International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture



Fourth Call for Benefit-sharing Fund Projects

Kigali, Rwanda, 3 November 2017 For the fourth time since 2009, millions of dollars will be invested in developing country projects to help safeguard agricultural biodiversity for future food security.  

“The Benefit-sharing Fund supports projects that help farmers cope with and stay ahead of the consequences of climate change,” said Kent Nnadozie, Secretary of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture that operates the Benefit-sharing Fund (BSF). “Climate change poses what is arguably one of the most serious threats to agriculture, resulting in less predictable harvests and the emergence of new pests and diseases, undermining rural development and placing greater pressures on the most vulnerable farming communities.”

The Fourth Call for Proposals will invest at least USD 5 million in projects designed to enable famers to use and conserve adapted varieties, enhancing resilience to production shocks, and leading to increased productivity of nutrient-rich food and on-farm incomes, while reducing adverse environmental impact. These funds comprise voluntary contributions from Australia, Italy, Norway and Sweden. The Fourth Call also reflects the growing trend of the Benefit-sharing Fund to diversify its funding sources, as funding also includes the first-ever contributions from a developing country (Indonesia) and from the private sector, in particular the European Seed Association and International Seed Federation. In addition, the French seed sector, announced (through GNIS, the French National Inter-professional Association of Plant and Seed Stakeholders) their commitment to make annual contributions to the BSF starting with the Fourth Call. Financial contributions will continue to be accepted for the Fourth Call of Proposals to increase the funds available.

“This Call for BSF project proposals is expected to result in partnerships that will stimulate greater information-sharing, innovation and joint problem-solving between farmers, researchers and government agencies through enhanced implementation of the International Treaty,” said Dr Mohammad Sabran, Chair of the Seventh Governing Body of the International Treaty, which is currently in session in Kigali (30 October – 3 November 2017). “The ultimate beneficiaries of projects funded will be vulnerable local and indigenous communities and farmers in developing countries.”

To date, the International Treaty’s Benefit-sharing Fund has invested more than USD 20 million in 61 projects in 55 developing countries over three project cycles, positively impacting the lives of about 1 million people. BSF projects have supported the development, testing and use of climate ready crops, resulting in over 3000 important food crop varieties now available to the international scientific and breeding community under the International Treaty’s Multilateral System of Access and Benefit-sharing.

The programme focuses on farmers, and will contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2.5.

This Call for BSF project proposals emphasizes new partnerships, including bringing technology and knowledge to the community and farm level, and highlighting the important role of women in biodiversity management, farming and rural development. Partners of the projects that are selected under this Call for BSF project proposals will be funded to work together under a programmatic approach to establish and strengthen linkages between projects and across Regions.

More information about the Fourth Call for Proposals of the Benefit-sharing Fund will soon be available on the International Treaty website, at:

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