The FAO International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources (ITPGR) has come into action, and serves as a starting point and major guideline for our project in promoting a fair and equal access to plant genetic resources and to maintain agricultural biodiversity. After seven years of negotiations, the FAO Conference (through Resolution 3/2001) adopted the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (former Undertaking), in November 2001.
This legally-binding Treaty covers all plant genetic resources relevant for food and agriculture. The objectives of the Treaty are the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived from their use, in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity, for sustainable agriculture and food security.
The Treaty also recognizes the enormous contribution that farmers and their communities have made and continue to make to the conservation and development of plant genetic resources. This is the basis for Farmers’ Rights, which include the protection of traditional knowledge, and the right to participate equitably in benefit-sharing and in national decision-making about plant genetic resources. The main impact of this project is seen in its efforts to increase the international dialogue on PGRFA, and its contribution to the implementation of the FAO Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources, especially in participating and neighbouring Asian countries.
The Treaty, however, fails somehow to be realistic in terms of the implementation of its proposed measures, so we try to come up with some examples in which areas Diverseeds may assist in its implementation, e.g. inventory and collections, international cooperation, technical assistance and capacity building, and farmer participation.