Seed Companies Declaration of Commitment

12 December, 2017
CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

The international plant breeding sector has recognised the importance of conserving plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA) to ensure sustainable agriculture and food security.

In addition to the International Seed Federation (ISF) Statement, representatives from 4 companies, who attended an informal meeting on the enhancement of the multilateral system, have developed a proposal, the Declaration of Commitment (PDF, 4.83MB). This Declaration of Commitment has been signed by 20 companies, conveying their intentions and considerations to become subscribers under a new Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA) that contains multiple access and benefit-sharing options, provided certain indispensable conditions are met.

These conditions are:

  • Legal certainty
    • No perpetual obligations
    • Allow for termination without ongoing payment obligations
    • Ensure recipients retain all rights with regard to accessed material, its PGRFA under development and its products
    • Not be unilaterally changeable
  • Subscription financial conditions
    • 0.01% of subscribers’ seed revenues generated from crops included in Annex 1 minus 30%
    • Subscribers will commit to subscribe automatically to all new crops added to Annex 1 and annual payments would be adjusted the year following any enlargement of the crop list without retroactive effect
  • Commitment by the Governing Body and Contracting Parties
    • Contracting Parties commit to recognise all PGRFA accessed through the SMTA as excluded from conditions and obligations under their retrospective national access and benefit-sharing legislation
    • The Governing Body should prepare and approve a Growth Plan to amend the scope of Annex 1
    • All Contracting Parties need to clearly state their commitment to undertake the Growth Plan
    • 5-year period to achieve the expansion of Annex 1
    • Should fail to enlarge the scope of Annex 1 and the MLS within the timeframe each subscriber would have the right to terminate their subscription immediately without any further payment obligations and with full surviving rights for all PGRFA accessed under the subscription.

The plant breeding sector hopes that this Declaration of Commitment will provide the Governing Body with valuable perspective to give more visibility and predictability and to inform and facilitate their decision-making process.

As a user (or someone who represents users) of the MLS and SMTA, do you believe that the overarching principles* of the ISF Statement and the Declaration of Commitment provide a reasonable baseline discussions? 

Would the principles themselves (not necessarily the specific values) be workable to allow you to access and use PGRFA?

* multiple access and benefit-sharing options, no perpetuity, payment rates make economic sense and commitment from Contracting Parties.

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