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

Event, 30 October 2017 to 3 November 2017

IIED will be 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 will meet in Kigali, Rwanda, from 30 October to 3 November 2017. The meeting will bring 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 will be participating in two sessions at the seventh session.

On Wednesday, 1 November, IIED and partners will present 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, will give 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 will also discuss 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, will present evidence of the role of genetic resources and biocultural heritage territories in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Swiderska will base 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 will also make recommendations for the FAO treaty.

On Thursday, 2 November, IIED partners will present a session on repatriation and conservation of native plans. Argumedo and David Ellis, of the International Potato Center (known by its Spanish acronym CIP), will present 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


Krystyna Swiderska (krystyna.swiderska@iied.org), principal researcher, IIED's Natural Resources research group

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