Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
About the Commission





The International Network of Ex Situ Collections under the Auspices of FAO

In 1989, the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture called for the development of the International Network of Ex Situ Collections under the auspices of FAO, because of the lack of clarity regarding the legal situation of ex situ germplasm collections, and the lack of appropriate agreements to ensure their safe conservation. The development of the system was in line with Article 7.1 (a) of the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources.

In 1994, twelve Centres of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, and subsequently other institutions, signed agreements  with FAO, placing most of their collections (some 500,000 accessions) in the International Network. Through these agreements, the Centres accepted a number of responsibilities and obligations, in particular, to hold designated germplasm "in trust for the benefit of the international community", and "not to claim ownership, or seek intellectual property rights over the designated germplasm and related information".

In 2006, in accordance with Article 15 of the International Treaty, the Centres placed their ex situ genebank collections under the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The Article 15 agreements replace the former agreements concluded between the Centres and FAO in 1994.