The fifteenth session of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN’s (FAO) Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA 15) addressed a series of sectoral and cross-sectoral issues, including: animal, forest and plant genetic resources; access and benefit-sharing (ABS) for genetic resources for food and agriculture (GRFA); biodiversity and nutrition; and climate change and GRFA. The session was held from 19-23 January 2015, in Rome, Italy.
The session was preceded by a special event focusing on food security and genetic diversity, held on 16 January 2015, and a seminar on the report on the ‘State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture,’ held on 17 January. The finalization of the second report on the ‘State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources,’to be published by the end of 2015, was hailed by many as an important outcome of this session. The Commission also adopted the ‘Strategy for the Implementation of the Global Plan of Action for Forest Genetic Resources;’ and agreed on ‘Elements to Facilitate Domestic Implementation of ABS for Different Sub-sectors of Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.’ The elements address: considerations for developing, adapting or implementing measures for ABS for GRFA; information on the international legal framework; rationale for ABS measures for GRFA; and elements of measures for GRFA. They cover institutional arrangements, access to and utilization of GRFA, access to traditional knowledge associated with GRFA, fair and equitable sharing of benefits, and compliance and monitoring.
Furthermore, the Commission endorsed a number of tools, including: the Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Integration of Genetic Diversity into National Climate Change Adaptation Planning, inviting the CGRFA Secretary to transmit them to the UNFCCC and relevant international bodies; the Voluntary Guidelines for Mainstreaming Biodiversity into Policies, Programmes and National and Regional Plans of Action on Nutrition; the voluntary Guide for National Seed Policy Formulation, agreeing that nothing in this guide should be interpreted to limit farmers’ rights to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed/propagating material, subject to national law and as appropriate; and the Guidelines for Developing a National Strategy for Plant GRFA.
CGRFA 16 will take place from 30 January – 3 February 2017, in Rome, Italy.
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