Policy Framework

Developments in international, regional, and national law and policy over the past five years have significantly changed the policy environment relating to the management and control of genetic resources. And the situation continues to evolve rapidly. National policy makers with an interest in plant genetic resources and agrobiodiversity are currently faced with a combination of multiple and often conflicting national interests and a bewildering array of international interests and obligations with direct and indirect effects on the conservation and management of PGR. Some of the most significant recent developments include:

The Convention on Biological Diversity The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) The WTO Agreement on Agriculture The International Undertaking on Plant

Genetic Resources (IU) The 1994 FAO/CGIAR Agreements and

1998 External Review of CGIAR The Union for the Protection of New

Varieties of Plants (UPOV) The World Intellectual Property Rights

Organization (WIPO) Indigenous and local communities including farmers and farm communities National legislatures and court systems.

Policy makers are faced with a legal and policy environment under active debate in multiple intergovernmental forums and with legal regimes for ownership, control and intellectual property rights over genetic resources in a state of flux. The challenge of developing good, coherent, consistent policy on the conservation, development, use and exchange of genetic resources in this context is great.

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