Activities Related to Environment and Sustainable Development
Revision of the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources
International Code of Conduct for Plant Germplasm Collection and Transfer
90. The Conference noted the multiple demands placed on governments, intergovernmental organizations - including FAO - and on the private sector by the outcome of, and follow-up to, UNCED. The Conference stressed that these demands called for active cooperation among all parties in the implementation of UNCED agreements, in order to develop synergies and ensure concerted and efficient action, thus avoiding duplication of efforts.
91. The Conference noted with concern the lack of new and additional resources for the implementation of Agenda 21 and other agreements of the Rio Summit, coupled with an overall decrease in Official Development Assistance (ODA) after UNCED. The Conference stressed the need for a global partnership in the implementation of Agenda 21 and renewed commitment to the objectives of sustainable development by all Members. The Conference requested the Organization to cooperate closely with funding sources, such as the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) Capacity 21, to mobilize financial resources for the sustainable development of food, agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors. The Conference also urged that Regular Programme resources be reallocated to UNCED follow-up.
92. Considering the broad spectrum of activities involving FAO in the follow-up to UNCED, the Conference agreed with the proposed areas of concentration of the Organization in the implementation of Agenda 21. The Conference was informed that FAO had been designated "Task Manager" to promote cooperation within the UN system in the areas of Agenda 21 within its core mandate, and agreed that the International Cooperative Programme Framework for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (ICPF/SARD) and its twelve Special Action Programmes should facilitate the role of the Organization in exercising this function in the key areas of Agenda 21 under its responsibility: Chapter 10, Land Use; Chapter 11, Forests; Chapter 13, Mountains; and Chapter 14, SARD.
93. The Conference was apprised of the additional reporting requirements placed on the Organization as Task Manager in view of the multi-year thematic programme of review by the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) on progress in the implementation of Agenda 21. In spite of this added burden on limited resources, the Conference considered that it was essential that FAO continue to lend its full cooperation to the CSD in ensuring full support for the implementation of the relevant provisions of the UNCED decision, as well as in the comprehensive reporting and adequate monitoring of UNCED follow-up. The Conference further requested that a report be presented to the Council at its November 1994 session on FAO cooperation with the CSD, in particular in its role as Task Manager in the implementation of Agenda 21.
94. The Conference, noting the important role that FAO had as Task Manager for Chapter 11 of Agenda 21, Combating Deforestation, recommended that the Forestry Department be given adequate resources to this effect. It requested the Organization to pursue actively the promotion and coordination of the Tropical Forests Action Programme (TFAP) so as to report further progress to the CSD in 1995.
95. The Conference recommended that FAO take a lead role in the preparatory process for the implementation of the "non-legally binding authoritative statement of principles for a global consensus on the management, conservation and development of all types of forests", cooperating closely with other partner organizations, so that effective progress could be reported to the 1995 session of the CSD. The Conference welcomed a proposal, subject to the availability of resources, for a meeting of ministers or high-level officials responsible for forest matters in connection with the next Committee on Forestry (COFO) to provide contributions to the CSD review, based on preparations in the regional forest commissions. The Conference requested the Director-General to prepare, before the next regular Session of the Council, a report containing concrete proposals for a strengthening of the normative role of FAO on forest sustainable management and its cooperative role in the UNCED follow-up. The report should address, inter alia, the following issues: the building of a close partnership between CSD and FAO in support of the implementation of the UNCED decisions; the establishment of a continuous mutual dialogue between FAO through COFO and relevant intergovernmental bodies; measures to secure active involvement in the FAO work on forestry by ministers and/or high-level government decision-makers; measures to improve the contributions of the FAO regional forestry commissions to the follow-up of the UNCED decisions; the possible creation of an ad hoc mechanism within the framework of FAO to provide advice on sustainable management of forests; continuous monitoring and assessment of the status of world forests, including the establishment of the proposed intergovernmental panel of experts, in forest resource assessment and monitoring; ways to integrate forestry issues into existing programmes in agriculture, where possible and appropriate. The Conference was advised by the Secretariat that the implementation of these proposals carried additional budgetary implications estimated at approximately US$202 000 from the Regular Programme US$47 000 from extra-budgetary sources, none of which were included in the Programme of Work and Budget for 1994-95.
96. The Conference was informed about the contributions made by the Organization to preparations for the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (Barbados, April 1994), and expressed its concern that the draft Action Programme before the Global Conference did not give adequate consideration to sustainable development in the food, agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors. Therefore, the Conference urged Members involved to convey their concern to the Global Conference and requested the Secretariat to assist in ensuring that key elements for the food and agriculture sectors for sustainable development be incorporated in the Action Programme.
97. The Conference, noting FAO's important mandate in the area of plant and animal genetic resources, urged that sufficient resources be provided to enable the effective management and coordination of FAO's two Special Action Programmes on Plant and Animal Genetic Resources to properly assist Members.
98. The Conference recommended that the Organization further promote the Integrated Pest Management System (IPM) and the Integrated Plant Nutrition Systems (IPNS), assess the benefits of organic farming and encourage the production of healthy foods. The related aspects of waste recycling and renewable sources of energy were emphasized. The exchange of experience on environmentally-sound technologies, training and raising awareness were identified as key areas to implement SARD, in particular through cooperation with the NGOs.
99. The Conference underlined the need for appropriate information systems for decision-making for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD) and requested the Organization to further develop the use of combined Geographic Information Systems (GIS), statistical data and other information to facilitate the task of policy analysts and planners. There was also a need for the Organization to keep abreast of scientific advances with regard to environmental changes and to promote research on environment-friendly technologies, in cooperation with national and international agricultural research systems.
100. The Conference stressed the importance of promoting the International Cooperative Programme Framework for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (ICPF/SARD) and assisting Members in the transition towards sustainable development. It was recognized that there was a need for the Organization to further work in the development of indicators and methods for sustainability analysis and assessment. It requested the Organization to elaborate guidelines for SARD and to assist countries in formulating and improving their strategic planning frameworks, using appropriate tools and sustainability criteria. It also stressed FAO's role in the elaboration and adoption of the International Convention to Combat Desertification. The importance of the People's Participation Programme as a means to involve in the process of change all concerned sectors at national and local level was highlighted.
101. The Conference agreed that appropriate policies and regulatory measures, including incentives and disincentives, would be required to promote sustainable production systems and practices which were in the long term environmentally-sound as well as profitable to primary producers in the short term. It underlined the need for enhanced producer-consumer dialogue in order to stimulate sustainable production and consumption patterns and to improve the quality of food and other products from the agricultural, forestry and fisheries sectors.
102. The Conference recognized that rural poverty was a root cause of environmental degradation. The Conference agreed that both developed and developing countries had substantial roles to play in combating poverty, hunger and malnutrition. It recommended the development of SARD strategies leading to generation and diversification of sources of income with emphasis on the most vulnerable groups in rural communities, ensuring their full participation.
103. The Conference stressed the need for an integrated approach to the management of renewable natural resources, particularly in the case of coastal areas and small islands where there was a continuum between land-based resources and the marine environment. The complementarily between sustainable forestry and sustainable agriculture in rural areas was emphasized, particularly in preventing deforestation, and extension of agriculture and ranching into marginal areas. In this regard, dichotomy between agriculture and environmental institutions should be overcome by encouraging joint and collaborative action at the national and international level.
Revision of the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources
International Code of Conduct for Plant Germplasm Collection and Transfer
104. The Conference expressed strong support for the work of the FAO Commission on Plant Genetic Resources (CPGR) during its ten years of existence and recognized the need to strengthen the Global System and to implement Farmers' Rights. The Conference noted that 140 countries and regional economic integration organizations had formally joined the Global System and China was welcomed as a new member of the CPGR. New Members of FAO were invited to join the Global System and to become members of CPGR. There was general agreement with the recommendations of the Fifth Session of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources.
105. The Conference adopted the following resolution on the revision of the International Undertaking:
Revision of the international undertaking on plant genetic resources
(a) the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in Chapter 14 of its Programme of Action, Agenda 21, recommended that the Global System on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Sustainable Agriculture be strengthened, and that the System should be adjusted to be in line with the outcome of the negotiations of a Convention on Biological Diversity,
(b) the Convention on Biological Diversity, signed at UNCED by 156 governments and the European Communities, covers plant genetic resources, and recognizes that the authority to determine access to genetic resources rests with the national governments, that access to genetic resources shall be subject to the prior informed consent of the Contracting Party providing such resources, unless otherwise determined by that party, and shall be on mutually agreed terms,
(c) the Final Act of the Nairobi Conference for the adoption of the agreed text of the Convention on Biological Diversity, in a resolution on the interrelationship between the Convention on Biological Diversity and the promotion of sustainable agriculture, urged that ways and means should be explored to develop complementarily and cooperation between the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Global System for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Plant Genetic Resources for food and sustainable agriculture, and recognized the need to seek solutions to outstanding matters concerning plant genetic resources,
(d) the Fourth Session of the FAO Commission on Plant Genetic Resources agreed that conditions of access to plant genetic resources needed further clarification,
(a) the importance and urgency of revising the International Undertaking, in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity, on a step-by-step basis, starting with the integration of the Undertaking and its annexes,
(b) the need to ensure fair and equitable sharing of benefits with the countries providing plant genetic resources,
(c) the need to consider agreement on the terms of access to samples of plant genetic resources, including those preserved in ex situ collections, and not addressed by the Convention on Biological Diversity,
(d) the need to realize Farmers' Rights,
(e) the importance of close collaboration, including mutual reporting, in these matters, between the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources and the Governing Body of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Intergovernmental Committee on the Convention on Biological Diversity, as well as the Commission on Sustainable Development;
(a) for the adaptation of the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources, in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity,
(b) for consideration of the issue of access on mutually agreed terms to plant genetic resources, including ex situ collections not addressed by the Convention, as well as
(c) for the issue of realization of Farmers' Rights;
3. Expresses the hope that the process be concluded in time for the FAO International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources; and
4. Suggests that the outcome be submitted to the International Technical Conference and to the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
(Adopted 22 November 1993)
106. It was noted that the Diplomatic Conference, which adopted the text of the Convention on Biological Diversity, recognized, in Resolution 3 of the Nairobi Final Act, that solutions to the matters left outstanding by the Convention (i.e. access to ex situ collections not acquired in accordance with the Convention and the question of Farmers' Rights) should be sought within the FAO Global System. It was requested that the Director-General inform the Intergovernmental Committee for the Convention on Biological Diversity and the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention that the FAO Conference had welcomed Resolution 3 and, in order to respond to it, had adopted the above resolution on the revision of the International Undertaking. The Conference noted the appropriateness of FAO as a forum, and of the process which FAO had initiated to address these matters.
107. It was noted that the revision of the Undertaking and other preparations for the Fourth International Technical Conference, including the proposed preparation of the first State of the World Plant Genetic Resources report and costed Global Plan of Action, should be regarded as integral parts of one process to be carried out under the guidance of the CPGR and its Working Group. It was further noted that they were major components of FAO's contribution to, and role in, implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity and Agenda 21, as well as in making the Global System fully operational. It was agreed that this process should be carried out in close collaboration with the governing body and the secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
108. It was emphasized that the revision of the International Undertaking as well as the issue of access on mutually-agreed terms to plant genetic resources, including ex situ collections not addressed by the Convention on Biological Diversity as well as the issue of realization of Farmers' Rights, would be carried out through a process of intergovernmental negotiations, and that governments should therefore be invited at every stage and throughout the process and that the full participation of the developing countries should be secured. The Conference agreed that the Working Group of the CPGR should meet early in 1994 and an extraordinary session of the CPGR itself should be held in 1994 to begin this negotiating process. The Conference requested that, subject to the availability of the necessary budgetary resources, the meeting of the CPGR be held sufficiently early for it to report to the November 1994 Session of the Council. The Conference requested the Director-General to take all necessary actions to raise extra-budgetary funds and to seek resources from the regular budget to expedite the process and to enable full participation of developing countries.
109. The Conference requested the Director-General to invite the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources (IBPGR) and other International Agricultural Research Centres (IARCS) to provide such technical assistance as may be necessary for the revision of the Undertaking, especially concerning ex situ collections not addressed by the Convention on Biological Diversity.
110. The Conference endorsed the aims and strategy of the Fourth International Technical Conference on PGR and its preparatory process and strongly emphasized its importance. It noted the importance of putting in place a conference secretariat as soon as possible, after having been informed that the Director-General had instructed on 4 October 1993 that a conference secretariat be established. The Conference expressed its gratitude to those countries which had pledged financial support to the International Technical Conference and preparatory process, welcomed the offer of Germany to host the conference in 1996, and appealed to other countries to make contributions. Concern was expressed with the delays in the process, and it was agreed that the preparatory process of the conference be expedited so that the conference could be held in 1996. It was suggested that resources from the Regular Programme be allocated to enable this if necessary.
111. The Conference expressed appreciation of the IARCs' offer to place their collections under the auspices of FAO. The Conference noted that negotiations were continuing with the IARCs on a model agreement, and expressed concern that the negotiations should take fully into account the observations and comments made by the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources, in particular with respect to the role of the CPGR on policy decisions related to these collections, the concept of trusteeship and its possible implication with respect to legal ownership, and that the agreement should be reviewed every four years. The Conference noted that progress on the negotiations would be reported to the Working Group of the CPGR and to the Commission itself.
112. The Conference recommended that the Secretariat of the CPGR be strengthened and the necessary human and financial resources be assigned, inter alia, in order to perform the extensive service to the intergovernmental negotiations for the revision of the undertaking and the issue of access on mutually-agreed terms to plant genetic resources.
113. In this context, the Conference also adopted the following Resolution:
International code of conduct for plant germplasm collecting and transfer
(b) nations have sovereign rights over their plant genetic resources in their territories,
(c) plant genetic resources should be made available for plant breeding
and other scientific purposes of human benefit;
(b) the farmers of the world have, over the millennia, domesticated, conserved, nurtured, improved and made available plant genetic resources, and continue to do so today;
Adopts the Voluntary International Code of Conduct for Plant Germplasm Collecting and Transfer (Appendix E), the overriding purpose of which is to contribute, within the context of the FAO Global System on Plant Genetic Resources, to the conservation and rational use of plant genetic resources for sustainable development by providing broad guidelines for plant germplasm collection and transfer.
(Adopted 22 November 1993)
D. Plan of Action for the Integration of Women into Agricultural and Rural Development: Progress Report
114. The Conference considered the Third Progress Report on the implementation of the Plan of Action for Integration of Women in Development. It noted that the Progress Report was submitted at the request of its Twenty-sixth Session of the FAO Conference and welcomed the information provided in the Progress Report and by delegates on the implementation of both the FAO and national Women in Development (WID) programmes for integration of women in agricultural and rural development.
115. The Conference commended FAO for the significant progress made in the implementation of the Plan of Action. It noted with appreciation that FAO had clearly identified constraints to the implementation of the programme and administrative priorities of the Plan of Action, and had highlighted actions undertaken or planned to counter these constraints.
116. The Conference noted with satisfaction that FAO continued to place a high priority on WID issues, as indicated by the fact that WID was one of five cross-sectoral priorities in the Organization's Medium-term Plan for 1994-99, and one of nine global priorities in the Programme of Work and Budget for 199293 and 1994-95.
117. The Conference acknowledged that the full and equitable participation of women in the development process required changes in attitudes, and that such changes would not occur quickly or easily. It urged FAO and Member Governments to renew and expand their efforts to support the implementation of the Plan of Action.
118. The Conference reiterated its support for the eight programme priorities, but called for the planned review of the Plan of Action to examine the possibility of combining a number of these priorities so as to narrow the scope of the Plan and thereby concentrate scarce resources on obtainable goals. It noted that clearer and more operational goals, with verifiable indicators, would facilitate implementation and monitoring.
119. The Conference stressed the need to expand the Organization-wide efforts to more systematically integrate gender issues into mainstream programme and project activities. It welcomed the progress-to-date in the programme for training FAO Professional staff in gender analysis, and expressed satisfaction that this programme would continue for remaining and new staff. It also stressed the importance of extending this training to the FAO Representatives and the country offices.
120. The Conference noted with satisfaction that FAO was developing the Socio-Economic and Gender Analysis (SEGA) Programme as a follow-up to the gender analysis training workshops, and as a means both to provide Professional staff with the necessary tools to implement the Plan of Action and to expand training to Member Nations. It reaffirmed the fundamental importance of producing usable manuals and guidelines to assist development specialists in integrating gender issues into mainstream programmes and projects.
121. The Conference expressed satisfaction with FAO's intention to establish a Working Group composed of senior-level staff from Divisions with a significant number of WID/gender activities, and divisional level Core Groups on socio-economic and gender issues, in order to facilitate coordination of the implementation of the Plan of Action. It acknowledged that these groups, by virtue of being smaller and more closely involved, would be more effective than the larger Interdepartmental Working Group on Women in Development (IDWG/WID).
122. The Conference stressed the importance of FAO continuing to collaborate with other UN agencies in the implementation of the Plan of Action, such as with the UNDP and the World Bank on the SEGA Programme. However, it urged that this collaboration be expanded to include the World Food Programme (WPF) and other international organizations such the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). FAO should also intensify its collaboration with the nongovernmental organization community, and with research institutes in order to promote WID issues.
123. The Conference urged FAO to expand its support to Member Governments in the areas of policy and legal advice and institutional strengthening. It recognized that these activities were crucial to the Member Nations in building the necessary critical mass and in developing and implementing policies and programmes that would increase women's access to income, extension services, training, technology, productive resources, health and education opportunities, population and nutrition information, management and decision-making positions, and natural resources and environmental conservation information.
124. The Conference reaffirmed the importance of FAO's active involvement in the reorientation of the curricula of home economics and agricultural training in educational institutes in Member Nations. This activity was viewed as a crucial component of efforts to increase rural women's access to information and knowledge available through the relevant extension services, as well as of efforts to raise awareness among rural men of the different needs and responsibilities of women.
125. The Conference underlined the need for FAO to direct increased attention to the needs of rural women, including in the countries in transition in Central and Eastern Europe. In particular, special assistance was required regarding the collection and analyses of data on the rural populations of these European countries, and for the provision of critically-needed management and skills training programmer.
126. The Conference noted that, as a result of the Organization's efforts to increase the recruitment and promotion of women Professional staff, some progress had been achieved. It requested the Organization to continue its efforts to increase the proportion of Professional women staff, especially at the higher grades. This could require innovation in staffing policies and other new mechanisms. The Conference also requested Member Governments to assist in this respect by identifying qualified women candidates from their countries and to encourage them to apply for positions in the Organization in order to expedite progress towards reaching the UN target of 35 percent by 1995.
127. The Conference stressed the need for donor governments to increase their extra-budgetary support for the Organization's coordinating unit, the Women in Agricultural Production and Rural Development Service, especially in view of the Unit's expanded activities relating to the provision of policy advice, the SEGA Training Programme, the needs in Central and Eastern Europe, and the preparatory activities for the Fourth World Conference on Women to be held in Beijing in 1995.
128. The Conference requested the Director-General to present the Fourth
Progress Report on implementing the Plan of Action to the Twenty-eighth
Session of the Conference in 1995.