FAOAugust 2014: The Secretariat of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has circulated the reports of the third session of the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group (ITWG) on Forest Genetic Resources, held from 7-9 July 2014, in Rome, Italy, and of the seventh session of the ITWG on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, held from 9-11 July 2014 also in Rome.

Among other issues, the ITWG on Forest Genetic Resources recommended that further work be carried out in the four priority areas of the Global Plan of Action on forest genetic resources (improving availability of, and access to, information on forest genetic resources; in situ and ex situ conservation of forest genetic resources; sustainable use, development and management of forest genetic resources; and policies, institutions and capacity building) and that the current work at ecosystem level be broadened to include the species level. It also reviewed the draft guidelines for the integration of genetic diversity considerations into climate change adaptation planning and called for a revised version to be presented to the CGRFA; recommended further work on the draft strategy for the implementation of the Global Plan of Action; and recommended that the number of indicators for forest genetic resources be reduced to few key verifiable indicators.

Among many issues, the ITWG on Plant Genetic Resources recommended that FAO strengthen its technical support to countries in the implementation of Genebank Standards for plant genetic resources. It also recommended that the Secretariat review the draft guidelines for developing a national strategy for plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, for the CGRFA’s consideration; and that the draft guidelines to support the integration of genetic diversity into national climate change adaptation planning be streamlined and focused on relevant activities, and transmitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, as well as widely distributed to raise awareness among decision makers and relevant stakeholders.

The ITWG reports will be considered by the CGRFA at its 15th session, to be held in January 2015, in Rome. Italy. [Publication: Report of the Third Session of the ITWG on Forest Genetic Resources][Publication: Report of the Seventh Session of the ITWG on Plant Genetic Resources]