Modern-day management of plant genetic resources is more complicated than ever before. Trade relations, intellectual property rights, biosafety, indigenous communities and public–private sector relations are just a few of the topics that are always on the table. In addition, everyone faces the prospect of dealing with numerous laws, regulations, guidelines and policies.

A 1999 survey of existing learning opportunities and resources within the Centres of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and an assessment of learning needs conducted by ISNAR for the System-wide Genetic Resources Programme (SGRP) among 200 national genetic resource programme managers and scientists from 121 countries worldwide, identified national policy and programme development for genetic resource conservation and use as the highest priorities for training.

Based on these findings, SGRP focused its support on the development of a learning module for leaders of genetic resource programmes particularly on issues of policy management that have received relatively less attention than other technical topics on genetic resources management.  The aim was to equip programme leaders with the knowledge and skills needed to handle their policy responsibilities.

This learning module, 'Law and Policy of Relevance to the Managment of Plant Genetic Resouces: Learning Module with Review of Regional Policy Instruments, Developments and Trends' sponsored by SGRP and developed by IPGRI (the former name of Bioversity International)and ISNAR, is focused on law and policy of relevance to the management of plant genetic resources. It covers laws and policies that have important implications for how genebanks and breeding programmes manage collections/materials, as well as for the laws, policies and regulations that countries adopt to promote implementation.

NOTE: Session 5 of this module on the International Treaty has been completely updated in 2010 and can be found at its new location 'The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture: Learning module'. Here you will also find an updated version of the table 'Legal Instruments for PGRFA, Their Coverage and Status':  The International Treaty in the Context of Other Legal Instruments (193 KB).