Van den Hurk says that one of the main points of disagreement between developed and developing countries is the idea of digital information on sequencing. Developing countries will not accept a new SMTA without an agreement to also address access to digital sequencing information, while developed countries do not want to include information on digital sequences. 23 June 2019: A working group on access and distribution of plant use in plant resources has made progress in the list of crops and the revision of the agreement on the exchange of materials. The meeting was suspended to allow for further discussions before a board of directors in November 2019. The GNC also provides a number of non-annexS I crops under the SMTA. If it is not possible to use the SMTA for Schedule I or non-annex I crops (e.g. B if the country of origin has set additional conditions or if the material is to be used for purposes other than research, livestock or training for food and agriculture), the GNC provides genetic resources under a material transfer agreement (MTA) containing additional conditions. When the subject of genetic material appears, it is difficult to decide where to start. There is so much information, access and distribution of benefits (ABS) to the various frameworks put in place to preserve genetic diversity. Negotiations on the revised smta project continued. The working group has made significant progress on the basis of the subscription system for access to MLS cultures, while providing, on an exceptional basis, access to MLS without a subscription.
Delegates reviewed technical provisions, including dispute resolution, the obligations of the recipient of the material in the event of the withdrawal of the SMTA, and the transfer of plant-based resources for food and agriculture under development. The working group also addressed historically controversial issues, such as the role of IPRs and their relationship to sharing farmers` benefits and rights, mapping compromise options and potential packages to submit to the Board of Directors. The main outstanding issues are the benefits to be derived from the transfer of sequentical genetic data (also discussed as digital sequentical information) and specific rates for benefit-sharing payments. As a result, the meeting was suspended in order to allow additional time to conclude negotiations following consultations at national and regional levels. The working group will meet again three days before the eighth meeting of the treaty`s governing body (GB 8), to be held in Rome, Italy, from 11 to 16 November 2019. Gb 8 is expected to adopt the amended Schedule I of the Treaty and the revised SMTA. For some, the current SMTA does not provide the expected benefit sharing and a new ATS is therefore being negotiated. Nearly six years have passed and no agreement has been reached. In November, we will know whether a new SMTA will be agreed or not. The multilateral system (MLS), the benefit-sharing mechanism of ITPGRFA, often works better, especially because it operates under a standard contract – the Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA). However, MLS is only established for 64 cultures. Material transfer agreements that use the standard model are private agreements between suppliers and affected beneficiaries, but the governing body, through FAO, is recognized as a third-party beneficiary as interested in the agreements.
The standard model was designed to ensure that the provisions of the contract for the transfer of PGRFA within the multilateral system are applicable to users. Van den Hurk said there are two international agreements to be aware of: the Convention on Biological Diversity (CDB) and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA).