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SBSTTA Recommendation

. Agenda item 6: Review of ongoing activities on agricultural biological diversity



Taking note of the important information contained in document UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/3/6 and in the supporting documents, both those that had been provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) following the seventh session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/3/Inf.6, Inf.7 and Inf.8) and those prepared specifically for the third meeting of SBSTTA (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/3/Inf.9, Inf.10, Inf.20 and Inf.21),

1. Congratulates the secretariat for the significant progress made in initiating the review of the identification and assessment of ongoing activities and instruments at international and national levels, and in particular the proposed process outlined for the development of a multi-year work programme to implement decision III/11 and the focus provided on farming systems and agro-ecosystems approaches, contained in document UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/3/Inf.10. The SBSTTA notes that the completion of this review, well ahead of its consideration at the next meeting of the SBSTTA, is a top priority;

2. Thanks the Government of the Netherlands for its support in facilitating the joint secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity -Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations technical workshop;

3. Congratulates the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations for its work to promote the implementation of decision III/11;

4. Commends the establishment of collaboration between the secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and FAO in response to decision III/11 and related decisions and, noting the important progress made, encourages the further development of the joint collaboration between the Convention on Biological Diversity and FAO, so as to reflect the results of the analysis of activities and instruments at international level and the identification of gaps and complementarities resulting from the review;

5. Notes the progress made by the CGRFA at its seventh session in May 1997, and recalls the importance, for the implementation of the Convention of Biological Diversity, of a successful conclusion to the negotiation for the adaptation of the International Undertaking in harmony with the objectives of the Convention;

6. Acknowledges the complexity of agricultural biological diversity and the breadth and scope of decision III/11; notes the need to address ecosystems, species and genetic levels, to focus on the interface between environment and agriculture and to consider linkages with other ecosystems; and further notes the importance of agricultural biological diversity in ensuring food security and sustainable development and the need for countries to recognize the importance of agricultural biological diversity as an integral component of their overall biodiversity strategies;

7. Emphasizes the importance for the conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biological diversity of respecting the knowledge, innovations and practices deriving from traditional farming systems;

8. Agrees to expand the focus placed on soil micro-organisms in Annex 2 of decision III/11 to address all soil biota, so as to include other key organisms such as earthworms;

9. Welcomes the efforts being made by GEF to incorporate agricultural biological diversity into its operational programmes, revised operational criteria for enabling activities, and short-term response measures;

10. Notes the granting, to the secretariat of the Convention of Biological Diversity, of observer status in the Committee on Trade and Environment of the World Trade Organization, and supports the proposed collaboration between these bodies, and with FAO, in order to consider ways to develop a better appreciation of the relationship between trade and agricultural biological diversity and to initiate the identification of issues that will need to be addressed by the Conference of the Parties, while providing an opportunity for Parties and Governments to provide inputs;

11. Further notes that relevant information, at national, regional and global levels, should be made available through the clearing-house mechanism and that this mechanism should be used as widely as possible to promote the transfer and development of technology and information exchange;

12. Agrees that work undertaken on the development of indicators for agricultural biological diversity be carried out in context of recommendation III/5;

13. Notes the contributions received to date in response to paragraphs 1 to 6 of decision III/11, emphasizes the importance of the identification and assessment of relevant activities and existing instruments related to agricultural biological diversity to be conducted at national level, and hopes that such information will become more widely available following further contributions and submission of the first national reports;

14. Recommends that the Conference of the Parties:

(a) Note the significant progress made so far in initiating the development of the multi-year work programme on agricultural biological diversity called for in decision III/11;

(a) Encourage the Executive Secretary, in collaboration with FAO, to continue ongoing efforts to compile and assess the findings of the review being conducted by Governments and Parties and by international and regional organizations, and to seek closer collaboration with other relevant United Nations bodies, as well as with other regional and international organizations, in particular the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) centres, and including non-governmental organizations, with a view to drawing on their experience and expertise;

(b) Reaffirm that the reporting on, and development of, the multi-year work programme is an iterative and phased process;

(c) Provide guidance to GEF and invite other funding institutions to assist countries with the implementation of decision III/11, in particular, through responding to urgent and priority national needs.