Background on the GPA
 

Background of the GPA


The Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

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.

The Global Plan of Action is a major component of the FAO Global System on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, and is implemented by member states of the intergovernmental Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA). The CGRFA requested the development of a rolling Global Plan of Action with programmes and activities aimed at filling the gaps, and overcoming constraints and challenges identified through periodic assessment conducted by the FAO Report of the State of the World’s Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The periodically updated Global Plan of Action allows the Commission to recommend priorities and promote rationalisation and coordination of efforts.

FAO facilitates the implementation and monitoring of the Global Plan of Action through technical assistance to member countries on projects and programmes, institutional capacity building, information tools and knowledge sharing platforms. FAO prepares the periodic Reports on the State of the World’s Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, and assists countries in monitoring the implementation of the Global Plan of Action through the establishment of national information sharing mechanisms. These activities are reported to the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.