India bats for multilateral system for discussions on food, agriculture

The session established a ‘contact group’ to guide a draft process for re-starting negotiations which broke down before the pandemic

The session established a ‘contact group’ to guide a draft process for re-starting negotiations which broke down before the pandemic

Delegates of the ninth session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) finalised a resolution here on Thursday on “celebrating the guardians of crop diversity.” It recognises the role of communities, farmers and women as “guardians of crop diversity”. During the discussions, India assumed a leadership role to steer the consultation on enhancement of the functioning of the multilateral system (MLS) of the ITPGRFA.

The session, on its third day, established a ‘contact group’ to guide a draft process for re-starting the negotiations which broke down since the last meeting of the ITPGRFA governing body held before the pandemic. “Delegates of GB-9 held the first informal meeting of the contact group to take the agenda forward in the plenary discussion,” the Union Agriculture Ministry said in a release.

India also drew attention to the meeting on the funding status of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). India argued that ICRISAT is not a part of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research but continues to be a CGAIR Genebank as defined by Article 15 of the Treaty. “India demanded that GB-9 deliberate on the issue of continued funding of ICRISAT Genebank,” the release added.

India also demanded deliberations on Digital Sequence Information (DSI) in Plant Treaty independent of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). India endorsed the need for continuation of technical deliberations to provide clarity of definition, scope, jurisdiction, nature of implementation and access and benefit sharing mechanisms for fulfilling the objectives of ITPGRFA.

The release said the DSI had been a difficult issue to resolve in all international fora. “Since ITPGRFA deliberations are relatively ahead in content and practical in nature, India argued that DSI issue should be resolved without compromising on the discussions on multilateral system enhancement. India further reiterated that ITPGRFA should not wait for CBD to resolve DSI issue, since ITPGRFA deliberations are relatively ahead in content, delineated in scope and easy to implement,” the government said.

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