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SBSTTA 7 Recommendation VII/7
Retired sections:

Agricultural biodiversity

    The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice

[Implementation of the programme of work]

    1. Welcomes the progress made in the implementation of the programme of work, and the contribution of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and other organizations;

    2. Congratulates the United Nations University, the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity on the organization of the Symposium on Managing Biodiversity in Agricultural Ecosystem, held in Montreal from 8 to 10 November 2001;

    3. Recommends that the Conference of the Parties, at its sixth meeting:

    (a) Notes the progress made in the implementation of the programme of work and the need for emphasis and further action, within the context of the programme of work, on:

      (i) The wider understanding of the functions of biodiversity in agro-ecosystems, and the interactions between its various components, at different spatial scales;
      (ii) The promotion of methods of sustainable agriculture that employ management practices, technologies and policies that promote the positive and prevent or mitigate the negative impacts of agriculture on biodiversity, focusing on the needs of farmers and indigenous and local communities, to participate efficiently in the process of meetings those particular goals;
      (iii) Capacity-building in institutions, human resource development, training, communication, education and public awareness. Moreover, funding for the implementation of the programme of work should be reviewed, in the context of decision V/5 of the Conference of the Parties; and
      (iv) Mainstreaming;

    (b) Adopts the proposed steps for the further implementation of the programme of work by the Executive Secretary and partner organizations and the reporting schedule contained in annex I to the present recommendation;

    (c) Invites Parties, other Governments, and relevant organizations to submit case-studies on their experiences with mainstreaming matters related to agricultural biodiversity in their plans, programmes and strategies, to be made available through the clearing house mechanism;

    (d) Considers establishing an International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Soil Biodiversity as a cross-cutting initiative within the programme of work on agricultural biodiversity, taking into account case-studies which may cover the full range of ecosystem services provided by soil biodiversity and associated socio-economic factors, as provided for in programme element 2 of the programme of work, and, inviting the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and other relevant organizations, to facilitate and coordinate this initiative;

    (e) Invites Parties and Governments to provide, one-time thematic reports on the implementation of the programme of work on agricultural biodiversity, prior to the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties;

    (f) Adopts a format for the thematic report on agricultural biodiversity, on the basis of a proposal to be prepared by the Executive Secretary, in consultation with the Bureau of Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, containing an approach that is simple and straightforward to use;

    (g) Requests the Executive Secretary, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, to prepare, in time for consideration by the Conference of the Parties at its the seventh meeting, syntheses of relevant studies and an analysis of gaps and opportunities in the implementation of the programme of work, drawing upon the national thematic reports referred to in subparagraph (e) above, as well as information provided by relevant organizations;

    (h) Continues to encourage Parties and Governments to support the application of the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity for observer status in the Committee on Agriculture of the World Trade Organization, in line with paragraph 9 of decision IV/6 and paragraph 14 of decision V/5, of the Conference of Parties;

[The International Pollinators Initiative]

    Recalling section II of decision V/5 of the Conference of the Parties,

    4. Recommends that the Conference of the Parties, at its sixth meeting:

    (a) Adopts, and periodically Reviews, as appropriate, the plan of action for the International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Pollinators on the basis of annex II to the present recommendation;

    (b) Welcomes the leading role played by the Food and Agriculture Organization in facilitating and coordinating this Initiative;

    (c) Welcomes efforts to establish the African Pollinators Initiative, in the framework of the International Pollinators Initiative;

    (d) Invites Parties and other Governments, and relevant organizations to contribute to the implementation of the International Pollinators Initiative;

    (e) Considers the need for financial resources to enable countries to participate fully in the International Pollinators Initiative;

    [Animal Genetic Resources]

    Considering the importance of animal genetic resources for sustainable agriculture and food security, the serious erosion of these resources, and the need for measures for their conservation and sustainable use,

    5. Recommends that the Conference of the Parties, at its sixth meeting:

    (a) Welcomes the process initiated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations for the preparation of the first Report on the State of World's Animal Genetic Resources, as a contribution to the Convention's programme of work on agricultural biodiversity, as adopted by decision V/5;

    (b) Encourages Parties to participate in the development of the first Report on the State of World's Animal Genetic Resources, in particular through the preparation of country reports;

    (c) Underlines the need for countries to be able to participate fully in the preparatory process for the first report on the state of world's animal genetic resources, and implement follow-up actions identified through the process;

[The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture]

    Recalling resolution 3 of the Nairobi Conference for the Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity, which recognized the need to seek solutions to outstanding matters concerning plant genetic resources within the Global System for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Sustainable Agriculture, in particular, on access to ex situ collections not addressed by the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the question of Farmers' Rights,

    Recalling resolution 7/93 of the twenty-seventh session of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which called for negotiations, through its Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, to revise the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity,

    Recalling also decision II/15 of the Conference of the Parties, which recognized the special nature of agricultural biodiversity, its distinctive features and problems needing distinctive solutions, and declared its support for process engaged in the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, for the adaptation of the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources in harmony with the Convention of Biological Diversity,

    Further Recalling decision V/26 A of the Conference of the Parties, which states that the International Undertaking, once revised, was envisaged to play a crucial role in the implementation of the Convention, and affirms the willingness of the Conference of the Parties to consider a decision by the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations that the International Undertaking become a legally binding instrument with strong links to both the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Convention,

    6. Notes with satisfaction the adoption, by the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on 3 November 2001, of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, as a legally binding instrument;

    7. Recommends that the Conference of the Parties, at its sixth meeting:

    (a) Congratulates the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and its Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, where the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture was negotiated, on successfully completing this important process;

    (b) Recognizes the important role that the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture will have, in harmony with the Convention, for the conservation and sustainable utilization of this important component of agricultural biological diversity, for facilitated access to plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, and for the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of their utilization;

    (c) Appeals to States to give priority consideration to the signature and ratification of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, so that it may enter expeditiously into force;

    (d) Establishes and maintains cooperation with the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture acting as the Interim Committee for the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, and, upon the entry into force of the Treaty, with the Governing Body;

    (e) Requests the Executive Secretary to develop cooperation with the Secretariat of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture acting as the Interim Committee for the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and, upon its establishment, with the Secretariat of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture;

    (f) Requests the Executive Secretary to convey this decision to the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture acting as the Interim Committee for the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.



Annex II

THE INTERNATIONAL INITIATIVE FOR THE CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE USE OF POLLINATORS PLAN OF ACTION

I. CONTEXT

  1. Pollination is an essential ecosystem service that depends to a large extent on symbiosis between species, the pollinated and the pollinator. In many cases, it is the result of intricate relationships between plant and animal, and the reduction and loss of either will affect the survival of both parties. Not all plants depend on animals for pollination. Many plants are wind pollinated, like grasses which form the predominant ground-cover of many ecosystems. Similarly, in agriculture most staple foods are wind pollinated. However, at least one-third of the world's agricultural crops depends upon pollination provided by insects and other animals. Diversity among species, including agricultural crops, depends on animal pollination. Therefore pollinators are essential for diversity in diet and for the maintenance of natural resources. The assumption that pollination is a "free ecological service" is erroneous. It requires resources, such as refuges of natural vegetation. Where these are reduced or lost they become limiting and adaptive management practices are required to sustain livelihoods.
  2. In fact, throughout the world, agricultural production and agro-ecosystem diversity are threatened by declining populations of pollinators. The major contributors to this decline in pollinator populations are, inter alia, habitat fragmentation, agricultural and industrial chemicals, parasites and diseases, and the introduction of alien species.
  3. There are over 25,000 different species of bees, which differ tremendously in size, and a diverse range of plants that they visit and pollinate. Both the diversity of wild plants and the variability of food crops depend on this diversity. Though bees form the most important group of pollinators, other insects such as, butterflies and moths, flies and beetles, and vertebrates such as bats, squirrels, birds and some primates, also contribute. Some plants are visited by many different pollinators, while others have specific requirements. The same applies to the pollinators, some being generalists and others specialists. Therefore, pollination as a science requires detailed investigation, and the technological application of management practices is intricate. In most cases, there is a lack of knowledge about the exact relations between individual plant species and their pollinators, but studies in this field demonstrate that they are often quite specific.
  4. In order to secure sustained pollinator services associated with agricultural ecosystems, far more understanding is needed of the multiple goods and services provided by pollinator diversity and the factors that influence their decline and activity. It is necessary to identify adaptive management practices that minimise negative impacts by humans on pollinators, promote the conservation and diversity of native pollinators, and conserve and restore natural areas necessary to optimize pollinator services in agricultural and other terrestrial ecosystems.
  5. Considering the urgent need to address the issue of worldwide decline of pollinator diversity, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention Biological Diversity established an International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Pollinators in 2000 (decision V/5, section II) and requested the development of a plan of action. The following proposal for a plan of action was prepared by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), consistent with paragraph 16 of decision V/15.

    II. OBJECTIVES AND APPROACH

  6. The aim of the International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Pollinators is to promote coordinated action worldwide to:

      (a) Monitor pollinator decline, its causes and its impact on pollination services;

      1. Address the lack of taxonomic information on pollinators;

      2. Assess the economic value of pollination and the economic impact of the decline of pollination services; and

      3. Promote the conservation and the restoration and sustainable use of pollinator diversity in agriculture and related ecosystems.

  7. The Initiative is to be implemented as a cross-cutting initiative within the programme of work on agricultural biodiversity, with appropriate links to other thematic programmes of work, particularly those on forest biological diversity and the biodiversity of dry and sub-humid lands, and with relevant cross-cutting issues, particularly the Global Taxonomy Initiative and work on invasive alien species. The Initiative provides an opportunity to apply the ecosystem approach.

III. ELEMENTS OF THE PLAN

Element 1. Assessment

Operational objective

    To provide a comprehensive analysis of status and trends of the world's pollinator diversity and of their underlying causes of its decline (including a focus on the goods and services provided by pollinator diversity), as well of local knowledge of its management. The result of the assessments will determine the further activities that are required.

Rationale

    A number of scientific studies and various separate records strongly suggest that the numbers of crop pollinators are declining in many parts of the world. The yields of some crops are diminishing as a result of insufficient pollinators and many specialists, agronomists and fruit growers are concerned about the sharp declines in the numbers of bees in recent years. However, the scarcity of sound data hampers the elaboration of a comprehensive assessment of the status and trends of pollinator diversity, which is needed in order to inform policy change.

    Similarly, a realistic evaluation of the economic value of animal-effected pollination is essential for the efficient planning of the world's agriculture. Existing estimates are contentious. The description and evaluation, in economic terms, of pollinator contributions to agriculture and environmental diversity will improve informed decision making at farm, regional, national and international levels.

    In addition to the "taxonomic impediment" (see element 3), there is also a global "taxonomic deficit," that is, the unacceptably high numbers of bee genera for which identification keys are not available.

Activities

1.1 Monitor the status and trends of pollinators, through:

    (a) The establishment of a global network of cooperators to monitor changes in the diversity, population levels and frequency of pollinators through time in selected areas of the world. The network would share findings and discuss local and global trends in pollinators;

    (b) The implementation of a pilot global monitoring programme in selected areas worldwide;

    (c) The development, assessment and compilation of methods for monitoring pollinators, their diversity and efficiency;

    (d) The progressive development and implementation of a global programme for monitoring pollinator diversity, building upon activities (a), (b) and (c) above.

1.2 Assess the economic value of pollinators, including evaluation, in economic terms, of different crop-pollinator-pollination systems for optimal use of pollinators in sustainable agricultural systems, through economic analysis of data from various crop-pollinator-pollination systems, including those provided through case-studies under element 2.

1.3 Assess the state of scientific and indigenous knowledge on pollinator conservation, in order to identify gaps in knowledge and opportunities for application of knowledge; including:

    (a) Taxonomic knowledge; and

    (b) The knowledge, innovations and practices of farmers and indigenous and local communities in sustaining pollinator diversity and agro-ecosystem services for and in support of food production and food security.

1.4 Promote the development of identification keys for bee genera.

Ways and means

    Exchange and use of experiences, information and findings from the assessments shall be facilitated by Parties, Governments and networks with consultation between countries and institutions, including the use of existing networks. Capacity-building activities from programme element 3 will assist countries in contributing to the assessment process. Case-studies, carried out under programme element 2, will also assist the assessment process by highlighting and examining important issues in pollinator conservation and sustainable use and in some cases providing data.

    The global monitoring programme of pollinators could be carried out in two stages. A first stage would include activities 1.1 (a), (b), and (c), and 1.4. A second stage would apply the findings of the first stage at a larger and representative number of field sites throughout the world in order to collect the data needed to detect changes in diversity and frequency of pollinators, especially of bee species. The project cannot be contemplated without the active participation of many nations, institutions and co-operators. Substantial additional financial resources would be required, especially for the second stage. Mechanisms will need to be put in place to ensure the continuity and sustainability of monitoring over the long term.

Timing of expected outputs

    The first stage of the global programme for monitoring of pollinator diversity should be completed by 2005. The second stage would be conducted for an initial period of five years (2006 - 2010) and then, depending on the progress made, renewed for a further five years at a time thereafter. Important and significant trends are likely to emerge only after several years (5-10) of monitoring.

    A preliminary report on the state of the world's pollinators would be prepared by 2004 based on existing data, and early results from elements 1 and 2. A first comprehensive report would be prepared by 2010, drawing upon, inter alia, the results of the monitoring programme, and the economic analyses.

Element 2. Adaptive management

Operational objective

    To identify management practices, technologies and policies that promote the positive and mitigate the negative impacts of agriculture on pollinator diversity and activity, in order to enhance productivity and the capacity to sustain livelihoods, by expanding knowledge, understanding and awareness of the multiple goods and services provided by pollinators.

Rationale

    In order to secure sustained pollinator services in agricultural and other ecosystems, far more understanding is needed of the multiple goods and services provided by pollinator diversity and the factors that influence their decline. In particular, it is necessary to identify the various interactions between dimensions of agricultural biodiversity at different spatial scales that support effective pollinator functioning. In addition, it is necessary to identify adaptive management practices that minimise negative impacts by humans on pollinators, promote the conservation and diversity of native pollinators, and conserve and restore natural areas necessary to optimise pollinator services in agricultural and other ecosystems.

Activities

2.1. Carry out a series of case-studies, in a range of environments and production systems, and in each region:

      (a) To identify key goods and services provided by pollinator diversity, the role of components of biological diversity in agricultural and other ecosystems in supporting such diversity, and threats to such diversity including, for example, use of pesticides, habitat change and the introduction of exotic pollinators;

      (b) To identify best management practices; and

      (c) To monitor and assess the actual and potential impacts of existing and new agricultural technologies.

This activity would address the multiple goods and services provided by pollinator diversity and the interaction between its various components, for example:

      (i) The impacts of introduction of pollinators;
      (ii) The impacts of alien invasive species on pollinators;
      (iii) The impacts of fragmentation and habitat loss on pollinators diversity, and the ecosystems that support them;
      (iv) The impact of pesticides on pollinators diversity and abundance, including pest control programmes;
      (v) Sustainable management of pollinators;
      (vi) Decline of Honeybees, other bees and other pollinators;
      (vii) The dynamics of pollinators diversity decline;
      (viii) The interactions between pollination and genetically-modified crops;
      (ix) Conservation and restoration of pollinators diversity;
      (x) Mainstreaming and stakeholder engagement;
      (xi) Economics of pollination.

2.2. Identify and promote the dissemination of information on cost-effective practices and technologies, and related policy and incentive measures that enhance the positive and mitigate the negative impacts of agriculture on pollinator diversity, productivity and capacity to sustain livelihoods, through:

      (a) Comprehensive analyses in selected production systems of the costs and benefits of alternative management practices and technologies on pollinator conservation and effectiveness, and the valuation of the goods and services provided by pollinator diversity including the pollination requirements and best pollinators of each crop species and the impact of pollinator presence/absence on fruit and seed yield;

      (b) Comprehensive analyses of the impacts of agricultural production, including their intensification and extensification, on the environment and identification of ways to mitigate negative and promote positive impacts;

      (c) Identification, at international and national levels, in close collaboration with relevant international organizations, of appropriate marketing and trade policies, legal and economic measures which may support beneficial practices. This may include certification practices, possibly within existing certification programmes, and the development of codes of conduct.

2.3. Promote methods of sustainable agriculture that employ management practices, technologies and policies that promote the positive and mitigate the negative impacts of agriculture on pollinator diversity. This could include, for example, the protection of natural habitats, within agricultural landscapes, as sources of wild pollinators for crop improvement; the development of guidelines for policy makers and farmers; and the development of model-testing protocols for the introduction of non-native pollinators and to assess impacts of agrochemicals and other technologies on pollinators and pollinator activities.

Ways and means

    Case-studies will be carried out and provided by national institutions, civil-society organizations, and research institutes, with support from international organizations for catalysing preparation of studies, mobilizing funds, disseminating results, and facilitating feedback and lessons learned to case-study providers and policy makers. Inputs would be sought from all relevant stakeholders. A framework for the case-studies is provided by the indicative outline for case-studies on agricultural biological diversity http://www.biodiv.org/thematic/agro

Timing of expected outputs

    A first set of case-studies is already under preparation. Further case-studies would be studies published, analysed and disseminated by 2005. The case-studies should be representative of regional issues and prioritize best practices and lessons learned that can be broadly applied.

C. Element 3. Capacity-building

Operational objective

    To strengthen the capacities of farmers, indigenous and local communities, and their organizations and other stakeholders, to manage pollinator diversity so as to increase its benefits, and to promote awareness and responsible action.

Rationale

    The management of pollinator diversity involves many stakeholders and often implies transfers of costs and benefits between stakeholder groups. It is therefore essential that mechanisms be developed not only to consult stakeholder groups, but also to facilitate their genuine participation in decision-making and in the sharing of benefits. Farmer groups, and other producer organizations, can be instrumental in furthering the interests of farmers in optimizing sustainable, diversified, production systems and consequently in promoting responsible actions concerning the conservation and sustainable use of pollinator diversity.

    One major area which needs addressing is the capacity of countries to address the taxonomic impediment, which derives from serious shortfalls in investment in training, research and collections management. It seriously limits our capability to assess and monitor pollinator decline globally, in order to conserve pollinator diversity and to manage it sustainably. The global taxonomic impediment is costly, especially when expressed in terms of those research initiatives in pollination and conservation ecology which are wholly dependent on access to sound bee taxonomy and are rendered wholly non-viable in its absence. There is also a global taxonomic deficit, that is, the unacceptably high numbers of bee genera for which identification keys are not available.

Activities

    3.1. Promote awareness about the value of pollinator diversity and the multiple goods and services it provides for sustainable productivity, amongst producer organizations, agricultural cooperatives and enterprises, and consumers, with a view to promoting responsible practices.

    3.2 Identify and promote possible improvements in the policy environment, including benefit-sharing arrangements and incentive measures, to support local-level management of pollinators and related dimensions of biodiversity in agricultural ecosystems. This could include consideration of how existing or new certification schemes might contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of pollinator diversity.

    3.3. Promote enhanced capabilities to manage pollinator diversity at local level by promoting partnerships among and between farmers, researchers, extension workers and food processors, inter alia, through the establishment of local-level forums for farmers, and other stakeholders to evolve genuine partnerships, including training and education programmes.

    3.4 Build taxonomic capacity to carry out inventories of the pollinator diversity and distribution in order to optimise their management, through, inter alia, the training of taxonomists and parataxonomists of bees and other pollinators.

    3.5 Develop tools and mechanisms for the international and regional exchange of information for the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of pollinators. This may include:

      (a) Establishing an inventory of existing pollination and pollinators experts to serve as a pool for consultations in technology transfer, and establish an international advisory group on pollinator conservation.

      (b) Disseminating information on pollination in agricultural environments through databases, websites, and networks. This may include the establishment of an international information network on pollinator conservation and promotion of networks of farmers and farmers' organizations at regional level for exchange of information and experiences.

      (c) Developing and updating global and national lists of threatened pollinator species, and produce multilingual manuals on pollinator cons

Agricultural biodiversity

    The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice

[Implementation of the programme of work]

    1. Welcomes the progress made in the implementation of the programme of work, and the contribution of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and other organizations;

    2. Congratulates the United Nations University, the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity on the organization of the Symposium on Managing Biodiversity in Agricultural Ecosystem, held in Montreal from 8 to 10 November 2001;

    3. Recommends that the Conference of the Parties, at its sixth meeting:

    (a) Notes the progress made in the implementation of the programme of work and the need for emphasis and further action, within the context of the programme of work, on:

      (i) The wider understanding of the functions of biodiversity in agro-ecosystems, and the interactions between its various components, at different spatial scales;
      (ii) The promotion of methods of sustainable agriculture that employ management practices, technologies and policies that promote the positive and prevent or mitigate the negative impacts of agriculture on biodiversity, focusing on the needs of farmers and indigenous and local communities, to participate efficiently in the process of meetings those particular goals;
      (iii) Capacity-building in institutions, human resource development, training, communication, education and public awareness. Moreover, funding for the implementation of the programme of work should be reviewed, in the context of decision V/5 of the Conference of the Parties; and
      (iv) Mainstreaming;

    (b) Adopts the proposed steps for the further implementation of the programme of work by the Executive Secretary and partner organizations and the reporting schedule contained in annex I to the present recommendation;

    (c) Invites Parties, other Governments, and relevant organizations to submit case-studies on their experiences with mainstreaming matters related to agricultural biodiversity in their plans, programmes and strategies, to be made available through the clearing house mechanism;

    (d) Considers establishing an International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Soil Biodiversity as a cross-cutting initiative within the programme of work on agricultural biodiversity, taking into account case-studies which may cover the full range of ecosystem services provided by soil biodiversity and associated socio-economic factors, as provided for in programme element 2 of the programme of work, and, inviting the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and other relevant organizations, to facilitate and coordinate this initiative;

    (e) Invites Parties and Governments to provide, one-time thematic reports on the implementation of the programme of work on agricultural biodiversity, prior to the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties;

    (f) Adopts a format for the thematic report on agricultural biodiversity, on the basis of a proposal to be prepared by the Executive Secretary, in consultation with the Bureau of Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, containing an approach that is simple and straightforward to use;

    (g) Requests the Executive Secretary, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, to prepare, in time for consideration by the Conference of the Parties at its the seventh meeting, syntheses of relevant studies and an analysis of gaps and opportunities in the implementation of the programme of work, drawing upon the national thematic reports referred to in subparagraph (e) above, as well as information provided by relevant organizations;

    (h) Continues to encourage Parties and Governments to support the application of the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity for observer status in the Committee on Agriculture of the World Trade Organization, in line with paragraph 9 of decision IV/6 and paragraph 14 of decision V/5, of the Conference of Parties;

[The International Pollinators Initiative]

    Recalling section II of decision V/5 of the Conference of the Parties,

    4. Recommends that the Conference of the Parties, at its sixth meeting:

    (a) Adopts, and periodically Reviews, as appropriate, the plan of action for the International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Pollinators on the basis of annex II to the present recommendation;

    (b) Welcomes the leading role played by the Food and Agriculture Organization in facilitating and coordinating this Initiative;

    (c) Welcomes efforts to establish the African Pollinators Initiative, in the framework of the International Pollinators Initiative;

    (d) Invites Parties and other Governments, and relevant organizations to contribute to the implementation of the International Pollinators Initiative;

    (e) Considers the need for financial resources to enable countries to participate fully in the International Pollinators Initiative;

    [Animal Genetic Resources]

    Considering the importance of animal genetic resources for sustainable agriculture and food security, the serious erosion of these resources, and the need for measures for their conservation and sustainable use,

    5. Recommends that the Conference of the Parties, at its sixth meeting:

    (a) Welcomes the process initiated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations for the preparation of the first Report on the State of World's Animal Genetic Resources, as a contribution to the Convention's programme of work on agricultural biodiversity, as adopted by decision V/5;

    (b) Encourages Parties to participate in the development of the first Report on the State of World's Animal Genetic Resources, in particular through the preparation of country reports;

    (c) Underlines the need for countries to be able to participate fully in the preparatory process for the first report on the state of world's animal genetic resources, and implement follow-up actions identified through the process;

[The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture]

    Recalling resolution 3 of the Nairobi Conference for the Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity, which recognized the need to seek solutions to outstanding matters concerning plant genetic resources within the Global System for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Sustainable Agriculture, in particular, on access to ex situ collections not addressed by the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the question of Farmers' Rights,

    Recalling resolution 7/93 of the twenty-seventh session of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which called for negotiations, through its Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, to revise the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity,

    Recalling also decision II/15 of the Conference of the Parties, which recognized the special nature of agricultural biodiversity, its distinctive features and problems needing distinctive solutions, and declared its support for process engaged in the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, for the adaptation of the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources in harmony with the Convention of Biological Diversity,

    Further Recalling decision V/26 A of the Conference of the Parties, which states that the International Undertaking, once revised, was envisaged to play a crucial role in the implementation of the Convention, and affirms the willingness of the Conference of the Parties to consider a decision by the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations that the International Undertaking become a legally binding instrument with strong links to both the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Convention,

    6. Notes with satisfaction the adoption, by the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on 3 November 2001, of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, as a legally binding instrument;

    7. Recommends that the Conference of the Parties, at its sixth meeting:

    (a) Congratulates the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and its Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, where the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture was negotiated, on successfully completing this important process;

    (b) Recognizes the important role that the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture will have, in harmony with the Convention, for the conservation and sustainable utilization of this important component of agricultural biological diversity, for facilitated access to plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, and for the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of their utilization;

    (c) Appeals to States to give priority consideration to the signature and ratification of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, so that it may enter expeditiously into force;

    (d) Establishes and maintains cooperation with the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture acting as the Interim Committee for the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, and, upon the entry into force of the Treaty, with the Governing Body;

    (e) Requests the Executive Secretary to develop cooperation with the Secretariat of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture acting as the Interim Committee for the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and, upon its establishment, with the Secretariat of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture;

    (f) Requests the Executive Secretary to convey this decision to the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture acting as the Interim Committee for the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.



Annex II

THE INTERNATIONAL INITIATIVE FOR THE CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE USE OF POLLINATORS PLAN OF ACTION

I. CONTEXT

  1. Pollination is an essential ecosystem service that depends to a large extent on symbiosis between species, the pollinated and the pollinator. In many cases, it is the result of intricate relationships between plant and animal, and the reduction and loss of either will affect the survival of both parties. Not all plants depend on animals for pollination. Many plants are wind pollinated, like grasses which form the predominant ground-cover of many ecosystems. Similarly, in agriculture most staple foods are wind pollinated. However, at least one-third of the world's agricultural crops depends upon pollination provided by insects and other animals. Diversity among species, including agricultural crops, depends on animal pollination. Therefore pollinators are essential for diversity in diet and for the maintenance of natural resources. The assumption that pollination is a "free ecological service" is erroneous. It requires resources, such as refuges of natural vegetation. Where these are reduced or lost they become limiting and adaptive management practices are required to sustain livelihoods.
  2. In fact, throughout the world, agricultural production and agro-ecosystem diversity are threatened by declining populations of pollinators. The major contributors to this decline in pollinator populations are, inter alia, habitat fragmentation, agricultural and industrial chemicals, parasites and diseases, and the introduction of alien species.
  3. There are over 25,000 different species of bees, which differ tremendously in size, and a diverse range of plants that they visit and pollinate. Both the diversity of wild plants and the variability of food crops depend on this diversity. Though bees form the most important group of pollinators, other insects such as, butterflies and moths, flies and beetles, and vertebrates such as bats, squirrels, birds and some primates, also contribute. Some plants are visited by many different pollinators, while others have specific requirements. The same applies to the pollinators, some being generalists and others specialists. Therefore, pollination as a science requires detailed investigation, and the technological application of management practices is intricate. In most cases, there is a lack of knowledge about the exact relations between individual plant species and their pollinators, but studies in this field demonstrate that they are often quite specific.
  4. In order to secure sustained pollinator services associated with agricultural ecosystems, far more understanding is needed of the multiple goods and services provided by pollinator diversity and the factors that influence their decline and activity. It is necessary to identify adaptive management practices that minimise negative impacts by humans on pollinators, promote the conservation and diversity of native pollinators, and conserve and restore natural areas necessary to optimize pollinator services in agricultural and other terrestrial ecosystems.
  5. Considering the urgent need to address the issue of worldwide decline of pollinator diversity, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention Biological Diversity established an International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Pollinators in 2000 (decision V/5, section II) and requested the development of a plan of action. The following proposal for a plan of action was prepared by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), consistent with paragraph 16 of decision V/15.

    II. OBJECTIVES AND APPROACH

  6. The aim of the International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Pollinators is to promote coordinated action worldwide to:

      (a) Monitor pollinator decline, its causes and its impact on pollination services;

      1. Address the lack of taxonomic information on pollinators;

      2. Assess the economic value of pollination and the economic impact of the decline of pollination services; and

      3. Promote the conservation and the restoration and sustainable use of pollinator diversity in agriculture and related ecosystems.

  7. The Initiative is to be implemented as a cross-cutting initiative within the programme of work on agricultural biodiversity, with appropriate links to other thematic programmes of work, particularly those on forest biological diversity and the biodiversity of dry and sub-humid lands, and with relevant cross-cutting issues, particularly the Global Taxonomy Initiative and work on invasive alien species. The Initiative provides an opportunity to apply the ecosystem approach.

III. ELEMENTS OF THE PLAN

Element 1. Assessment

Operational objective

    To provide a comprehensive analysis of status and trends of the world's pollinator diversity and of their underlying causes of its decline (including a focus on the goods and services provided by pollinator diversity), as well of local knowledge of its management. The result of the assessments will determine the further activities that are required.

Rationale

    A number of scientific studies and various separate records strongly suggest that the numbers of crop pollinators are declining in many parts of the world. The yields of some crops are diminishing as a result of insufficient pollinators and many specialists, agronomists and fruit growers are concerned about the sharp declines in the numbers of bees in recent years. However, the scarcity of sound data hampers the elaboration of a comprehensive assessment of the status and trends of pollinator diversity, which is needed in order to inform policy change.

    Similarly, a realistic evaluation of the economic value of animal-effected pollination is essential for the efficient planning of the world's agriculture. Existing estimates are contentious. The description and evaluation, in economic terms, of pollinator contributions to agriculture and environmental diversity will improve informed decision making at farm, regional, national and international levels.

    In addition to the "taxonomic impediment" (see element 3), there is also a global "taxonomic deficit," that is, the unacceptably high numbers of bee genera for which identification keys are not available.

Activities

1.1 Monitor the status and trends of pollinators, through:

    (a) The establishment of a global network of cooperators to monitor changes in the diversity, population levels and frequency of pollinators through time in selected areas of the world. The network would share findings and discuss local and global trends in pollinators;

    (b) The implementation of a pilot global monitoring programme in selected areas worldwide;

    (c) The development, assessment and compilation of methods for monitoring pollinators, their diversity and efficiency;

    (d) The progressive development and implementation of a global programme for monitoring pollinator diversity, building upon activities (a), (b) and (c) above.

1.2 Assess the economic value of pollinators, including evaluation, in economic terms, of different crop-pollinator-pollination systems for optimal use of pollinators in sustainable agricultural systems, through economic analysis of data from various crop-pollinator-pollination systems, including those provided through case-studies under element 2.

1.3 Assess the state of scientific and indigenous knowledge on pollinator conservation, in order to identify gaps in knowledge and opportunities for application of knowledge; including:

    (a) Taxonomic knowledge; and

    (b) The knowledge, innovations and practices of farmers and indigenous and local communities in sustaining pollinator diversity and agro-ecosystem services for and in support of food production and food security.

1.4 Promote the development of identification keys for bee genera.

Ways and means

    Exchange and use of experiences, information and findings from the assessments shall be facilitated by Parties, Governments and networks with consultation between countries and institutions, including the use of existing networks. Capacity-building activities from programme element 3 will assist countries in contributing to the assessment process. Case-studies, carried out under programme element 2, will also assist the assessment process by highlighting and examining important issues in pollinator conservation and sustainable use and in some cases providing data.

    The global monitoring programme of pollinators could be carried out in two stages. A first stage would include activities 1.1 (a), (b), and (c), and 1.4. A second stage would apply the findings of the first stage at a larger and representative number of field sites throughout the world in order to collect the data needed to detect changes in diversity and frequency of pollinators, especially of bee species. The project cannot be contemplated without the active participation of many nations, institutions and co-operators. Substantial additional financial resources would be required, especially for the second stage. Mechanisms will need to be put in place to ensure the continuity and sustainability of monitoring over the long term.

Timing of expected outputs

    The first stage of the global programme for monitoring of pollinator diversity should be completed by 2005. The second stage would be conducted for an initial period of five years (2006 - 2010) and then, depending on the progress made, renewed for a further five years at a time thereafter. Important and significant trends are likely to emerge only after several years (5-10) of monitoring.

    A preliminary report on the state of the world's pollinators would be prepared by 2004 based on existing data, and early results from elements 1 and 2. A first comprehensive report would be prepared by 2010, drawing upon, inter alia, the results of the monitoring programme, and the economic analyses.

Element 2. Adaptive management

Operational objective

    To identify management practices, technologies and policies that promote the positive and mitigate the negative impacts of agriculture on pollinator diversity and activity, in order to enhance productivity and the capacity to sustain livelihoods, by expanding knowledge, understanding and awareness of the multiple goods and services provided by pollinators.

Rationale

    In order to secure sustained pollinator services in agricultural and other ecosystems, far more understanding is needed of the multiple goods and services provided by pollinator diversity and the factors that influence their decline. In particular, it is necessary to identify the various interactions between dimensions of agricultural biodiversity at different spatial scales that support effective pollinator functioning. In addition, it is necessary to identify adaptive management practices that minimise negative impacts by humans on pollinators, promote the conservation and diversity of native pollinators, and conserve and restore natural areas necessary to optimise pollinator services in agricultural and other ecosystems.

Activities

2.1. Carry out a series of case-studies, in a range of environments and production systems, and in each region:

      (a) To identify key goods and services provided by pollinator diversity, the role of components of biological diversity in agricultural and other ecosystems in supporting such diversity, and threats to such diversity including, for example, use of pesticides, habitat change and the introduction of exotic pollinators;

      (b) To identify best management practices; and

      (c) To monitor and assess the actual and potential impacts of existing and new agricultural technologies.

This activity would address the multiple goods and services provided by pollinator diversity and the interaction between its various components, for example:

      (i) The impacts of introduction of pollinators;
      (ii) The impacts of alien invasive species on pollinators;
      (iii) The impacts of fragmentation and habitat loss on pollinators diversity, and the ecosystems that support them;
      (iv) The impact of pesticides on pollinators diversity and abundance, including pest control programmes;
      (v) Sustainable management of pollinators;
      (vi) Decline of Honeybees, other bees and other pollinators;
      (vii) The dynamics of pollinators diversity decline;
      (viii) The interactions between pollination and genetically-modified crops;
      (ix) Conservation and restoration of pollinators diversity;
      (x) Mainstreaming and stakeholder engagement;
      (xi) Economics of pollination.

2.2. Identify and promote the dissemination of information on cost-effective practices and technologies, and related policy and incentive measures that enhance the positive and mitigate the negative impacts of agriculture on pollinator diversity, productivity and capacity to sustain livelihoods, through:

      (a) Comprehensive analyses in selected production systems of the costs and benefits of alternative management practices and technologies on pollinator conservation and effectiveness, and the valuation of the goods and services provided by pollinator diversity including the pollination requirements and best pollinators of each crop species and the impact of pollinator presence/absence on fruit and seed yield;

      (b) Comprehensive analyses of the impacts of agricultural production, including their intensification and extensification, on the environment and identification of ways to mitigate negative and promote positive impacts;

      (c) Identification, at international and national levels, in close collaboration with relevant international organizations, of appropriate marketing and trade policies, legal and economic measures which may support beneficial practices. This may include certification practices, possibly within existing certification programmes, and the development of codes of conduct.

2.3. Promote methods of sustainable agriculture that employ management practices, technologies and policies that promote the positive and mitigate the negative impacts of agriculture on pollinator diversity. This could include, for example, the protection of natural habitats, within agricultural landscapes, as sources of wild pollinators for crop improvement; the development of guidelines for policy makers and farmers; and the development of model-testing protocols for the introduction of non-native pollinators and to assess impacts of agrochemicals and other technologies on pollinators and pollinator activities.

Ways and means

    Case-studies will be carried out and provided by national institutions, civil-society organizations, and research institutes, with support from international organizations for catalysing preparation of studies, mobilizing funds, disseminating results, and facilitating feedback and lessons learned to case-study providers and policy makers. Inputs would be sought from all relevant stakeholders. A framework for the case-studies is provided by the indicative outline for case-studies on agricultural biological diversity http://www.biodiv.org/thematic/agro

Timing of expected outputs

    A first set of case-studies is already under preparation. Further case-studies would be studies published, analysed and disseminated by 2005. The case-studies should be representative of regional issues and prioritize best practices and lessons learned that can be broadly applied.

C. Element 3. Capacity-building

Operational objective

    To strengthen the capacities of farmers, indigenous and local communities, and their organizations and other stakeholders, to manage pollinator diversity so as to increase its benefits, and to promote awareness and responsible action.

Rationale

    The management of pollinator diversity involves many stakeholders and often implies transfers of costs and benefits between stakeholder groups. It is therefore essential that mechanisms be developed not only to consult stakeholder groups, but also to facilitate their genuine participation in decision-making and in the sharing of benefits. Farmer groups, and other producer organizations, can be instrumental in furthering the interests of farmers in optimizing sustainable, diversified, production systems and consequently in promoting responsible actions concerning the conservation and sustainable use of pollinator diversity.

    One major area which needs addressing is the capacity of countries to address the taxonomic impediment, which derives from serious shortfalls in investment in training, research and collections management. It seriously limits our capability to assess and monitor pollinator decline globally, in order to conserve pollinator diversity and to manage it sustainably. The global taxonomic impediment is costly, especially when expressed in terms of those research initiatives in pollination and conservation ecology which are wholly dependent on access to sound bee taxonomy and are rendered wholly non-viable in its absence. There is also a global taxonomic deficit, that is, the unacceptably high numbers of bee genera for which identification keys are not available.

Activities

    3.1. Promote awareness about the value of pollinator diversity and the multiple goods and services it provides for sustainable productivity, amongst producer organizations, agricultural cooperatives and enterprises, and consumers, with a view to promoting responsible practices.

    3.2 Identify and promote possible improvements in the policy environment, including benefit-sharing arrangements and incentive measures, to support local-level management of pollinators and related dimensions of biodiversity in agricultural ecosystems. This could include consideration of how existing or new certification schemes might contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of pollinator diversity.

    3.3. Promote enhanced capabilities to manage pollinator diversity at local level by promoting partnerships among and between farmers, researchers, extension workers and food processors, inter alia, through the establishment of local-level forums for farmers, and other stakeholders to evolve genuine partnerships, including training and education programmes.

    3.4 Build taxonomic capacity to carry out inventories of the pollinator diversity and distribution in order to optimise their management, through, inter alia, the training of taxonomists and parataxonomists of bees and other pollinators.

    3.5 Develop tools and mechanisms for the international and regional exchange of information for the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of pollinators. This may include:

      (a) Establishing an inventory of existing pollination and pollinators experts to serve as a pool for consultations in technology transfer, and establish an international advisory group on pollinator conservation.

      (b) Disseminating information on pollination in agricultural environments through databases, websites, and networks. This may include the establishment of an international information network on pollinator conservation and promotion of networks of farmers and farmers' organizations at regional level for exchange of information and experiences.

      (c) Developing and updating global and national lists of threatened pollinator species, and produce multilingual manuals on pollinator conservation and restoration for farmers.

Ways and means

    This element is to be implemented primarily through initiatives within countries, including through extension services, local government, educational and civil-society organizations, including farmer/producer and consumer organizations, and mechanisms emphasizing farmer-farmer exchange. There are opportunities for cooperation with the food processing industry in terms of supplying pesticide-free or low-residue products from agricultural systems that maintain pollinator diversity. Pilot projects for this element might be generated under the Initiative. Funding is likely to be on a project or programme basis. Catalytic support may need to be provided through national, regional and global programmes, organizations, facilities and funding mechanisms, in particular to support capacity-building, exchange and feedback of policy and market information, and of lessons learned from this and programme element 2, between local organizations and policy makers, nationally, regionally and globally.

    The taxonomic elements would also be promoted through the Global Taxonomy Initiative.

Timing of expected outputs

    Ten on-the-ground cases of enhanced partnerships resulting in greater conservation of pollinator diversity at the local level, by 2006. Introduction of mechanisms promoting pollinator diversity by 2010.

D. Element 4. Mainstreaming

Operational objective

    To support the development of national plans or strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of pollinator diversity and to promote their mainstreaming and integration in sectoral and cross-sectoral plans and programmes.

Rationale

    Many countries are now developing biodiversity strategies and action plans in the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and many also have a number of other policies, strategies and plans related to agriculture, the environment and national development. Decision V/5 of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity seeks to promote the mainstreaming of agricultural biodiversity considerations into national strategies and action plans; to mainstream the action plans for components of agricultural biodiversity in sectoral development plans concerned with food, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and to promote synergy and avoid duplication between the plans for the various components. Pollinator conservation and sustainable use is an important aspect of agricultural biodiversity and should be integrated into this mainstreaming process. In addition, this requires reliable and accessible information, but many countries do not have well developed information, communication or early-warning systems or the capacity to respond to identified threats.

Activities

4.1. Integrate considerations of pollinator diversity, and related dimensions of agricultural biodiversity, including host-plant diversity, at species, ecosystem and landscape levels, consistent with the ecosystem approach, into biodiversity strategies and action plans, and into planning processes in the agricultural sector.

4.2. Support the development or adaptation of relevant systems of information, early warning and communication to enable effective assessment of the state of pollinator diversity and threats to it, in support of national strategies and action plans, and of appropriate response mechanisms.

4.3 Strengthen national institutions to support taxonomy of bees and other pollinators, through, inter alia:

(a) Assessing national taxonomic needs (this would contribute to activity 1.3);

(b) Maintaining continuity of taxonomic and reference collections of bees and other pollinators;

(c) Recognition of centres of excellence in bee taxonomy and establishment of centres of excellence as appropriate;

(d) Repatriation of data through capacity-building and benefit-sharing.

4.4 Include considerations of pollinator diversity, and related dimensions of agricultural biodiversity, including host plant diversity, at species, ecosystem and landscape levels, consistent with the ecosystem approach, in formal educational programmes at all levels. Integrate pollination issues as a component of sustainable management into agricultural, biological and environmental science courses and curricula and in primary and secondary schools by using local examples and relevant examples from other regions. Promote applied research on pollination in agricultural ecosystems through training of postgraduates.

Ways and means

    Activities would be implemented primarily at national level through enhanced communication, coordination mechanisms and planning processes that involve all stakeholder groups, facilitated by international organizations, and by funding mechanisms.

    Additional resources may be needed for national capacity-building.

    The taxonomic elements would also be promoted through the Global Taxonomy Initiative.

Timing of expected outputs

    Progressively increased capacity at national level for taxonomy, information management, assessment and communication.

    Consideration of pollinators and related dimensions of agricultural biodiversity incorporated into national biodiversity and/or agricultural sector plans in 50 countries by 2010.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme