Navigation and service

Biodiversity / Genetic Resources: International Cooperation

The conservation and the innovative, sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity is essential for agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and hence for global food security.

The German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) therefore emphasizes in its strategy on agrobiodiversity, as one of the three strategic, action-oriented goals, the strengthening of international collaboration for a cooperative global management of genetic resources oriented towards international fairness.

The Federal government has signed major international agreements on conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, including genetic resources for food and agriculture.

Key partners and treaties

Key partners in international cooperation and binding international treaties on the conservation, sustainable use and international exchange of genetic resources for food and agriculture are:

  • the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), especially the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA),
  • the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR),
  • the Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT),
  • the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), as well as
  • the European Commission with responsibilities e.g. in the fields of agriculture, rural development, consumer protection and environment

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

The CBD has the objectives of conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity on earth as well as the equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of biological diversity worldwide. The CBD includes a specific thematic programme on agricultural biodiversity. Within this programme there are cross-cutting initiatives for food and agriculture, including e.g. for diversity of pollinators, soil biodiversity and diversity in food and nutrition.
The Nagoya Protocol, adopted by the Member States of the CBD in 2010 in Japan, regulates the access to and the benefit sharing of the use of genetic resources. The elaboration of the implementation of the protocol will have major impacts on the exchange of genetic resources for food and agriculture and remains subject to intensive negotiations.

International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR)

In the domain of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR) is a legally binding international agreement. The objectives of the Treaty are the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture as well as the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from their use. Part of the ITPGR is a so-called Multilateral System (MLS), which efficiently, effectively and transparently regulates the access to genetic resources of important crop species in agriculture, and the equitable sharing of benefits arising from their use, while recognizing the sovereign rights of States. This system is consistent with the CBD and the Nagoya Protocol.

FAO

In the international negotiation and coordination process for the conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity the FAO, in particular the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA), plays a key role. By adopting the Multi-Year Programme of Work (MYPOW) in 2007, the CGRFA has defined goals and milestones. The BMEL participates in the implementation of the MYPOW, the Funding Strategy of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources, the Funding Strategy of the ITPGR and the Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT).

Activities of the BLE

BLE supports the BMEL through its Information and Coordination Centre for Biological Diversity (IBV) in the international cooperation for the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources for food and agriculture (see GENRES Agrobiodiversity International Cooperation). The internationally orientated tasks of the IBV include inter alia the support of the BMEL, and, as appropriate, of other affected departments, in the implementation of programmes of the FAO, the EU and other international organizations; on behalf of BMEL, representative in international committees, e.g.

  • support and advice to the BMEL at FAO, CGRFA, ITPGR, GCDT, CBD, North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) and EU, as well as in the FAO Intergovernmental Technical Working Groups on Plant, Animal and Forest Genetic Resources
  • National Coordinator of the "European Cooperative Programme for Plant Genetic Resources (ECPGR)" and of "A European Genebank Integrated System (AEGIS)"
  • Secretariat of the European Regional Focal Point for Animal Genetic Resources (ERFP)
  • Representative in the Committee on the EU regulation on genetic resources

provision of national data for European and international information systems, e.g. to

  • FAO - World Information and Early Warning System on Plant Genetic Resources (WIEWS)
  • FAO - Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS)
  • ITPGR - Multilateral System of Access and Benefit-sharing (MLS)
  • ECPGR – Search catalogue on European plant collections (EURISCO)
  • ERFP – European Farm Animal Biodiversity Information System (EFABIS)

participation in monitoring and in development of indicators at national, EU and global levels and in assessing status and change of agrobiodiversity.