International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture



Final biennial budget to be decided next year

07 December 2021, Rome, Italy –An interim budget for the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture was adopted today for the year 2022 by an Extraordinary Session of the Treaty’s Governing Body.

“The adoption of an interim budget is critical to enable the International Treaty to continue its operations and deliver its important contributions to sustainable agriculture and food security,” FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo said in her welcome address to the First Special Session of the International Treaty. She referred to the International Treaty as “one of the FAO’s flagship instruments for multilateral cooperation, bringing different stakeholders together to address food security, biodiversity loss, climate change and sustainable livelihoods, to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”

 “The COVID-19 global pandemic has caused disruptions and distress in every facet and aspect of our lives, including in food production and food delivery chains,” said Kent Nnadozie, Secretary of the International Treaty. “Despite the unavoidable difficulties brought about by this devastating global pandemic, the (International Treaty) Secretariat quickly adapted to the situation in order to maintain the important work mandated to us by the Governing Body,” he said.

Conserving and sustainably using agricultural biodiversity is key to addressing many global challenges, and our Treaty must stay and further engage in the global effort to build back better, both our lives and our planet,” said Yasmina El Bahloul, Chair of the Special Session and of the Ninth Session of the Governing Body (GB-9).

“Efforts to conserve and sustainably use plant genetic resources for food and agriculture contribute to better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life,” DDG Semedo said, referring to the work of the International Treaty.

The decision on the interim budget for 2022 was adopted unanimously at the virtual Special Session. The interim budget is to ensure that the work of the International Treaty, as mandated by the Governing Body, can continue while preparations are made to convene GB-9.

The extraordinary meeting of the Governing Body was the First Special Session convened in the history of the International Treaty, and was held due to the continuing COVID-19 global pandemic, which has led to the postponement of the regular GB session. GB-9 was originally scheduled to take place in December 2021, and is now scheduled to take place in India in May 2022. The Government of India re-affirmed its commitment to host GB-9 in India from 9 to 14 May 2022, at which time the programme of work, the regular budget for the 2022-2023 biennium and all other activities of the International Treaty will be discussed.

The Special Session was conducted in virtual mode in all six UN official languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish, and included more than 400 participants and representatives from over 100 countries.

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The International Treaty currently has 148 Contracting Parties, including the European Union, all of whom are committed to the conservation and sustainable use of the world’s plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA). The International Treaty has a number of robust global mechanisms to this end, including the Multilateral System of Access and Benefit-sharing, which provides access to over 2.3 million PGRFA; the Global Information System, providing access to vital data about PGRFA; a Benefit-sharing Fund that supports farmers, plant breeders and scientists involved in taking care of the plants that feed the world; and a commitment to promoting and protecting Farmers’ Rights. 



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