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In June 2015, partners from ten countries, including the National Focal Points of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) and the Nagoya Protocol from Benin and Madagascar, were invited to the workshop “Strengthening National capacities to implement the ITPGRFA: National-level multilateral system policy development” held in Bioversity International, Rome, Italy.

In the exercise of their sovereign rights over plant genetic resources, the member states of the ITPGRFA agreed to create the multilateral system (MLS) of access and benefit sharing (ABS). By ratifying the ITPGRFA, each contracting party committed to undertake measures to implement the MLS, including providing facilitated access to PGRFA that is included in it. The ITPGRFA, however, does not specify how the MLS should be put in place. As a result, whereas a number of countries have been able to do significant progress in the implementation of the MLS without passing new laws, in many countries this has not been so easy. This issue because evident during the implementation of the GRPI 2 project. Consequently, Bioversity International developed a decision making tool for supporting the actors involved in efforts to implement the MLS to think through their options so that they are sure that they are taking the right decisions in relation to transfer of PGRFA under the MLS.

The organization of this workshop provided an opportunity to the participants to provide inputs to the decision making tool. In addition, one of the main objectives of the workshop was to support partners in the development develop plans for the completion of drafted policies, legislation and administrative guidelines for the implementation of the ITPGRFA promoted throughout the implementation of the GRPI 2 project. The workshop also created space for countries to share their experiences on the implementation of the MLS and to explore possible future cooperation on mutually supportive implementation of the ITPGRFA and Nagoya Protocol.

This workshop was supported through funds from the Netherlands-supported GRPI 2 project. 

Photo: Participants at the workshop Strengthening National capacities to implement the ITPGRFA: National-level multilateral system policydevelopment, held in Bioversity International, Rome 23-26 June, 2015. Credit: Bioversity International/ S. Piscopo