Plant genetic resources, traditional knowledge and farmers’ rights

FAO’s work on plant genetic resources, traditional knowledge and farmers’ rights has a bearing on the work of institutions in Geneva also dealing with aspects of these issues.  This includes in particular the Agreement on TRIPS at the WTO and the programme on Traditional Knowledge, Genetic Resources and Traditional Cultural Expressions/Folklore of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Of particular concern to FAO is the development of legal mechanisms aimed at fair benefit-sharing in genetic resources and the protection of traditional knowledge, in the context of the International Treaty on Plan Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA). The ITPGRFA is crucial in the fight against hunger and poverty and essential for the achievement of Millennium Development Goals 1 and 7. International cooperation and open exchange of genetic resources are essential for food security. The fair sharing of benefits arising from the use of these resources has for the first time been practically implemented at the international level through the ITPGRFA and its Standard Material Transfer Agreement.