ISF welcomes the decision of the Governing Body setting out the next steps of the process concerning the enhancement of the Treaty’s Multilateral System and believes that at a time when the Treaty faces many challenges, this decision gives a chance to all stakeholders involved to succeed in the improvement of the Treaty’s access and benefit sharing system in 2025.
This comes shortly after the Tenth Session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, where ISF participated with a delegation of 7 representatives from around the globe. Deliberations finished on November 24, 2024, following a whole week of intense discussions.
As a large majority of Contracting Parties focus on sharing benefits, ISF recalls the crucial importance of a harmonious balance between access and benefit sharing. The future system should allow the access and use of all plant genetic resources and their associated genetic sequence data under reasonable conditions. One key priority for the seed sector in this process remains the expansion of Annex I of the Multilateral System to all plant genetic resources. The discussions at GB 10 confirmed that it is of utmost importance to clarify expectations as early as possible in the process and underline that the definition of payment rates must consider economic and business realities.
“The timeline of the process is very ambitious and will require a high level of commitment from Contracting Parties and stakeholders involved. ISF remains engaged and is committed to continuing its proactive contribution to the process,” says Szonja Csörgő, Intellectual Property and Legal Affairs Manager at ISF.
The discussion around Farmers’ Rights was also high on the Governing Body’s agenda and resulted in the definition of clear tasks for the Treaty to engage in during the upcoming inter-sessional period. ISF believes that the assessment of the state of implementation of Farmers’ Rights will deliver valuable information to increase the knowledge and understanding of the diversity of approaches taken by Contacting Parties to implement Farmers’ Rights at the national level.
ISF considers it an elementary right of farmers to have access to the widest possible choice of good quality seed in sufficient quantities and believes that this right is at the center of resilient seed systems. In this vein, ISF organized a side event during the GB session to share what the private seed sector is doing on the ground to improve farmers’ livelihoods and to engage with other stakeholders in a constructive discussion on what needs to be prioritized to achieve resilience and how can we all best work together for this shared goal.
“The event showed that there is a lot of alignment between the various stakeholders involved in groundwork and is encouraging an increase in the level of collaboration for future projects,” added Csörgő.