(COP11 or the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity—CBD— is ongoing at Hyderadad, India, October 8-19, 2012. The CBD was signed by 150 government leaders during the 1992 Rio Earth Summit intended to put into action the principles of Agenda 21. The CBD recognizes that biological diversity is about more than plants, animals and micro organisms and their ecosystems – it is about people and our need for food security, medicines, fresh air and water, shelter, and a clean and healthy environment in which to live.
The following official statement is a declaration of SEARICE’s stance on the issues related to Agricultural Diversity and their effects on farmers’ rights.)
“There are so numerous covenants, international treaties and international findings that recognize the vital and inevitable role of small/marginal/ farmers, peasants, pastoralists or small food producers in agricultural biodiversity; such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Plant Treaty, Agenda 21, and the IAASTD.
“We remind parties that in paragraph 5g of Decision X/34, the CBD Executive Secretary is requested to (and I qoute) “work together in their design of the second phase of their joint work plan covering at least until 2017 focusing on refinements required as a result of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, but also considering, as necessary, inter alia:
“‘(g) Ways and means to strengthen cooperation to:
(i) Obtain and consider the views of farmers’ and producers’ organizations and the views of indigenous and local communities; and
(ii) Facilitate their effective participation in the deliberations of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and its Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and their contributions to the implementation of the work of these bodies, as appropriate.'”
“We strongly urge the CBD to come up with a Joint Work Plan that consider farmers’ voices, farmers’ issues, farmers’ rights, farmers’ perspectives. It is only in this manner that COP decisions on agricultural biodiversity will be implemented; and not retired and forgotten.
“We also believe that all the areas under paragraph 5 of COP Decision X/34 should be considered important areas of focus that the Joint Work Plan must seriously include and execute or implement. These areas include:
- A review on the impact of intellectual property rights on farmers’ rights, agricultural biodiversity and food security;
- The relevant findings and recommendations of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development;
- Ways and means to promote the positive and minimize or avoid the negative impacts of biofuel production and use on biodiversity and impacts on biodiversity that affect related socioeconomic conditions;
- In situ conservation of agricultural biodiversity, particularly of the domesticated or cultivated varieties that small farmers cultivate.
“Mr. Chair, we strongly believe that listening to farmers voices and implementing farmers rights are one of the best solutions to attaining the three objectives of the Convention and achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, particularly Targets 7, 9, 12, 13, and 18.
“We hope that in this COP11, there will be a Hyderabad amendment to the Joint Work Plan of FAO and CBD that will consider everything that we have mentioned about small farmers issues, farmers perspectives, and farmers rights.
“Thank you chair.”