Highlights and images for 12–13 November 2019



Delegates from the African region conferring during a break in negotiations

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 a report on the contribution of FAO to Treaty implementation;
  • continue discussions on the Multi-Year Programme of Work (MYPOW), including digital sequence information (DSI) or genetic sequence data; and
  • discuss cooperation with other instruments and organizations, including the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA), the Global Crop Diversity Trust, and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and its Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit-sharing (ABS), among others.

FAO Assistant Director-General René Castro-Salazar highlighted the Treaty as one of FAO’s flagship achievements; and many regions expressed appreciation for FAO’s ongoing, steady support to member states. CGRFA Secretary Irene Hoffmann presented the CGRFA report, highlighting the Voluntary Guidelines for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Farmers’ Varieties/Landraces. Delegates also addressed the report of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, highlighting Trust initiatives and discussing their prioritization. The CBD emphasized synergies and cooperation activities, and stressed the importance of all biodiversity-related conventions to engage in the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.Uncertainty prevailed on the way forward to address divergence of views on enhancing the Treaty’s Multilateral System of ABS. In the morning, Brazil, for G-77/China, called for urgently addressing the item in a contact group or other setting with interpretation. Later in the day however, GB 8 Chair Christine Dawson (US) reported that there is no consensus in the Bureau to establish a contact group on the item, and invited delegates to continue consulting informally. By the end of the afternoon plenary, she proposed convening a closed group, composed of two parties per region. A discussion ensued with focus on participation in the group, with many developing countries pointing to the importance of the item and to the need for transparency. It was eventually decided to convene the group in the evening, with two party representatives and two party observers per region.The budget committee, an informal group on the Global Information System, and a contact group on farmers’ rights also met throughout the day.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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View of the dais during the plenary session
René Castro-Salazar, Assistant Director-General, FAO
Maeen Ali Ahmed, Yemen
Delegates from Canada during a break in negotiations
Sunil Archak, India, with Claver Ngaboyisonga, Rwanda
Irene Hoffmann, Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) Secretary
Gregory Bailey, Antigua and Barbuda, with Leslie Brereton, Barbados
Axel Diederichsen, Canada, with Neha Lugo, US
Manrique Lucio Altavista, Argentina, conferring with Federico Condon, Uruguay
Jean Lanotte, France, and Alwin Kopse, Switzerland
Yukio Yokoi, Japan
Louis Fresta, Malta
Delegates from the African region
Katlyn Scholl, US
Pierre du Plessis, African Union
Álvaro Toledo, ITPGRFA Secretariat, and Catherine Karr-Colque, US
Worku Damena Yifru, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat
Peter Button, Vice Secretary-General, International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV)
Delegates from the African region
Ana Bedmar Villanueva, Spain, with Teresa Agüero Teare, Chile
Laila Sasi Younes, Libya, and Nadia Hadjeres, Algeria
Christina Blank, Switzerland
Petra Engel, Italy
Akio Yamamoto, Japan
Delegates from Europe



Negotiating blocs
African Union
Group of 77 and China
Non-state coalitions