Delegates to the ninth session of the Governing Body (GB 9) of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA or Treaty) continued their deliberations in morning, afternoon, and evening sessions. They addressed, among other issues, items related to the Funding Strategy, the Multilateral System (MLS) of access and benefit-sharing, farmers’ rights, and the Global Information System. The budget committee held its first meeting in the evening. Side-events highlighted, among other issues, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, CGIAR operations, farmers’ rights, community seed banks, and participatory plant breeding.
Highlights of the day include:
- Discussions on the report of the Standing Committee on the Funding Strategy, including the draft food processing industry engagement strategy, and the launch of the fifth cycle of the Benefit-sharing Fund;
- Norway’s announcement on its contribution of approximately USD 4 million to the Benefit-sharing Fund;
- An update on intersessional informal consultations on enhancing the MLS following lack of agreement at GB 8, and establishment of a contact group to discuss a process forward;
- An initial discussion on farmers’ rights; and
- India’s offer to host a symposium on farmers’ rights.
Discussion focused on the report of the Standing Committee on the Funding Strategy and Resource Mobilization, and information documents on the Benefit-sharing Fund. Committee Co-Chairs Eric Bentsil Quaye (Ghana) and Katlyn Scholl (US) drew attention to the draft resolution and presented highlights of the Committee’s work including the:
- operational plan for the Funding Strategy 2020–2025;
- draft food processing industry engagement strategy;
- monitoring, evaluation, and learning framework for the Benefit-sharing Fund; and
- fifth cycle of the Benefit-sharing Fund, which was launched with at least USD 9.3 million for its implementation.
Co-facilitators Sunil Archak (India) and François Pythoud (Switzerland) reported on the three informal consultations held in 2021 and 2022. They noted that all regional groups were represented and had agreed on the importance of a fully functioning MLS, and on the need to consider how to build on what had been achieved prior to GB 8.
They noted possible consensus around:
- a new mandate and terms of reference for an intersessional group;
- building upon three pillars, including a revised standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA), expansion of the list of crops in Annex I, and implementation measures through a GB resolution; and
- the need for early discussions on digital sequence information (DSI) and benefit-sharing payment rates.
Switzerland proposed the establishment of a contact group, and following an initial exchange of views, delegates agreed.
Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) Co-Chair Rakesh Chandra Agrawal (India) presented the updated inventory of national measures, best practices, and lessons learned, and drew attention to the options for encouraging, guiding, and promoting the realization of farmers’ rights, noting that the options under Category 10 (legal measures), were not finalized and are thus presented as the Co-Chairs’ Options. Following an initial exchange of views, an informal group was established to continue deliberations.