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• 10•07•2007 •

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& WGRI 2

Paris, 2 - 13 July 2007

Updated 10 July 2007

CSO Newsletters

CSO Newsletters



12th meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Technical and Technological Advice held in Paris, 2- 6 July 2007

2nd Working Group on
the Review of the Implementation of the
Convention on Biological Diversity held in Paris, 9 - 13 July 2007


Agricultural Biodiversity on the line

Patrick Mulvany, 6 July 2007

(from ECO 5 @ SBSTTA 12)

In the face of food crises, climate change and the agrofuel craze that is further intensifying the monocult and the rapid enclosure of peoples' resources, agricultural biodiversity is ‘on the line'.

The global governance systems, notably the CBD and FAO, that should defend diversity and the right of local people to control their agricultural biodiversity, are on trial. In the run-up to MOP 4 / COP 9 next year, we need to challenge them to expose the unsustainability of industrial agricultural systems that capture ecosystems, livelihoods and markets – and pervert these to serve corporate interests – destroying agricultural biodiversity in the process.

CBD and FAO should, instead, be defending an agriculture of the people that cannot be appropriated. One that provides: healthy foods especially for local markets; secure livelihoods; dynamic, diverse ecosystems that can adapt to new stresses such as the increased disease and climatic threats due to global warming; and a vital rural and coastal environment for all peoples – in effect defending food sovereignty. This requires local control over agricultural biodiversity.

Agricultural biodiversity underpins all production; without it there can be no sustainable production in any system. It encompasses the variety and variability of animals, plants and micro-organisms which are necessary to sustain key functions of the agro-ecosystem, its structure and processes for, and in support of, food production and food security. Thus it includes not only the species that provide our food, but also the species such as pollinators, predators, soil biota and aquatic species that keep agroecosystems healthy.

But the current emphasis, within the MOP / COP process on industrial food systems, privatisation of genes and nature and genetic engineering is leading us to complete dependency and corporate control over our foods, seeds, livestock, fish and biodiversity in general and, thus, threatens agricultural biodiversity.

Agricultural biodiversity is a substantive issue at SBSTTA 13 and COP 9. The Programme of Work, with its focus on adaptive management and capacity building, will be under review. This PoW (from Decision V/5) was built on the landmark Decision III/11 taken in Buenos Aires in 1996. Annex 1 to that decision describes the basis for CBD/COP actions on agricultural biodiversity. In that Decision's Annex, Parties presciently recognised that

“...the living organisms which constitute agricultural biodiversity play an important role in the resilience of all natural, life-support processes. They are essential agents for, inter alia , nitrogen, carbon, energy and water cycles. Moreover, the species composition and their relationships will affect the functioning and yields of agricultural ecosystems themselves. A diverse environment also offers a shield for agricultural ecosystems against perturbations, natural or man-made, contributing to their resilience and that of their surrounding ecosystems.” COP III/11 Annex 1

Will COP 9 act to defend agricultural biodiversity? And will COP 9 also defend food sovereignty of the farmers, pastoralists, fisherfolk, forest dwellers, indigenous peoples and others who have developed and manage agricultural biodiversity – Food Sovereignty that: Focuses on Food for People; Values Food Providers; Localises Food Systems; Puts Control Locally; Builds Knowledge and Skills; and Works with Nature? ( Synthesis Report, Nyéléni 2007 - Forum for Food Sovereignty )

Civil society will. And we will challenge Parties to ensure local control over agricultural biodiversity – instead of embracing agrofuels; ensure Farmers' Rights and Livestock Keepers' Rights – instead of facilitating the appropriation and privatisation of their resources; ban Terminator technologies and other GURTS – instead of caving in to corporate pressures; and ensure that owners of the genes in modified plants and animals are fully liable for any negative impacts or outcomes – instead of promoting GMOs.

For more detail on these issues, see



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