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International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

GRULAC Region Discusses in Montevideo the latest developments on the International Treaty


National focal points to the International Treaty and other national experts from the Latin America and the Caribbean Region, together with experts from relevant Organizations and mechanisms, met from 19 to 21 April 2017 in Montevideo, Uruguay. The main purpose of the meeting was to enable Contracting Parties to the Treaty to strengthen national implementation of the Treaty and prepare for the Seventh Session of the Governing Body.

The Secretariat of the International Treaty organized the event in collaboration with the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries of Uruguay and the FAO Office in Montevideo, and with the financial support of the Government of Switzerland.

Mr Enzo Benech, Under-Secretary of Agriculture of Uruguay, opened the Seminar emphasising the importance of genetic resources for food security and for continuously adapting agriculture to environmental and socio-economic changes. He underlined the slow pace for a full implementation of the International Treaty and the need for governments to take action and remove obstacles to improve the effectiveness of the implementation in the Region.

“This regional seminar provided updated information to the Contracting Parties, in the region, about access, benefit-sharing, Farmers’ Rights, Sustainable Use and other topics”, said Kent Nnadozie, Secretary a.i. of the International Treaty.

“It also created a space for the national focal points and other experts to analyse together the outcomes of the different working groups and committees and to initiate preparatory work at the national and regional levels for the Seventh Session of the Governing Body”, he added.

The measures to enhance the functioning of the Multilateral system resulting from the work of the Working Group on this matter were analysed during the meeting, including the options that are in the revised but bracketed version of the Standard Material Transfer Agreement. Participants also discussed the modalities identified through the Working Group to expand the scope of the Multilateral System.

The participants jointly reviewed and analysed the major items that should be discussed before the Seventh Session of the Governing Body, as a way to strengthen regional coordination, and prepared a list of priority issues that need follow up. One of the areas that the Region identified for greater emphasis is the implementation of Farmer’s Rights, in conjunction with the Programme of Work on Sustainable Use.

The Global information System was also a matter of analysis and discussion in the Seminar and participants positively received the progress made so far.  The need to consider the negotiations under the International Treaty, especially those at the Governing Body, as a very political issue, even though they are based on technical considerations, was also discussed.

The Secretariat briefed the participants on the reporting to the Governing Body of measures taken at national level to implement the International Treaty and on the ongoing process to receive inputs for the revision of the draft Multi-Year Programme of work. The Secretary is currently mobilising resources and exploring the options to facilitate the organization of other regional seminars before the next session of the Governing Body.

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