Course Details - Contemporary Approaches to Genetic Resources Conservation and Use

Genetic resource management strategies & policies

Genetic diversity is endangered by modern agriculture and globalisation. Modern production and marketing depend on genetically uniform varieties that deliver uniform food products. In addition, globalisation has resulted in high uniformity of human diets.

Insight into various plant genetic resources management strategies & policies is addressed in the course, aiming to conserve plant genetic resources and their use. In many parts of the world a relatively small number of high-yielding uniform crop varieties have largely replaced the many landraces that were a feature of earlier times. Meanwhile, climate change will force farmers to change their choice of which crops and varieties to grow. As a result, more of the older varieties and breeds may disappear. Furthermore, the wild relatives of crops that still grow in nature might not be able to adapt or migrate in time. Various participatory programmes have been developed to support farmers in maintaining genetic diversity in their fields and foresters to use better-adapted resources. In addition, genetic resources have been collected. Gene banks have been established to conserve our genetic diversity in living collections, and to study and use the properties contained in these collections.

Implementation of International Treaty

Building on this strategic component, this course is devoted to an analysis of plant genetic resources policies and their impact on their conservation and use. Whereas several international agreements apply to the management of plant genetic resources, including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing, the WTO Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement and the UPOV convention on Plant Breeder’s Rights, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (IT-PGRFA) stands out as the agreement with the most relevance to the management of plant genetic resources. This course is intended to support policymakers and other stakeholders in the implementation of the International Treaty.

Course and setting

Working in a task-oriented, interactive and experience-based forum, we facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experience through a variety of formats, including lectures, case studies, group discussions, assignments and fieldwork. The training programme provides the opportunity to learn from the broad range of international experience that is represented not only by our trainers, but also by fellow participants. The programme concludes with the development of proposals and action plans which integrate all course topics and relate them to the reality of the participants’ working situations.

Courses are currently online

Our courses are currently online and follow this format:

  • Pre-course assignments for you to get to know WCDI and for us to get to know your work environment and your expectations about the course;
      • Interactive plenary sessions where we share content, review assignments and facilitate exchanging experiences. During those interactive sessions we work with a number of online tools like Google Jamboard, Mural and Mentimeter;
  • Group work either online or offline where you with other participants address a specific question or do an assignment. Results of these assignments are also shared and discussed during online sessions;
      • Individual assignments where you will read literature, watch videos, and do exercises on your own. These assignments are an essential part of the learning and most of them count for getting the certificate. They are meant to introduce or deepen knowledge and make the link between theory and your own situation. These assignments are reviewed either by peers or facilitators.

In some, but not all courses we go on virtual field visits – showing you ‘live’ situations in the field, or with companies or organisations that we collaborate with. We offer coaching trajectories where we support you one-on-one or in small groups to review your individual learning paths in the course and help with any basic questions you may have.

Online platforms: Zoom and TalentLMS

Internet connection is important for the completion of the course. Not sure about the connection in your area? Send an e-mail about your situation.

We use Zoom as a facilitating platform for all our online courses. Our courses take place in general over a 6-8 week period to make the workload and time you spend online manageable.

Our online learning system is TalentLMS. Everything you need — our course programme, chatrooms, assignments and background information are in this system. TalentLMS is easy to operate, can also be accessed by your phone and has an on-and offline functionality. We even organise a technical check-in before the course starts, to test your facilities and get familiar with the tools.

Course planning and certificates

The course workload is approximately 16-20 hours a week (2-2.5 workdays).

The exact programme of your course will be available 2-3 weeks before the start of the course. If you’ve successfully completed your course we send you a digital certificate.

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