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In 2003 the first edition of the Learning Module on Law and Policy of Relevance to the Management of Plant Genetic Resources was published to address an urgent need to strengthen the capacity of managers of genetic resources in developing countries to play a more active role in developing national laws and policies concerning the conservation, use and management of plant genetic resources (PGR). In 2004 a plan for an additional day (annex 1), Review of Regional Policy Instruments, Developments and Trends, was developed to increase the relevance and usefulness of the base Learning Module at the  regional and national levels. The base module and the new regional components were reviewed at a Global Training of Trainers Workshop on Law and Policy of Relevance to the Management of Plant Genetic Resources, 19–24 July 2004 at InWEnt Capacity Building International, Leipzig, Germany. The Learning Module has subsequently been revised, including checking all internet links, which were current as of the date of publication. This second edition was published in 2005.

The module is intended to help professionals who are managing, conserving and using plant genetic resources for food and agriculture in developing countries and/or who have policymaking responsibilities in this field to navigate through the policy environment in such a way as to promote the sound and scientific management of PGR for food and agriculture in their roles as custodians and developers of genetic resources or as policymakers. The Learning Module was sponsored by the CGIAR System-wide Genetic Resources Programme (SGRP) and developed under the leadership of the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). It brings together complementary expertise on policy and education concerning plant genetic resources and programme management.

An additional day (annex 1) for the regional learning plan, Review of Regional Policy Instruments, Developments and Trends, has been designed to complement the base Learning Module and, as a trainer’s tool, it is complete with region-specific agreements, trends analysis, hand-outs, overheads, case studies and group exercises for four regions: Latin America; Sub-Saharan Africa; Central and West Asia and North Africa; and developing countries of Asia, the Pacific and Oceania. The regional learning plan (annexe 1) should not be used in isolation from the base Learning Module. Trainers should allow one additional day for presentation of any one of the regional modules. Presentation of the full base module with a regional component requires a minimum of six days. Options for combining sessions for a shorter workshop (for example, those sessions related to access and benefit-sharing only) are provided in the section How to Use This Module.

Session 5 of the Learning Module has been completely replaced by the new Learning Module “The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (2010)"