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International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

The Multilateral System

What is the SMTA?

The Standard Material Transfer Agreement is a mandatory model for parties wishing to provide and receive material under the Multilateral System. It is the result of lengthy negotiation among the Contracting Parties to the Treaty and may not be varied or abbreviated in any way. However, as a template, it contains some paragraphs and sections that need to be completed to each use.

The material transfer agreements that use the standard template are private agreements between the particular providers and recipients but the Governing Body, through FAO as the Third Party Beneficiary, is recognized as having an interest in the agreements. The standard template has been developed to ensure that the provisions of the Treaty regarding the transfer of PGRFA under the Multilateral System are enforceable on users.

Text of the Standard Material Transfer Agreement:
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Drafting of the Standard Material Transfer Agreement

Drafting of the Standard Material Transfer Agreement

In adopting the International Treaty, the FAO Conference requested the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture to act as Interim Committee for the Treaty, and decided to establish an Expert Group to develop and propose recommendations on the terms of the Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA). It requested the Interim Committee to prepare, for the consideration of the Governing Body, on the basis of the work of the Expert Group, “a draft Standard Material Transfer Agreement provided for in Article 12.4 of the Treaty for facilitated access, which shall include, inter alia, recommended terms for commercial benefit-sharing under Article 13.2d(ii)”.

The Expert Group on the Terms of the Standard Material Transfer Agreement met in Brussels, at the invitation of the European Commission, from 4 to 8 October 2004. The basic lines for the draft Standard Material Transfer Agreement were laid down.

The result was reported to the Second Meeting of the Interim Committee (Rome, 15 - 19 November 2004), which established the Contact Group for the Drafting of the Standard Material Transfer Agreement.

The Contact Group met twice: in Hammamet, Tunisia, from 18 to 22 July 2005, with financial support provided by the United States of America; and Alnarp, Sweden, from 24 to 28 April 2006, at the invitation of Sweden. That meeting adopted the draft text of the Standard Material Transfer Agreement that was later on approved.

Tool for calculation of rates

Tool for calculation of rates

The Secretariat has released a computer tool that can be used to test the effects of varying parameters and values in calculating payment rates under the Standard Material Transfer Agreement. It consists of a spread-sheet, in which a base rate and certain values attributed to the different multipliers may be inserted. A complete explanation and further background information is contained in document IT/OWG-EFMLS-4/15/4, Commentary on Structural Elements for the Development of a Subscription Model/System.

Access to the tool can be requested by sending an email to pgrfa-treaty@fao.org

 

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