Article 14 – Global Plan of Action

Recognizing that the rolling Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture is important to this Treaty, Contracting Parties should promote its effective implementation, including through national actions and, as appropriate, international cooperation to provide a coherent framework, inter alia, for capacity-building, technology transfer and exchange of information, taking into account the provisions of Article 13.

Contracting Parties are encouraged to promote the effective implementation of the GPA (see Box 15) as an international, yet voluntary, framework for PGRFA-related efforts. This is to be accomplished through:

In so doing, the Parties are encouraged to take into account Article 13 on benefit-sharing.

While the wording used in Article 14 is not binding, the GPA is seen as an essential scientific and technical framework for action at both the national and international levels, and in particular for the benefit-sharing provisions of Article 13. The first GPA was adopted in 1996, and it is envisaged that the Plan will be periodically updated; hence the expression “rolling”.

The implementation of the GPA will be guided and monitored by countries through the FAO CGRFA. In addition to progress reports issued by the CGRFA, a series of regional and sub-regional meetings to promote implementation of the GPA have been held, co-sponsored by the System-wide Genetic Resources Programme of the CGIAR and relevant regional agricultural research organizations.

Box 16. Facilitating Mechanism for the Global Plan of Action

Since the time of the adoption of the GPA, considerable experience has been gained in many areas critical for the implementation of the Plan. This includes work concerning on-farm management of plant genetic resources, participatory plant breeding, and furthering the understanding of local seed systems. National plant genetic resources programmes have been put into place in many countries and established networks in most sub-regions provide appropriate platforms for stakeholder involvement and the integration of conservation with the sustainable use in the plant breeding and seed sector.117

However, the wish of many stakeholders that the GPA should provide for coherent action in the fields of in situ and ex situ conservation, sustainable utilization of plant genetic resources, and institution and capacity-building has not been fully realized. Among the reasons for this is the absence, as yet, of an effective international arrangement to facilitate the implementation of the GPA.

Building on the successful example of a facilitating mechanism provided by the Global Programme on Integrated Pest Management, the FAO has established a facilitating mechanism to develop a more comprehensive and integrated approach to further implementation of the GPA. The proposal was presented to the CGRFA at its Ninth Session in October 2002, which “stressed that the implementation of the Plan should be country-driven, but efforts should also focus on facilitating the provision of technical and financial resources to developing countries (especially least developed countries), and to countries with economies in transition. High priority should also be given to enhancing or creating partnerships for implementation of the Plan, promoting linkages among plant genetic resources management, plant breeding and seed sector, and networking, and facilitating communication with international organizations and donors.”

The proposal was further discussed at the Second Session of the Commission's Working Group on Plant Genetic Resources in November 2003. The Working Group, which reports to the Commission, left the wording of the objectives of the Facilitating Mechanism to the Commission itself, but agreed on its operating principles, activities and operational structure. The Facilitating Mechanism will receive overall guidance from the Commission and its working Group on PGRFA. It will be hosted by FAO and operated in partnership with IPGRI in a way that attracts and accommodates other international organizations to become partners. Its activities will include providing information on:

At its tenth session in November 2004, the CGRFA reviewed the Technical Working Group's proposal, and agreed that the objective of the Facilitating Mechanism should be to facilitate the implementation of the GPA, and to encourage the mobilization of technical and financial resources to do so. The Commission supported the operational principles, activities, and operational structure of the Facilitating Mechanism.

117See FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, A Facilitating Mechanism for the Implementation of the Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, CGRFA-9/02/9, Ninth Regular Session (Rome, 9 and 14-18 October 2002).

118See Report of the Second Session of the Working Group on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, FAO Doct. CGRFA/WG-PGR-2/03/Report, November 2003.

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