The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (Plant Treaty or ITPGRFA) is one of the most important achievements of the international community in the last decades. It recognizes the crucial importance of plant genetic resources for ensuring food and nutrition security, and puts in place mechanisms that facilitate international cooperation for the conservation, exchange and sustainable use of crop and forage diversity, and for sharing benefits derived from the use of those resources. Among these mechanisms, the Plant Treaty’s Multilateral System of Access and Benefit Sharing creates a virtual pool of plant genetic resources available at no cost for research, breeding and training activities in all countries that are parties to the Treaty.
The national and regional implementation of the Multilateral System requires extensive capacity building at different policy and administrative levels. Many countries that are Contracting Parties to the Plant Treaty seek assistance in developing the necessary institutional, legal, policy and administrative measures or mechanisms. The FAO/Bioversity/ITPGRFA Secretariat Joint Capacity Building Programme for Developing Countries on Implementation of the ITPGRFA and its Multilateral System of Access and Benefit Sharing (Joint Capacity Building Programme) has been designed and implemented to respond to some of those requests for assistance, based on priorities established by the Plant Treaty’s Governing Body.
The most recent product of the Joint Capacity Building Programme is a decision-making tool for national implementation of the Multilateral Systempublished by Bioversity International.
The tool is designed to assist national-level policy actors to identify appropriate measures to implement the Multilateral System within their country, taking into consideration the fact that a growing number of countries that are Contracting Parties to the Plant Treaty are also parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity's Nagoya Protocol* on access and benefit sharing. The tool is based on experiences gained working with national partners in a number of countries over the past eight years developing national policies and systems to implement the Multilateral System, and in particular under the Bioversity-led ‘Genetic Resources Policy Initiative’ and the project for Mutually supportive implementation of the Plant Treaty and the Nagoya Protocol in Benin and Madagascar.