Plant Treaty Governing Body Stresses PGRFA Contribution to 2030 Agenda
Original post by Elsa Tsioumani for IISD
Held under the theme, ‘The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Role of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture,’ the seventh session of the Governing Body (GB 7) of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) adopted a series of resolutions on general policy and implementation of the Treaty and its Multilateral System (MLS) of access and benefit-sharing (ABS). The meeting highlighted the contribution of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA), and the Treaty in particular, to achieving the 2030 Agenda and several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The meeting convened from 30 October – 3 November 2017, at the Kigali Convention Centre in Kigali, Rwanda. More than 500 participants from parties and other governments, international, non-governmental and farmers’ organizations, international agricultural research centers and industry attended the session, which was preceded by two days of regional and inter-regional consultations, and a special event on genomics information. The session approved Kent Nnadozie as the new Secretary, and adopted 14 resolutions, including on: the Treaty’s contribution to the 2030 Agenda; establishment of an Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on farmers’ rights; extension of the mandate of the intersessional Working Group on Enhancing the MLS to develop a proposal for a growth plan to attain the enhanced MLS and revise the text of the Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA); a decision to put the item of digital sequence information in the GB 8 agenda; and reconvening the Ad Hoc Committee on the Funding Strategy and Resource Mobilization to, inter alia, develop the updated Funding Strategy.
Throughout the meeting, delegates repeatedly emphasized the Treaty’s role in achieving SDG 2 (zero hunger), particularly target 2.5 (genetic diversity), and SDG 15 (life on land), particularly target 15.6 (fair and equitable benefit-sharing and appropriate access).
Throughout the meeting, delegates repeatedly emphasized the Treaty’s role in achieving SDG 2 (zero hunger), particularly target 2.5 (genetic diversity), and SDG 15 (life on land), particularly target 15.6 (fair and equitable benefit-sharing and appropriate access). Many delegates also highlighted the indirect contribution of the Treaty, including its MLS, also to SDG 1 (no poverty), SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production), SDG 13 (climate action) and SDG 17 (partnerships for the goals).
In the adopted resolution, the Governing Body calls upon parties to: fully implement the Treaty to achieve sustainable agriculture and food security; mainstream plant genetic diversity into their national development strategies, including farmers’ rights and sustainable use of PGRFA; and comply with their financial obligations under the Treaty. It further encourages parties to mainstream Treaty implementation into their national programmes related to the 2030 Agenda. It requests the Treaty Secretariat to continue raising awareness about the Treaty’s contribution in relevant fora, and make available information provided by parties and others to be used in the monitoring process on achieving SDG targets 2.5 and 15.6.
Concluded under the auspices of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the ITPGRFA is a legally-binding instrument that targets the conservation and sustainable use of PGRFA, and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from their use, in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), for sustainable agriculture and food security. The Treaty contains sections on general provisions, farmers’ rights, supporting components, and financial and institutional provisions. It establishes an MLS for facilitated access to a specified list of PGRFA including 35 crop genera and 29 forage species (Annex I); and institutionalizes monetary and non-monetary benefit-sharing from the utilization of these resources in the areas of commercialization, information exchange, technology transfer, and capacity building.
The Treaty was adopted on 3 November 2001, by the FAO Conference, following seven years of negotiations. It entered into force on 29 June 2004, and currently has 144 parties.