Michael Halewood, head of Bioversity International policy unit, presented at the international conference Enhanced genepool utilization - Capturing wild relative and landrace diversity for crop improvement, in Cambridge, UK, 16-20 June 2014.
For the last 50 years, members of the international community have devised interventions to support the conservation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. For much of that time there has been general agreement concerning many of the core components that an international PGRFA conservation system should include: virtually pooled PGRFA in ex situ collections around the world with common rules for facilitated public access; an international fund supported by developed country governments and or commercial users, based on recognition of farmers’ contributions over millennia, to support capacity building in developing countries; and a complementary information system(s). The place of in situ conservation within the mix of components has been uncertain, and largely overlooked, until recently.
What have been controversial and dynamically changing are the ‘deep rights of control’ over PGRFA that countries and some stakeholders have insisted upon as pre-conditions for fully supporting the establishment of those core components. The presentation reviews the controversies, compromises, and sea-changes over the last 50 years concerning the ‘deep’ legal status of PGRFA.
Read more about Bioversity International work on policy for crop diversity conservation and management