Highlights and images for 24 November 2023

FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy


Yasmina El Bahloul, GB 10 Chairperson, gavels the meeting to a close

The final day of the meeting concluded without major disagreements. Delegates resolved outstanding issues regarding the draft resolution on digital sequence information (DSI) / genetic sequence data (GSD). Debates centered on collaboration with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and interlinkages between the work of the Treaty’s Working Group on the enhancement of the Multilateral System (MLS) and the CBD Working Group on benefit-sharing from the use of DSI on genetic resources. Delegates also finalized negotiations on farmers’ rights, deciding to reconvene the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Farmers’ Rights, having first agreed on its terms of reference. They adopted all resolutions, as well as the work programme and budget for the biennium.

Alwin Kopše, Switzerland

Alwin Kopše, Switzerland, incoming Chairperson of GB 11

Plenary unanimously elected Alwin Kopše (Switzerland), nominated by the European Regional Group, as Chair of the eleventh session of the Governing Body (GB 11), to be held in 2025, at a location yet to be announced. Regional and closing statements highlighted the outstanding leadership of GB 10 Chair Yasmina El-Bahloul (Morocco), with many stressing the need for progress in the negotiations on enhancing the MLS and for implementation of farmers’ rights. Secretary Kent Nnadozie expressed his appreciation to parties for their confidence, noting that the Treaty is not just a legal instrument but a symbol of collaboration and cooperation.  

Chair El Bahloul thanked all participants, urging that the spirit of cooperation continues into the next session. She gaveled the meeting to a close at 5:50 pm.

Adoption applause

Delegates applaud the adoption of the draft report of the meeting.

Overall, the session served as a reminder that the Treaty is at the heart of the international community’s collective responsibility to conserve agricultural biodiversity and share its benefits fairly and equitably, for socio-economic well-being and environmental sustainability. At the same time, the session underlined that the Treaty does not operate in a vacuum. As global challenges become more urgent, and technical and policy approaches more complex, coordination structures become a prerequisite for efficient policy action. The session highlighted the need to ensure close collaboration with the CBD, following adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and its Decision 15/9 on benefit-sharing from DSI on genetic resources. It featured calls for implementation of farmers’ rights across the Treaty’s work streams, including in relation to DSI and during the negotiations on enhancement of the MLS, in collaboration with human rights bodies and instruments such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants.

With four meetings of the Working Group on enhancement of the MLS and several tasks of the expert group on farmers’ rights planned for the next biennium, amidst a packed international agenda, a busy phase is anticipated. GB 11 will then be called upon to find the political will to finalize the task of enhancing the MLS, aiming to boost the sharing of benefits from the use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, and ultimately to reposition the Treaty in the evolving global policy landscape.

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All ENB photos are free to use with attribution. For the 10th Session of the ITPGRFA Governing Body please use: Photo by IISD/ENB | Matthew TenBruggencate