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Nepal’s Preparation for the Fifth Session of the Governing Body of the ITPGRFA

SAWTEE and Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD), Government of Nepal (GoN), jointly organized a two day discussion programme on “Nepal’s preparation for the Fifth Session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA)” on 29-30 August 2013 in Kathmandu. The main objectives of the programme were to brainstorm on major issues to be discussed at the Fifth Session of the Governing Body of the ITPGRFA being held from 24-28 September 2013 in Muscat, Oman; and to identify Nepal’s concerns and possible areas of collaboration with other developing and least developed countries during the governing body meeting.

During the programme, experts discussed deeply on some of the critical articles of the ITPGRFA such as, multilateral system of access and benefit sharing, standard material transfer agreement (SMTA), farmers’ rights, and sustainable use of plant genetic resources. They also discussed on linkages between the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and ITPGRFA and its implications in Nepal. At the end of the programme, a list of agendas to be raised during the governing body meeting by the GoN was prepared. Some of the agendas include – expansion of crops to be included in the multilateral system of access and benefit sharing, simplifying the SMTA and making it more accessible to farmers and their organizations, need for technical assistance and technology transfer, strengthening and expanding farmers’ access to funding, and increasing the duration of the cycle of the projects offered by benefit sharing fund from two to three years.

Dr. Prabhakar Pathak, Joint Secretary at MoAD and focal person of the ITPGRFA, appreciated the work of SAWTEE, especially for organizing policy dialogues in a participatory way and assisting the government in the policy formulation and international negotiations. He further stated that he would put his complete effort to raise and lobby for the listed agendas at Oman. A total of 17 participants including government officials from MoAD, senior scientists from Nepal Agricultural Research Council, representatives of different civil society organizations, experts, and farmer representatives from Community Seed Banks contributed to the discussion.