India is in favor of multilateral system for discussions on food, agriculture

Representatives of the ninth session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) finalized a resolution on ‘Celebrating the Guardians of Crop Diversity’ here on Thursday. It recognizes the role of communities, farmers and women as ‘guardians of crop diversity’. During the discussions, India took a leadership role in conducting the ITPGRFA’s consultations on enhancing the functioning of the Multilateral System (MLS).

The session, on its third day, set up a ‘liaison group’ to guide a draft process to resume talks broken since the last meeting of the ITPGRFA governing body held before the pandemic. “The representatives of GB-9 held the first informal meeting of the Liaison Group to take the agenda forward in full discussion,” the Union Agriculture Ministry said in a release.

India also drew attention to the meeting on the funding status of the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). India argued that ICRISAT is not part of the International Advisory Group for Agricultural Research but remains a CGAIR genebank as defined by Article 15 of the treaty. “India calls upon GB-9 to deliberate on the issue of continued funding of ICRISAT GeneBank,” the release said.

India also sought discussions on Digital Sequence Information (DSI) in Plant Treaty independent of Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). India supported the need to continue technical discussions to provide clarity of definition, scope, jurisdiction, nature of implementation and access and profit sharing mechanism to meet the objectives of ITPGRFA.

The release said that DSI was a difficult issue to resolve at all international fora. ‘As the ITPGRFA deliberations are relatively forward in content and practical in nature, India argued that the DSI issue should be resolved without compromising on discussions on multilateral system enhancement. India further reiterated that the ITPGRFA should not wait for the CBD to resolve the DSI issue, as the ITPGRFA deliberations are relatively ahead in content, delineated in scope and easy to implement,’ the government said.

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