International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

New fee system for access to genetic resources discussed at FAO

NordGen is observer in the Governing Body of the International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture


NordGen is an observer in the International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA or the Treaty). The Treaty comprises plant genetic resources that we are depending on to produce our food and feed for animals. These resources are more important to protect than ever as climate change is progressing in a faster rate than the plant breeders are able to develop new plant varieties which can perform well in the new conditions. The Treaty has its secretariat at FAO.s head office in Rome and is working with three aims:


  •  recognizing the enormous contribution of farmers to the diversity of crops that feed the world;
  • establishing a global system to provide farmers, plant breeders and scientists with access to plant genetic materials;
  •  ensuring that recipients share benefits they derive from the use of these genetic materials with the countries where they have been originated.

Week-long meeting in Rome

The Governing Body of The Treaty is convening representatives of the member states and observers every other year. This week, the Governing Body has its meeting in Rome. The participants discuss paragraphs, bureaucracy and wording details but it constitutes the foundation for very important matters.



“What it all comes down to is that everyone should have fair access to genetic resources and that poor countries can get access to the benefits that arise from using them. It is crucial that the international community agree on these matters. Not least since climate change and natural disasters today pose a substantial threat towards genetic resources worldwide. A stable agreement on how they are to be used and distributed is essential” says Lise Lykke Steffensen, Executive Director of NordGen.

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