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The growing importance of equity and fairness in using agrobiodiversity to meet Sustainable Development Goals

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Presentation given by M. Ann Tutwiler, Director General, Bioversity International during Tropentag 2016: Solidarity in a competing world — fair use of resources

The new Sustainable Development Goals take a holistic approach, recognizing that human and environmental wellbeing are inextricably linked. SDG 1— No poverty—expands the vision of poverty reduction to go beyond economic resources and include also the natural resources on which the poor depend. Agricultural biodiversity is one natural resource pool that poor farmers have always relied on—in fact farmers are the people who developed the thousands of crop varieties we know today, which provide nutritious diets and support low-input farming systems.

Even though they developed these genetic resources, and depend upon them, their rights over them and the traditional knowledge associated with them are not always recognized and ensuing benefits shared fairly and equitably.

Two SDG targets address fair and equitable sharing of benefits from genetic resources and traditional knowledge directly: 2.5 under Zero hunger, and 15.6 Life on land. Additionally, several international treaties govern the use of agricultural genetic resources: The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, the Nagoya Protocol of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the UPOV Convention. National governments too have their own laws.

Into this mix, farmers and private sector companies bring their own perspectives and interests of what is fair, what is equitable and what is necessary to spur agricultural innovation. In some cases, contested claims about what constitutes fair and equitable treatment are dividing actors who should be working together in important ways. But there are examples of where heightened emphasis on promoting equity and fairness has contributed to successful outcomes. How can we bring successful local practices to national and international levels?

How can we bring international legal commitments on access and benefit sharing to local levels? And, finally what role should the private sector play across the board?

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The growing importance of equity and fairness in using agrobiodiversity to meet Sustainable Development Goals

  1. 1. The growing importance of equity and fairness in using agrobiodiversity to meet Sustainable Development Goals Ann Tutwiler, Director General, Bioversity International 19 September 2016
  2. 2. Genetic diversity contributes to many SDGs
  3. 3. SDG 2: Genetic diversity contributes to improved nutrition Bioversity InternationalA. Camacho Bioversity InternationalJ. Raneri
  4. 4. SDG 13: Genetic diversity helps farmers adapt to climate change • Bioversity InternationalJ. van de Gevel
  5. 5. Since 10,000 BC people have used genetic diversity to improve productivity and diversify diets
  6. 6. Since 1980s, international frameworks for sharing diversity began to evolve • 1983 | Commission on Plant Genetic Resources created • 1983 | International Undertaking adopted Plant Genetic Resources as the ‘universal heritage of mankind’ Basic vision • 1989 | Primacy of breeders’ and farmers’ rights • 1991 | Primacy of national sovereignty; • 1991 | Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants • 1992 | Convention on Biological Diversity adopted • 2001 | International Treaty text adopted (into force 2004) Conceptual revolution • 2006 | Standard Material Transfer Agreement adopted • 2011 | Nagoya Protocol adopted (into force 2014) The Plant Treaty era
  7. 7. Plant Treaty Nagoya Protocol Multilateral approach: • Facilitated access • Pre-negotiated terms • Minimum administration costs • Multilateral benefit sharing through international fund. Not directly back to providers • Bilateral negotiations • Blank slate negotiations • High transactions costs • Benefits shared directly with providers 64 crops and forages – if in the Multilateral System All the other edible species and genera (more than 5000*) 2016: Different approaches with different paradigms: the Plant Treaty and the Nagoya Protocol * Kew State of Plants 2016
  8. 8. Challenges: Implementation of the Plant Treaty Companies reluctant to take materials 1.1% royalty not paid Countries reluctant to put materials in
  9. 9. • One agriculture ministry, one environment ministry • One multilateral, one bilateral • One food security, one national patrimony, etc. Challenges: Joint implementation of the Nagoya Protocol and the Treaty
  10. 10. Challenge: from seeds to genomics Bioversity InternationalD. Hunter Wikipedia Images: Bioversity InternationalA. Camacho and Wikipedia
  11. 11. Cacao: Illustrating perspectives on fairness Photos: IITA and Creative Commons content
  12. 12. • New modalities, new partnerships, new forms of engagement are needed: • Case by case developing solutions within existing framework fair for all • Participatory and respectful of the agency of farmers • More than technical solutions – trust is key • Increasing relevance and impact • Increasing scrutiny from civil society organizations, media on research What does this mean for research? Bioversity InternationalN. Capozio
  13. 13. • Global interdependence on plant genetic resources to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals • Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture are, in many ways, a classic global public good. • But, efforts to create rights to appropriate and exploit private benefits associated are understandable, but give rise to challenges • United Nations are attempting to address this. Laudable efforts, reason to be optimistic that useful agreements will be implemented • Scientists need to understand the written and unwritten rules of the game. Conclusions
  14. 14. Thank you www.bioversityinternational.org/subscribe @BioversityInt Ann Tutwiler a.tutwiler@cgiar.org @AnnTutwiler

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