US embassy cable - 02ROME3174

LOOKING AHEAD TO FAO COMMISSION ON GENETIC RESOURCES FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE

Identifier: 02ROME3174
Wikileaks: View 02ROME3174 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Rome
Created: 2002-06-28 06:09:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: AORC EAGR SENV FAO
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ROME 003174 
 
SIPDIS 
 
USDA FOR ARS:PETER BRETTING, FAS:DON FERGUSON, LYNNE 
REICH AND DICK HUGHES, OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY: KATHY 
WHITE 
STATE FOR OES/ENV RICK DRISCOLL, L/OES K. YOUELL-PAGE AND 
IO/EDA ROSE BERSTEIN 
USAID FOR ROB BERTRAM 
USPTO FOR LINDA LOURIE 
GENEVA FOR USTR 
 
FROM FODAG 
 
E.O. 12958:  N/A 
TAGS: AORC, EAGR, SENV, FAO 
SUBJECT:  LOOKING AHEAD TO FAO COMMISSION ON GENETIC 
RESOURCES FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE 
 
 
1.  SUMMARY: OPERATING AS THE INTERIM GOVERNING BODY (IGB) 
OF THE NEWLY-APPROVED INTERNATIONAL TREATY ON PLANT 
GENETIC RESOURCES, THE OCTOBER 9-18 FAO COMMISSION ON 
GENETIC RESOURCES FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE WILL DISCUSS 
(AND POSSIBLY APPROVE), INTER ALIA, IGB RULES OF 
PROCEDURE AND TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR THE EXPERT GROUP TO 
DRAFT THE MATERIAL TRANSFER AGREEMENT GOVERNING EXCHANGE 
OF CROPS ON THE TREATY LIST. OTHER ITEMS OF INTEREST TO 
THE UNITED STATES AT THE COMMISSION PROPER WILL BE 
DISCUSSION OF A REVISED PAPER ON SO-CALLED "TERMINATOR" 
TECHNOLOGY, DISCUSSION OF NEXT STEPS ON A PROPOSED CODE 
OF CONDUCT ON BIOTECHNOLOGY, AND COMMISSION APPROVAL OF 
THE REVISED INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH CENTERS 
(IARCS) MATERIAL TRANSFER AGREEMENTS. AS ENTRY INTO FORCE 
OF THE INTERNATIONAL TREATY DRAWS NEARER, THE UPCOMING 
MEETING MAY REPRESENT THE MOMENT OF MAXIMUM INFLUENCE THE 
U.S. IS ABLE TO EXERT OVER THE IGB. END SUMMARY. 
 
TIMETABLE FOR COMMISSION AND INTERIM GOVERNING BODY 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
2.  THE FAO COMMISSION ON GENETIC RESOURCES FOR FOOD AND 
AGRICULTURE WILL MEET IN ROME OCTOBER 9-18, 2002. A 
FORMAL INVITATION LETTER SHOULD BE SENT OUT NEXT MONTH. 
THE FAO SECRETARIAT INTENDS TO CONVENE THE FIRST SESSION 
OF THE INTERIM GOVERNING BODY (IGB) OF THE INTERNATIONAL 
TREATY ON PLANT GENETIC RESOURCES DURING THE FIRST THREE 
DAYS.  THE REST OF THE COMMISSION'S BUSINESS WILL BE 
HANDLED OCTOBER 13-18 (THERE ARE NO PROVISIONS FOR WORK 
OVER THE WEEKEND OF OCTOBER 11-12, BUT THIS MAY IN FACT 
OCCUR). 
 
3.  THE FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS OF THE COMMISSION WILL BE 
TO APPROVE ITS NEW BUREAU AND THEN SUSPEND THE SESSION TO 
START THE FIRST SESSION OF THE IGB.   COMMENT: CONCERNING 
THE COMMISSION BUREAU, ACCORDING TO NORMAL FAO PRACTICE, 
THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN AGREED AHEAD OF TIME BETWEEN THE 
REGIONAL GROUPS.  WHILE THERE IS NO STRICT ROTATION 
BETWEEN REGIONAL GROUPS FOR CHAIRMANSHIPS AT THE FAO, IT 
IS RECOGNIZED THAT ALL REGIONAL GROUPS SHOULD HAVE AN 
OPPORTUNITY TO CHAIR THE FAO COMMISSIONS.  THE NORTH 
AMERICAN GROUP AND THE SOUTHWEST PACIFIC GROUP ARE THE 
ONLY TWO REGIONAL GROUPS NOT TO HAVE CHAIRED THE 
COMMISSION SINCE ITS CREATION.  THE U.S. EXPRESSED 
INTEREST IN CHAIRING THE COMMISSION DURING A 2001 MEETING 
OF THE ROME/OECD GROUP (WHICH IS CHARGED WITH DISCUSSING 
BUREAU POSITIONS AMONG OECD MEMBER COUNTRIES.) THIS HAS 
NOT YET BEEN DISCUSSED IN AN OECD MEETING IN 2002. END 
COMMENT. 
 
AGENDA FOR THE INTERIM GOVERNING BODY (IGB) 
------------------------------------------- 
4.  THE IGB WILL HAVE BEFORE IT THE WORK PROGRAM SET OUT 
IN THE RESOLUTION ADOPTED AT THE FAO CONFERENCE IN 
NOVEMBER 2001 ALONG WITH THE TREATY. THIS COMPRISES: 
 
-- ELECTION OF THE BUREAU OF THE IGB.  THE COMMISSION 
ITSELF FOLLOWS THE PRACTICE OF HAVING A BUREAU MEMBER 
FROM EACH FAO REGION (LATIN AMERICA, NORTH AMERICA, ASIA, 
NEAR EAST, SOUTHWEST PACIFIC, AFRICA AND EUROPE).  THE 
IGB IS FREE TO FOLLOW THIS PRACTICE OR USE ANOTHER ONE 
(I.E., THE COMMISSION IN THE PAST USED ANOTHER BUREAU 
COMPOSITION COMPRISING ONLY A CHAIR AND TWO VICE-CHAIRS). 
COMMENT:  WE EXPECT THAT MEMBERS WILL SUPPORT THE FIRST 
ALTERNATIVE AS ASSURING EQUITABLE REGIONAL 
REPRESENTATION.  MISOFF SPOKE WITH CANADIAN REP BRAD 
FRALEIGH DURING THE WORLD FOOD SUMMIT:FIVE YEARS LATER 
MEETING IN JUNE AND HE EXPRESSED INTEREST IN SERVING ON 
THE IGB BUREAU AS THE NORTH AMERICAN REPRESENTATIVE. END 
COMMENT. 
 
--THE ADOPTION OF RULES OF PROCEDURE FOR THE IGB.  THE 
IGB MAY DECIDE TO USE THE COMMISSION RULES OF PROCEDURE 
(WHICH PROVIDE FOR VOTING IN THE EVENT CONSENSUS IS NOT 
REACHED) OR CHOOSE TO ADOPT CONSENSUS AS A RULE FOR THE 
IGB.  COMMENT:  SINCE THE INTERNATIONAL TREATY (IT) HAS 
CONSENSUS AS THE RULE, IT SEEMS REASONABLE THAT THE IGB 
WOULD FOLLOW THE SAME PROCEDURE. 
 
-- AGREEMENT ON DRAFT FINANCIAL RULES FOR THE IT: THE FAO 
WILL PROVIDE EXAMPLES OF FINANCIAL RULES FROM OTHER FAO 
BODIES SIMILAR TO THE IT GOVERNING BODY (TUNA COMMISSION, 
EUROPEAN FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE COMMISSION) AND MEMBERS 
MAY DECIDE WHICH FINANCIAL RULES WILL BE MOST APPROPRIATE 
FOR THE GOVERNING BODY. 
 
-- AGREEMENT ON DRAFT RULES OF PROCEDURE FOR THE IT: IN 
THIS CASE THE FAO WILL HAVE FEWER EXAMPLES TO DRAW ON 
SINCE MOST BODIES USE THE FAO RULES OF PROCEDURE AND THE 
IT ALREADY PROVIDES THAT CONSENSUS WILL BE THE RULE, 
HOWEVER, THERE WILL BE DISCUSSION OF THOSE ITEMS WHERE, 
BY CONSENSUS, MEMBERS ARRIVE AT ANOTHER DECISION-MAKING 
METHOD. 
 
-- AGREEMENT ON THE TERMS OF REFERENCE (TOR) FOR THE 
EXPERT GROUP TO DRAFT THE PROPOSED MATERIAL TRANSFER 
AGREEMENT (MTA).  THE FAO SECRETARIAT WILL SUGGEST THAT 
THE U.S.-DRAFTED TERMS OF REFERENCE BE CIRCULATED AS AN 
INFO DOCUMENT UNDER THIS AGENDA ITEM. 
 
-- OTHER ITEMS: THE WORK PLAN THAT THE IGB UNDERTAKES TO 
PREPARE FOR THE FIRST SESSION OF THE GOVERNING BODY (GB) 
ALSO INCLUDES: A PROPOSED BUDGET FOR THE IT, PROPOSED 
PROCEDURES TO PROMOTE COMPLIANCE WITH ARTICLE 21 AND 
PREPARATION OF DRAFT AGREEMENTS BETWEEN THE INTERNATIONAL 
AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH CENTERS (IARCS) AND THE GOVERNING 
BODY.  COMMENT:  IT IS UNLIKELY THAT THE IGB WILL HAVE 
TIME TO ADDRESS THESE ISSUES IN THIS SESSION. 
 
AGENDA FOR THE COMMISSION ON GENETIC RESOURCES FOR FOOD 
AND AGRICULTURE 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
 
5.  THE FOLLOWING ITEMS WILL BE CONSIDERED DURING THE 
SUBSEQUENT COMMISSION SESSION: 
 
-- REPORT OF THE TECHNICAL WORKING GROUP ON PLANT GENETIC 
RESOURCES (TWGPGR), TO INCLUDE ITEMS COVERED IN ITS JULY 
2001 MEETING: FUNCTIONING OF THE GLOBAL SYSTEM, THE STATE 
OF THE WORLD'S PLANT GENETIC RESOURCES, THE EARLY WARNING 
SYSTEM AND THE IN-SITU NETWORK. THIS WILL INCLUDE THE 
REVISED REPORT ON GENETIC END USE TECHNOLOGY (GURTS). 
COMMENT:  THE GURTS REPORT WAS NOT ACCEPTED BY THE TWGPGR 
AND THE SECRETARIAT WAS REQUESTED TO REVISE IT IN LIGHT 
OF COMMENTS RECEIVED DURING AND AFTER THE MEETING. 
(C0MMENT:  THIS ISSUE WAS ALSO DISCUSSED AT THE RECENTLY 
CONCLUDED CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES (COP) OF THE 
CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY.  WASHINGTON READERS 
WILL RECALL THAT MISLEADING DOCUMENTATION (POSTED BY THE 
CBD SECRETARIAT, ACCORDING TO FAO) GAVE THE IMPRESSION 
THAT THE TWGPGR HAD IN FACT COME TO SOME CONCLUSIONS ON 
GURTS WHEN THIS WAS NOT THE CASE. FAO SECRETARIAT MEMBER 
PEPE ESQUINAS (WHO WAS AT THE COP) COMMENTED TO MISOFF 
THAT HE WAS SATISFIED THAT THE COP AT THE END RECOGNIZED 
THAT THE MATTER CAME UNDER THE FAO'S MANDATE AND WAS 
STILL OPEN.  END COMMENT.) 
 
-- ANIMAL GENETIC RESOURCES: INFORMATION ON THE 
ACTIVITIES OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL TECHNICAL WORKING 
GROUP ON THE GLOBAL STRATEGY, THE STATE OF THE WORLD'S 
ANIMAL GENETIC RESOURCES (SOWAGR).  AN AD-HOC SESSION OF 
THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL TECHNICAL WORKING GROUP MAY BE 
CONVENED DURING THE COMMISSION SESSION TO TAKE ADVANTAGE 
OF THE PRESENCE OF DELEGATES WHO DEAL WITH THIS ISSUE. 
THE COMMISSION IS EXPECTED TO ACCEPT THE UPDATE ON SOWAGR 
AND AUTHORIZE IT TO CONTINUE WORKING ON THE ISSUES. 
 
-- FAO PROGRAMS & ACTIVITIES ON GENETIC RESOURCES (FOR 
INFORMATION) 
 
-- REPORTS FROM OTHER ORGANIZATIONS (FOR INFORMATION) 
 
-- CODE OF CONDUCT ON COLLECTING AND TRANSFERRING PLANT 
GENETIC RESOURCES: THE FAO SECRETARIAT BELIEVES THAT THE 
CODE  (WHICH HAS ALREADY BEEN ADOPTED) COULD TAKE ON NEW 
IMPORTANCE AS IT WOULD PROVIDE GUIDANCE FOR THE EXCHANGE 
OF MATERIALS NOT COVERED BY THE MULTILATERAL SYSTEM. 
HOWEVER, IT WOULD NEED TO BE REVISED TO TAKE INTO 
CONSIDERATION THE IT. 
 
-- CODE OF CONDUCT ON BIOTECHNOLOGY (COMMENT:  DORMANT 
SINCE 1993 AND AN ITEM THAT THE U.S. HAS NOT SUPPORTED. 
END COMMENT.) ON THIS ITEM, THE FAO SECRETARIAT EXPECTS 
RESOURCES FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE 
"BRAINSTORMING ON WHETHER IT SHOULD BE AND HOW ITSHOULD 
BE" RATHER THAN ANY CONCLUSIONS AT THIS SSSION.   IN 
DISCUSSING THE NEED FOR THE CODE, THEFAO SECRETARIAT 
NOTED THAT COMMISSION MEMBERS WOLD HAVE TO DECIDE 1) IF 
THERE WAS A RISK FROM BITECH BECAUSE OF POSSIBLE DRASTIC 
CHANGE TO THE EVIRONMENT (I.E., PESTICIDE-RESISTANT 
WEEDS DEVELPING AS A RESULT OF EXCHANGE OF GENETIC 
MATERIAL ITH BIOTECH PESTICIDE RESISTANT PLANTS); 2) 
WHATMEASURES NEED TO BE TAKEN (ISOLATION,  QUARANTINE, 
SPECIAL LABORATORY CONDITIONS AND, IF NECESSARY,3) 
REGULATIONS. 
 
-- AGREE TO NEW MATERIAL TRANFER AGREEMENTS (MTA) BE 
USED BY THE INTERNATIONALAGRICULTURAL RESEARCH CENTERS 
(IARCS) WHICH HOLDMATERIAL "IN TRUST."  THE FAO 
SECRETARIAT REPORTED THAT A NEW MTA HAS BEEN PREPARED AND 
 
SIPDIS 
DISCUSSED, SUBSEQUENTLY "REFINED" BY THE INTERNATIONAL 
PLANT GENETIC RESOURCE INSTITUTE (IPGRI) AND IS NOW WITH 
THE FAO LEGAL SECTION.  MR. ESQUINAS CALLED THE NEW MTA 
"EXCELLENT" AND NOTED THAT IT IS PRACTICALLY A 
CONTINUATION OF THE ORIGINAL REGIME.  COMMENT: 
ACCEPTANCE BY THE COMMISSION WILL DEPEND ON WHETHER 
COUNTRIES SUCH AS COLOMBIA -- WHICH IS ACTIVELY SEEKING A 
NEW REGIME, RATHER THAN A CONTINUATION OF THE OLD REGIME 
--WILL BE HAPPY WITH THE NEW MTA.  END COMMENT 
 
FUNDING QUESTIONS 
---------------- 
6. THE FAO SECRETARIAT IS STILL SEEKING FUNDING FOR 
TRAVEL OF DEVELOPING COUNTRY MEMBERS TO PARTICIPATE IN 
THE COMMISSION SESSION.  THEY ALSO ARE CONCERNED THE FAO 
REGULAR BUDGET FUNDING WILL NOT BE SUFFICIENT FOR THE 
HEAVY WORK LOAD AHEAD FOR THE COMMISSION AND THE IGB. 
THE FUTURE FINANCIAL NEEDS WILL BE SET OUT FOR MEMBERS AT 
THE SESSION. 
 
7.  COMMENT 
-------------- 
THE IT NOW COUNTS 56 SIGNATORIES, AND 7 RATIFICATIONS. 
AMONG THE SIGNATORIES ARE THE EUROPEAN UNION AND 
AUSTRALIA.  CANADA RATIFIED SHORTLY BEFORE THE WORLD FOOD 
SUMMIT:FIVE YEARS LATER.  (OTHER RATIFICATIONS ARE FROM 
CAMBODIA, ERITREA, GUINEA, INDIA, JORDAN AND SUDAN). 
FORTY RATIFICATIONS ARE REQUIRED BEFORE THE TREATY ENTERS 
INTO FORCE.  THE UPCOMING IGB MAY REPRESENT THE MOMENT OF 
MAXIMUM INFLUENCE THAT THE U.S. IS ABLE TO EXERT OVER THE 
INTERIM GOVERNING BODY; OUR ABILITY TO PARTICIPATE 
EFFECTIVELY IN THE IGB WILL DIMINISH OVER TIME AS THE 
TREATY DRAWS NEARER TO ENTERING INTO FORCE; FURTHERMORE, 
THE U.S. STATEMENT AT THE TIME OF ADOPTION IN NOVEMBER 
2001 WAS UNDERSTOOD TO MEAN THAT THE U.S. WOULD NOT, 
UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, BE ABLE TO RATIFY UNTIL AFTER THE 
TREATY HAD ENTERED INTO FORCE (SINCE OUR DOMESTIC LAW 
WOULD REQUIRE A "NATIONAL SECURITY" CLAUSE INSERTED INTO 
THE TREATY AND AMENDMENT TO THE TREATY COULD ONLY TAKE 
PLACE AFTER THE TREATY CAME INTO EFFECT).   HEILEMAN 
 



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