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FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean

Latin America and Caribbean Regional Training Workshop on Conservation, Sustainable Use of PGRFA and Farmers’ Rights

Montevideo, Uruguay.
05-08-19 - 08-08-19


The world is facing the interconnected challenges of poverty, food insecurity, climate change and the loss of agricultural biodiversity of global significance. Crop genetic diversity and its associated information provide the building blocks for farmers to diversify their seed systems and the breeders and scientists to develop new plant varieties necessary to cope with the environmental and socio-ecological changes and requirements. The loss of agricultural biodiversity in our global food production systems is an issue of increasing concern, recognized by the Convention on Biological Diversity, the FAO International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While the value of crop genetic resources for food security is widely recognized, there is insufficient knowledge about the diversity that exists to support their conservation and sustainable utilization. A significant amount of useful information already exists within different institutions but it is very scattered and difficult to bring together.

Losing agricultural biodiversity means losing also the options to make our diets healthier and our food systems more resilient and sustainable. Undoubtedly, the immense pressure on agricultural biodiversity, in particular on crop genetic diversity is compromising the food production and sustainability.

The importance of PGRFA to ensuring food and nutrition security, promoting sustainable agriculture and adaptation to climate change was recognized by the Governing Body as it:

  • Reaffirmed the important role of the International Treaty in providing an effective governance framework for the management and exchange of PGRFA;
  • Called upon on Contracting Parties to reaffirm their commitments and strengthen their efforts to fully implement the International Treaty in order to achieve sustainable agriculture and food security through conservation and sustainable use of PGRFA;
  • Emphasized that the effective implementation of the International Treaty contributes to the achievement of 2030 Agenda for SDGs, in particular SDG Targets 2.5 and 15.6, relating to conservation, and access and benefit-sharing of genetic resources.

Since the entry into force of the International Treaty in 2004, the Contracting Parties have, increasingly, been taking steps to enhance synergies across sectors in the national implementation of the International Treaty and the mainstreaming of PGRFA into their national plans in a cross-cutting manner. Some Contracting Parties have, in recent years, integrated PGRFA considerations into National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plans. Other countries recognize the need to strengthen breeding programmes in their national strategies to counter and adapt to climate variabilities and changes. At the same time, a number of international and regional organizations including public and private organizations have been conducting capacity building activities aimed at the implementation of the International Treaty, or building synergies with other multilateral instruments. However, despite the progress, there remain a need for an in-depth awareness and capacity development and enhancement on the various elements of the International Treaty.

The need for capacity development becomes even more relevant in this biennium to address the decisions taken by the Governing Body at its Seventh Session. The need for capacity-building was highlighted in several Resolutions as a key activity to carry out to provide effective support to enable Contracting Parties implement the main provisions of the International Treaty.2 Relevant areas include building synergies across different sectors and other multilateral instruments, such as the CBD and its Nagoya Protocol, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); and how to align or to develop an effective capacity development and policy response to the global challenges of crop diversity loss, sustainable food production and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Goal and Objectives of the Training

The overall goal of the training is to enhance the implementation of the International Treaty through greater understanding of the importance of the conservation and sustainable use of PGRFA and Farmers’ Rights, and to contribute to achievement of Zero hunger and the 2030 SDGs. More specifically, it aims:

  • To provide an overview of the global challenges of crop diversity loss, food security and climate change and to understand how these challenges are interlinked;
  • To update participants on the recent developments in international policy and governance, technological advances, and information on dynamic conservation of agricultural biodiversity and plant genetic resources for food and agriculture;
  • To stimulate ideas and be able to identify areas and opportunities to mainstream the conservation and sustainable use of PGRFA and Farmers’ Rights in the context of national plans and programmes on food security and sustainable agriculture and other relevant sectoral programmes;
  • To enhance capacity to use information to support crop conservation and sustainable utilization and to provide an overview of the Global Information System and its descriptors;
  • To provide a platform for the sharing of experiences and lessons learned on the conservation and sustainable use of PGRFA and implementation of Farmers’ Rights; and
  • To serve as a venue for networking between and among participants for developing future collaboration on information, conservation and sustainable use of PGRFA.

Main courses and topics

The training course will be structured along the following lines:

  • General Introduction
  • Experiences and efforts of Contracting Parties and stakeholders on conservation and sustainable use PGRFA
  • The unique role of farmers, peasants and indigenous communities in conserving and sustaining biodiversity and genetic resources for food and agriculture
  • Toward a new global strategy: The Joint Programme on Biodiversity in Agriculture for Sustainable Use of PGRFA and the fundamental role of information-sharing

Expected Outputs and Outcomes


  1. Assessment of the capacity development needs and follow up; and
  2. Collection of national policies/framework of governance, best practices, and lessons learned in the implementation of Articles 5,6 and 9 of the International Treaty


  3. Increased visibility and raised profile of the International Treaty;
  4. Enhanced understanding of the International Treaty resulting to increase confidence of Contracting Parties and stakeholders to harness the potential for effective coordination and maximize synergies among the critical food security, agriculture, environment and SDGs;
  5. Reinforced interlinkages of PGRFA with their national development plans and strategies such as food security, climate change, agricultural development, biodiversity and environmental sustainability;
  6. Enhanced compliance of Contracting Parties to the International Treaty obligations;
  7. Gathered national policies/framework of governance, best practices, and lessons learned in the implementation of the different articles of the International Treaty.

Target participants

Thirty participants from the region, representing national focal points and/or nominated representative/s and selected participants from other relevant stakeholders.

Duration and Venue

The three-day training will be organized from 5 to 8 August 2019 in Montevideo. The training will comprise of in-house lectures and interactive discussions. A one-day field visit to a site to be recommended by the host institution will also be organized on the last day of the Training.