Highlights for Thursday, 24 October 2019
Following regional consultations held on Wednesday, 23 October, Co-Chairs Hans Hoogeveen (the Netherlands) and Javad Mozafari (Iran) resumed the ninth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group to Enhance the Functioning of the Multilateral System (MLS) of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) on Thursday, 24 October. Drawing attention to the constructive negotiations and several advances achieved in the first part of the meeting, Co-Chairs Hoogeveen and Mozafari urged participants to conclude negotiations and forward clean text to the Governing Body, to convene in November 2019.The Working Group then initiated negotiations on the draft revised Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA), with focus on outstanding provisions, on the basis of the draft resulting from the first part of the meeting, included in the Working Group’s interim report (IT/OWG-EFMLS-9/19/Interim Report).The Working Group first addressed the definitions of “sales” and “commercialization,” and provisions on the rights and obligations of the recipient regarding plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA) under development.Lengthy negotiations ensued on the benefit-sharing payment rates under the single access and the subscription systems, and their linkages with the targets set for the Benefit-sharing Fund. Co-Chair Hoogeveen presented the Co-Chairs’ compromise proposals regarding:
Under single access, alternative proposals were submitted by GRULAC, who proposed a rate of 0.3% for products that are available without restriction, and Canada, who suggested 0.1%. Under subscription, Africa and the Near East proposed a rate of 0.1%, and Canada 0.011%. Following discussion, most participants agreed to the Co-Chairs’ compromise proposals and deliberations will continue. Afternoon deliberations on PGRFA information, also known as digital sequence information (DSI) or genetic sequence data, focused on identifying Treaty provisions allowing to address the issue while remaining within the Treaty’s scope. The Working Group discussed whether the Treaty text discourages or could accommodate benefit-sharing from use of DSI, including Treaty provisions on genetic parts or components, monetary benefit-sharing, and information exchange. It was noted that the issue includes two main components: the possibility of appropriation of research on genetic information derived from MLS material; and the question of monetary benefit-sharing from sales of PGRFA resulting from MLS material when the research and development process involves genetic sequences. The Working Group further addressed a section of the draft resolution on potential elements for the implementation and review of the enhanced MLS, addressing a review, in 2025, of the status of ratifications to the amended Annex I, the level of user-based income accruing to the Benefit-sharing Fund, and availability of and access to MLS material. Africa proposed that the review take place five years after subscription by 30% of users.A night session addressed provisions on withdrawal from and termination of the subscription. Negotiations will continue on Friday, on the basis of a new Co-Chairs’ proposal addressing, as a package, payment rates under the subscription and single access systems, and DSI.
IISD Reporting Services, through its Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) meeting coverage, has provided daily web coverage and a summary and analysis report from the Resumed OWG-EFMLS-9. The summary and analysis report is now available in HTML and PDF.
Photos by IISD/ENB | Mike Muzurakis
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