IIED at the Seventh Session of the Governing Body of FAO Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources


IIED was at the Seventh Session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

The logo of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture aims to establish a global system to provide farmers, plant breeders and scientists with access to plant genetic materials. The treaty was adopted at the conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 2001.

The Seventh Session of the Governing Body of the treaty met in Kigali, Rwanda, from 30 October to 3 November 2017. The meeting brought together representatives from 144 member countries of the treaty, as well as NGOs, academics and civil society organisations; drawing more than 600 participants from around the world.

IIED and partners participated in two sessions at the seventh session.

On Wednesday, 1 November, IIED and partners presented a side event about the International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples (INMIP) and its work to promote biocultural heritage territories.

Alejandro Argumedo, of Asociación ANDES and coordinator of INMIP, gave a presentation about Peru's Potato Park biocultural heritage territory. The park is an effective community-led genetic reserve for in situ conservation of potato diversity and related wild species.

Argumedo also discussed the INMIP network, and present the outcomes of the learning exchange in April 2017. This focused on how to scale out the successful Potato Park model. At the end of the exchange, representatives of mountain communities from Bhutan, China, India, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Taiwan, Tajikistan and Thailand issued a declaration calling on governments to recognise the profound importance of biocultural heritage and indigenous knowledge for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

During the session, IIED's principal researcher on natural resources and biodiversity, Krystyna Swiderska, presented evidence of the role of genetic resources and biocultural heritage territories in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Swiderska based her presentation on findings from the five-year Smallholder Innovation for Resilience (SIFOR) project. This aimed to revitalise traditional knowledge-based – or 'biocultural' – innovation systems of smallholder farmers in order to strengthen food security in the face of climate change. Swiderska's presentation also made recommendations for the FAO treaty.

On Thursday, 2 November, IIED partners presented a session on repatriation and conservation of native plans. Argumedo and David Ellis, of the International Potato Center (known by its Spanish acronym CIP), presented lessons from a landmark agreement that has seen the return of 410 native potato varieties to Quechua communities in the Potato Park.

The agreement also established equitable collaborative research partnerships linking science and Indigenous knowledge for monitoring in situ potato diversity and adaptation to climate change.

Session details:

Wednesday, 1 November (6.15-7.30pm): International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples (INMIP): scaling out the Potato Park to implement the FAO treaty and achieve the SDGs
INMIP, Asociación ANDES and IIED

Thursday, 2 November (1.15-2.30pm): Repatriation and in situ conservation: lessons Learned from the Potato Park
Asociación ANDES and CIP