European seed sector supports FAO Treaty on plant genetic resources for food and agriculture


The voluntary financial contribution to Benefit Sharing Fund was announced at ESA Annual Meeting in Lisbon on 14 October by the President of the European Seed Association, Gerard Backx.
“It is my honour to announce today that Europe's seed sector will make a substantial voluntary financial contribution to the IT.”, Backx informed the General Assembly of ESA in presence of Dr. Modesto Fernandez, Co-Chair of the Treaty's Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group to Enhance the Functioning of the Multilateral System of Access and Benefit-sharing.
The IT and its multilateral approach to access and benefit sharing for plant genetic resources has always been seen as the more suitable system by the plant breeding sector in comparison to the CBD and its Nagoya protocol. But the Treaty has long suffered from a number of shortcomings, e.g. its poor implementation and limitation of its Annex I to only 64 species, which also hampers its financial situation. These matters are currently addressed by a specific Working Group that is charged with presenting proposals for improvements to the next Governing Body meeting in fall 2015.
“We actively participate to this discussion and will provide our ideas how the financial situation of the Treaty can be improved as a result of better access and benefit sharing options and processes.”, Backx pointed out.
In his reply, Dr. Modesto Fernandez underlined the importance of further improving the Treaty to achieve its goal of conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources as the base for a successful benefit sharing and thanked the European Seed Association for its strong commitment and support of the Treaty.
Concluding the ESA General Assembly, Garlich von Essen, Secretary General of ESA stated: “If there is one sector that knows about and appreciates the importance of conserving our plant genetic resources, it is the plant breeding sector!”. He informed that the financial contribution will be organised by ESA and its member associations and shall be made available to the Treaty in the course of the year 2015.