International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture



International Treaty Multilateral System of Access & Benefit-sharing grows to 2 million

Kigali, Rwanda, 2 November 2017 The United States announced today that they will be adding 500,000 samples of 15,000 varieties of plant genetic material for food and agriculture (PGRFA) into the Multilateral System of Access and Benefit-sharing (MLS) of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, thus allowing other member countries access to new material. With the newest additions, the International Treaty’s MLS will comprise 2 million samples of PGRFA. The announcement was made by Ms Christine Dawson, the Head of the US Delegation to the Seventh Session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty, which is currently in session in Kigali, Rwanda.

“We are delighted with this development, which adds half-a-million new samples of American PGRFA into the Multilateral System of the International Treaty,” said Kent Nnadozie, newly appointed Secretary of the International Treaty. “This is exemplary of how multilateralism should work, providing access and sharing the benefits between the Contracting Parties of the International Treaty.”

The new PGRFA samples from the United States are those that are within the public domain and under the management and control of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service's (USDA/ARS) National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS). It includes material from 20 US national genebanks. Plant germplasm held within the NPGS, excepting materials that are not within the public domain or not under the management and control of the USDA, will be made available to all Contracting Parties of the International Treaty under the terms of the Standard Material Transfer Agreement, a mandatory model for parties wishing to provide and receive material under the Multilateral System.

The International Treaty’s Multilateral System provides facilitated access to germplasm to all of its Contracting Parties. This allows farmers, breeders and scientists around the world to develop plants adapted to different environmental conditions and the impacts of climate change. The MLS currently has over 1.5 million samples of PGRFA, and has already facilitated the global exchange of over 4 million PGRFA samples.

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