International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

Selection of projects invited to develop full proposals for the Fifth Cycle of the Benefit-sharing Fund of the International Plant Treaty


Rome, 17 February 2023 – The Plant Treaty’s Standing Committee on the Funding Strategy and Resource Mobilization has approved a list of 34 pre-proposals for the full project proposal development phase of the Fifth Cycle of the Benefit-sharing Fund (BSF-5). The applicants have been informed and the list of projects is published online.

Defining the selection

The 34 pre-proposals were selected from a total of 251 submissions. A dedicated and regionally balanced Independent Panel of Experts was constituted to screen the pre-proposals and to present their ratings based on agreed screening criteria and technical merit.

“The quality of the pre-proposals submitted under this cycle is very high, and the Panel of Experts put forward an exciting portfolio of diverse projects for the Committee to consider,” said Kent Nnadozie, Secretary of the International Treaty in his opening remarks to the Funding Committee meeting. Panel member, Sam Johnston, in presenting the Panel’s report, underlined this and noted that “the BSF continues to demonstrate an effective model of a well-managed and positively impactful mechanism, despite its limited resources.”

Based on the Panel’s report and other relevant considerations, especially of geographical balance, and inclusion of under-represented countries and crops in previous cycles, the Committee approved the list of 34 pre-proposals to be invited to develop full project proposals. The list includes more proposals than can eventually be funded in the fifth cycle, meaning that there remains a competitive element in the full proposal development phase.

Funding second phases of previous successful projects

A novelty in the fifth cycle is that the portfolio of 34 projects includes proposals for second phases of previously funded projects. “Previous cycles included several very good performing projects, which combined technical and institutional innovations that benefited farmers’ PGRFA strategies in the context of climate change,” said Secretary Nnadozie. “By funding a second phase of these projects, we aim to leverage the valuable experiences, past achievements and promising potential for further innovations and scale-out.”

Full project proposal development phase

The applicants of selected pre-proposals have received guidelines to develop full proposals and will continue to receive support from the BSF helpdesk through the entire process and as may be required. Furthermore, proponents of the successful pre-proposals have been invited to join webinars to receive further guidance, as well as to meet fellow applicants to discuss potential interlinkages among the projects in the context of the programmatic approach of the BSF.

The deadline for full proposals is at the end of March. After the screening of the full proposals by the Panel of Experts, the Committee’s decision on the final selection of projects to be funded under the Fifth Cycle of the Benefit-sharing Fund is expected by mid-May.

Funding an ambitious portfolio

Almost USD 11 million is available under the current Cycle to be provided as grants to successful applicants. “Thanks to generous contributions, BSF-5 can provide grants to an ambitious and diverse portfolio of deserving projects around the world,” said Secretary Nnadozie.

Contributors to the BSF include the European Commission, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland. Further contributions have been made by SEMAE (formerly, Groupement National Interprofessionel des Semences), ProSpecieRara Hauptsitz, the Federation of Seed Industry of India and a Norwegian initiative to contribute a percentage of the value of their annual national seed sales. In addition to these voluntary contributions, BSF-5 has also received user-based income from the International Treaty’s Multilateral System for Access and Benefit-sharing (Multilateral System).

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