Delegates have been circling around the issue of digital sequence information (DSI) since the session’s beginning, but on Thursday, they finally dived in for the catch. 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 with plenary deliberations on the Multi-Year Programme of Work, including DSI. Delegates also addressed administrative matters, including appointment of the Secretary.
The contact group on enhancing the Multilateral System (MLS) concluded its meeting with agreement to re-establish the intersessional working group to restart the negotiations that stopped abruptly at GB 8. Delegates agreed on terms of reference for the working group, including composition, observer participation, and schedule. On the basis of the terms of reference of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group that conducted the negotiations until GB 8, they agreed that the process would aim at:
- Increasing the benefits that arise from the MLS for all parties and users, both monetary and non-monetary;
- Increasing user-based income to the Benefit-sharing Fund;
- Expanding the crop and plant genetic diversity available through the MLS;
- Improving the availability of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture in the MLS;
- Make the MLS more dynamic given that there are new and emerging issues to consider; and
- Create legal certainty, administrative simplicity, and transparency.
The contact group on farmers’ rights continued its deliberations on a draft resolution late into the evening, with delegates debating steps forward on guidance for implementation of farmers’ rights. Informal discussions continued on guardians of crop diversity. The budget committee resumed its deliberations in the evening.
Side-events held during the day focused on genebanking of agroforestry tree species, DSI, and farmer seed systems.