ESA sends strong signal of support to the ITPGRFA

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Garlich Von Essen

The Sixth Session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty takes place in Rome, from 5 to 9 October 2015. Treaty signatories at the Governing Body will negotiate a subscription system for users of crop diversity that will generate predictable and regular income for farmers conserving and further adapting seed varieties on farm. Discussions should result in improvements of the rules that govern access to genetic resources with the aim to generate more money to a fund that supports specific conservation projects worldwide.

 

Europe’s breeders see this Treaty with its Multilateral System and standardised approach to material transfer agreements as the best available concept to successfully secure the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture to the benefit of researchers, breeders, farmers and of society at large. “It is ESA’s position that access to genetic resources for further breeding is the key precondition to enable plant breeders to continuously and successfully address the grand challenges of food security, environmental sustainability and climate change”, stated Garlich von Essen, ESA’s Secretary General during his speech in Rome.

 

However, this does not mean that the Treaty is perfect. Mostly and mainly, the lack of income into the Treaty’s Benefit Sharing Fund is seen as the main shortcoming of the Treaty and its MLS.

 

“ESA stands ready to further contribute its knowledge, its experience and its dedication to a successful conclusion of the ongoing negotiations regarding the further improvement of the Treaty and its financing, both during this Governing Body meeting and beyond”, declared ESA’s Secretary General.

 

In October 2014, at the ESA Congress in Lisbon, the sector underlined its commitment with the announcement of a voluntary financial contribution to the IT’s Access and Benefit Sharing fund. Now, almost exactly 12 months later, ESA President Gerard Backx will hand a symbolic cheque of 300.000 EUR to Secretary Shakeel Bhatti during the upcoming 2015 Congress in Vienna.

 

“This donation sends a strong signal of support to the Treaty. It is both an appreciation of what has been achieved in the recent discussions as well as of our expectations and trust of further improvements that are in line with the needs of the plant breeding businesses”, concluded Garlich von Essen.

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