Last updated: 31/08/2015

Global Information System on PGRFA

Global Information System on PGRFA Article 17 of the International Treaty states that “Contracting Parties shall cooperate to develop and strengthen a global information system to facilitate the exchange of information, based on existing information systems, on scientific, technical and environmental matters related to plant genetic resources for food and agriculture".

The large number of ongoing initiatives, their diverse nature and scope, and the variety of stakeholders involved, require the establishment of strategic partnerships to allow them to collaborate and provide more effective and coordinated support to plant breeding, and to the implementation of the Multilateral System.

In order to facilitate progress in the development of the Global Information System foreseen in Article 17, the Secretariat is establishing strategic partnerships and participates in the development of information systems and tools, under the guidance of the Governing Body. Some of the major activities are:

-Research on stakeholders and users’ needs;

-Creation of inventories and databases on plant genetic resources for food and agriculture;

 -Development of linkages with the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Clearing House Mechanism, the Genesys portal, the World Information Sharing Mechanism for the implementation of the Gobal Plan of Action , Eurisco, Grin-Global and other relevant Multilateral Environmental Agreements;

In this context the Secretariat of the International Treaty supports the implementation of DivSeek jointly with the Global Crop Diveristy Trust. DivSeek is a global intiative aiming at faciliatiing the linkages between genomics, phenomics and publicly available accessions. The Secretariat has also participated inthe development of the White Paper on DivSeek.

Policy Process

At its Fifth session in Muscat in September 2013, the Governing Body of the International Treaty adopted the Resolution 10/2013, Development of the Global Information System on plant Genetic Resources in the context of Article 17 of the International Treaty, and requested the Secretary to call for an expert consultation. 

It also adopted the Terms of Reference for such consultation and encouraged Contracting Parties, non-Contracting Parties, relevant stakeholders and funding mechanism to provide financial support for the development of the Global system.

The Expert Consultation, which took place in San Diego, California (USA) on 7 and 8 January 2015,:

a.     Reviewed the documentation and a background study paper on “Plant genetic resources and genomics”, including the results of an online survey on the major components of the Global Information System;

b.    Reviewed and welcomed the draft vision paper on the Global Information System referred to in Article 17 of the Treaty and provided advice to the Secretary for its finalization.  The updated paper will be presented to the Sixth Governing Body;

c.     Drafted the vision for the Global Information System;

d.    Reviewed information on major ongoing initiatives, projects and programmes, including Easy-SMTA, Capfitogen;

e.    Assessed the needs and advised the Secretary on the identification of gaps, activities and priorities for information exchange, best practices and appropriate methodologies which were reflected in a draft work programme to be presented at the Sixth Session of the Governing Body.  The Programme includes the establishment of a platform and a web-based portal;

f.      Drafted the terms of reference for an Scientific Advisory Committee on the Global Information system for the consideration of the Sixth Governing Body;

g.    It also suggested the immediate establishment of two task forces, which outcomes will be also reported by the Secretary to the Sixth Governing Body;

1)    Development of Permanent Unique Identifiers for PGRFA. The task force, composed by internationally recognised experts in the area of PGRFA documentation and information managements, commenced its work on 23 February 2015 through electronic means;

2)    Review of the draft Programme of Work on the Global Information System.

The Report of the meeting is available