International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture



Second International Agrobiodiversity Congress Focusses on “Eat-Grow-Save”

Rome, Italy, 19 November 2021 – “Eat, Grow, Save” were the key focus areas of discussion during the Second International Agrobiodiversity Congress (IAC-2), co-convened by the Government of Italy with the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT in virtual mode from Rome, Italy, from 15 to 18 November 2021.

This Congress is an excellent opportunity to highlight the inter-dependence of the agri-food sectors with biodiversity, and to emphasize that the sustainable use, and conservation of biodiversity are crucial for achieving MORE efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems,” said QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in his video message. “We need a holistic approach to agri-food production, which includes ecosystems, agronomy and genetic resources. Conserving genetic resources for food and agriculture is essential for food security, sustainable economic development, and protecting traditional food cultures,” the Director-General said.

The 2021 Rome Manifesto: using agrobiodiversity to transform food systems (“The Rome Manifesto”) issued during IAC-2 highlighted three urgent agrobiodiversity-related needs for tackling global challenges: (1) the need to consume diverse nutritious, safe, accessible foods; (2) the need to produce food in diverse and sustainable food systems; and (3) the need to conserve agro-biodiversity in order to provide options for sustainably and inclusively transforming food systems and improving lives.

The three Congress commitments to agrobiodiversity: Eat – Consumption, Grow – Production, and Save – Conservation, are aligned to FAO’s Strategic Framework 2022-2031 through the transformation of agri-food systems that are more efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable for the four betters: better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life,said Kent Nnadozie, Secretary, International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, FAO. “The International Treaty is facilitating access to the genetic materials of the 64 crops through its Multilateral System – for research, breeding and training for food and agriculture,” Secretary Nnadozie pointed out. “The Treaty helps maximize the use and breeding of all crops and promotes the development and maintenance of diverse farming systems,” he added.

IAC-2 comprised a Scientific Symposium, complemented by high-level discussions, TED-style presentations, a start-up competition, side events and a virtual marketplace showcasing the integration of local crops into healthy diets. The IAC-2 featured over 130 speakers and moderators from around the globe.

The Rome-based United Nations agencies, particularly the FAO and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) partnered with the IAC, along with national and international research centers from the food and angriculture sector, the CGIAR and other international organizations.

The first IAC was held in New Delhi, India in 2016, during which the Delhi Declaration on Agrobiodiversity was adopted. The Rome Manifesto builds on the Delhi Declaration on Agrobiodiversity, adopted at the first IAC in 2016. The third IAC is expected to be convened in China. 

The International Treaty’s Multilateral System of Access and Benefit-sharing comprises a global genepool of over 2.2 million samples of plant genetic material, including fruits and vegetables, available to farmers and breeders around the world. The Multilateral System has facilitated the global exchange of over 5.7 million samples of vital plant genetic material since 2007. 



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