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The Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

Global policy dimensions of animal genetic resources are discussed and decided upon by FAO’s Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. This body provides the only permanent forum for governments to discuss and negotiate matters specifically related to biological diversity for food and agriculture. The Commission aims to reach international consensus on policies for the sustainable use and conservation of genetic resources for food and agriculture and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived from their use. It consists of 178 member countries plus the European Union.

The Commission normally holds one Regular Session every two years. It can also convene extraordinary sessions. Each Regular Session provides an opportunity for countries to discuss the management of genetic resources in the various sectors of food and agriculture (animalplantforestaquaticmicro-organism and invertebrate), as well as cross-sectoral matters such as climate change, access and benefit-sharing, biotechnology and the ecosystem approach.

Concerning animal genetic resources, the Commission oversaw the preparation of The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and The Second Report on the State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and the development of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources. The Commission oversees, monitors, evaluates and provides further guidance on its implementation. It also adopted The Funding Strategy for the Implementation of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources, in 2009.

The Intergovernmental Technical Working Group on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

To support its work in the animal genetic resources sector, the Commission established the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture , which convened in 1998 for the first time.

The role of the Working Group is to review issues related to animal genetic resources and their management, to consider progress made in the implementation of the Commission's Multi-Year Programme of Work and to address any other matters referred to it by the Commission. The Working Group advises and makes recommendations to the Commission on all relevant matters relating to animal genetic resources.

In accordance with its statutes, the Working Group is composed of 28 countries. Members are elected at each of the Commission’s regular sessions. Meetings of the Working Group are held when required and no more than once a year.

International Technical Conference on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (2007)

Called for the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, the International Technical Conference on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture was held in Interlaken, Switzerland, in September 2007. The conference saw the launch of The State of the World’s Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and the final negotiation and adoption of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources and the Interlaken Declaration.