The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) commit their member states to implementing very different access and benefit-sharing systems. One system, under the ITPGRFA, encourages international pooling and sharing of genetic diversity. The other system, under the CBD, maximizes each country’s sovereign control over their genetic resources. Progress in domestic implementation of both systems has been relatively slow. One factor contributing to delays is that policymakers in many countries are uncertain about how to address the interface between these two systems.
In a recent paper in Law Environment and Development Journal, Michael Halewood, head of the policy group at Bioversity International, and his co-authors provide a decision-making tool for policymakers implementing the multilateral system of access and benefit sharing. The paper highlights points of intersection with mechanisms developed at national levels to implement the CBD and its Nagoya Protocol. The authors also analyze factors contributing to the lack of coordination between the national public environment and agriculture agencies responsible for implementing these agreements. The paper has laid the conceptual framework for a meeting in 2014, co-organized by Bioversity International, the Access and Benefit Sharing Capacity Development Initiative and the secretariats of the CBD and the ITPGRFA to bring together the National Focal Points for the CBD/Nagoya Protocol and ITPGRFA from 20 countries to ensure cooperation and harmonious implementation of these agreements.
This story was featured in Bioversity International's 2013 Annual Report.
Read the entire 2013 Annual Report here