International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources: Implications for Australian Agriculture Symposium

Australia recently concluded negotiations of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation’s International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The Treaty deals with key genetic resources that Australia depends on for its future agricultural competitiveness. How that Treaty is implemented and how those genetic resources are administered has significant consequences for Australian agriculture.

This symposium provided background to the Treaty’s negotiation and implementation. It also looked at the likely interpretation of the intellectual property provisions, the operation of the Treaty’s Multilateral System and its financial measures provisions. It also looked at the implications that the Treaty may have for Australian agriculture. In particular, the symposium looked at the likely impact of the Treaty on the grain and horticulture sectors, where access to key elite germplasm in the public domain is central to future competitiveness, and its impact on plant breeding in Australia focusing on the need for germplasm banks and access to those resources.

Speakers and topics:
Kathryn Adams, Senior Research Fellow, Australian Centre for Intellectual Property in Agriculture, Intellectual Property Clauses and their Impacts on Plant Breeder’s Rights and Patents
Geoff Budd, General Counsel, Grains Research and Development Corporation, Agreeing on the Standard Material Transfer Agreement: Is the Devil in the Detail?
Dr Lindsay Cook, Chief, Division for Plant Industries, NSW Agriculture, The Germplasm Bank Perspective
Paul Morris, Executive Manager, Market Access and Biosecurity, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Australia, The possible consequences for Australia and the Treaty’s Limits 
Dr Nigel Steele Scott, Board Member, Horticulture Australia Limited, The Horticulture Industry Perspective