Fifth session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
24-28 September 2013 (Muscat, Oman)

The meeting launched an intersessional Ad Hoc Working Group to Enhance the Functioning of the Multilateral System (MLS) of Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS), which is mandated to develop measures to increase user-based payments and contributions to the Benefit-sharing Fund, as a priority, as well as “additional measures” to enhance the functioning of the MLS. Delegates described this outcome as pivotal for the future development of the Treaty, noting that the process will provide much needed direction towards enhanced implementation, in view of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Nagoya Protocol on ABS. In addition, the meeting adopted a work programme on sustainable use and a resolution of farmers’ rights that were welcomed as significant progress towards implementation; and resolved outstanding issues on compliance, rendering the Treaty’s compliance mechanism fully operational.

Farmers’ rights were the subject of intensive debate, and are addressed in the resolutions on implementation of Article 6 (sustainable use) and implementation of Article 9 (farmers’ rights). In the resolution on Article 9, the GB requested the Secretariat to: review knowledge, views and best practices, including from farmers’ organizations, to systematically derive examples as options for national implementation, as appropriate and according to national legislation, for GB 6 consideration; report on discussions related to farmers’ rights within FAO fora, including the Committee on Food Security; invite UPOV and WIPO to identify possible areas of interrelations among their respective international instruments; and facilitate support to parties in building capacity for the implementation of farmers’ rights, upon their request. Parties are invited to take the initiative to convene regional workshops on farmers’ rights, and consider: developing national action plans for the implementation of Article 9, as appropriate and subject to national legislation; reviewing and, if necessary, adjusting national measures affecting the realization of farmers’ rights; and providing financial and technical support for the implementation of farmers’ rights in developing countries, and enabling farmer organization to attend Treaty meetings.

In the resolution on sustainable use, the GB requests parties to promote, as appropriate, access of all farmers to genetic resources in the MLS and the widening of genetic diversity of crops in use. It requests the Secretariat to work with parties, networks and partners to promote the conservation and use of local and locally adapted varieties, underutilized crops and their knowledge systems, crop cultures and associated landscapes; and decides to reconvene twice the intersessional committee on sustainable use of PGRFA, to provide advice to the Secretariat on coordination of the work programme and the development of the toolbox on sustainable use, and prepare a set of options for parties’ consideration in national implementation of farmers’ rights. Visit the meeting webpage … Read the IISD Reporting Services summary and analysis of the meeting …