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International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

Georgia Becomes Newest Member of International Treaty

08/07/2019

146 Contracting Parties

Rome, Italy, 08 July 2019 – Today, Georgia becomes the 146th member of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, 90 days after the Georgian government deposited their instrument of accession with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

“Georgia is very pleased to join the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture,” said H.E. Levan Davitashvili, Georgia’s Minister for Environmental Protection and Agriculture. “We are confident that this will allow Georgia to better manage and protect our very rich plant genetic resources,” he added. “By adhering to the International Treaty, Georgia also shows its strong commitment to contribute to preserve the heritage of plant genetic resources worldwide.”

Joining the International Treaty provides Georgia with a number of advantages enjoyed by Contracting Parties to the International Treaty, including access to the world’s largest genepool of plant genetic material, the Multilateral System of Access and Benefit-sharing, as well as eligibility to apply for project support through the Benefit-sharing Fund, which supports developing countries conserve and manage their plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.

“We welcome Georgia as the newest member of the International Treaty,” said Kent Nnadozie, Secretary of the International Treaty. “Joining the International Treaty community is an important step in the conservation and management of the diversity of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, and we are happy to have Georgia join our growing membership as we work together on this important task.”

Georgia has a rich history of cultivating a wide variety of crop species, including cereals and legumes, and represents one of the “biodiversity hotspots” identified by Conservation International. Located at the intersection of Europe and Asia, Georgia is part of the Caucasus eco-region, and has a number of unique plant species and crop wild relatives. It is part of the Western Asian center of origin of cultivated plants, considered to be a source of barley, wheat, legumes, vines and many species of fruit.

“Georgia’s accession to the International Treaty is a significant step in preserving its wealth of plant varieties and species at a time when many species are in danger,” said Raimund Jehle, FAO Representative for Georgia. “This marks a milestone for Georgia in maintaining sustainable agriculture and their enormous cultural heritage. This also represents a prime example of key results achieved, thanks to the close collaboration between FAO and Georgia’s Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, and the ENPARD Programme funded by the European Union.”

Situated on the Black Sea, Georgia borders Turkey, Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, and has a varied eco-geographical landscape, including mountains, forests, wetlands and semi-deserts, providing for a diverse climate and ecosystems, ranging from permanent snow in the high mountains to humid and warm subtropical at the Black Sea coast and semi-arid in the eastern part. The diversity of the climate and the rich soils support a variability of crop production. Over 43% of the land mass is used for agriculture, including crop production. The main food crops cultivated in Georgia include wheat, maize and legumes, in addition to fruit and tea.

Georgia is also a member of the European Cooperative Programme for Plant Genetic Resources, and a number of other international entities, including the Convention on Biological Diversity, the International Plant Protection Convention, International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

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