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First Session of the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group
on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
Rome, 2-4 July 2001

IISD's SUMMARY REPORT  is available online in  HTML ball.gif (204 bytes) TEXT ball.gif (204 bytes) PDF
Photos and RealAudio from Wednesday, 4 July
Monday 2 July - Tuesday 3 July

Peter Kenmore, Coordinator of the Global Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Facility, presented and discussed CGRFA/WG-PRG-1/01/7, Potential impacts of Genetic Use Restriction Technologies (GURTs) on Agricultural Biodiversity and Agricultural Production Systems

Listen to Kenmore's presentation


In his extensive commentary on the paper, the US stated, inter alia, that many assertions made in the report were in fact speculative and urged a more balanced description of GURTs that highlights their potential for hunger reduction.

Listen to the US's comments

Ecuador suggested the elaboration of principles of prevention and precaution.

Norway highlighted food security issues related to GURTs and the need for a secure source of seed in case of emergencies.

Iran said there was an inherent difference between development of a technology that may benefit the whole of humanity and has some side effects as well; and a technology that benefits just a very small percentage of the society or private companies.

Speaking in a personal capacity, Canada likened IPRs to locks that could be used to protect the valuable contents of a warehouse; said that innovation, blocked by opposition to IPR, had now emerged in the form of GURTs; and noted that innovators are more likely to put valuable things in the warehouse if they know there is a lock on the door protecting from piracy.

Listen to Canada's metaphor

India reminded delegates of the reasons why his country does not allow the import of GURTs, and asked that other countries also discourage their use.
Portugal also thought the report to be overly negative, and called for the highlighting of the positive aspects of GURTs.
  ITDG shared his impression that that by attempting to be objective,
the report gave a cloak of respectability to GURTs. Noting consumer aversion
to genetically modified foods, he called for an outright ban on GURTs
A representative of ASSINSEL said that: in cases of containment, V-GURTs could provide direct added agronomic value; development of new varieties is not changed by development in farmers' fields; and comments in the report on the Green Revolution were too negative.
Adoption of the report of the meeting closing statements
Asmund Asdal (Norway), Rapporteur, presented the report of the meeting. Delegates adopted it after making clarifications and suggestions for improvement.

Dr. N. Murthi Anishetty, FAO Seed and Plant Genetic Resources Service (on the right) looks on as Chair Eng Siam Lim gavels the meeting to a close.

Listen to the last minutes of the meeting: Canada expresses thanks to the Chair, and the Chair's closing words

Archive: Photos and RealAudio of Monday, 2 July and Tuesday, 3 July
Documents for the meeting ENB coverage of the Sixth Extraordinary session of the CGRFA (International Undertaking), Rome, 25-30 June
FAO's Plant Genetic Resources page (AGPS home page)

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