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Genetic resources policies and institutions have an impact on the sustainable use and conservation of agricultural and forest biodiversity. They affect how national governments, research organizations, companies and farmers conserve and manage agricultural biodiversity, and how some of its components, like genetic resources, are made available and exchanged between different users.

Bioversity International's research approach

Research into the  effects of institutions and policies is essential to identify mechanisms that help farmers make the most out of crop diversity, and to maintain a dynamic flow of genetic resources among a range of users – breeders, researchers and farmers – for climate change adaptation and the sustainable intensification of agricultural production systems.

Using participatory research methods, Bioversity International works to strengthen the capacity of our partners to conduct policy research, and to proactively engage in policy development processes by developing science-based technical contributions for consideration by policymakers from local to global levels.

Our work has a direct effect and application for: farming communities; community, national and international genebanks; local, national and international policymakers; non-governmental organizations; and researchers from national and international organizations.

Research highlights

Decision-making tool helps countries adapt to climate change

Distilled from eight years of working with countries to implement the Plant Treaty, a new decision-making tool will help all countries craft suitable instruments to let them take full advantage of the multilateral system of access and benefit sharing.

The tool is available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic.

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Scenarios for Nagoya Protocol and Plant Treaty

The scenarios presented in this publication are designed to help national focal points, competent authorities and other stakeholders work through areas of uncertainty, so that they can develop clearly articulated, mutually supportive, national level approaches to implementing the Plant Treaty and the Nagoya Protocol.

The publication is available in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian.

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Helping policy catch up with science

When it comes to the use of plant diversity, science is way ahead of policy. Bioversity International took part in a deep analysis of the difficulties, to guide policy regime changes that will strengthen access and benefit sharing.


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Mutual implementation of the Plant Treaty and the Nagoya Protocol

With the increasing effects from climate change, the need to find and exchange crops and varieties that can grow in different climatic conditions is essential. In fact many major staple food crops are already experiencing significant climate-change related yield reductions – the International Panel on Climate Change predicts that agricultural production will decline by 2% every decade until 2050, with yields of major crops in Africa and South Asia declining by up to 8%.

Recent research shows that more than two-thirds of the crops that underpin national diets originate from somewhere else.

At the international level, the majority of our work focuses on the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. and the Convention on Biological Diversity's Nagoya Protocol - two international agreements on how countries exchange plant genetic resources.

Bioversity International is also heavily focused on working with national partners to find ways to implement both agreements in mutually supportive ways.

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Farmers' Crop Varieties and Farmers' Rights

Over the last 50 years there has been a growing appreciation of the important role that farmers play in the development and conservation of crop genetic diversity, and the contribution of that crop diversity to agro-ecosystem resilience and food security.  

This new book examines policies that aim to increase the share of benefits that farmers receive when others use the crop varieties they have developed and managed. 

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La cooperación y la competencia para conservar la diversidad nativa en Perú

Como parte de un esquema de incentivos para conservar la biodiversidad de quinua en el Perú, comunidades agrícolas recibieron recompensas, como palas...

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Pupunha bunches (Bactris gasipaes)

Putting biodiversity back on the menu in Brazil

New Ordinance signed on Sociobiodiversity will help to increase knowledge and promote sustainable use of native biodiversity

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Drying kokum fruit in the sun before they are made into other products. The rinds are used to make beverages and slimming products. Credit: Bioversity International/E.Hermanowicz

Piloting a gender-responsive tool for assessing the poverty impacts of value chain development

Last month, field researchers from three parts of India participated in a training workshop on a new gender-responsive methodology for assessing the...

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Sorghum varieties in Tanzania. Credit: Bioversity International/J. Van De Gevel

The first International Agrobiodiversity Congress calls for abstracts

The 1st International Agrobiodiversity Congress will take place from 6 - 9 November 2016 in New Delhi, India, as a platform for stakeholders to share...

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Seed fair in Nakaseke, Uganda, to raise awareness of traditional varieties of beans.
Please credit: Bioversity International/I.Lopez-Noriega

Access and benefit sharing of genetic resources – making it work for family farmers

A new special issue of Farming Matters, produced in collaboration with Bioversity International, focuses on how access and benefit sharing of plant...

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Farmers’ Crop Varieties and Farmers’ Rights

A new book in the Issues in Agricultural Biodiversity series examines policies that aim to increase the share of benefits that farmers receive when...

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Credit: Participants to the official launch of the project Mutually supportive implementation of the Nagoya Protocol and the International Treaty in Benin, May 2015 Credit: Wilfried Anagonou

Mutually supportive implementation of the Plant Treaty and the Nagoya Protocol in Benin and Madagascar

Bioversity International is working with the Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) Capacity Development Initiative, the secretariats of the CBD and...

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Access to Seeds – why seed companies need to bridge the gap to reach smallholder farmers

In this month’s blog, Ann Tutwiler, Director General, Bioversity International, focuses on the first Access to Seeds Index published last week, which...

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A Seed Resource Box to help farmers adapt to climate change

Developed by a multidisciplinary team of Bioversity International researchers, the Resilient Seed Systems Resource Box is a tool to enhance the access...

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Seed fair with smallholder farmers in Mutale, Limpopo Province. This community has been earmarked by the government to set up a community seedbank. Credit: Bioversity International/R.Vernooy

Gender and Climate Change

With contribution from Bioversity International, a set of policy briefs published by CIFOR in light of the upcoming Global Landscapes Forum, provides...

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CGIAR Partners

This work is carried out through the CGIAR Research Programs on Policies, Institutions, and Markets and Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, and supported by CGIAR Trust Fund donors.