National kick-off workshop in Guatemala

A market in Guatemala. Photo credit: J Fanzo/Bioversity

A market in Guatemala. Photo credit: J Fanzo/Bioversity

by Gea Galluzzi and Isabel Lapeña

The national kick-off workshop for the GRPI2 project “strengthening national capacities to implement the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture” in Guatemala, took place in Guatemala city, 21-22 March 2013. Participants included the Guatemalan team, national authorities from agriculture, environment, biodiversity, trade and IP and staff from Bioversity International and CCAFS

On day one, Isabel Lapeña, from Bioversity International, gave an overview of the Treaty and its Multilateral System of access and benefit-sharing (MLS) and a detailed explanation of its mechanisms and possible first steps towards implementation of the MLS in Guatemala. Preliminary ideas on key elements such as which of the national germplasm collections could be automatically included in the MLS and potential competent authority(ies) were discussed. Helmer Ayala, from CONAP, the national authority for implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), gave a presentation on the relationship between the Treaty and the Nagoya Protocol of the CBD, regarding access and benefit-sharing mechanisms and regulations . Gea Galluzzi, from Bioversity International, presented the GRPI2 project, its structure and the five research themes: national-level multilateral system policy development; policy actors and networks; germplasm flows and interdependence; farmers’ involvement and community seed banks; and technology transfer.

Day two was spent planning the research activities with the national project team and clarifying research questions and expected products and outcomes. David Arango, from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), also gave training to the team, some university students and staff of conservation NGOs, on the use of the Climate Analogues tool. This is a climate change modelling tool which is being used in the project to identify “analogue” sites that have presently or will have in the future climates that are like those in the project “reference” sites, as a step to identify and source suitable germplasm. Read more about the climate analogues tool in the context of GRPI2.

Overall, the workshop created a heightened awareness of conservation and use of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture in general and the Treaty and its relationship with the Nagoya Protocol.  The participants showed a keen interest in the research activities planned within the project, setting the basis for a fruitful outcome of the project.

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