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.