Bioversity International: research for development in agricultural and tree biodiversity

Crop genetic resources as a global commons

Challenges in international law and governance

The book Crop Genetic Resources as a Global Commons: Challenges in International Law and Governance investigates how the collective pooling and management of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture can be supported through access and benefit-sharing laws. Since the most important recent development in the field has been the creation of the multilateral system of access and benefit sharing under the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, many of the chapters in this book focus on that system.

The book analyzes a range of relevant background factors, including the impact of climate change on countries' interdependence on plant genetic resources, germplasm flows in and out of international genebanks, crops specific research programmes, and countries as a whole. It considers the historical development and mechanics of the multilateral system of access and benefit sharing. 

It provides space for leaders in the field to reflect on what has worked well, and where challenges remain in terms of the multilateral system's performance as a central feature in a global system of collective action to conserve and sustainably use plant genetic diversity, and equitably share benefits derived from that use. Finally, it identifies options for policy initiatives to further strengthen the support which the multilateral system provides to the global crop commons.

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1. The global crop commons and access and benefit-sharing laws: examining the limits of international policy support for the collective pooling and management of plant genetic resources

PART I: Setting the scene: countries’ interdependence on plant genetic resources for food and agriculture and the imperative of international cooperation

2. Demonstrating interdependence on plant genetic resources for food and agriculture

3. Flows of crop germplasm resources into and out of China

4. Crop and forage genetic resources: international interdependence in the face of climate change

5. Changing rates of acquisition of plant genetic resources by international gene banks: setting the scene to monitor an impact of the International Treaty

PART II: The history and design of the International Treaty’s multilateral system of access and benefit-sharing

6. A brief history of the negotiations on the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

7. The design and mechanics of the multilateral system of access and benefit sharing

8. Protecting the interests of the multilateral system under the Standard Material Transfer Agreement: the third party beneficiary

9. Plant genetic resources under the management and control of the contracting parties and in the public domain: how rich is the ITPGRFA’s multilateral system?

10. Efforts to get the multilateral system up and running: a review of activities coordinated by the Treaty’s Secretariat

PART III: Critical reflections

11. Assessment of progress to make the multilateral system functional: incentives and challenges at the country level

12. From negotiations to implementation: global review of achievements, bottlenecks and opportunities for the Treaty in general and for the multilateral system in particular

13. The multilateral system of access and benefit sharing: could it have been constructed another way?

14. The moving scope of Annex 1: the list of crops covered under the multilateral system

15. Building a global information system in support of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

16. Collective action challenges in the implementation of the multilateral system of the International Treaty: what roles for the CGIAR centres?

17. International and regional cooperation in the implementation of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

18 The evolving global system of conservation and use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture: what is it and where does the Treaty fit in?

19 Institutionalizing global genetic resource commons for food and agriculture

Category: Books

Author: Halewood, M.; López Noriega, I.; Louafi, S.

Journal or series: Issues in Agricultural Biodiversity

Pages: 424 p.

Publication Year: 2013

Publication Format: Print

ISBN-13: 978-1-84407-893-6

Language: EN


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