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 depends on genetically uniform varieties that deliver uniform food products. In addition, globalisation has resulted in a high uniformity of human diets.

Insight in various plant genetic resources management strategies & policies are 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 a number of 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 most relevance to the management of plant genetic resources. This course is intended to support policy makers 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.

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