International Seed Treaty

This Statement was made at the Third session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture on behalf of the Global Community-based Biodiversity Conservation and Development (CBDC) Network, of which our in-country office FAIR Malawi is a member.

Agenda Item 13: Implementation of Article 6, Sustainable use of PGRFA

Agenda Item 14: Implementation of Article 9, Farmers’ Rights

Thank you Mr. Chairman

My Name is Teshome Hunduma from the DF, Norway

I am speaking on behalf of the global Community-based Biodiversity Conservation and Development (CBDC) Network.

I would like to thank for the chance we as a CBDC network are just given to speak on the implementation of the article 6.

The global CBDC network consists of CBDC Africa, CBDC South East and South Asia and Meso-American Participatory Plant Breeding Programme. The global CBDC Network seeks to promote and strengthen farmer-led conservation and sustainable utilization of agro-biodiversity at community level for purposes of ensuring food security and food sovereignty.

Mr. Chairman, we have seen that community-led conservation and sustainable utilization of agro-biodiversity is working and it is the best way out of the current food crises and secures local food production.

Mr. Chairman, we note with concern that the proposed funding strategy requires voluntary contributions when it is known that voluntary commitments will not materialize as was the case with the FAO Global Plan of Action of 1996.

Therefore:

1. The Governing Body should emphasize the implementation of article 6, which is on sustainable use of PGRFA as a priority area under the funding strategy.

2. The Community-based Biodiversity Conservation network also proposes a Global Fund for farmers which will be used for capacity building, technology transfer, information exchange, and sharing of other benefits by small-scale farmers for them to sustainably manage PGRFA.

Mr. Chairman, we also note the substantial funding for ex-situ conservation but very minimal funding for in-situ and on-farm conservation and sustainable utilization of plant genetic resources by small-scale farmers. We wish to remind delegates that ex situ conservation can not substitute the dynamism and diversity provided by on farm conservation which is the basis of agro-biodiversity to date. We therefore call upon the Governing Body to support on farm conservation of genetic resources and promotion of best practices that can be financed under the Funding Strategy.

The Treaty provides for access to PGR through the Multilateral System for CGIAR, but we note with concern that there are no frameworks and mechanisms designed for small-scale farmers to access and get back materials collected and stored under national, regional and international gene banks. We call upon the Governing Body to explore and develop separate but appropriate structures and institutional linkages with farmers’ organizations which are necessary to facilitate access by farmers to genetic resources of their choice which is under the CG system.

In order to promote effective implementation of the ITPGRFA at national level, we propose that the GB should integrate farmers, farmers’ organizations, civil society organizations at national, regional, and international levels as active sources of information for the proposed Compliance Committee.

We also call upon the Governing Body to establish concrete and specific mechanisms and frameworks for cooperation with small-scale farmers, farmers’ organizations, civil society organizations, which are actively working on issues related to plant genetic resources for food and agriculture in a sustainable manner.

Mr. Chairman, Allow me to extend my special thanks to the delegates from Ecuador speaking on behalf of GRULAC for supporting the in-situ conservation of PGRFA in particular and the implementation of the Treaty as a whole.

Thank you!!

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