IISD: 6th Meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group to Enhance the Functioning of the Multilateral System of Access and Benefit-sharing of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (OWG-EFMLS-6)
On Friday morning, the Working Group addressed the full package of measures arising from its deliberations to be presented at the seventh meeting of the Treaty’s Governing Body (GB 7), including: progress towards developing a draft revised Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA) aiming to increase payments to the Benefit-Sharing Fund; the modalities of a potential expansion of the coverage of the Multilateral System and links with the benefit-sharing arrangements; definitional issues on plant genetic resources for food and agriculture; and the launch mechanism, including interim measures and alternatives.
All regions welcomed an offer by Switzerland to host an informal meeting, to allow for further deliberations. Participants also discussed holding a one-day meeting of the Working Group, immediately prior to GB 7, to be held in October/November 2017, in Rwanda.
On Friday afternoon, the Working Group adopted its report, including a draft SMTA as revised during the proceedings. Co-Chair Visser opined that the pace of negotiations should increase, highlighting that countries and stakeholders might lose interest in the process. Co-Chair Mozafari stressed that the agricultural community needs this agreement, and after brief closing statements, closed the meeting at 4:50 pm.