The Global Plan of Action (GPA) is a framework, guide and catalyst for action at national, regional and international level to create an efficient system for the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources through better management, cooperation and coordination. In 1996, the first Global Plan of Action was adopted by 150 member countries at the Fourth International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources held in Leipzig, Germany.
The Global Plan of Action was endorsed by the Twenty-Ninth Session of the FAO Conference in 1997. The GPA has also been endorsed by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and by Heads of State and Government at the 1996 FAO World Food Summit. Furthermore it was incorporated into the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA) as a supporting component, (Article 14) and provided the priority basis for its Funding Strategy (Art.17).
The Global Plan of Action comprises twenty priority activity areas distributed in four main areas, covering in situ conservation and development, ex situ conservation, plant genetic resources utilization, and institutions and capacity-building. The main aims are to:
• ensure the conservation of PGRFA as the basis of food security;
• promote sustainable use of PGR to foster development and reduce hunger and poverty;
• promote the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of PGR;
• assist countries and institutions to identify priorities for action;
• strengthen existing programmes and enhance institutional capacity.