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CGRFA 14: Civil Society Statement to Final Plenary

3 May 2013

Statement by Patrick Mulvany, Practical Action / IPC for Food Sovereignty

Thank you Chair. I am making this statement on behalf of CSOs* who have been present here at CGRFA 14, and who have presented the results of our own deliberations in statements in many Agenda items.**


Chair, we recognise the importance of the Commission in providing overarching governance for all biodiversity for food and agriculture and in this context we wou ld like to make four brief points:

  • SOW-BFA : We welcome your commitment to a State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture that is integrative and cross-sectoral and emphasises the interaction of genetic resources with ecosystem functions, and the role of people in sustaining agricultural biodiversity especially for food provision. We reiterate the need for the full participation in the methodology and preparation of the SoW-BFA by those who are at the heart of the maintenance, use and development of agricultural biodiversity – the countless men and women small-scale farmers, gardeners, pastoralists, fishers, forest dwellers, indigenous peoples and other small-scale food providers and micro- entrepreneurs. This should result in the inclusion of their views and perspectives in the report.

  • Targets and Indicators: We repeat the need for you to seriously consider as a target or indicator, the number, and the genetic diversity, of small, mixed farms worldwide and the number of small-scale farmers assisted in maintaining genetic diversity. We urge countries to conduct a study to assess impacts of patents and intellectual property rights on GRFA including the on small-scale farmers and local and indigenous communities.

  • On-farm conservation, climate change and nutrition: We welcome that work concerning on-farm conservation and sustainable use of PGRFA, especially for sustaining nutritious crops, locally, is to be carried out by FAO. T he framework for action on these issues should be designed to strengthen small-scale farmers’ organisations and support research that is led by these farmers who sustain agricultural biodiversity on-farm, respecting their knowledge generation, and should be guided by local/ traditional knowledge and culture. More biodiverse food systems are also more resilient to Climate Change threats, and improve nutrition. National Seed Policies should reflect these imperatives.

  • Engagement: In conclusion, we call on the Commission to improve its engagement with CSOs, especially the international and regional organisations and social movements of farmers and other small-scale food providers, whose policy proposal of food sovereignty realises much of what the Commission seeks to accomplish . In this context, we are willing to support the work of the Secretariat, the new Bureau and Working Groups inter-sessionally in any way that will help advance the important work that needs to be done – especially with regard to the preparation of the State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture (SoW-BFA).


Chair, through you, we would like to express our thanks to the Secretariat for facilitating our participation, making the convenient Pakistan Room available for our meetings and providing such a comprehensive range of documents.


Many thanks.


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