16-20th November 2015. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. ILRI Campus. A week-long workshop co-organized by Bioversity International and the ABS Capacity Development Initiative, in cooperation with the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the African Union, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security and the Japan Biodiversity Fund.
11 African countries gathered to implement seed sharing and use, to adapt to climate change, ensure food security and alleviate poverty. Interdisciplinary teams from Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda spent the week working together to set their country roadmaps for embedding the sustainable use of plant genetic resources into the heart of national development plans.
Two international agreements govern how countries exchange seeds beyond their borders – the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (Plant Treaty) and the Nagoya Protocol. But to implement these agreements at the country level is not always straightforward as Michael Halewood, Bioversity International, explains:
“It is really important for African countries to think through how to bring access and benefit-sharing (ABS) into the national implementation processes in a coherent way. Since the beginnings of agriculture farmers and local communities have exchanged their seeds to improve and diversify crops they grow to adapt to changing conditions. These days, we are all faced with new environmental challenges, such as increased flooding, heat and drought - and that is why everyone needs crop diversity: to be able to maintain food security for everyone.” Andreas Drews, ABS Capacity Development InitiativeAs part of the week’s activities, the participants were invited to attend the African Union Commission (AU) to discuss the opportunities and constraints of implementing the two agreements.