Dr Shakeel Bhatti, Secretary of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (the Treaty) at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation visited the Waite Campus on the 20th of March and presented a public seminar on:
“The Global Genepool: An innovative approach to the global food security challenge”
The Treaty is an international agreement with the overall goal of supporting global food security, allows governments, farmers, research institutes and agro-industries to work together by pooling their genetic resources and sharing the benefits from their use – thus protecting and enhancing our food crops while giving fair recognition and benefits to local farmers who have nurtured these crops through the millennia.
With this Treaty, 64 important crops that produce our food – such as rice, wheat, maize and potatoes – are put into a common pool. The treaty facilitates access to those crops, makes them available free of charge to researchers and plant breeders who agree to share any future commercial benefits from their use in modern plant breeding or biotechnology. This recognition and this benefit sharing are designed to ensure equity and encourage farmers to continue conserving and using the diversity in their fields.
Since he took office in 2007, Dr Bhatti managed the launch of the first multilaterally governed, global access and benefit-sharing system, which now contains more than 1.5 million samples of plant genetic material and facilitates more than 600 transfers of genetic material every day from international genebanks alone.
Besides the genepool, Dr Bhatti established and facilitated the launch of the Benefit-sharing Fund of the Treaty with a target of US$116 million by 2014. Currently, he has raised more than US$15 million to support 30 in-situ projects in 35 countries throughout the developing world.
For more information about the Treaty, please visit www.planttreaty.org