Click here for UK Food Group Home Page Click here to return to UKabc Home Page

UKabc Noticeboard

UKabc Noticeboard, Latest Updates [Alpacas watching out]

Sustaining Agricultural Biodiversity

Sustaining Agricultural Biodiversity, Agro-ecosystems and Production. & Introduction to Agricultural Biodiversity issues [Maragwa Seed Show 1998, Kenya]


Governance and Advocacy: the International Agricultural Biodiversity Agenda [Logos of FAO, WTO, CBD, CSD]

Genetic Engineering

Regulating Genetic Engineering, Biotechnology and Biosafety [GenetiX symbol in sunflower]

Benefit Sharing

Benefit Sharing, Intellectual Property, TRIPs [Women sorting seed potatoes in Peru]


Links to UK, European and International web resources [Artisanal fisherfolk launching boat in Kerala, India]

Contact UKabc

Site maintained by Patrick Mulvany, ITDG - PRACTICAL ANSWERS TO POVERTY

17/04/2001 •

ITDG lobby @ COP 5

CBD/COP V: Farmers Sustaining Life on Earth

Agricultural Biodiversity NGO lobby

Updated 17 April 2001


Return to top

Farmers' rights of access to, and benefit sharing from, the genetic resources they develop and conserve and the conservation, protection and sustainable use of Agricultural Biodiversity and productive agro-ecosystems were advanced at GBF 15 and COP 5.

In the words of Tewolde Egziabher, the chief African Group negotiator, who chaired the opening session of the GBF workshop "the pressure of Africa and the majority of the South in the Seattle conference rooms and the move for a fairer deal in the streets of Seattle started winds that unleashed their erosive force" and not only biosafety but also the challenge to patents on Life, the sustainable use of (agro-) ecosystems to ensure food and livelihood security and the achievement of a fairer world are all a step closer.

For the first time, farmers spoke at the GBF - Mishek Mutapwa from Zimbabwe asked why it had taken so long for this to happen but was pleased that the precedent had been set. The Chair of the GBF assured him that his comments had been heard and that farmers would be included in future.

COP 5:

  • Cemented the politicisation of the key issues on Access, including the FAO International Undertaking; Biosafety, including liability and redress; Participation of principal user groups and their institutions - Farmers, Indigenous Peoples, Consumers - in open-ended working groups and as key partners in programmes of work. These issues will not go away and more and more countries are adding their voices to the clamour for sane policies that will Sustain Life on Earth
  • Heard Farmers' Voices and recognised their contribution to the conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity and the importance of agricultural biodiversity to their livelihoods and the other multiple goods and services provided by the different levels and functions of agricultural biodiversity; emphasised the importance of farmers' participation; and recognised their need for incentives.

Main outcomes are significant improvements on Access and Benefit sharing and a strong call for FAO to complete the International Undertaking negotiations; inclusion in the ICCP agenda of liability and redress for any negative outcomes of the use of GMOs including socio-economic and health impacts; greater recognition of the need to recognise and provide incentives for farmers' and local community contributions to development and conservation of agricultural biodiversity; a clear call to GEF to give priority to funding biosafety capacity building for the implementation of the Biosafety Protocol.

COP 5 did not ban Terminator Technologies nor 'Agent Green', but at least did not accept that Terminator Technologies could form part of a system for 'contained use' of GMOs when released into the environment, as the Australians (?US proxies?) would wish.

Another feature of this COP, which many commented 'had matured' and was 'more business like', was the attention given inside and out of formal sessions to the pecuniary interests of stakeholders, groups and intermediaries (or their proxies) who would wish to use the Convention, in the name of the poor and environmental protection, to legitimise private commercial benefits from the use of biodiversity or GMOs and/or legitimise the use of GEF funds for their professional interests.

Return to top


Return to top

The CBD/COP has decided that its work on Agricultural Biodiversity needs the support of farmers! But it falls short of full recognition of their dominant contribution toSustain Life on Earth: maintaining the functions and integrity of agro-ecosystems through the sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity in order to achieve food security and a healthy environment.

The Decision on Agricultural Biodiversity (Dec V/9) could have gained more but it builds on previous Decisions, recognises the importance of agro-ecosystem functions and the multiple goods and services provided by agricultural biodiversity, sends a strong message to the FAO to complete the International Undertaking, calls for increased public awareness and adds a farmer-centred focus to the CBD’s work programme. It should have been stronger on incentives and support to markets which add value locally, as African countries requested, but industrialised (Cairns group) countries watered these down - yes you guessed it - for trade reasons.

The COP also failed to ban Terminator Technologies, although a majority of countries requested an immediate moratorium or ban, for fear that pushing for this would unravel other gains made in the Agricultural Biodiversity Decision.

CSD 8 Agriculture Decision was noted and this CBD Decision adds more...

Over the next 2 years we should ensure that we can strengthen the recognition of the contribution, views and needs of smallholder farmers, pastoralists and fisherfolk in the 10-year review of Agenda 21 and have this reflected in Earth Summit 3 "The Life Summit".

Return to top

ECO: The Voice of the NGO Community at the Fifth Conference of Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity

Return to top

These 4 page newsletters, published daily by ELCI and circulated to all Delegates, are now available in PDF format, by clicking on the links below.

Return to top

Return to top