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8th Session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

11-16 November 2019 | Headquarters of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Rome, Italy

Delegates to the eighth session of the Governing Body (GB 8) of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA or Treaty) met in plenary throughout the day to hear opening and regional statements, address organizational matters, and initiate discussions on the Multilateral System (MLS) of access and benefit-sharing.

In an opening ceremony, GB 8 Chair Christine Dawson (US) invited participants to observe a moment of silence for Armistice/Remembrance Day, including for those who “still suffer from conflict, oppression, and hunger.” FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo stressed that “crop biodiversity is a treasure of human civilization and must remain a legacy for generations to come.”

Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare, India, called for an “operational, pragmatic, future-ready, and flexible” benefit-sharing framework, taking into account genetic sequence data and bridging the divide between the global North and South. He announced India’s offer to host the next GB session in 2021.

Teresa Bellanova, Minister of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, Italy, reiterated Italy’s commitment to a world free of hunger and to benefit-sharing with a focus on diversification, smallholder farmers, and women as custodians of genetic resources.

Keynote speaker Robert Watson, former Chair of both the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), emphasized the crucial importance of biodiversity for the resilience of agricultural systems, and highlighted the need for: rapid transformation of our systems; cross-sectoral management at all levels; agro-ecological practices; and inclusive governance structures that address the current lack of trust within and between stakeholders.

Plenary then discussed the draft framework for a capacity development strategy for the Treaty, a draft resolution on the 15th Anniversary of the Treaty’s entry into force, and implementation and operations of the MLS.

Plenary then heard from Hans Hoogeveen (Netherlands) and Javad Mozafari (Iran), Co-Chairs of the Working Group on enhancing the functioning of the MLS, who suggested suspending deliberations on the item until questions on digital sequence information related to plant genetic resources in the Treaty framework are resolved. Following a brief discussion, deliberations were suspended to allow for informal and regional consultations on possible ways forward.

For more details on the day’s negotiations and to hear what delegates said in the corridors, see our daily Earth Negotiations Bulletin

IISD Reporting Services, through its Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) meeting coverage, is providing daily web coverage and daily reports from the 8th Session of the Governing Body. In addition, IISD Reporting Services published a summary and analysis report from the meeting, which is now available in HTML and PDF.

Photos by IISD/ENB | Mike Muzurakis

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Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare and Minister of Rural Development, India
Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General, FAO
Teresa Bellanova, Minister of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, Italy
François Burgaud, French Interprofessional Organisation for Seeds and Plants (GNIS)
Robert Watson, former Chair of both the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), with René Castro-Salazar, Assistant Director-General, FAO
Irene Hoffmann, Secretary, Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA)
Kent Nnadozie, ITPGRFA Secretary
From L-R: Francisco López, ITPGRFA Secretariat; René Castro-Salazar, Assistant Director-General, FAO; and Christine Dawson, Chair of the Eighth Session of the Governing Body (GB 8)
Robert Watson, former Chair of both the IPBES and the IPCC
Evalyne Adhiambo Okoth, Farmers' Representative
From L-R: Francisco López, ITPGRFA Secretariat; Álvaro Toledo, ITPGRFA Secretariat; and René Castro-Salazar, Assistant Director-General, FAO
Hans Hoogeveen, the Netherlands, with Manrique Lucio Altavista, Argentina
Mariem Omrani and Audrey Didier, France
Participants conferring during a break
GB 8 Chair Christine Dawson
Benoît Girard, Canada
Akio Yamamoto, Japan
Michael Ryan, Australia
Godfrey Mwila, Zambia
Javad Mozafari, Iran, and Hans Hoogeveen, the Netherlands
View of the dais during the plenary session
Mónica Martínez Menduiño, Ecuador
Gregory Bailey, Antigua and Barbuda
Around the Venue

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