CGRFA and related meetings 16 – 23 January 2015, FAO, Rome

 The Commission on Genetic Resources will hold its Fifteenth Regular Session from 19 to 23 January 2015 at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Headquarter (FAO HQ) in Rome, Italy. Documents for the Session are available on the meeting website. There will be also a number of side events.


A Special Event on “Food Security and Genetic Diversity” will precede the Commission Session. The Special Event will be held on 16 January 2015, at FAO HQ. The event aims to raise awareness on the importance and contribution of genetic resources to food security and its different dimensions. Participants will have the opportunity to hear country and stakeholder perspectives on impacts of, as well as, challenges and opportunities in integrating biodiversity and genetic resources into national food security and nutrition objectives.


A seminar entitled “Towards The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture” will take place on 17 January 2015, at FAO HQ. This interactive seminar aims to give participants the opportunity to share views on, and to contribute to, the preparation of the first report on The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture and on the way forward.


The programme and papers are available at .


Food Security and Genetic Diversity


The schedule of meetings starts on Friday 16th January in the Red Room from 09:00 – 17:00, with a Special Event on Food Security and Genetic Diversity, co-chaired by Kostas Stamoulis (who is also Secretary to the CFS) and will include on the panel of ‘stakeholders’ Marciano Toledo from MPA, a Via Campesina member organisation in Brazil, invited though the Agricultural Biodiversity working group of the IPC for Food Sovereignty.



Towards the State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture


On Saturday 17th January there is a 3 hour seminar from 10:00 – 13:00, in the Iran Room, on the preparation of the State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture. There will be presentations from two countries that have completed their National reports (Switzerland and Viet Nam). It is open to any Delegates and Observers and others by special arrangement.





The Commission meeting starts on Monday 19 January through to Friday 23 January. The agenda and papers are at



Side Events


During the week there are Side Events each lunchtime. These include:


Monday 19th January “Scaling up Support for Farmers’ Seeds Systems: International Obligations and National Seed Laws” Austria room, C-237, 13:15 – 14:45, organised by Oxfam Novib, IFAD and Sida.
Tuesday 20th January “Farmers’ Seeds Systems in National Seed Policy” Austria room, C-237, 13:15 – 14:45, organised by Berne Declaration, Ecoropa, Third World Network, Searice, etcGroup. It is expected Via Campesina will also be on the Panel. This event will deal with the FAO Draft Guide for National Seed Policy Formulation that will be discussed by the CGRFA.
Thursday 22nd January “The Role of Genetic Resources and Traditional Knowledge-based Innovations in Climate Adaptation, Iran room, B-116, 13:15 – 14:45, organised by International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)

FAO Draft Guide for National Seed Policy Formulation.


This document has been developed by FAO and was discussed in the previous Commission meeting and a Technical Working Group. It is contentious: it focused on policies for the industrial seed system and did not adequately include guidance on supporting Farmers’ Seed Systems and Farmers’ Rights. There were several submissions to the CGRFA Secretariat, including from the Berne Declaration/ TWN/ SEARICE and from AFSA. The Guide has been rewritten taking into account these comments but may still be skewed towards an 'integrated' approach that does not privilege farmers' seed systems and still promotes UPOV91. It will need careful examination. It is expected that, although the CGRFA may be asked to accept the Guide, the Commission may defer this decision pending further review, through an inclusive process. The revised document will be posted on the CGRFA15 website in the near future. It will be discussed under Agenda item 5.1 Report of the Seventh Session of the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Our Side Event on Tuesday will discuss this.



Other issues


The Commission’s agenda includes many other issues from Climate Change and Nutrition to the development of assessments on Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture, plants, livestock, forest, aquaculture and micro-organisms and invertebrate genetic resources; indicators; biotechnologies; and more…. Also, an item on the status of Observers at meetings of the CGRFA and its working groups.