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IISD Reporting Services (IISD RS) has produced a summary report of the “Special Information Seminar” and a summary and analysis from CGRFA-12. To download our reports, please click below on the HTML or PDF icons.
     
 
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Special Information Seminar - “Policies and Arrangements for Access and Benefit-sharing for Genetic Resources for
Food and Agriculture” and Twelfth Regular Session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

17 & 19-23 October 2009 | UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Headquarters, Rome, Italy
 

FAO
Highlights for Saturday, 17 October 2009

On Saturday, 17 October 2009, in the prelude to the twelfth regular session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA-12), an information seminar was held at the headquarters of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, Italy. The event, titled “Policy Arrangements for Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) for Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture,” offered delegates and observers, along with experts, the opportunity to discuss one of CGRFA-12’s agenda items, ABS for GRFA.

Participants addressed the status and challenges of ABS, with presentations on the status of the negotiations on the International Regime on ABS, food security and ABS, recent developments in intellectual property law and policies, and the impact of climate change on genetic resources for food and agriculture. There was also a panel discussion on the use and exchange of genetic resources for food and agriculture, which includes the domains of plant, animal, forest and microbial genetic resources and biological control agents. After brief statements by relevant experts, a lively discussion followed on the many issues raised. The event came to a close with a sense of anticipation on how the discussions would feed into CGRFA-12, with one delegate expressing satisfaction over the relevance and importance of the seminar for informing the upcoming Commission session. Chaired and facilitated by Bert Visser (the Netherlands), Commission Chair, the event was well-attended by delegates and observers to CGRFA-12, and showed the broad range of interest in ABS and the issues it seeks to address, including food security and biodiversity conservation.

View of the information seminar in session.
 
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Alexander Müller, Assistant Director-General, Natural Resources Management and Environment Department of FAO, noted the need for an open and frank debate on ABS for GRFA.
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Bert Visser, Chair of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA), the Netherlands, welcomed participants to the special event, saying it is a notable moment since it is the first time within FAO that the issue of ABS for GRFA will be addressed across the various domains.
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Gurdial Singh, University of Malaya, Malaysia, highlighted the role of food security and its relationship to ABS for food and agriculture.
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Carlos Correa, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, discussed recent developments in intellectual property law and policies.
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Emile Frison, Director General, Bioversity International, presented the hypothesis that climate change will lead to an increase of countries’ levels of interdependence on genetic resources.
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Timothy Hodges, Co-Chair of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing, Canada, discussed the status of the negotiations of the International Regime on ABS within the framework of the CBD.
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Afternoon dais discussed the use and and exchange of GRFA.
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Tom Dedeurwaerdere, Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, noted that micro-organisms research and sharing practices are recent, informal and in conflict with the ABS regime in national laws or currently negotiated.
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Sena De Silva, Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific, Thailand, noted that 50% of aquatic food consumption is from farmed sources, and by 2030, up to 60-70 percent will come from aquatic farmed processes, and most of these occur in Asia by small-scale farmers.
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Shakeel Bhatti, International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, FAO, discussed the field of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, noting that the ITPGR is the first fully operation ABS system to facilitate access in agriculture
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Jacques Brodeur, International Organisation for Biological and Integrated Control of Noxious Animals and Plants, Canada, noted that biological control is a method of controlling pests with natural predators, adding that in biological control the genetic resources are the biological agent itself.
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Jarkko Koskela, Bioversity International, discussed forest genetic resources, noting the sector’s similarity to aquatic genetic resources in that it relies on utilizing wild or semi wild tree populations.
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Irene Hoffmann, Animal Production Service FAO highlighted that the economic benefits come from five major domesticated species and that the exchange of genetic material is mostly from north to south because of food security.
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Modesto Fernández, Cuba in a discussion with Jose Luis Sutera, Argentina.
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View of the plenary during the afternoon session.
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Cosima Hufler, Austria Brad Fraleigh, Canada François Pythoud, Switzerland Elenita Dano, ETC Group  
 
 
 
Related Links
FAO Resources
CRGFA-12 website
CRGFA-12 programme
Programme of the Special Information Seminar
Side Events

IISD RS resources

IISD RS coverage of Third Session of the Governing Body (GB 3) of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR), 1-5 June 2009, Tunis, Tunisia
IISD RS coverage of ITPGR GB-2, 29 October - 2 November 2007, FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy
IISD RS coverage of First International Technical Conference on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, 3-7 September 2007, Interlaken, Switzerland
IISD RS summary and analysis of CGRFA-11, 11-15 June 2007, FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy (HTML - PDF)
IISD RS summary report of the Special Event on “Emerging Issues in the Management of Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture: Towards a Multi-Year Programme of Work,” 9 June 2007, FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy (HTML - PDF)
IISD RS archive of CGRFA and ITPGR meetings
Linkages Update - Bi-weekly international environment and sustainable development news
MEA Bulletin - Newsletter on key MEAs and their secretariats
Climate-L.org - News and information on the actions of international organizations in responding to the problem of global climate change
African Regional Coverage
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