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CODE OF CONDUCT FOR SHARING TREE GERMPLASM WITHIN THE SOUTH PACIFIC REGIONAL INITIATIVE ON FOREST GENETIC RESOURCES (SPRIG)
The South Pacific Regional Initiative on Forest Genetic Resources (SPRIG) is an AusAID-funded regional project involving Government forestry organisations in Australia, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Samoa and Solomon Islands. The three Australian members of the project are CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products, Queensland Forestry Research Institute and FORTECH (now URS Sustainable Development). The project commenced on 1 December 1996, with a duration of three years. Solomon Islands became a participating country in SPRIG on 1 July 1998. SPRIG is a development assistance project seeking to benefit the lives and environment of Pacific Island peoples.
A second five-year Phase of SPRIG, SPRIG 2, commenced on 1 May 2001 and will continue until 30 April 2006.
Some of the activities under the project involve the collection and field testing of the germplasm of tree species in the five SPRIG countries and Australia. The field testing will involve the reciprocal exchange of germplasm amongst all SPRIG partners.
This Code of Conduct acknowledges that each SPRIG partner country has sovereignty over its plant genetic resources. Plant genetic resources in Australia are commonly accepted to be under the sovereignty of the State Governments. This Code of Conduct is consistent with the spirit and the overall objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in regard to sovereignty over plant genetic resources, but also recognises that few countries in the region have implemented formal germplasm access regimes consistent with the CBD. For these reasons it is considered appropriate to adopt a mutually agreed Code of Conduct based on goodwill, which will be followed by each project partner.
Under this Code of Conduct SPRIG partners agree that:
A. Tree germplasm collected and supplied under SPRIG is for research and demonstration purposes only and remains the property of each contributing partner.
B. The distribution of material to non-SPRIG parties and/or the commercial development of non-indigenous material within a country by signatories to this agreement will require additional negotiation with the SPRIG partner who originally supplied the germplasm.
Species Covered by this Code of Conduct
Species planned for collection and testing in Australia, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Samoa and the Solomon Islands are listed below. The species to be included in the listing were decided at the first meeting of the SPRIG Coordinating Committee meeting in Nadi, Fiji, in December 1996, and in consultation with officials from the Forestry Division, Solomon Islands Government.
This Code of Conduct should be interpreted to cover all of these species, plus any other tree species collected during the course of the project.
Scope of the Code of Conduct
This Code of Conduct will be agreed to by the partners in SPRIG, who are:
- CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products, Australia;
- Queensland Forestry Research Institute (QFRI), Australia;
- FORTECH (now URS Sustainable Development), Australia;
- Department of Forestry, Republic of Fiji;
- Forestry and Conservation Division, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Kingdom of Tonga;
- Department of Forests, Republic of Vanuatu;
- Forestry Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Meteorology, Samoa; and
- Division of Forests, Ministry of Forests, Environment and Conservation, Solomon Islands.
Duration of Code of Conduct
This Code of Conduct will be operative for a period of twenty years, and represents a continuation of the Code of Conduct developed during Phase 1 of SPRIG.
Code of Conduct for CollectorsCollectors of germplasm will follow the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations) Code of Conduct for tree germplasm collectors. The FAO Code of Conduct is available atftp://ftp.fao.org/ag/cgrfa/GS/CCgermpE.pdf
Transfer of Tree Germplasm amongst SPRIG Partners
Tree germplasm is defined as genetic materials such as seeds, pollen, vegetative cuttings, herbarium material and DNA. Plant quarantine guidelines will be strictly followed for all countries. The CSIRO Australian Tree Seed Centre, which is a designated plant quarantine centre, will be a temporary storage facility for collected germplasm. Collected herbarium voucher specimens would normally be lodged in an in-country herbarium, if available, and duplicates sent to the regional herbarium, University of the South Pacific, in Suva, Fiji. This follows normal international protocols for safe storage of such material.