Home > OWG-EFMLS-6

6th Meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group to Enhance the Functioning of the Multilateral System of Access and Benefit-sharing of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (OWG-EFMLS-6)

14-17 March 2017 | Headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome, Italy

Summary Highlights: 14- 17 March 2017

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Daily Web CoverageAbout | 14 Mar | 15 Mar | 16 Mar | 17 Mar | Summary
View of the room during the openning session

Javad Mozafari and Bert Visser, Working Group Co-Chairs

View of the room during the openning session

Svanhild-Isabelle Batta Torheim, Isabelle Clément-Nissou and Alwin Kopse, European Region

Highlights for Friday, 17 March 2017

On Friday morning, the Working Group addressed the full package of measures arising from its deliberations to be presented at the seventh meeting of the Treaty’s Governing Body (GB 7), including: progress towards developing a draft revised Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA) aiming to increase payments to the Benefit-Sharing Fund; the modalities of a potential expansion of the coverage of the Multilateral System and links with the benefit-sharing arrangements; definitional issues on plant genetic resources for food and agriculture; and the launch mechanism, including interim measures and alternatives.

All regions welcomed an offer by Switzerland to host an informal meeting, to allow for further deliberations. Participants also discussed holding a one-day meeting of the Working Group, immediately prior to GB 7, to be held in October/November 2017, in Rwanda.

On Friday afternoon, the Working Group adopted its report, including a draft SMTA as revised during the proceedings. Co-Chair Visser opined that the pace of negotiations should increase, highlighting that countries and stakeholders might lose interest in the process. Co-Chair Mozafari stressed that the agricultural community needs this agreement, and after brief closing statements, closed the meeting at 4:50 pm.

The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary and analysis of the meeting will be available online on Monday, 20 March 2017, at: http://enb.iisd.org/biodiv/itpgrfa/owg-efmls-6/

IISD Reporting Services, through its Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) Meeting Coverage, provided digital coverage and a summary and analysis report from OWG-EFMLS-6, which is available in HTML and PDF.

Photos by IISD/ENB | Mike Muzurakis
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 Bert Visser, Working Group Co-Chair and Kent Nnadozie, ITPGRFA Secretary Ad-Interim

Álvaro Toledo and Tobias Kiene, ITPGRFA Secretariat

François Meienberg and Edward Hammond, Civil Society

Javad Mozafari, Working Group Co-Chair, with Ali Chehade, Near East Region

François Meienberg, Civil Society

Cheikh Alassane Fall, Africa Region

From L-R: Tobias Kiene, ITPGRFA Secretariat; Álvaro Toledo, ITPGRFA Secretariat; and Javad Mozafari, Working Group Co-Chair


Highlights for Thursday, 16 March 2017

On Thursday, the Working Group met in morning, afternoon and evening sessions.

Participants concluded a second reading of the third draft revised Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA). Among other items, they addressed provisions on: withdrawal from and termination of the SMTA; rates and modalities of payment arising from commercialization; and terms and conditions of a subscription system.

Participants then discussed the proposed launch mechanism for an enhanced Multilateral System, aiming to generate funds for the Benefit-Sharing Fund and expand the Treaty’s crop coverage. Most regions expressed their support for such a mechanism in principle. Africa expressed doubts on whether the timeline and plan proposed is realistic and, with India, proposed that a charge on seed sales in each country can be used to fund contributions to the Benefit-Sharing Fund.

Participants finally held a discussion on genetic information associated with material accessed from the Multilateral System. Some regions urged addressing the matter in the revised SMTA, while others highlighted the need for additional information and further discussion.

IISD Reporting Services, through its Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) Meeting Coverage, is providing digital coverage and will provide a summary and analysis report from OWG-EFMLS-6.

Visit the web coverage for Thrusday, 16 March 2017

From L-R: Álvaro Toledo, ITPGRFA Secretariat; Tobias Kiene, ITPGRFA Secretariat; Javad Mozafari, Working Group Co-Chair; Bert Visser, Working Group Co-Chair; and Kent Nnadozie, ITPGRFA Secretary Ad-Interim

Thomas Meier, European Region, with Michael Halewood, CGIAR Consortium

Dan Leskien, Secretariat of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) and Irene Hoffmann, CGRFA Secretary

Pierre du Plessis, Africa Region

Catherine Karr-Colque, North America Region

Akio Yamamoto, Asia Region

Marliese von den Driesch, Thomas Meier and Patricia Larbouret, European Region

Participants networking during the lunch break

Ali Chehade, Near East Region and Cheikh Alassane Fall, Africa Region

Kent Nnadozie, ITPGRFA Secretary Ad-Interim, with Pierre du Plessis, Africa Region


Highlights for Wednesday, 15 March 2017

On Wednesday, the Working Group held text-based negotiations on the third draft revised Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA) in morning, afternoon and evening sessions.

Participants addressed SMTA provisions on, among others: the rights and obligations of the recipient of material from the Multilateral System; obligations in cases of transfers of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture under development; and options regarding payments from commercialization in cases the product is available or not for further research and breeding. They debated whether the subscription system should be the only access mechanism or alternative access mechanisms should be retained; and addressed SMTA annexes on: the list of materials provided; rates and modalities of payment arising from commercialization; terms and conditions of the subscription system; and the registration form to the subscription system.

A lunch-time side event organized by the ITPGRFA Secretariat, in collaboration with the Center of Science, Technology and Environmental Policy Studies at Arizona State University, aimed at generating knowledge and improving understanding of issues around access and use of genetic information, and the related technological, institutional and legal landscapes.

IISD Reporting Services, through its Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) Meeting Coverage, is providing digital coverage and will provide a summary and analysis report from OWG-EFMLS-6.

Visit the web coverage for Wednesday, 15 March 2017

From L-R: Tobias Kiene, ITPGRFA Secretariat; Álvaro Toledo, ITPGRFA Secretariat; Bert Visser, Working Group Co-Chair; and Javad Mozafari, Working Group Co-Chair

Daniele Manzella, ITPGRFA Secretariat, with Kathryn Garforth, CBD Secretariat

Kuldeep Singh, Asia Region

Cheikh Alassane Fall, Africa Region

Frank Michiels, Bayer Corporation, with Anke van den Hurk, Seed Industry

José Francisco Montenegro Valls and William Solano, Latin America and the Caribbean Region


Highlights for Tuesday, 14 March 2017

On Tuesday, 14 March, Working Group Co-Chairs Bert Visser (the Netherlands) and Javad Mozafari (Iran) opened the meeting, noting: the Working Group’s mandate to come to an agreement on a final package of a revised draft Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA) text and additional recommendations to be submitted to the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA); and intersessional work done by several Friends of the Co-Chairs groups and the Standing Group of Legal Experts. Kent Nnadozie, ITPGRFA Secretary Ad-Interim, stressed the spirit of collaboration that has prevailed in the deliberations so far.

During morning and afternoon sessions, the Working Group discussed coverage of the Multilateral System (MLS) vis-à-vis the scope of the Treaty; and issues arising from the revised SMTA, with a focus on the subscription system. North America highlighted that the US has become the latest member of the Treaty.

On coverage of the MLS, discussion focused on the approach and necessary conditions to expand coverage; and the legal mechanism to be used, namely an amendment or a protocol to the Treaty. Discussion on the approach to expand coverage addressed, among other issues, whether to expand it to “all” plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA), and the definition of PGRFA, including in relation to crop wild relatives. On the legal mechanism, there was general agreement that any expansion should be done in the easiest and most effective way, with many identifying the need for better understanding the arguments for and against both options.

The Working Group then initiated deliberations on the revised SMTA. Delegates heard reports from Friends of the Co-Chairs groups on access mechanisms and payment rates, and the termination clause; and discussed questions with the Standing Group of Legal Experts, including on the compatibility of the subscription system and advance payments with the Treaty text.

An informal evening session held discussions on expanding MLS coverage.

IISD Reporting Services, through its Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) Meeting Coverage, provided digital coverage and will provide a summary and analysis report from OWG-EFMLS-6.

Visit the web coverage for Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Catherine Karr-Colque and Felicitas Katepa-Mupondwa, North America Region

Alwin Kopse, European Region, with Sélim Louafi, CIRAD (Agricultural Research for Development)

Edward Hammond, Third World Network, with Dan Leskien, Secretariat of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

Anke van den Hurk, Seed Industry

Thomas Meier, European Region

Cheikh Alassane Fall, Africa Region

Michael Halewood, CGIAR Consortium

Carlos Correa, speaking on behalf of the Standing Group of Legal Experts

Guy Kastler, Farmers Organizations

Kim van Seeters, the Netherlands

Participants networking during the lunch break

Delegates from the Latin America and the Caribbean Region


Daily Web CoverageAbout | 14 Mar | 15 Mar | 16 Mar | 17 Mar | Summary
Specific funding for coverage of OWG-EFMLS-6 has been provided by the ITPGRFA Secretariat
SDC

IISD Reporting Services is grateful to the many donors of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) and recognizes the following as core contributors to the ENB: the European Union, the Government of Switzerland (the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN)), the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. General Support for the Bulletin during 2017 is provided by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, SWAN International, the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES).