Plant Genetic Resources: great success in an important step towards an accord on access to agricultural seeds and the sharing of commercial benefits

October 12, 2004

Brussels, 11 Oct 2004

From the 4-8 October the European Commission hosted a meeting of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on options for a new Standard Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) under the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

The MTA will specify the rights and obligations of all providers and recipients of seeds, for agricultural research and the breeding of new plant varieties. It is of key importance for the functioning of the International Treaty. The International Treaty seeks to balance the interests of all parties, in developing and industrialised countries, in access to, and the use of, these biological resources.

The meeting brought together experts from developing countries, EU Member States and other OECD countries to consider ways of ensuring that all countries benefit from the commercial use of seeds in the most important agricultural crops. All parties regarded this meeting a tremendous success, considering the conflicting interests and the political importance. The goodwill of the experts, excellent chairmanship and an effective joint FAO and Commission organisation contributed to this achievement.

For the upcoming meetings of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in November the result of this expert meeting will serve as a base for political decisions on the implementation of the International Treaty.

Midday Express MEX/04/1011

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