|Last updated: 01/10/2014|
The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture launched its third call for project proposals under its Benefit-Sharing Fund (BSF). With over USD 10 million available for supporting new projects aimed at the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic material in developing countries, this is the largest call to date.
“Applicants from the 91 developing countries that are Contracting Parties of the International Treaty are eligible to submit project proposals,” said Dr Shakeel Bhatti, Secretary of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. “The Benefit-Sharing Fund aims to benefit farmers who conserve biodiversity and has already made a positive impact on over 15,000 farmers in 55 countries, by investing almost USD 9.6 million through 41 projects since 2009.”
This 3rd round of projects is encouraging regional and inter-regional ventures and inviting proposals for two types of projects: ‘Immediate Action Projects’ and projects for the ‘Co-development and Transfer of Technology.’
Through the ‘Immediate Action Projects,’ the Treaty’s Fund will continue to boost farmers’ livelihoods and assist them in adapting agriculture to the impacts of climate change. The new type of projects on ‘Co-Development and Transfer of Technology’ will promote international cooperation through innovative partnerships, focusing on capacity-building, information exchange and technology transfer.
Eligible applicants include governmental and non-governmental organizations – including farmers and farmers’ organizations, genebanks and research institutions, as well as regional and international organizations – based in countries that are Contracting Parties to the International Treaty. Applicants have until 05 May 2014 to submit their pre-proposals via official channels.
After a careful screening and evaluation process, a shortlist of pre-proposal applicants will be requested to submit full proposals. The Treaty Secretariat has set up a help-desk to provide information and assistance to applicants. Following a thorough appraisal by an independent panel of experts, the Bureau of the International Treaty’s Governing Body will approve the list of projects to be funded. Field activities of the approved projects will start by the end of 2014.
The Benefit-Sharing Fund of the Treaty is funded primarily through voluntary contributions, and has been growing steadily since 2008, when the Treaty launched its 1st call for project proposals. The major donors for the 3rd round of projects are Norway, the European Union and Italy.
The 11 projects of the first round of projects, which only had USD 500,000 at its disposal, concluded in 2011 (see report), while the 22 projects of the second round started in 2012-2013 with an investment of USD 6.4 million and are still ongoing (see update).