Highlights and images for 19 June 2019



Highlights for Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Delegates conferring during the lunch break

On Wednesday, the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group to Enhance the Functioning of the Multilateral System (MLS) of access and benefit-sharing (ABS) of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) met in morning, afternoon, and evening sessions. Delegates continued negotiations on the draft revised Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA). They also discussed options for amending Annex I of the Treaty (list of crops in the MLS), and genetic sequence data associated with plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA). The evening session focused on two main elements for a compromise: the package of measures that simultaneously adopts the revised SMTA and the amendment of Annex I of the Treaty; and the rates of benefit-sharing payments under the revised SMTA.Negotiations on amending Annex I of the Treaty addressed:

  • the proposal by the government of Switzerland made to expand coverage to all PGRFA;
  • additional text proposed by Africa with regard to the Swiss proposal, regarding measures to ensure that annual user-based payments to the Benefit-sharing Fund (BSF) equal 0.3% of total global seed sales and such income has accrued to the BSF for three years;
  • a statement by Latin America and the Caribbean to limit the expanded coverage to ex situ PGRFA;
  • proposals to allow for limited exemptions of species from inclusion in the MLS; and
  • a proposal by India to draft a comprehensive list of species for the purpose of expanding the MLS.
  • Negotiations on genetic sequence data or digital sequence information revealed well-known frictions regarding:

  • whether such data or information falls within or outside the Treaty's scope;
  • linkages with ongoing discussions in related fora;
  • challenges for fair and equitable benefit-sharing; and
  • privatization of such data or information.
  • Negotiations on the draft revised SMTA addressed, among other issues:

  • exemptions from benefit-sharing payments;
  • benefit-sharing payments by developing country entities;
  • intellectual property rights (IPRs) on MLS material or its genetic parts or components and impact on farmers' rights;
  • transfers of PGRFA under development;
  • provision of information that results from research and development on MLS material; and
  • transfers of IPRs and benefit-sharing obligations.
  • In the evening, the Working Group addressed a revised Co-Chairs' proposal for compromise text on a package of measures that simultaneously adopts the revised SMTA and the amendment of Annex I, including elements for a resolution related to the package of measures, and elements for the revised SMTA, with a suggestion for a transitional phase in case the amendment of Annex I of the Treaty does not come into force by 31 July 2025 providing for:

  • voluntary payments under the single access system;
  • closing the subscription system; and
  • giving the option to the subscribers to either terminate their subscription and revert to the single access system or voluntarily continue their subscriptions for a total of ten years.
  • IISD Reporting Services, through its Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) Meeting Coverage, provided daily web coverage and a summary and analysis report from OWG-EFMLS-9, which is now available in HTML and PDF.

    Photos by IISD/ENB | Mike Muzurakis

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    From L-R: Teresa Agüero Teare; Federico Condón Priano; Manrique Lucio Altavista; and José Valls, Latin America and the Caribbean
    Guy Kastler, Farmers Organization
    Imke Thormann, Europe
    Akio Yamamoto, Asia
    Manrique Lucio Altavista and José Valls, Latin America and the Caribbean
    Muhamad Sabran, Asia, with Thomas Meier, Europe
    Edward Hammond, Civil Society
    Manrique Lucio Altavista, Latin America and the Caribbean
    Tobias Kiene and Olivier Rukundo, ITPGRFA Secretariat
    Isabel López Noriega, CGIAR Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers, and Anke Van Den Hurk, Seed Industry
    Hans Hoogeveen, Working Group Co-Chair
    Sunil Archak and Puji Lestari, Asia
    Ali Chehade, Near East
    Members of the European negotiating group
    Catherine Karr-Colque, North America
    Sunil Archak, Asia
    Pierre du Plessis, Africa
    Renata Negrelly Nogueira, Brazil


    Non-state coalitions