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ITPGR Celebrates Tenth Anniversary, Releases List of Benefit-sharing Grantees

14 November 2011: On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR), a high-level celebration was hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), and the ITPGR Secretariat released the list of new projects to be funded under the Treaty's Benefit-sharing Fund, to support farmers and breeders to adapt key crops to climate change.

At the celebration on 14 November 2011, in Rome, Italy, FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf called on countries to develop specific policies to conserve and make wider use of plant varieties for generations to come. He lauded the injection of US$6 million made available through the Benefit-sharing Fund. The Benefit-sharing Fund is being used to support farmers and breeders in 21 developing countries to adapt key crops to the new conditions brought on by climate change, floods, droughts, plant pests, plant diseases and other factors.

The Secretary of the Treaty, Shakeel Bhatti, said climate change's effects "do not respect national borders" but cover entire agro-ecological zones, which led the latest portfolio of projects to take a "pioneering approach in generating a global knowledge base." The portfolio includes projects from Bhutan, Brazil, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Ethiopia, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Malawi, Nepal, Peru, Sudan, Tunisia and Zambia.

“The fund helps farmers, in a very practical way, to adapt to climate change and contributes to food security by recognizing that one part of the solution is in the huge diversity of crops,” said David Cunningham, an expert from the panel that evaluated the new projects approved. [FAO/ITPGR Media Release] [Website of 10th Anniversary Celebration] [FAO Press Release]