Advancing Treaty implementation in Asia

Story by Ronnie Vernooy

From May 27-28, 2013, the 1st Regional Meeting of the project “Enhancing Understanding and Implementation Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture in Asia” was held at the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand. This new three years (2012-2015) regional project, supported by the Government of Japan, aims to support 15 Asian countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, India, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Viet Nam) to build institutional capacity to realize facilitated access through the multilateral system (MLS) of the Treaty. The project is implemented by the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific with technical support of FAO headquarters, the Treaty Secretariat and Bioversity International.

Workshop participants. Photo credit: FAO-RAP.

Workshop participants. Photo credit: FAO-RAP.

The first regional meeting, attended by delegates of 14 countries (of the 15 listed above), delegates from Japan, and a number of resource persons, aimed to brief participating countries on the objectives of the project, raise awareness of the importance of the Treaty, identify scope of the work and cooperation among countries, and develop country work plans. Continue reading


The International Treaty in the classroom

“Now, after the course, I feel like I know a lot about agricultural policies and laws. That will be very useful for me in my work back home.” (A course participant during the evaluation session on May 3, 2013)

Photo: Ronnie Vernooy

Photo: Ronnie Vernooy

From April 15-May 3, 2013, 27 professionals from 21 countries took part in the international course Contemporary approaches to genetic resources conservation and use organized by the Centre for Development Innovation of Wageningen University and Research Centre. During three weeks, they learned about and debated the merits of in situ and ex situ conservation strategies, conventional and participatory plant breeding approaches, practices of sustainable use and, notably, the relevance and impact of policies on conservation and use of plant genetic resources. Continue reading

Adapting to climate change: training workshop for teams of Bhutan and Nepal

By Pashupati Chaudhary, LI-BIRD, Nepal

Agrobiodiversity plays a pivotal role in securing food and nutrition and enhancing resilience of agriculture to climate change. As the climate is becoming more erratic and unpredictable than in the past, it has become increasingly difficult to properly manage agrobiodiversity to sustainably produce food. One of the challenges is the lack of scientific knowledge to predict climate dynamics in particular regions. Another challenge is to develop and deploy crop varieties that are adapted to changing climatic conditions. Climate Analogue Tool (CAT), a recently developed tool by partners of the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) programme is a remarkable breakthrough in tackling this problem. CAT can identify a) future climate conditions of a particular location and sites that currently resemble these conditions (b) locations that currently have or in the future will have similar climate conditions, and c) locations that in the future will have current climate conditions of a particular place. Based on careful analyses done using the Climate Analogue Tool and supported by data from actual conditions in farmers’ fields, scientists can identify possible appropriate plant genetic resources, deploy suitable varieties, and develop new varieties for specific locations of interest.

Recently, the Genetic Resources Policy Initiative 2 project, led by Bioversity International, organized a three-day long training workshop on Climate Analogue Tools in order to enhance skills of Nepal and Bhutan project staff in analyzing, interpreting and presenting climate data. 18 scientists, managers, and development professionals representing government organizations, national research programs, gene banks and non-governmental organizations of both countries participated in the training that was facilitated by Bioversity International scientists.  Continue reading