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• 19•10•2012 •

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CBD / COP 11

Hyderabad, 8 - 19 October 2012

Agricultural Biodiversity Feeds the World

Updated 19 October 2012

ECO @ COP 11
CSO Newsletters


11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, held in Hyderabad, 8 - 19 October 2012

BioSecurity Threats?

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Genetic Crimes From ECO 17 October 2012

Has there been flawed security in advance of the Indian Prime Minister's fly-by visit? It is reported that mega-biodiversity destroyers have been spotted speaking on conference platforms. Neo-Robber Barons, dressed in smart suits, have been wooing susceptible delegates and observers with pleasantries about their interests in biodiversity.

Can these be the same people who have systematically pushed, across vast swathes of monocultures, their patented and protected seeds, which are compliant with their proprietary chemicals? Are they same people who are seeking the holy grail of Terminator technologies?

Surely, the multiple scanners that surround HICC and Hitex should be able to pick up this threat and keep those most responsible for destroying agricultural biodiversity out of our Convention?


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World Food Sovereignty Day - Agricultural Biodiversity Feeds the World

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Agricultural biodiversity provides food, improves health and well-being and regenerates the environment

On World Food Sovereignty Day – 16th October – we mark the challenges of a dysfunctional world food system that leaves a billion hungry and nearly double that number malnourished and obese.

Today is also the day when we celebrate the efforts of the small-scale food providers – farmers, gardeners, herders, fishers, forest dwellers, Indigenous Peoples and more, in both rural and urban areas – who currently provide food for more than 70 per cent of the world’s peoples. They do so by using and developing agricultural biodiversity in situ in their resilient, biodiverse and ecological food production systems.

These are the people who, against the odds, safeguard agricultural biodiversity and whose rights to continue to do so, need recognition and enforcement. The CBD, as in the UN Committee on World Food Security, must integrate the views, demands and potential of the social movements of these small-scale food providers in international governance processes.

These movements are the champions of food sovereignty, a framework which, inter alia, embraces the realisation of the Right to Food and a model of food provision that works with, rather than against, nature. Without their continued efforts, the production of biodiverse foods, with all the benefits these bring to nutrition, to climate change resilience, to sustaining essential ecosystem functions above and below ground and in aquatic and marine waters, and for local livelihoods, is threatened.

Now is the time for food sovereignty!

For more, see CBD Alliance Briefing for COP 11 on Agricultural Biodversity

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Recommendations to COP 11 on Agricultural Biodiversity

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Parties at COP11, must: 

  • Reconfirm the importance of agricultural biodiversity and the central role of small-scale food providers in developing and maintaining it. The conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity are core issues in both the CBD and ITPGRFA and is the priority of the CGRFA. (Article 8j of the CBD and Articles 5, 6 and 9 of the ITPGRFA and the MYPOW of the CGRFA). The provisions of Farmers’ Rights and related measures require internationally recognised compliance mechanisms to compel parties to recognize, respect, provide policy legislations for implementation. Conversely UPOV, WTO, WIPO and TRIPS provisions have international legal measures to protect and enforce breeders rights. CBD resolutions in 2002 and 2007 asked for studies on Farmers’ Rights but nothing has yet been produced.

  • Resolve to scale up commitments to implementing the Decisions that would conserve and regenerate agricultural biodiversity in situ, in local food production and harvesting systems. There is a need for a renewed commitment to focus on in situ conservation and development of domesticated species by women and men small-scale food providers. While ex situ and protected area approaches may serve for the conservation of undomesticated species, domesticated biodiversity needs different approaches and governance. The CBD needs to recognize that the conservation, development and sustainable use of domesticated species will only take place through in situ measures. Parties must recognise findings in relevant assessments e.g. IAASTD and reinforce efforts to implement relevant plans of action of the CBD and FAO that prioritise in situ conservation of agricultural biodiversity.

  • Retain important Decisions, for example in relation to maintaining the moratorium on GURTs. COP must reject proposals to retire the paragraphs related to GURTS in Decision VII/3 as summarised in documents UNEP/CBD/COP/11/20 and UNEP/CBD/COP/11/INF/1. GURTS undermine access to genetic resources and the ability to conserve and develop these resources in situ. Rather, Parties should call for an analysis of all measures used by the seed industry to restrict re-use of seeds. For example, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower seeds planted in the Philippines Cordilleras cannot be resown and have to be bought from the agrochemical corporations every season. They are not considered to contain GURTS but their use is similarly restricted. Parties should therefore call for a strengthening of the moratorium on GURTs to include any restrictive technologies, practices (including gene silencing technologies), laws and measures that restrict access to agricultural biodiversity in situ.

  • Regulate, transform or prohibit any systems, methods, processes or technologies, which might damage agricultural biodiversity and related ecosystem functions. The CBD should review intellectual property regimes of any type and call for them to be outlawed if they counter the CBD’s goals and principles. Perverse incentives of all kinds should similarly be evaluated and prohibited by Parties. The CBD should declare a ban or moratorium in the use of new plant varieties, especially GMOs and the products of synthetic biology that have the potential to destroy agricultural biodiversity and cause environmental degradation.

  • Renew commitments to related conventions and UN bodies, especially FAO, which defend, develop and support the conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity. Parties should call for Agricultural Biodiversity and the protection and support for those who defend and develop it in situ, to be central to the International Decade on Biodiversity, Further, Parties should call on FAO to strengthen its work on the joint POW on Agricultural Biodiversity; the MYPOW of the CGRFA, especially the preparations for the State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture.

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