Another Governing Body done and dusted

Jeremy has been able to heroically deal with various housekeeping issues on the blog without interference from me for the past week or so because I’ve been in Kigali heroically dealing with the Seventh Session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. As ever, Earth Negotiations Bulletin has done a great job of digesting each day’s deliberations, and then providing an overall summary. Perhaps the main outcome is a tentative move towards an at least partly subscription model for the Multilateral System. There has been interest in this from the private sector, though the exact level of contribution of course remains to be negotiated.

A great job, as I say, except for one thing. Here’s an excerpt from ENB’s final analysis of the meeting:

Veteran negotiator from the Netherlands Bert Visser, ETC Group’s Pat Mooney, famous for coining the terms “biopiracy” and “terminator seeds,” and IRRI’s bridge-builder Rory Hillocks were celebrated with standing ovations for their contribution to the Treaty and PGRFA conservation and sustainable use. Furthermore, side-events showcased a multitude of participatory programmes, community projects, and networks steadily working on agrobiodiversity conservation and sustainable use, within the Treaty framework but without the visibility they deserve. In the words of an African saying, “Many small people, in many small places, do many small things, which can alter the face of the world.” The challenge for the Treaty, as an expert summed up, is to bring them all together and let the world know.

I suspect, however, that “IRRI’s bridge-builder” is really Ruaraidh Sackville Hamilton.

LATER: Glad to see this has now been corrected.

One Reply to “Another Governing Body done and dusted”

  1. The ENB final report actually mentions Visser, Mooney and Ruaraidh together. It is odd that Mooney is still persona grata after the fiasco of the RAFI biopiracy campaign – the reason developing countries do not (still) send out samples under the Treaty. There is still the anti-CGIAR rhetoric “Civil Society urged the GB to: ensure full disclosure of patent applications and related policy changes by the CGIAR; and request suspension of any further CGIAR patent applications until the GB gives its consent”. The CGIAR – the major engine of the Treaty sample distribution (by far) – should tell Civil Society (funded by goodness knows who) and the GB to get lost: patenting or not is nothing to do with the Treaty (but Civil society would like it to be). Or perhaps try telling the new member (the USA) to apply to the GB for permission to patent derivatives of USDA material – fat chance and rightly so. The anti-patent war has been long lost when the Treaty picked on patents as the main Treaty funding mechanism. Civil society (that is, NGO). One sad bit of news from the report is the demise of the CATIE genebank (but surely not the the vast living collection of coffee, cacao, peach palm and hundreds of other perennials)

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