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Ninth Regular Session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

Rome, Italy | 14 - 18 October 2002

Summary Report | Our summary is available online in: 

The ninth regular session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA-9) was held from 14-18 October 2002, at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, following the first Meeting of the CGRFA acting as the Interim Commission for the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR). Approximately 288 participants from 103 countries and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations attended the meeting.

CGRFA-9 considered agenda items related to animal genetic resources (AnGR), including the report of the second session of the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group on Animal Genetic Resources (ITWG-AnGR), its future work and the Report on the State of the World's AnGR. Regarding plant genetic resources, delegates discussed: the report of the first session of the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group on Plant Genetic Resources (ITWG-PGR) and its future work; implementation and monitoring of the Global Plan of Action (GPA) and preparation of the second Report on the State of the World's Plant Genetic Resources; the facilitating mechanism for the GPA's implementation; other elements of the FAO Global System for the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA), including:

  • ex situ collections held by the International Agricultural Research Centers (IARCs) of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) renewal of their agreements with the FAO and development of an interim Material Transfer Agreement (MTA),

  • international plant genetic resources networks,

  • the World Information and Early Warning System on PGRFA (WIEWS), and

  • in situ conservation areas.

Delegates also considered the FAO's policies, programmes and activities on agricultural biodiversity, heard reports from international organizations on activities on agricultural biodiversity and addressed cooperation with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Finally, they considered the status of the International Code of Conduct for Plant Germplasm Collecting and Transfer and the draft Code of Conduct on Biotechnology as It Relates to Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

Delegates managed to tackle the considerable workload speedily, focusing on the substance and technicalities of genetic resources and trying to avoid unfruitful debates on politically sensitive issues. Revising the draft interim MTA for the IARCs was not an easy task, especially in view of the controversies that arose during the ITPGR's negotiations and the long discussion on the terms of reference for an MTA expert group during the ITPGR's first Interim Committee meeting. Nevertheless, a Friends of the Chair group managed to resolve differences, accommodate concerns and develop a revised MTA, while Plenary addressed other issues, such as the implementation of the GPA and the status of the Code of Conduct on Biotechnology. Despite progress in these areas, some highlighted concern about a significant amount of work be conducted behind closed doors, such as the interim MTA as well as the revision of the meeting's report. Looking ahead, the CGRFA will have to grapple with the all to common problem of balancing movement forward on a complex and highly political agenda with the need for transparent decision-making processes.


Links |

Documents for the 9th session of the CGRFA

Agenda and timetable for the meeting

Linkages biodiversity and wildlife issues page and IU-WG summary report.


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