Xiaoyong ZHANG: China’s accession to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture--opportunities and challenges”
2023/6/14 17:43:00 本站

Wild plant genetic resources for food and agriculture serve as the foundation for human survival, and their protection and sustainable use are crucial. In order to conserve and ensure the sustainable use of all plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, and to fairly and equitably share the benefits arising from their use, the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation and the Beijing Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences jointly organized “The Third Symposium on Conservation and Benefit Sharing of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture” on May 23, 2023 in Beijing.

The symposium aimed to serve as a platform for fruitful discussions and valuable insights into the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. It highlighted the need for continued efforts to protect and manage these resources effectively and to ensure that their benefits are shared fairly and equitably. The symposium also emphasized the importance of international cooperation and collaboration in achieving these objectives and the role of scientific research in supporting sustainable agriculture and food security in the background of China’s national strategy of Seeds Industry Revitalization.

Prof. Xiaoyong Zhang, Professor of Law School at the University of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, delivered the keynote speech on “China’s accession to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture: Opportunities and Challenges”. Prof. Zhang’s statement is summarized and shared as follows:

There are three Opportunities for China’s accession to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA).

The first is building a community of shared future for mankind requires Chinas accession to the ITPGRFA. The idea of a community of sharing future for mankind is a new approach to global governance that China contributes to the international community in the new era. It is the basic foundation for China’s participation in the global governance process, advancement of reform of international order, and innovation of the international system. The ITPGRFA embodies the idea of a community of sharing future for mankind. All countries depend very largely on PGRFA that originated elsewhere, and all countries constitute an interesting community. The Multilateral System as the core of ITPGRFA is regarded as a common responsibility of the global community to guarantee future food security and sustainable production at the global level. The Contracting Parties have not yet fulfilled their responsibilities completely in terms of access and benefit-sharing. China’s accession to the ITPGRFA could introduce strong forces for the maintenance of and reform of the Multilateral System, and could promote the global governance of PGRFA more fair and equitable.

Second, developing modern seed industry, building seed industry power, and guaranteeing food security require Chinas accession to the ITPGRFA. China has been attaching great importance to the development of seed industry and safeguard of food security. PGRFA are the material basis for crop improvement and innovation and the development of seed industry, and are called as the “chip” of seed industry. Although much progress has been made in terms of conservation and utilization of PGRFA in China, the problem of inadequate conservation and underutilization still exists. China’s accession to the ITPGRFA enable domestic institutions and breeders to have facilitated access to PGRFA from the Multilateral System. China’s accession and implementation enables domestic institutions and breeders to participate actively in international cooperative and coordinated R&D, thereby expanding the channels for the utilization of PGRFA. It could promote the adjustment and improvement of the law and regulation with regard to PGRFA.

Third, the implementation of Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework requires China’s accession to the ITPGRFA. China was the host of COP 15, and pushed the adoption of the historic Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (CBF) that was seen as ambitious and pragmatic. Among GBF’s key elements are 4 goals for 2050 and 23 targets for 2030. Fairly and equitably sharing the benefit arising from the utilization of genetic resources is the significant element of Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. China highly recognizes the objective of benefit-sharing. China was one of the countries that ratified the CBD earliest and also acceded to the Nagoya Protocol in 2016, and China is the key participant of PIP Framework.  Fair and equitable benefit-sharing involves major interests of developing countries, and the international access and benefit-sharing instruments could not be implemented comprehensively and effectively without the engagement of China. As the host of COP 15, China should assume the responsibility to promote the implementation Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. Against this background, China should choose to accede to the ITPGRFA and ensure mutual supportive implementation of the Nagoya Protocol and ITPGRFA.

There are three challenges to Chinas accession to the ITPGRFA. The first is idea restraints. Second, obstacles and gaps with regard to the domestic legal system. Third, germplasm resource information system can not keep up with the technological development trends with regard to the sharing and utilization of resources.

Checked by Maggie
Editor: YJ
Contact: v10@cbcgdf.org; +8617319454776


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