56 Countries sign international treaty crucial to food security

Excellent response to FAO Director-General's appeal

ROME, 13 June 2002 -- The World Food Summit: five years later is ending with positive results for food security and sustainable development, as 45 new signatories to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, bring the total number of signatories to 56*, including 35 developing countries and 20 developed countries, and the European Community.

The Treaty was adopted by consensus at the FAO Conference in November 2001. Its objectives are the conservation of plant genetic resources, their sustainable use, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their use, including monetary benefits resulting from commercialization.
Plant genetic resources are essential to sustain agriculture and food security for humanity now and in the future. FAO estimates humans have used some 10 000 species for food throughout history. Today, no more than 120 cultivated species provide around 90% of our food. In addition, most of the biodiversity of these cultivated species has been lost in the 20th Century.

This binding International Treaty provides for farmers rights, and establishes a multilateral system to exchange the genetic resources of some 64 major crops and forages important for global food security.


* Signatory Countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bhutan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, European Community, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, India, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Luxembourg, Malawi, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Portugal, Senegal, Spain, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Syria, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tunisia, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela.

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© FAO, 2002