to be achieved. Therefore, the Council is requested to consider this draft resolution and to agree on a text.

The President has just referred to the procedure in order to arrive at such an agreement. The Commission recommended that FAO convene a Fourth International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources to be funded through extrabudgetary resources and - and this again is very important and essentiel - that during the preparatory process of such a conference, two things would be done. One, the first state of the world plant genetic resources would be established, and second, a global plan of action for plant genetic resources would be prepared. The Commission emphasized the need for regional cooperation and suggested that plant genetic resources be an agenda item on FAO's Regional Conferences. Further, the Commission recommended that changes in Eastern Europe may be affecting the safety of the area's plant genetic resources, and therefore it recommended that an urgent study should be undertaken by FAO to identify any possible danger to the stored germplasm and propose solutions. This is put forward for your consideration and approval in paragraph 29. The Commission gave strong support for continuing attention to ex situ and in situ conservation in cooperation with the appropriate organizations. The Commission agreed that the models presented by the Secretariat, legal models so to speak, were a useful basis for negotiations to establish an international network of base collections. The Commission requested the Director-General to initiate such discussions with governments and institutions, including the Government of Norway, in this case regarding the establishment of an international seed bank under perma-frost conditions at Swilborg in northern Norway. This is mentioned in paragraphs 63 and 64, and I can report that this negotiation is currently under way.

The Commission further endorsed the provisions made and the draft international code of conduct for plant germplasm collecting and transfer. It felt that this code could be improved by some redrafting, but it was, in general, endorsed. The redrafting would just be to simplify the wording and to take account of a number of minor proposals made during the debate. The Commission agreed that a draft code of conduct on biotechnology should be prepared in a step-by-step manner. The emphasis here is on the step-by-step procedure. In this context, the need for expert consultation and collaboration with other organizations was recognized. The Commission also agreed that the objectives of this code might include the promotion of the safe and sustainable use of biotechnology as well as the equitable sharing of its benefits.

The Commission was in full agreement with the Council that FAO should continue to play an active role and give priority to the conservation and sustainable use of biological and genetic diversity of interest to agriculture, forestry and fishery. In this context, it recognizes the importance of FAO's participation with UNEP and, as part of the onset process, in the formulation and negotiations of a legal instrument on biological diversity. As you all know, COAG also discussed this matter, and most delegates felt that the current status of the FAO, which is presently an observer in these discussions, needs to be strengthened. The Commission recommended that steps should be taken for FAO and UNEP to ensure a closer cooperation. Here again, I would like to report that something has happened since the Commission had its last session. The cooperation in general has continued to be rather fruitful, but the positive event, so to speak, was that an invitation was recently received from UNEP to an FAO staff member to participate in the forthcoming session of the ad hoc working group of

legal and technical experts on biodiversity as - and this is a quote from the invitation - as part of the Secretariat. We shall respond positively and express our wish to participate in this and in future sessions as part of the Secretariat.

The Commission discussed the possible transformation of the international undertaking into a binding legal instrument, either in the form of an independent convention or as a protocol to the proposed legal instrument on biodiversity. Although there was some support to this, it was generally felt that it was premature to make such a change.

As a final point, the Commission examined the advantages and disadvantages of widening its mandate to include animal genetic resources and other aspects of biodiversity. It was felt that the introduction of new, complex elements might make its task of concentrating on plant genetic resources less manageable and would dilute its effectiveness. Therefore, it did not support the widening of its mandate at this point in time. It was suggested that the matter might be considered at a later date by a group of experts. We spoke about that when we discussed the COAG report two days ago.

In summary, I would like to draw your particular attention to two major issues which the Council may consider for approval. One is the fourth technical conference on plant genetic resources which would be held, according to the Commission's proposal, in late 1993 or early 1994 and which would be prepared and convened in cooperation with other organizations, in particular with the CGIAR or IBPGR. It was estimated that such a conference, including the preparatory phases, would cost about US$3 million. We, the Secretariat, believe that such a technical conference would provide an appropriate forum at which a draft of the first state of the world's plant genetic resources and the first plan of action could be discussed.

The second item I just repeated is for your particular consideration and approval, and it is the Appendix H with the draft resolution.

LE PRESIDENT: Comme vous l'avez souligné, nous sommes dans une matière essentiellement évolutive.

Au nom du Conseil, je voudrais remercier chaleureusement un pays qui n'est pas membre du Conseil en ce moment, la Norvège, d'avoir accepté la création d'une Banque internationale de semences dans le Spitzberg. Je crois que les négociations concernant l’installation de cette banque ont déjà débuté. C'est un signe encourageant et je voudrais me faire l'interprète du Conseil pour remercier très vivement le Gouvernement norvégien d'avoir accepté l’implantation de cette banque internationale de semences sur son territoire. C'est un fait important.

Monsieur de Haen a évoqué la requête de l'URSS de faire partie de la Commission. Cela pose un problème d'ordre juridique, en ce sens que la Commission des ressources phytogénétiques est une Commission subordonnée de notre Conseil comme le COAG. Il est done difficile pour un pays qui est encore observateur - et nous espérons qu'il pourra bientôt adhérer à la FAO - de devenir membre d'un organe subsidiaire du Conseil. Sur le plan juridique cela est pratiquement exclu et impossible.

Je demanderai à tous ceux qui désirent intervenir sur ce point de se faire connaitre et je leur demanderai simultanément de bien vouloir concentrer leurs discussions sur l’ensemble des rapports sans aborder le problème de la résolution que nous évoquerons tout à l'heure.

Pour le moment viennent de s'inscrire le Congo, le Japon, la Thaïlande, le Portugal, la Chine, la Pologne, le Brésil, l'Australie, l'Allemagne, la France, la Zambie, le Maroc, le Kenya, les Etats-Unis d'Amérique, le Royaume-Uni, Madagascar, la Suède, le Canada, l'Egypte et le Mexique.

Je donne la parole au représentant des Etats-Unis.

E. Wayne DENNET (United States of America): The United States was pleased to attend the fourth session for the first time as a member by participating as a full member and serving as the North American representative on the working group. The United States has a greater appreciation for the work being done by the Commission and the Secretariat in the diverse field of plant genetic resources. The fourth session, in our view, was rich with substantive debate. We therefore support its conclusions.

As you noted at the beginning of this item, the draft resolution on the Annex to the international undertaking may be the most important matter for discussion under this agenda item. Achieving consensus will not be easy. The Commission on plant genetic resources did not discuss the resolution outside of PΓenary; thus, achieving consensus during adoption of the report was not possible.

We should avoid a repeat performance during Council. If individual countries begin expressing their language preferences during Plenary, we may well move further away from consensus rather than closer to it. Informal contact groups, as you suggest, involving all interested countries appear to be the best approach. With that possibility in mind the United States will not comment on specific aspects of the Resolution at this time.

In addressing the many issues presented to the 4th Session of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources the United States delegation made the following points that we would like again to highlight.

Firstly, any funding mechanism that is established outside of FAO's regular programme must be voluntary. The United States is unequivocably opposed to any mandatory funding mechanism.

Secondly, UNDP is the body within which the United States has entered into formal negotiations to debate and negotiate a proposed convention on biodiversity. We can support a stronger technical role for FAO in the process and, as noted by Dr de Haen, we are glad to see progress in that regard already. We do not believe that FAO should have a leading or competing role.

Thirdly, some useful ideas were presented in the two Codes of Conduct prepared for discussion. More work is required on both. Biotechnology in particular is being actively discussed in OECD. FAO should benefit from

those discussions. In future drafts on these issues we propose the term "Technical Guidelines" be used instead of Codes of Conduct as the term "Codes of Conduct" implies a regulatory function. Also, having a code of conduct implies that something may be dangerous and this is not always the case.

Fourthly, an international technical conference on plant genetic resources is a good idea if adequate funding is available. The United States hopes to be in a position to provide some of that funding.

Collaboration with the IBPGR to generate a data base for assessing the state of the world's plant genetic resources is an essential prerequisite for such a conference. An item on plant genetic resources during next year's regional conferences could contribute to this process.

Fifthly, the results of the Fourth Session clearly indicate that much remains to be done in the field of plant genetic resources. Thus, the United States continues to oppose any widening of the Commission's Working Group. As was discussed during the Fourth Session, it needs further review. Our experience in the Working Group is limited, but we believe that its members and Chairman should be systematically rotated. We have arranged for such a rotation within North America. We question the need to convene the Working Group just prior to sessions of the Commission. The Working Group in our view should serve a continuity function rather than the role of an executive committee.

J.R. GOLDSACK (United Kingdom): You will recall that on Monday during the adoption of the Agenda and Timetable my delegation mentioned that we will be fielding technical specialists for certain agenda items. We expressed the hope that the timetable as presented would be strictly adhered to. Therefore, we are disappointed that the timetable has slipped to the extent that it has since our specialist on genetic resources attended the Council yesterday for this item but has had to leave today. We fully appreciate the problems, but we should try to keep to the timetable. We should all bear in mind the constraints on time when making our interventions.

I should like to comment on the Report of the Fourth Session of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources, and in the context of wider but related discussions in COAG. In the interests of brevity I will not reiterate the detailed, specific points made in COAG and CPGR meetings.

On general issues:

The United Kingdom reaffirms that FAO has an important and active role to play within the forum of UNEP in negotiations on a legal framework for the conservation of biological diversity. We believe it premature to consider adopting the Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources as a legally-binding document or Protocol, but we recognize that it might be used as a basis for drafting UNEP documentation.

The United Kingdom shares concerns expressed previously over the widening of the current mandate of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources to cover animal genetic resources, and endorses earlier conclusions that this should not happen for the time being.

The United Kingdom could not support any moves toward establishing international funding mechanisms for the conservation and utilization of plant genetic resources on a basis of mandatory contributions.

In carrying out its part in taking forward biodiversity initiatives under the UNEP framework, FAO should seek to exploit its areas of clear comparative advantage (notably, plant genetic resources relating to food crops, including wild relatives of food crops), and should not attempt to address every biodiversity issue. FAO should recognize, inter alia, the roles agreed for FAO and IBPGR in the terms of the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding between these two organizations, and the roles of UNEP, IUCN, WWF and others, in the context of ex situ conservation of biodiversity.

The United Kingdom believes it will be impractical for FAO to cover all elements identified in Appendix I of document CPGR/91/7 in preparing the "State of the World's Plant Genetic Resources". Emphasis should be on plant genetic resource diversity, germplasm characterization, evaluation and enhancement, and on collection and ex situ conservation. There is a danger of duplicating work if FAO addresses in any depth other items identified in Appendix I of CPGR/91/7. For example, the status of in situ conservation, and identification of priority issues, are under consideration in the "Biodiversity Status Report" currently being developed by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) and the World Resources Institute (WRI).

Finally, I would like to ask: what mechanisms will be put in place to ensure that FAO avoids unnecessary duplication of effort and restricts its activities to areas where it has a clear comparative advantage?

LE PRESIDENT: Je remercie le Représentánt du Royaume-Uni de son intervention, mais je crois que les reproches qu'il a adressés à ses collègues du Conseil ne sont pas justifiés, en ce sens que le programme de travail qui a été sounds est évidemment fonction de la dimension des interventions d'un certain nombre de réunions de groupe et nous essayons, tenant compte de l'intérêt de tous les membres du Conseil, d'agir pour le mieüx et de suivre un programme de travail tenant compte des souhaits de tous les membres du Conseil, et pas seulement d'un membre du Conseil.

Je crois que nous devons essayer d'obtenir également dans ce domaine un large consensus sur nos méthodes de travail, mais nous n'avons pas l’intention - nous l'avons dit au départ, il doit y avoir une autodiscipline dans la dimension des interventions - d'étouffer quelque débat que ce soit car je crois que les débats sont essentiels pour l'éclairage du Conseil et pour la politique que demain doit suivre la FAO, d'autant plus que le Secrétariat est toujours extrêmement attentif aux voeux, aux souhaits, aux ordres et aux directives de tous les membres du Conseil.

Raphaël RABE (Madagascar): Ma délégation ayant participé aux travaux de la quatrième session de la Commission des ressources phytogénétiques approuve le rapport de ladite session et le recommande à l’approbation du Conseil. Elle souhaite que le Conseil puisse aller de l'avant dans l’adoption de l’important projet de résolution qui se trouve à l’Annexe H du document.

Ma délégation voudrait cependant attirer l’attention de cette auguste assemblée sur les paragraphes 93 à 108 du document traitant des biotechnologies et ressources phytogénétiques.

La délégation malgache souhaite effectivement que le Conseil soit favorable à l’élaboration d'un code de conduite pour les biotechnologies, instrument juridique qui permettrait de garantir l’utilisation judicieuse des nouvelles biotechnologies, de fixer des normes fondamentales pour l’expérimentation, l’importation, l’exportation et l'utilisation commerciale d'organismes génétiquement modifiés.

Nous convenons avec la Commission que pour assurer une utilisation sans danger des nouvelles biotechnologies, il est impératif d'adopter des réglementations appropriées. Les promoteurs et utilisateurs de ces biotechnologies doivent observer des normes fondamentales de prévention des risques de tous ordres et de tels risques existent malheureusement. De nombreux exemples ont déjà été cités pendant les diverses sessions de la Commission. Nous pourrions en citer quelques uns si cela était nécessaire, mais je pense que les membres de ce Conseil sont au courant de ces risques et peuvent d'ailleurs les trouver dans les documents pertinents qui ont été distribués par le Secrétariat pendant les sessions.

Nous appuyons fermement l’inclusion dans le projet de code d'un mécanisme international permettant de développer dans les pays en développement les capacités nationales en matière de biotechnologie, car actuellement, les compétences scientifiques manquent ou sont insuffisantes, aussi bien d'ailleurs du point de vue qualitatif que quantitatif. Pourtant, les pays en développement ont besoin des nouvelles technologies, car elles peuvent leur offrir de considérables possibilités d'amélioration de la production agricole et alimentaire, mais leurs propres experts doivent être en mesure de distinguer les technologies qui sont bénéfiques et celles qui ne le sont pas.

Par aílleurs, la formation d'experts dans ces pays présente un caractère d'urgence, car plus on attend, plus le fossé entre pays développés et pays en développement s'accroitra et les progrès des biotechnologies dans les pays développés pourraient alors ne pas profiter à l’agriculture des pays en développement.

Nous comptons grandement sur la FAO pour suivre de très près l’évolution de la situation; comme indiqué au paragraphe 106 du document, la mise en place d'un système d'alerte rapide pour la biotechnologie pourrait être envisagée.

Michel MOMBOULI (Congo): Nous aussi nous voudrions remercier M. de Haen pour l’exposé qu'il a bien voulu faire concernant ce document à l'examen, et surtout pour la fidélité avec laquelle il a fait son exposé, en conformité avec ce qui s'est passé à cette quatrième session de la Commission.

Notre pays qui est membre de la Commission a déjà eu, à plus d'une occasion, la possibilité de s'exprimer sur les différentes questions couvertes par cé rapport. Cela va nous inciter à une certaine brièveté pour laisser la priorité aux autres membres qui ne sont pas membres de ce comité "fermé" de s'exprimer.

En général, nous sommes d'accord avec les conclusions auxquelles est parvenue cette quatrième session de la Commission, même si sur certáines questions nous n'avons malheureusement pas pu aboutir à un consensus.

A cette occasion, nous voudrions rappeler combien nous sommes attachés au fait qu'il va falloir reconnaitre le droit aux agriculteurs et au fait que la meilleure façon de le faire est sûrement de constituer un fonds international sur les ressources phytogénétiquès. Nous pensons que les contributions à ce fonds devraient être au départ volontaires, mais il y a également la nécessité d'étudier la possibilité de rendre öbligatoire cette contribution un peu plus tard, parce que pour un fonds de cette importance, la stabilité de la base financière est sûrement impérieuse.

Monsieur le Président, vous nous avez invités à ne pas nous appesantir sür le projet de résolution en Annexe H de ce rapport. Nous allons nous conformer à cette recommandation en disant simplement que nous sommes tout à fait d'accord pour qu'un mécanisme soit trouvé afin d'étudier davantage ce document, pour erlfin arriver à un consensus que nous appelons de tous nos voeux.

Dans ce rapport, il est dit que l'on envisage de tenir une quatrième conférence technique internationale FAO sur les ressources phytogénétiquès. Nous sommes en faveur de cette conférence et nous souhaitons qu'effectivement à l’occasion de cette conférence l’un des objectifs soit, entre autres, celui d'établir l'état mondial des ressources phytogénétiquès. Nous sommes aussi acquis à l’idée qu'il va falloir se préoccuper de l'état dans lequel se trouvent les ressources phytogénétiquès dans les pays de l’Europe de l'Est, pour les sauvegarder et assurer leur pérennité. Nous sommes favorables à l’étude d'ün projet de convention sur la biodivèrsité. Nous faisons nôtres les considérations émises par la délégation de Madagascar sur le projet de code de conduite sur la biotechnologie.

Monsieur de Haen dans son exposé nous a fait part des nouveaux éléments survenus dans la coopération entre le PNUE et la FAO depuis la tenue de cette quatrième session de la Commission, à savoir qu'une invitation a été faite par le PNUE à la FAO pour participer à la reunion des experts qui prépareront la prochaine conférence dü PNUE sur les ressources phytogénétiquès. Nous voudrions saisir cette occasion pour dire que nous nous félicitons de cenouvel élément encourageant, tout en souhaitant que cet esprit dure, et ceci au bénéfice des Etats Membres.

Nous pensons effectivement qu'il est peut-être trop tot pour envisager l'élargissement du mandat de la Commission aux ressources zoogénétiques, mais nous pensons cependant qu'il est nécessaire qu'une étude soit entreprìse pour trouver une forme de mécanisme qui puisse prëndre en charge les activités concernant les ressources zoogénétiques qui, nous devohs le reconnaitre, sont en retard par rapport aux activités concernant les ressources phytogénétiquès.

Je crois avoir fait le tour des principales questions qui étaient soumises à notre examen, le principal étant de nous prononcer sur la quatrième Conférence internationale sur les ressources phytogénétiques qui pourrait avoir lieu fin 1993 ou début 1994, et en faveur de laquelle nous nous sommes prononcés. Nous incitons tous les donateurs à contribuer au financement de cette conférence, parce qu'elle va sûrement nécessiter des fonds extrabudgétaires, et nous sommes disposés, comme vous l'avez souhaité, à participer aux négociations pour faire avancer ce projet de résolution que nous jugeons important et sur lequel nous espérons qu'un consensus sera trouvé.

Noboru SAITO (Japan): My delegation would like to express our appreciation to Dr de Haen for the clear introduction of the report.

Japan became a member of the FAO Commission on Plant Genetic Resources this March and is committed further to contribute to the activities in this field as a member of the Commission. Japan endorses, in general, the report before us. However, my country would like to make several specific comments on important points on this agenda item.

We are not yet in the position to adhere to the "International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources", because my country is not perfectly assured on the issue of "farmer's right" "and breeder's right" although there has been significant progress on this issue. My country has some difficulty to discuss the draft resolution "Annex 3 to the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources" because the Committee could not reach a consensus on this draft resolution. Considering the technical nature of the issue, my country urges that the draft resolution should be referred back to the Committee on Plant Genetic Resources and be further discussed in the Committee to reach the consensus. All we can agree upon is the methodology of contractor groups consisting of interested countries as you, Chairman, have just suggested.

Japan can not support to make "the International Undertaking" a legally binding nature. Such a concept as "farmer's right" is still not well established and requires further elaboration of nail-down.

Such of our views mentioned above, can be applied to the con£ept of "International Code of Conduct for Plant Germplasm Collecting and Transfer" and also "International Code of Conduct for Biotechnology". My country has serious concern that these codes may hinder the access to resources and delay the progress of proper utilization if they become legal frameworks. In case of "International Code for Plant Germplasm Collecting and Transfer", we are concerned that this code may pose too excessive burden to collectors and users. There is no doubt that we must cooperate to protect plant genetic resources from diminishing, however my country does not consider that it is a wise decision to make the code a legal framework because it rather deprives of the flexibilities and future potentials for better use and development of such invaluable resources. Maybe one of the forms of such provisions stipulated in draft Codes could be a guideline without any binding nature. In addition, the coordination among relevant international organizations is indispensable because of a broader nature of these issues. In case of "International Code of Conduct for Biotechnology"

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we do not think that FAO has enough competence in this field and is not a suitable body for this. We think that other organizations such as OECD have more competence for this area. The property right of the product derived from genetic resources should be protected under a suitable mechanism such as WIPO and UPOV to promote the development of biotechnology.

Para. 93 of the report describes the risk of biotechnology. My country would like to point out the fact that the safety of biotechnology has been proved through safety experiments and utilization of recombinants and also such safety has been demonstrated for assurance through the accumulated scientific knowledge in this field.

My country recognizes the importance both of in situ and ex situ conservation of genetic resources. Nevertheless, my country feels that in situ conservation has various technical and financial difficulties, and that management of the sites of genetic resources should be promoted with other international fora such as UNEP and UNCED, and deems it appropriate that FAO should give emphasis on ex situ conservation.

Vast fields of animal genetic resources are still underutilized. My country hopes that FAO will also make a significant contribution for this field, and considers that COAG will be an appropriate forum for animal genetic resources because of its divergent nature of issues and close relationship with present FAO activities in this field. However, my country stated in the last session of the Committee on Plant Genetic Resources, the issues in plant genetic resources are so rich that the Committee on Plant Genetic Resources should concentrate on the issue of separate committees on animal genetic resources at the present stage. The idea to make a united forum for genetic resources in general or biodiversity is not appropriate at this stage.

LE PRESIDENT: Je remercie le Représentant du Japon de son intervention qui m'a semblé particulièremerit constructive.

Il y a un seul point sur lequel je voudrais faire une petite remarque, c'est que l’OCDE ne fait pas partie de la famille des Nations Unies. L'examen des etudes de l’OCDE peut être utile mais il ne s'agit pas d'une instance des Nations Unies où tous les membres de la famille' de .l’Organisation ont lá porte ouverte.

Mustapha-Menouar SINACEUR (Maroc): Je serai assez bref, pour ma part. Nous voudrions simplement dire que le Maroc a toujours apprécié et continue d'apprécier les efforts de la FAO en matière de conservation et d'utilisation des ressources phytogénétiques. C'est pourquoi nous avons participé aux travaux de la quatrième session de la Commission des ressources phytogénétiques, et nous tenons è indiquer que nous en appuyons les conclusions.

S'agissant du projet de résolution dont vous ayez parlé tout à l'heure, nous sommes d'avis, comme vous, qu/il serait fastidieux de le discuter en seance plénière et qu'il faudrait laisser plutôt le soin à un groupe de travail assez homogène de se pencher sur la question et de faire rapport à la plénière.

Notre délégation apprécie la déclaration de M. de Haen et se réjouit de la position adoptee par l’URSS et de son désir de se joindre à la Commission des ressources phytogénétiques et d'adhérer à l’engagement international. A ce titre, j'aimerais rappeler au Secrétariat et aux membres du Conseil que, lors de la dernière session de la Commission des ressources phytogénétiques, mon pays avait fait part, lui aussi, de sa décision d'adhérer à l’engagement international, et l’instrument de ratification est en cours.

S'agissant maintenant de l’accord de base portant création d'une collection de base qui serait placée sous la juridiction de la FAO, nous ne manquerons pas d'informer le plus tôt possible le Secrétariat du modèle qui sera retenu par notre pays.

J'ai voulu être assez bref et, à propos de tous les points que, volontairement, je n'ai pas voulu aborder, je voudrais souscrire aux déclarations qui ont été faites par mes eollègues de Madagascar et du Congo.

LE PRESIDENT: Je remercie vivement le délégué du Maroc de son intervention. Je crois également que les travaux d'un groupe de travail seraient souhaitables.

Celui-ci devrait être homogène mais suffisamment diversifié pour recouvrir les tendances qui ne sont pas nécessairement de la même homogénéité.

Pinit KORSIEPORN (Thailand): First of all, my delegation would like to commend the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources for the comprehensive report of the Fourth Session which is now under consideration. Thailand participated both in the Working Group and in the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources. Once again we endorse the report in front of us. However, to comply with the time constraint, I want only to highlight briefly the following points.

First, regarding the government system for the conservation and utilization of plant genetic resources, we support the idea of the Working Group of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources as indicated in paragraph 16, namely, that the International Fund will be mobilized to implement farmers' rights. We are also convinced that the FAO's work on plant genetic resources will be a useful document to both developed and developing countries.

Secondly, my delegation warmly welcomes the initiative of FAO to reorganize its seed laboratory as the Plant Information and Seed Unit. Finally, regarding biodiversity and plant genetic resources, we feel that at present it is premature to transform the international undertaking on plant genetic resources into a legal and binding agreement.

Oscar Sales PETINGA (Portugal): La délégation portugaise n'a pris connaissance du document CL 99/16 qu'après son arrivée à Rome, ce qui l'empêche d'être en condition de se prononcer sur celui-ci. Cependant, nous nous permettrons de faire quelques considérations sur ce point.

Depuis de nombreuses années, notre pays a des liens de coopération internationale très foґts dans le domaine de la collecte et de l'échange des ressources génétiques. Nous conseѓvons du matériel que les spécialistes considèrent intéressânt, notmonent des lupins, du trifolium et d'autres plantes protéagineuses et fourragères, ainsi que du triticum, de l'orge, de l'avoine, du seigle, du mais et d'autres céréales.

Nous avons au Portugal un Centre du maïs dont l’installation a été appuyée pat la FAO, dans lequel nous avons réuni des ressources génétiques de cette espèce provenant du Portugal et de la région méditerranéenne ainsi que des régions tropicales et subtropicales.

Des liens très anciens avec les Tropiques nous ont permis de réunir au Portugal des ressources assez considérables provenant deces régions. Nous les proposons aux pays intéressés, notamment les hybrides de café arabica résistant aux rouilles et à l’anthracnose.

La délégation portugaise estime fondamentale une coordination entre les centres qui ont des ressources au niveau mondial mais celle-ci devra s'exercer de façon à ce que les ressources soient accessibles aux agriculteurs.

Nous considérons aussi que la gestion des ressources phytogénétiques peut prendre des formes différentes selon les pays, surtout quand il existe des entreprises privées spécialisées dans la collecte et la conservation des ressources. Ainsi, cette question devra être étudiée de telle sorte que les intérêts des agriculteurs restent toujours bien défendus.

L'accord portant création d'une collection de base présentée dans l’Annexe J du document CL 99/16 constitue une bonne base de réflexion mais la délégation portugaise ne se considère pas, compte tenu des raisons déjà évoquées, en condition de se prononcer définitivement sur son contenu. Nous espérons, après avoir écouté attentivement les commentaires des autres délégations, être en condition d'intervenir plus objectivement à la prochaine Conférence de la FAO.

Ni HONGXING (China) (Original language Chinese): On behalf of the Chinese delegation, I wish to thank the Secretariat for document CL 99/16 prepared for our discussions. This is a document rich in information on the subject. I would like to make a number of statements.

Plant genetic resources are the very basis of agricultural activities for mankind. The production and adequate use of the plant genetic resources enable us not only to undertake new activities in agriculture and increase supplies of agricultural commodities, but they do also enable us to protect the environment and develop agricultural production in a sustainable manner.

The Chinese Government has always given importance to the work done in this respect and noted that, since their session in the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources in 1989, FAO has undertaken a whole series of activities using their limited resources. The global system covering the use of plant genetic resources while still imperfect, does deserve our praise because it

has been launched and the legal aspects are practically settled in this respect. We have every reason to be pleased because of the importance of the preservation of plant genetic resources, and we support the resolution to call a conference on plant genetic resources in order to assess the whole present situation of plant genetic resources in the world, and in order to draw up a global action programme. We hope that the proposed Programme of Action will take into account the contributions made by developing countries to the conservation of plant genetic resources, and their capacity for the production of these resources in order to speed up technology transfer to developing countries and to strengthen the training of experts in those countries. This would also help international cooperation.

My delegation is of the view that all countries do enjoy full sovereignty of resources to be found in their territories. The international exchange of such resources is only possible on the basis of equality and reciprocal advantages on a voluntary basis. The setting up of a network of base collections, international seed banks, and so on, which would be managed by FAO, should also be arranged according to the same principle.

Therefore, as we see it, it is vital that we have a clear understanding of the legal aspects when it comes to germplasm, the sovereignty of countries, free access etc., to make sure that this does not mean that conditions are not taken into account. We have to have agreement on conditions. It is necessary that practical measures be taken - really efficacious measures -to guarantee the rights of breeders and farmers.

In our view, it is rather premature to transform the agreement into a binding instrument legally speaking. We agree with the understanding reached between FAO and the Commission because it was a legal cooperation between the two bodies. We hope that FAO and the IBPGR will collaborate closely with other international bodies, especially UNEP, in order to ensure that the activities of the various bodies concerned are complementary so there is no duplication of effort.

Ms. Malgorzata PIOTROWSKA (Poland): With regard to the topic under discussion, I must underline the necessity of having matters of a purely technical nature discussed by experts, not just by career bureaucrats. I am so happy to have been told of the offer by the delegate of the United Kingdom to pay for technical experts from developing countries to come to Rome for such discussions. Otherwise, as I pointed out in my statement to the last COAG, we have to entrust technical discussions to our time-tested "Jack-of-all-trades" - my good friend the Permanent Representative to FAO, residing here in Rome.

With regard to the use of genetic resources for crop management, we are somewhat concerned about the consolidation of expertise into a few strong monopolies. This would place many poorer countries at a disadvantage. The same concern holds for the development and application of biotechnology and genetic engineering for plant breeding.

We foresee the strong role that FAO can play as an "honest broker" for the developing countries. It should support the internationalization of such work along the lines adopted by the CGIAR system, by fostering the development and application of suitable biötechnological methods for immediate practical use in plant breeding.

Nedilson Ricardo JORGE (Brazil): The Brazilian Government considers as very important the work which has been carried out by the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources and by its Working Group. This Group has had an important role in harmonizing different views regarding subjects dealt with in the Commission. The approval by consensus of the Resolutions concerning the agreed interpretation of the internatІΌnal undertaking and farmers' rights have to be credited to the excellent work done by this Group. We also welcome the climate of cooperation and harmony between FAO and IBPGR, which results from agreements which had been prepared in line with the recommendations of the Commission.

The Report of the 4th Session of the Commission contains relevant information about new initiatives. We welcome the preparation of an International Code of Conduct for plant germplasm collection and transfer and also the development of a Code of Conduct in biotechnology, as it affects the conservation and use of plant genetic resources, in the form of a non-binding instrument.

The preparation of a periodical report on the State of the World's Plant Genetic Resources is also a very positive initiative. This document could serve as the basis for future policy decisions. We hope that a draft of this document can be ready in time for the UNCED in June 1992. It is, however, extremely important that the first "State of the World's Plant Genetic Resources" be ready in time for the 4th Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources, proposed to be held in 1993 or 1994. This document will certainly contribute to the identification of problems and priorities in the preparation of the Plan of Action on Plant Genetic Resources.

As regards the draft resolution submitted by the 5th Meeting of the Commission's Working Group, we regret that it was impossible to reach a consensus about its final text during the Commission's 4th Session. We would like, on this occasion, to reiterate the position which the Brazilian delegation supported during that meeting, that a clause be included recognizing that Nations have sovereign rights over the plant genetic resources in their territories. In the Commission's meeting there was no opposition to the inclusion of such a clause. This idea is also included in the reports of previous meetings of the Commission and of its Working Group, but we consider it extremely important that it be stated in the basic documents of FAO's Global System on Plant Genetic Resources.

Finally, we would like to congratulate the Commission's Secretariat for the excellent work which has been done in the preparation of the Fourth Session of the Commission. At that meeting, the Brazilian delegation expressed its recognition of Dr Esquinas-Alcazar's capacity. It was mentioned, however, that the load has been too heavy for the small staff working in the Secretariat. In April, we suggested that FAO should take the necessary steps to reinforce through réallocation of staff the Secretariat of the Commission and we would like, on this occasion, to reiterate this suggestion, hoping that a solution for this problem will be found in the near future.

Peter FRANKLIN (Australia): While Australia is a member of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources and supports the general thrust of the Undertaking, we will not be in a position to sign the Undertaking until agreement is finally reached with the individual Australian genetic resource centres regarding their full adherence to it. We are also actively reviewing our position with a view to participating in the network of base collectors.

Australia participated actively in the 4th Session of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources and in general endorses the outcome as reported in background paper CL 99/16.

My comments will therefore be brief and limited to noting our position on several key issues. While we are sympathetic to the establishment of a Global System for the Conservation and Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources we could not support the establishment of a mandatory fund at this stage.

Further, any Australian participation in a voluntary fund will be dependent on the establishment of clear working arrangements based on planned, quantifiable genetic conservation programmes overseen by technically competent agencies.

We would also wish to ensure that the fund and its activities have broad international application and are not unduly limited to particular national or sectoral interests.

Secondly, we agree with the need to review the current global status of plant genetic resources as well as the coordination/prioritization of a future global plan of action. In our view, these activities should be an integral part of the preparations for and outcome of, the proposed technical conferences. We support preparations for the Conference and look forward to a further elaboration of its contents and modalities in order that we may better assess the nature and extent of our future involvement.

A decision about our participation in any subsequent action plan would also need to be determined in the light of its eventual contents and its consistency with our national objectives and strategies.

We share the concerns of others that an increase in emphasis on work on in situ conservation could dissipate resources and jeopardize vital work in relation to ex situ conservation.

Similarly, while we acknowledge that there is potential for the FAO to make a valuable contribution to the development of a convention on biotechnology, we support the view that the Commission's mandate and coverage, as well as its status in relation to the Convention, should not be modified at this stage. We also could not support a modification of the current non-binding status of the International Undertaking.

Gerhard LIEBER (Germany): The document before us today reflects the complexity and magnitude of one of the major challenges we face, not only in the sphere of food and agriculture. This challenge is: How to ensure by

well coordinated and timely national, regional and international action one of the most valuable assets of humanity - that is, biological diversity; On the preservation and wise use of plant and animal genetic resources depends, among other things, the production of food, on a sustainable basis, for a rapidly-growing world population.

My country favours the idea of holding a 4th Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources and we are ready to study possibilities for facilitating its proper preparation.

We have presented our position on legal, technical and economic aspects of the topic before us at the Fourth Session of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources. We are in general agreement with the results of this meeting. I can therefore concentrate just on a few principal issues, to underline my country's position.

For the next steps to come, including the Technical Conference, we think that good coordination is required to prevent duplication of efforts. Therefore, we feel that FAO and its Commission on Plant Genetic Resources should concentrate on genetic resources being of importance today and, potentially, tomorrow, for the agriculture and food sectors in the widest sense.

As far as the Global System for Conservation and Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources is concerned, we support this endeavour and its major elements, particularly measures aiming at the required coherence between the actual situation and action to forestall the ongoing degradation of genetic resources. In saying this, we are fully aware of numerous technical, legal and financial problems that must be tackled and overcome.

On the whole, decisions on further action in this particular field of genetic resources protection should take into account the technical, organizational and financial possibilities and conditions actually available in member countries as well as with FAO before embarking upon new and broader projects. Often it proves better to coordinate properly existing institutions and services rather than to start new ones.

We are looking forward to a continued balanced further development, and we will certainly do our best to collaborate.

Philippe PIOTET (France): La Commission des ressources phytogénétiques a examiné, lors de sa 4ème session, un grand nombre de questions qui témoignent, comme l’avaient demandé la Conférence et le Conseil, du souci de notre Organisation de jouer pleinement Son rôle dans le domaine des ressources génétiquês.

Au moment où la Communauté internationale se mobilise pour la préparation de la Conférence des Nations ünies suґ l’environnement et le développement de 1992, la délégation française ne peut que se féliciter des efforts déployés par la FAO pour apporter sa propre contribution a cette Conférence, dans le cadre de son mandat.

Sans entrer dans le détail de toutes les questions abordées par la Commission des ressources phytogénétiques, je voudrais tout d'abord rappeler l'appui de la France à l'établissement d'un plan global d'action dans ce domaine, permettant d'assurer toute la cohérence requise entre les divers éléments du dispositif mis en place par la FAO dans les années 80.

Dans cette perspective, ma délégation accorde une importance particulière à la bonne articulation de ce plan avec l’ensemble des actions concernant la biodiversité actuellement examinées dans le cadre de la CNUED. Nous sommes également très attachés au caractère opérationnel de ce plan d'action qui devrait en conséquence se concentrer sur les espèces présentant un intérêt pour l’agriculture et l’alimentation - comme vient de le dire juste avant moi le représentant de l'Allemagne - et répondre le plus directement possible aux besoins des Etats Membres en matière de développement agricole et d'amélioration nutritionnelle.

En ce qui concerne les moyens nécessaires pour la mise en oeuvre des actions de l’Organisation dans le domaine des ressources génétiques, je me limiterai à rappeler que la France souhaite que les différentes sources de financement internationales existantes accordent une priorité accrue au secteur des ressources phytogénétiques. C'est la raison pour laquelle ma délégation estime que le caractère volontaire des contributions au Fonds international pour les ressources phytogénétiques doit être maintenu.

En ce qui concerne l’engagement international, nous nous félicitons de constater que l’adoption par la dernière Conférence de résolutions reconnaissant simultanément les dro.its des obtenteurs et ceux des agriculteurs a permis d'élargir la participation à cet engagement et de lever certaines réserves. Nous nous félicitons de l’adhésion de nouveaux pays comme l'URSS, et bien d'autres, qui viennent de rejoindre ceux qui participent déjà à cet engagement. Ma délégation considère qu'il convient de continuer à progresser dans cette direction plutôt que de chercher à transformer l’engagement international en un instrument juridiquement contraignant.

Enfin, Monsieur le Président, permettez-moi de rappeler en conclusion tout l’intérêt accorde par mon pays au développement de la copération entre la FAO et l’IBPGR, conformément aux accords signés à la fin de l'année 1990.

Russell MULELE (Zambia): Since Zambia did participate in the deliberations of the 4th Session of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources, we will limit our very brief comments to a few items only.

My delegation wishes to reiterate the position taken during the 4th Session of the Commission concerning the creation of an International Fund for the Implementation of Farmers' Rights. We still maintain that the Fund should be initially on a voluntary basis.

We fully support the principle of nations' sovereign rights (as outlined in paragraph 30) over Plant Genetic Resources in their territories and the inclusion of this aspect in international agreements.

My delegation supports the recommendation in paragraph 23 that FAO convene a Fourth International Technical Conference on Genetic Resources to be funded through extra-budgetary contributions. In this regard, we hope that donors can contribute generously toward the funding for the International Conference.

We are happy to note that much progress has been made in the realization of a Global System for the Conservation and Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources. We fully support the move (as outlined in paragraph 15) for the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources to exercise a coordination and monitoring role in order to ensure the comprehensiveness and efficiency of the Global System.

We wish to state that we are very appreciative of the plan to document the "State of the World's Plant Genetic Resources". It is our hope that the team of experts will soon be assembled for this important task. Needless to say, the document will be found useful by many national governments, international organizations and individuals.

While we fully agree with the mechanisms proposed in paragraphs 32 to 71 to facilitate the exchange of germplasm, information and technology, we would like to underscore the importance and necessity of collaborative linkages, especially between FAO and other organizations involved in plant genetic resources work. As may be known already, Zambia is the seat for the Southern African Development Coordinating Conference (SADCC) Regional Gene Bank supported generously by the Nordic countries. We would therefore be pleased to see strong collaborative linkages between FAO and the SADCC Regional Gene Bank.

Mr Chairman - a brief comment on biotechnology and plant genetic resources: here my delegation would like to state that whilst biotechnology is a potential tool in the development of agriculture and food production, due consideration must be given to the concepts of applied research and/or farming systems which address issues of small-scale farmers - especially in the light of limited resources.

We therefore welcome the recommendation in paragraph 103, "that emphasis should be put on training scientists and technicians of developing countries in the use of appropriate technologies, especially biotechnologies, so as to ensure the effective transfer and utilization of such knowledge".

The important thing is that such training will no doubt give the necessary and appropriate orientation to scientists and technicians in developing countries so as to enable them to achieve the desired goals.

In conclusion, my delegation would like to commend the Commission for the good work it continues to do.

Benson Crispus MBOGOH (Kenya): My delegation commends the Secretariat for this report. As a member of both the Commission and the Working Group, and having participated in all the sessions leading to the report before the Council today, my delegation has no difficulties in endorsing the report. I should, however, wish to make some comments for re-emphasis and elaboration.

The success in undertaking a sustained global action and in achieving meaningful results in this mammoth task of conservation and utilization of the world's genetic resources will depend on a firm acceptance and commitment for a firm but flexible international undertaking by the world's users and donors of genetic resources, including farmers and breeders, governments and the private sector. We, however, feel that there are too many unknowns at this stage to upgrade this undertaking to a legally-binding code.

On the international fund, we are in favour of the funds being initially established from voluntary contributions.

The proposal for a technical conference and preparation of a global plan of action on plant genetic resources reflects the first serious international resolve to embark on a sound and sustainable use of the world's genetic resources. We support these proposals. The most logical starting point for any plan of action is stock-taking. We therefore view the proposal for determining the state of the world's genetic resources by a group of experts a logical step in the overall process of drawing up a comprehensive plan of action. Resources should thus be made available for the Conference to facilitate the preparation of this global plan. In constituting the group of experts, we would wish to see a broad-based composition of the group to ensure equitable representation of the developed and developing regions.

Regarding the plan of action itself, my delegation notes the very helpful specific recommendations that have been made as to the possible elements that may be incorporated in the plan of action. Given the weight and importance of this undertaking, my delegation would wish to see a more systematic and pragmatic approach to the evolution of this global plan of action. We would suggest that the Secretariat be mandated to prepare an indicative proposal providing a broad framework of the issues to be addressed including the elements, the scope and the strategy of the global action envisaged, to provide a basis for more detailed discussion by the Conference.

While it is premature at this stage to go into the details of the plan of action, it may be noted from the report that the Third World countries stand to benefit less from the improved mechanisms for the use of genetic resources due to their lack of biotechnological capacities. The global plan of action in this regard should elaborate in more specific terms practical measures to be applied in strengthening the scientific capacities, and in particular the biotechnological capabilities, to enable them to participate and benefit more fully from the products of biotechnology.

Finally, my delegation welcomes and supports the proposed arrangements for the conservation and exchange of germplasm, especially the establishment of a global network of genebanks with FAO playing a major central coordinating role. Kenya is one of the few countries to make available a facility at the disposal of FAO for genetic resource conservation purposes, as a clear demonstration of its support. It is, however, important to clear any potential ambiguities that may exist or may be perceived in respect of some conflicting claims to rights pertaining to access to and transfers of germplasm and technology as well as the broader issues of sovereignty over genetic resources which could complicate or even frustrate the implementation of the global system on genetic resource utilization.

Tommie SJÖBERG (Sweden): On this agenda item, I have the pleasure of speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries: Denmark, Norway and Sweden. On behalf of our delegations, I would like to express our appreciation of the fact that the question of biodiversity and genetic resources has been given continued attention in the overall work of FAO. In this way, FAO has focused on the necessity of further strengthening activities pertaining to biodiversity and to collection and exchange of genetic resources for scientific purposes and use in breeding programmes in order to improve agricultural development and food security. Furthermore, FAO has focused worldwide attention on the most important subject of conservation of genetic resources to ensure their availability for future generations. This gives evidence of the important role FAO continues to play in this area; namely, to promote international cooperation and to ensure that all nations are in a position to explore the benefits of genetic resources in a sustainable way.

As is well known, UNEP will attempt to produce a draft of a global convention on biological diversity in time for approval by the 1992 UN Conference on the Environment and Development in Brazil. Although there is general agreement on the need for a global instrument on biodiversity, there are many views on the basic principle of such an instrument. In the opinion of the Nordic countries, FAO could play an important role in this context, since the Organization has got special competency in balancing the aspects of production and protection. The Council has recommended that the question of transforming with appropriate revision the international undertaking into a legally-binding instrument - be considered. It was particularly mentioned that this could be made in the form of a protocol on the global convention on biological diversity that is presently being negotiated within the framework of UNEP and includes cooperation with the FAO. At the meeting of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources, it was observed that FAO's experience in developing various elements of the global system of plant genetic resources might be of great value in the formulation and negotiation of a global legal instrument on biological diversity. Nevertheless, it was generally felt that it was premature to transform the international undertaking which is part of the global system into a binding legal instrument. To date, more than 100 countries are members of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources. Almost 100 countries have so far adhered to the undertaking. Progress has been made in resolving issues where there has been divergence of opinion. As it now stands, the provisions of the undertaking and its annexes seem to satisfy the concerns of almost all countries. Since there is an agreement on the principles and the wording of the undertaking and its annexes, it is, in the opinion of the Nordic countries, difficult to understand why the transformation of relevant parts of the undertaking into a binding legal instrument should be seen as premature. In the views of the Nordic countries, there are clear links between a legal instrument on biodiversity and the activities performed within the framework of the undertaking. We have made clear that the bio-diversity convention should cover both wild and domesticated species. The latter ones are already dealt with from the conservation and sustainable use perspectives by the undertaking. Against this background, the Nordic countries suggested in the negotiations on the biodiversity convention as well as in the preparatory committee of the onset and at the meetings of CPGR and COAG that the global system for plant genetic resources be presented in a document to the negotiations on biodiversity as

a technical input. That document should also give options for linkages and connections between the global diversity convention and the global system on plant genetic resources. In our opinion, the closest connection would be the translation of the undertaking into a protocol of the convention with appropriate modifications and put in line with such convention.

Agriculture and forestry will have to play a major role in maintaining the biodiversity of the planet. FAO has primary responsibility for the conservation and sustainable use of biological and genetic diversity of interest in agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Also, big-scale agriculture and forestry will have to be carried out in a way that will not impoverish the biological richness and diversity of our only one earth. That is a priority task for the global convention on biodiversity. In order to maintain and utilize the world's biodiversity, it is of utmost importance that production-related and conservation-related interests can meet and develop constructive solutions. In this context, we all can benefit from the comparative advantage of our organization.

Adel El-SARKI (Egypt) (Original language Arabic): In the name of God, the Compassionate and Merciful.

My delegation has examined the document under discussion and we wish to commend the effort put into its preparation. In fact, my country actively participated as a full member in the fourth session of the Commission held in April 1991.

Page 61 of the document CL 99/16, the Arabic version, contains the Draft Resolution relating to Annex 3 to the International Undertaking. It is the view of my delegation that the brackets in paragraph 1 of that draft should remain unchanged. This also applies to paragraph 4 of the Draft Resolution.

In conclusion, my delegation wishes to support an invitation to FAO to convene the 4th International Technical Conference, as referred to in paragraph 23 of the report. It is our hope that the Conference will have as one of its objectives the preparation of a report on the state of the world's genetic resources, as well as determining the financing and the terms of reference of the International Fund for the Conservation of Genetic Resources.

Paul ARES (Canada): Canada appreciates the opportunity to comment on the report of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources, particularly in view of the fact that, like the United States, it was the first time as a full-fledged member.

I will be very brief and focus only on what we believe are key outstanding issues. We wish to reiterate Canada's position regarding the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources, in particular those issues that relate to the Draft Resolution that the Commission has referred to this Council.

We feel that a balance is necessary between access to technology and access to Genetic Resources. Unrestricted resources could be linked to assistance for accessing technologies, and we agree that this could be facilitated through an international fund. We do not oppose the concept of sovereignty of a nation over its genetic resources. We believe, however, that the concept of genetic resources being the common heritage of all humanity should take precedence over the claims of an individual country.

Canada does not favour any restrictions on free access to genetic resources contained within genebanks or in an undeveloped condition for research or breeding purposes. However, the access to germplasm should not be extended to include germplasm in the research or developmental stages, for example, in the hands of plant breeders. This is the only limitation that we see to the free flow of plant genetic resources.

We do agree, however, that unrestricted access to plant genetic resources should be the cornerstone of the international consensus on the conservation and use of plant genetic resources so that plant breeders around the world can share in the possibility of creating the new plant varieties and plant products necessary for human welfare. Unrestricted access also helps to ensure the adequate preservation of genetic resources through safety duplication of germplasm samples. Canada had hoped that the recent meeting of the Commission would have clarified the issue of unrestricted access to plant genetic resources.

Canada is pleased to have joined the Commission. It has not however signed the Undertaking at this time, mainly because we would wish to have reassurance that plant breeders' lines under development be available at the discretion of breeders only and that there be a clear affirmation of unrestricted access to underdeveloped plant genetic resources for research and breeding purposes.

With this proviso in mind, Canada is prepared to join a working group of Council members to discuss the wording in certain paragraphs in the Draft Resolution.

Another issue of concern to Canada relates to the consideration that has been given to the possible broadening of the mandate of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources to include animal genetic resources.'Canada would not see major advantages to broadening the mandate and indeed would have some serious difficulties.

Also, while acknowledging the lead role of UNEP on the global negotiations on a Convention on Biodiversity, my delegation would like to encourage the Secretariat to continue providing support to the process.

Finally, Canada would like to close on this item by indicating its support for the holding of an international technical conference to look at the state of the world's plant genetic resources and a global Plan of Action.

Ricardo VELAZQUEZ HUERTA (México): Toda vez que se trata de un asunto al cual Mexico le otorga una gran atención por su enorme importancia, deseamos precisar algunos aspectos de nuestra posición ya sostenida en el seno de la

reunión de la Comisión la que, por otra parte, a nuestro juicio, significa un avance de consideración en el trabajo sobre la inserción de los recursos fitogenéticos al desarrollo ágrícola y a la seguridad alimentaria.

Nuestro país en esa ocasión propuso dar mandato a la Secretaría para iniciar el Programa sobre el Estado de los Recursos Fitogenéticos en el Mundo. Entendemos que ha transcurrido mµy poco tiempo desde la celebración de la reunión en abril, sin embargo, nos gustaria saber si existe algún avance en este aspecto.

Habiendo apoyado la propuesta de realizar la Cuarta Conferencia Técnica a fines de 1993, esperamos que este Consejo apruebe su celebración.

Por lo que se refiere a la posibilidad de que el Comproroiso Internacional sobre Recursos Fitogenéticos se transforme en un acuerdo juridico vinculante, tal como lo expresa el párrafo 81, reiteramos aqui nuestra posición de considerar prematura esta transformación; ello sin dejar de reconocer los esfuerzos de la FAO y de la Comisión en la negociación respecto de la Comisión sobre Diversidad Biológica. Consideramos este esfuerzo importante y necesario y agradecemos a ambos órganos su tarea.

Los párrafos del 84 al 88, hacen mención al Proyecto del Código Internacional de Conducta para la recolección y transferencia del germoplasma vegetal. Este Código nos parece un texto valioso que servirá de guia, necesaria guía desde hace mucho tiempo, para el desarrollo de las actividades en esta materia.

Insistimos en la necesidad de que en él se incluya con precisión y claridad la afirmación de la soberanía de los Estados sobre los recursos fitogenéticos y que se excluya el término de custodia, a pesar de que la definición tiene un carácter no vinculante y voluntario del Consejo.

Respecto de los acuerdos de cooperación entre la FAO y el CIRF, expresamos con satisfacción el desarrollo de las acetones concretas que se han alcanzado y, asímismo, reiteramos el apoyo que nuestro Gobierno dará al Centro Regional del CIRF, que se ha trasladado de Washington a nuestro país.

México estima, respecto al Fondo Internacional de Recursos Fitogenéticos, que éste tiene una importancia troncal para la operacion del Programa, y lo consideramos como un instrumento práctico de beneficio directo y que él propiciará la cooperación entre los países en desarrollo encaminada a la conservación y utilización de los recursos fitogenéticos dirigidos a un desarrollo sostenible.

Por último, señor Presidente, deseamos expresar que respâldaremos cualquier iniciativa tendiente al aprovechamiento sostenido de estos recursos, pero no creemos necesario que se les clasifique como patrimonio común de la humanidad, ya que ello entrañaria problemas jurídicos fundamentales, difidles de resolver, lo cual nos lleva a sostener las reservas que hemos expresado con anterioridad.

Por nuestra parte, deseamos expresar una especial felicitación a la FAO por su trabajo en este tema.

Sra. María Concepción VIANA DEL BARRIO (Venezuela): Como primer punto, quisiéramos agradecer y felicitar a la Secretaría de la FAO, tanto por el documento que nos ha presentado como por la labor que ha realizado hasta el momento y augurarnos porque en un futuro se fortalezca dicha Secretaria para poder ampliar sus funciones y para poder continuar el camino que ha iniciado.

En cuanto a los temas tratados dentro del documento y en las reuniones previas del Comité, queremos solamente hacer comentarios sobre unos pocos puntos. El primero es que estamos de acuerdo y apoyamos la idea, ya manifestada en esta sala, por las delegaciones de Madagascar, Zambia y Kenya, en cuanto a la necesidad de ayudar a los países en desarrollo para la formación de sus recursos humanos. Consideramos que esta es la única ocasión y la única oportunidad que tienen estos países para poder utilizar y permitir la utilización de las biotecnologías de una manera adecuada para poder aprovecharlas al máximo.

Como segundo punto, queremos apoyar la celebración de la Cuarta Conferencia de Técnicos sobre Recursos Fitogenéticos y la posibilidad de que en esa Conferencia se termine de concretar la elaboración del documento sobre el balance de los recursos fitogenéticos mundiales.

Tercer punto. En cuanto al sacrificar, por decirlo de alguna manera, la conservación in situ o la conservación ex situ por la contraria, estariamos en la posición de que cualquier solución que se tome debe estar supeditada al análisis y a la evaluación de cual de las dos sería la más conveniente. En los casos en los que la conservación in situ sea preferible a la conservación ex situ se debería utilizar ésta, y viceversa.

Como cuarto punto, hablaríamos acerca de la soberanía como concepto a ser incluido en todos aquellos temas que tengan que ver con los recursos fitogenéticos de cualquier tratado o convenio. Es una idea que debería de incluirse ya que estaría en contrapartida con aquellas limitaciones que se están imponiendo a los accesos a las líneas mejoradas.

Como último punto, queríamos dar una información al Consejo acerca de la creación mediante Deereto Presidencial en octubre del año pasado, del Centro de Recursos Fitogenéticos. Estariamos en condiciones de solicitar a la FAO colaboración de tipo técnico para poder llevar a cabo' de una manera palpable la creación de este Centro.

Natigor SIAGIAN (Indonesia): The Commission on Plant Genetic Resources in its Fourth Session recommended for the Council's consideration many important issues covering a wide range of matters on Plant Genetic Resources. As stated by the Committee, the time is ripe for them to exercise the coordinating and monitoring role provided for in its mandate in order to assure the comprehensiveness and efficiency of the Global System for the conservation and utilization of plant genetic resources and to allow the optimal use of the currently available resources, and those expected to become available in the near future.

My delegation is pleased to note that a great deal of progress had been made on plant genetic resources activities. However, much remains to be done. In this connection we underline the support of COAG that FAO convene a Fourth International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources and that the first "State of the World's Plant Genetic Resources" and the Global Plan of Action for Plant Genetic Resources be developed as part of the preparatory process. We do believe that his forum will also be valuable to discuss the strategies and methodologies for the in situ conservation of genetic resources..

As conveyed to the Committee, we wish to reiterate that the principle of nations' sovereign rights over plant genetic resources in their territories is vital, and therefore this should be stated in each of the relevant international agreements.

With regard to the Commission's view of the Draft Resolution (paragraph 31) proposed as a new Annex 3 to the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources, my delegation is of the view that the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources is the appropriate technical fora to discuss this matter, bearing in mind that a lot of consideration, mostly in technical terms, should be carefully given to the text, as well as its substantive modifications.

My delegation notes the Committee's view regarding the need for careful coordination, especially at the international level, as stated in paragraph 36 of the report.

My delegation welcomes the wish to strengthen coordination works among the FAO's subordinary bodies. However, in the context of preparatory work for the UNCED, we note that the UN General Assembly had agreed that the UNCED preparatory committee be mandated to implement its leading role in coordinating all preparatory works.

We support the committee recommendation that increased efforts be made to help build up and strengthen the national and local institutes involved in conservation programmes and activities. We agree that the training of national expert personnel in the countries in which the resources to be conserved occurred, is an absolute priority.

As had been conveyed to the Commission, Indonesia offered its full collaboration in the establishment of well-focused pilot-scale activities on in situ conservation within the framework of activities coordinated by the Commission. As informed, these pilot schemes might serve as focal points for the development of regional in situ networks for various categories of priority species.

With regard to legal arrangements with a view to the establishment of an International Network on Base Collections in Gene Banks under the auspices of FAO, we wish to reiterate our statement at the Commission session that Indonesia confirmed its earlier acceptance under a Type D agreement for an initial period of five years. My delegation joins the Commission in welcoming the signing of M.O.U. on Programme Cooperation between FAO and IBPGR. It is our hope that the strengthening of this important cooperation will assist them in enhancing their services to member countries.

With regard to FAO future programmes on plant genetic resources, we support the recommendation that FAO strengthen its programmes and its activities on the conservation and use of plant genetic resources in less developed member countries.

With regard to the last Council's request that this Commission consider the question of widening its mandate so as to also include animal genetic resources in a single conceptional approach, my delegation takes note of the recommendation of the 11th Session of COAG that an expert consultation be convened by FAO to assist FAO in making a more informed judgement on this issue. On the question of transforming of the International Undertaking, we note the view as stated in paragraph 111 of the COAG Report.

We note with attention the Commission's suggestion that the Secretariat prepare a report for its next session defining the legal significance of the terms "national sovereignty", "free access does not mean free of charge", and "exchange of mutually-agreed terms", etc. We look forward to the Secretariat response on this matter.

We underline the view of the Commission on the urgent need to train the scientists and technicians of the developing countries in the use of biotechnologies.

Finally, my delegation wishes to take note of paragraph 107 of the Report. We are fully aware of the importance of having a further discussion and elaboration of various aspects of the Code of Conduct on Biotechnology, and as the Commission's view we should honour the "step-by-step" approach in solving the above matter. Therefore we welcome the possibility of FAO to organize an expert consultation in this regard.

C.B. HOUTMAN (Netherlands): Thank you Mr Chairman, I will be short. The Netherlands appreciates the attention of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources. Regarding the technical conference, the Netherlands has in principle a positive attitude toward such a conference. Cooperation in this respect with IBPGR and CGIAR is very much welcomed. As the required budget is estimated in some US$3 million we need to have more information for our final position, but in principle Mr Chairman we support the idea.

Another thing. We would like to know what the state of the art is of the general inventory which is on plant genetic resources, an inventory that is known in the wording of establishing the global state of it. Such an inventory seems to be prerequisite for the initiation of an early warning system for plant genetic resources. Toward such a system we also have a positive attitude, but as said, for the conference we need some more information, how it will be established, how it is going to operate and what the finance will be that it requires. That was my whole statement.

LE PRESIDENT: Avant defaireune proposition concernant le projet de resolution, je vais demander à Monsieur de Haen de bien vouloir répondre aux différentes interventions et aux questions precises qui ont été posées.

H. de HAEN (Assistant Director-General, Agriculture Department): Ladles and gentlemen, first of all thank you for your very helpful comments. You made the work easy for us because you asked very few questions, but having the floor I may give some clarifications.

Let me first of all note the unanimous approval for the convening of a Fourth Technical International Conference; 1 should say also unanimous. You asked for some more clarification but I note that most of you have supported the idea of this Conference, and in the course of preparing the Conference, the preparation of the State of the World Plant Genetic Resources as well as of a Plan of Action. We note the indication of support for this Conference by, in particular, the United States of America and Germany, and we have sensed some indication by Australia although we were not quite clear what you meant by your "readiness to participate". Did it mean in person or with financial resources? Of course, the latter would be very much appreciated; the first is evident in any case.

We note that several delegates reminded us to concentrate our efforts on genetic resources of relevance for agriculture, forestry and fishery, and we can state that this is in line with our current activities anyway. In this context several delegates, in particular the delegates of Congo, Australia, Japan and Venezuela, mentioned the distinction between in situ and ex situ conservation, and some, in particular the delegate of Japan, raised some concern as regards FAO's activities in in situ conservation. Let me just try to clarify, but it is also written in the report, that in situ conservation has various forms. One is ecosystem in situ conservation which deals with the inter-species system of plant genetic resources, and it is here where other organizations including IUCN and UNEP are very active, and FAO is - and this you seem to have suggested to us anyway - is less active here. But the other components of in situ conservation where FAO is more active and understands its mandate also to concentrate on, is conservation of genetic intra-species diversity and conservation of resources of breeds and varieties of the same species, and this may relate to wild relatives of cultivated species but relatives, and our Forestry Department has a substantial programme in this regard. But it also relates to the conservation and better utilization of endangered breeds, traditional varieties and so on as part of farming systems, and here although it is difficult to delineate whether this is genetic resource conservation or generally work on farming systems, it is here where we understand our mandate in the field of in situ conservation of genetic resources related to farming systems development.

The delegate of the United Kingdom raised some concern that we may have duplication of work. May I refer to paragraph 19 of the report in which we indicate that we will carefully avoid duplication of work and try to cooperate as closely as possible with other organizations.

The delegates of the United States of America and of Japan mentioned the Codes of Conduct and in particular the United States recommended that we speak of guidelines rather than codes of conduct. We just want to underline that we understand codes of conduct as voluntary rules of conduct, and so far even a code of conduct would meet your concern as we understand It. By the very nature of a code of conduct it is something to which voluntary commitment is requested. You said that the use of the word "code of

conduct" would imply a danger to be prevented. If we agree that there are at least risks involved in false collection of germplasm or in false misuse of biotechnology, then we could probably agree that a code of conduct would be appropriate, and the name be it guidelines or code of conduct is maybe of secondary order, but the prevention of risks is certainly one of the objectives of these codes.

By the way, the 1989 FAO Conference endorsed the preparation of Codes of Conduct for both the collection of germplasm as well as for biotechnology insofar as the plant genetic resources are affected.

A few final remarks regarding the intervention of Mexico. You ask for the state of progress so far in preparing the state of the world's plant genetic resources. I am sorry to say that state of advancement is not very encouraging and this is why we are indicating that we need extra-budgetary funds and that the preparation of the international conference would be important to be funded as well as the conference itself, because it is the preparation and the funds for it which would allow to advance the preparation of this state of the world's plant genetic resources. This is at the same time in answer to the question of the distinguished delegate of The Netherlands.

In this context some of you urged the Secretariat to strengthen the group dealing with plant genetic resources. This question, or the answer to it, I would like to refer to my colleague Mr Shah, but I can say directly that we have some encouraging signs that we would be able to strengthen the Secretariat both through extra-budgetary funding on a temporary basis but also through relocation of staff and through filling of vacant posts, so we have reason to be a little bit more optimistic although the task of preparing a full fledged state of the world's plant genetic resources is huge, and I think we should not be so optimistic to say that after a few years this state and this inventory will be final and complete. But we are optimistic that we shall be able to report to you on one of your next sessions about substantial progress in this direction.

EL PRESIDENTE: Quisiéramos también agradecer al Grupo de trabajo que se reunió en diciembre del año 90 y tambiéíi en àbril de 1991, con la presidencia del Sr. Di Mottola, que es el Presidente del Comité de Finanzas. Ese grupo de trabajo hizo una labor muy provechosa para la Comisión. Quisiera dar las gracias a todos cuantos participaron en ese Grupo de trabajo.

En conclusion nous pouvons nous railier à l’ ensemble des recommandations de la Commission des ressources phytogénétiques, et le débat qui a eu lieu reflète très bien les diverses opinions exprimées lors des travaux de la Commission.

Ils nous reste un point assez important sur lequel il serait souhaitable d'essayer d'arriver à une conclusion. II s'agit du projet de resolution: Annexe 3 à l’Engagement international sur les ressources phytogénétiques, qui devrait pouvoir être sounds à la Conference. Il existe six propositions de modifications dont certaines ne paraissent pas presenter de difficultés insurmontables.

Après avoir recueilli l'avis d'un certain nombre de délégués, je propose la formule suivante que je soumets à votre appréciation:

Il s'agirait de constituer un petit groupe de travail, le plus réduit possible que je pourrai présider si vous le désirez et qui s, 'appellerait "les amis du President" (s'il s'agissait des ennemis, ils seraient peut-être plus nombreux...). On ne fera de travail utile que dans la mesure où le groupe sera relativement réduit. Je ne suis pas un spécialiste, comme l’a très bien souligné Madame la représentante de la Pologne, dans ce domaine, mais j'ai eu l’occasion de consulter des spécialistes. Un certain nombre de pays semblent s'intéresser à la question. Je ne voudrais pas qu'on ait une réunion entièrement fermée, mais je ne voudrais pas non plus qu'elle soit entièrement ouverte. Si elle est trop ouverte on risque de ne pas pouvpir conclure. Nous n'avons pas de décision à prendre mais dans ce groupe d'amis du Président, on pourrait faire simplement une proposition qui vous serait transmise et que vous transmettriez à votre tour à la Conférence où l’ensemble des pays, y compris les pays qui ne sont pas membres du Conseil, pourraient faire leurs commentaires et apporter les amendements qu'ils souhaitent.

Je vais vous lire la liste établie à titre indicatif. Que les pays qui ne sont pas cités n'en tirent aucun complexe. Il semblerait que les pays suivants pourraient constituer le groupe d'amis du Président: le Mexique, l'Inde, l'Egypte, le Maroc, le Brésil, le Venezuela, les Etats-Unis d'Amérique, la Suède, l'Allemagne. J'ai entendu que le Canada semble intéressé. L'un ou l'autre pays qui desire participer peut le dire, de façon à avoir un équilibre entre le Groupe des 77 et l’OCDE.

Demain je vous ferai une proposition pour fixer les modalités de la reunion qui aurait lieu avec une interprétation pour que tous puissent s'exprimer dans leur langue. A titre indicatif, cette reunion se tiendrait lundi matin de bonne heure et permettrait de déblayer le terrain. Si les résultats obtenus par ce Groupe sont satisfaisants, cela permettrait de transmettre le projet de résolution à la Conférence avec les avis de notre Conseil. Si les avis sont par trop divergents, il faudrait trouver une autre méthode de travail qui serait de réunir le Groupe de travail en septembre de façon à examiner le problème à la centième session du Conseil pour voir si on peut arriver à un accord avant la Conférence. Mais selon moi il serait mieux d'examiner cette question dans le calme et la sérénité lors de la présente session du Conseil.

En ce qui concerne la date, je ferai demain une proposition. En ce qui concerne la composition, vous pouvez faire les commentaires que vous voulez. Si l'un ou l'autre des pays désire se retirer ou si l'un ou l'autre pays désire s'ajouter, il va de soi que les suggestions sont les bienvenues.

Je consulte le Conseil et je demande à tous les membres de faire parvenir leuravis dès maintenant.

E. Wayne DENNEY (united States of America): Of course, we supported the idea at the outset of convening such a Contact group. We would be interested, but if there is concern about the United States versus Canada, we would be glad to defer to Canada.

A concern that I would have - certainly the idea of convening the Working Group of the Commission we would not support in any event because we believe the Working Group must report to the Commission rather than to Council or Conference. Several countries appeared to not want to have that happen at this meeting - Indonesia, and perhaps others. I would like to know if there were a successful agreement reached by the Working Group, if those countries who appeared to object or not want that to happen, might be in a position to go along with it should agreement be reached.

LE PRESIDENT: Je remercie le représentant des Etats-Unis. Il va de soi que si l'on parvient à un accord, cet accord peut être remis en cause par le Conseil. On constatera qu'il y a un certain nombre de réserves, ce qui permettra de tirer des conclusions.

Je suis de l'avis du représentant des Etats-Unis que ce serait une mauvaise méthode de confier au Groupe de travail, qui doit référer à la Commission, le soin de pousser plus avant. Mais comme il y a des possibilités de trouver un accord, si on ne le trouve pas on sera dans la position que nous connaissons, et à ce moment-là on réfléchira sur ce qu'il y a lieu de faire. Mais je crois qu'il est utile d'essayer d'obtenir cet accord, qui ne préjuge pas de l’opinion des membres du Conseil qui ne feraient pas partie de ce Groupe informel.

En ce qui concerne la composition de ce groupe, je suggère que le Canada prenne contact avec les Etats-Unis. Il n'est pas souhaitable que ce groupe ait 48 ou 49 membres. Il s'agirait d'un petit groupe informel qui tirerait des conclusions informelles qui seraient soumises au Conseil.

Paul ARES (Canada): I will consult with my colleagues from the United States so there will be one representative from North America on the "Group of Friends" Committee.

Sra. Mercedes FERMIN GOMEZ (Venezuela): Señor Presidente, nos sentimos muy honrados por su distinción para incorporarnos en ese grupo. Creemos que es una decisión útil, porque en los "petits" comités es posible expresarse con la mayor libertad que no hay en las limitaciones de un foro grande, donde siempre es necesario restringir el tiempo y se pueden decir las cosas con mayor libertad con relación a los puntos dudosos o a aquellos en los que puedan existir diferencias respecto a otras posiciones. Por eso me parece muy acertada la idea del señor Presidente. Sería cuestión de que él decidiera cuándo puede reunirse el grupo. Por lo que respecta a Venezuela, estamos decididos a asistir y creemos que podemos apoyar su decisión.

EL PRESIDENTE: A propósito de la fecha, quisiera que usted me dé la oportunidad de reflexionar con el Sr. Alessi para ver el problema de la traduceión. Normalmente podriamos tener esa pequeña reunion el lunes por la mañana, por ejemplo. Creo que hay un especialista de Suecia que debe venir y que estaria aqui el lunes por la mañana. De todas maneras, lo diré mañana por la tarde, para que ustedes lo sepan muy bien y a tiempo.

Je vous fais maintenant la suggestion que j'ai faite ce matin que nous consacrions demain dès le matin l’ensemble de nos travaux à l'examen du point le plus important parmi les plus importants, le Sommaire du Programme de travail et budget 1992-93, point 19 de notre ordre du jour. Nous nous retrouverions demain matin à 9 h 30 précises. L'examen de ce point sera poursuivi durant la neuvième séance plénière et très vraisemblablement durant la dixième séance plénière, avec pour mémoire, si nous terminons relativement à temps, le début des travaux du Comité des pêches. Mais vraisemblablement le point 19 de notre ordre du jour prendra l’ensemble de la journée de demain.

The meeting rose at 17.45 hours
La séance est levée à 17 h 45
Se levanta la sesión a las 17.45 horas

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