ROME, 5 September 2002 --
Cameroon and Egypt have signed the International Treaty on Plant
Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, a legally binding
international agreement which covers all plant genetic resources
for food and agriculture.
The Treaty was
signed yesterday by the Ambassador of the Republic of Cameroon,
Michael Tabong Kima, at FAO Headquarters. Last week,
Egypt's Ambassador, Nehad Ibrahim Abdel-Latif, signed the
Treaty which, as he put it, is an essential agricultural
agreement to benefit present and future generations.
Since it was adopted by FAO's governing
Conference last November, 58 States and the European Community
have signed the Treaty and eight of them have also ratified it.
The Treaty will enter into force when ratified by 40 countries.
FAO expects more countries will sign and ratify during the
period leading up to the next session of the FAO
Intergovernmental Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and
Agriculture (9-11 October 2002). The Commission acts as Interim
Committee for the Treaty.
international agreement aims to ensure the conservation of plant
genetic resources for food and agriculture, their sustainable
use, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising
from their use, including benefits derived from commercial use.
Genetic resources for food and agriculture
are essential in the development of sustainable agriculture and
food security. It is estimated that 10 000 species have been
used for human food and agriculture. However, only about 150
plant species make up the diets of the majority of the
of their vital importance for human survival, genetic resources
are being lost at an alarming rate. Thanks to the Treaty,
benefits will be shared providing incentives to continue
conserving and developing these resources," according
to Mr. José Esquinas-Alcázar, Secretary of the FAO Commission on
Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.