genetic resources for food and agriculture are crucial in feeding the
world's population. They are the raw material that farmers and plant
breeders use to improve the quality and productivity of our crops. The
future of agriculture depends on international cooperation and on the
open exchange of the crops and their genes that farmers all over the
world have developed and exchanged over 10,000 years. No country is
sufficient in itself. All depend on crops and the genetic diversity
within these crops from other countries and regions.
seven years of negotiations, the FAO Conference (through Resolution
3/2001) adopted the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources
for Food and Agriculture, in November 2001. This legally-binding Treaty
covers all plant genetic resources relevant for food and agriculture.
It is in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Treaty is vital in ensuring the continued availability of the plant genetic
resources that countries will need to feed their people. We must conserve
for future generations the genetic
diversity that is essential for food and agriculture.
are "plant genetic resources for food and agriculture"?
Treaty defines them as "any genetic material of plant origin of actual
or potential value for food and agriculture".
are the Treaty's objectives?
objectives are the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic
resources for food and agriculture and the fair and equitable sharing
of benefits derived from their use, in harmony with the Convention on
Biological Diversity, for sustainable agriculture and food security.
is the Multilateral System for Access and Benefit-Sharing?
Through the Treaty, countries agree to establish
an efficient, effective and transparent Multilateral System to facilitate
access to plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, and to share
the benefits in a fair and equitable way. The Multilateral System applies
to over 64 major crops and forages. The Governing Body of the Treaty,
which will be composed of the countries that have ratified it, will set
out the conditions for access and benefit-sharing in a "Material Transfer
are the conditions for access in the Multilateral System?
may be obtained from the Multilateral System for utilization and conservation
in research, breeding and training. When a commercial product is developed
using these resources, the Treaty provides for payment of an equitable
share of the resulting monetary benefits, if this product may not be
used without restriction by others for further research and breeding.
If others may use it, payment is voluntary.
will benefits be shared?
Treaty provides for sharing the benefits of using plant genetic resources
for food and agriculture through information-exchange, access to and
the transfer of technology, and capacity-building. It also foresees
a funding strategy to mobilize funds for activities, plans and programmes
the help, above all, small farmers in developing countries. This funding
strategy also includes the share of the monetary benefits paid under
the Multilateral System.
does the Treaty protect Farmers' Rights?
Treaty recognizes the enormous contribution that farmers and their communities
have made and continue to make to the conservation and development of
plant genetic resources. This is the basis for Farmers' Rights, which
include the protection of traditional knowledge, and the right to participate
equitably in benefit-sharing and in national decision-making about plant
genetic resources. It gives governments the responsibility for implementing
benefits from the Treaty and how?
benefit, in many ways:
and their communities, through Farmers' Rights;
because of a greater variety of foods, and of agriculture products,
as well as increased food security;
scientific community, through access to the plant genetic resources
crucial for research and plant breeding;
Agricultural Research Centres, whose collections the Treaty puts on
a safe and long-term legal footing;
the public and private sectors, which are assured access to a wide range
of genetic diversity for agricultural development; and
environment, and future generations, because the Treaty will help conserve
the genetic diversity necessary to face unpredictable environmental
changes, and future human needs.
did the Treaty come into force?
Treaty came into force on 29 June 2004, ninety days after forty governments had ratified it. Governments that have ratified it will make up its Governing Body. At its first meeting, this Governing Body will address important questions, such as the level, form and manner of monetary payments on commercialization, a standard Material Transfer Agreement for plant
genetic resources, mechanisms to promote compliance with the Treaty, and the funding strategy.
country that ratifies will then develop the legislation and regulations
it needs to implement the Treaty.
Official versions of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
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Video on the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
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