October 2016

QUNO Attended Symposium on UPOV and ITPGRFA

On October 26, 2016, QUNO attended a joint symposium on possible interrelations between the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) and the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV Convention). 

The issue of interrelations between the ITPGRFA and the UPOV Conventions in the context of Farmers’ Rights was raised at the ITPGRFA Governing Body in 2013 in Oman. Resolution 8/2013 on “Implementation of Article 9, Farmers’ Rights” requested the Treaty Secretariat “to invite UPOV and WIPO to jointly identify possible areas of interrelations among their respective international instruments”. This was in response to concerns that the activities of UPOV and WIPO undermine implementation of Article 9 of the ITPGRFA, which concerns “Farmers’ Rights. One key concern is that UPOV, in particular its Act of 1991, places severe restrictions on the right of farmers to save, use, exchange and sell seeds.

QUNO attended this symposium with a special interest in the discussion on reconciling farmers and plant breeders rights and on strengthening farmers’ seeds systems. Farmers' seed systems provide more than 80 percent of the total food crop seeds used by farmers. In other words, seed security leads to food security. These systems are also the main channel through which small-scale farmers can access new improved variety of seeds from the formal section. 

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