ITPGR Secretariat Circulates Update on Benefit-sharing Projects

ITPGRDecember 2013: The Secretariat of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR) has published an update on the projects sponsored by the second round of the Treaty's Benefit-sharing Fund, currently in implementation in 31 countries across Asia, Africa, the Near East, and Central and South America.

The projects place particular importance on farmers' traditional knowledge, their socio-cultural systems and institutions, and the role of local communities in securing access to agricultural biodiversity. Farmers are involved in the collection, characterization, evaluation and development of new crop varieties for rice, maize, potato, wheat and barley, as well as in the compilation of information on existing crop diversity, in consistency with national strategies and priorities. The projects also emphasize the importance of gender-differentiated traditional knowledge and the adoption of gender-equitable approaches. To help secure local seed systems and facilitate the sharing of information on seed development, many seed clubs, as well as biodiversity fairs and farmer exchange visits have been organized as part of the projects, thus providing opportunities for exchanging knowledge, building on established good practices and giving farmers the opportunity to showcase seed collections representative of their selection and conservation practices. The projects also emphasize the importance of, and the need for, capacity building and awareness-raising. Special attention is being paid to enhancing human and institutional competences to conserve and sustainably use plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.

The ITPGR Benefit-sharing Fund invests directly in high-impact projects that support developing country farmers who are conserve crop diversity in their fields and projects that assist farmers and breeders globally in adapting crops to changing needs and demands. It prioritizes projects that: accelerate on-farm management and conservation in collaboration with farmers and local communities, especially in the developing world, where a real opportunity exists for advances in crop diversity to improve nutrition and create more sustainable livelihoods; increase food security, especially for local communities in the developing world that stand to suffer most from the inevitable effects of climate change; represent innovative partnerships between research centers, farmers, civil society, and public/private sector leaders at all levels; and have the potential to be scaled up across agro-ecological zones, ensuring maximum positive impact and best use of current scientific data. [ITPGR Update][ITPGR Benefit-sharing Fund Webpage]