The Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) highlighted the need to ensure close collaboration with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), particularly in the context of the negotiations to enhance the functioning of the Treaty’s Multilateral System (MLS) of access and benefit-sharing (ABS) and ongoing talks under the CBD towards a multilateral mechanism on benefit-sharing from the use of digital sequence information (DSI) on genetic resources.

ITPGRFA aims to conserve crop diversity and share its benefits for human and planetary well-being.

The theme of the tenth session of its Governing Body (GB 10) was ‘From Seeds to Innovative Solutions, Safeguarding Our Future: Contributing to the Implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework for Sustainable Food Systems,’ which highlighted the importance of crop diversity for food security, environmental sustainability, and socioeconomic well-being in the face of global challenges. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) summary report of the meeting notes that convening less than a year after the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), the meeting “underscored farmers’ contributions to agricultural biodiversity, and drew attention to the interlinkages between the Treaty and [CBD].”

“Four Working Group meetings are planned for the next biennium,” ENB highlights, “to allow for progress on the negotiations to enhance the MLS, focusing on three identified “hotspots”: DSI/genetic sequence data (GSD); expansion of the list of crops in Annex I (crops covered under the MLS); and payment structure and rates.”

GB 10 also reconvened the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on farmers’ rights, tasked with advancing an assessment of implementation.

According to ENB, the meeting “served as a reminder that the Treaty is at the heart of the international community’s collective responsibility to conserve agricultural biodiversity and share its benefits fairly and equitably.” It “further set the stage for a busy intersessional period before the next GB session [which] needs to find the political will to finalize the task of enhancing the MLS… and, ultimately, to reposition the Treaty in an evolving global policy landscape.”

The ENB analysis of the meeting focuses on “interlinkages between the Treaty and other international processes, highlighting the Treaty’s role as a vital partner for the effective implementation of the GBF but also the Treaty’s potential to serve as an inspiration and model in the development of multilateral benefit-sharing mechanisms.”

GB 10 convened in Rome, Italy, from 20-24 November 2023. [ENB Coverage of ITPGRFA GB 10] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on CBD Talks on Benefit-sharing]