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A capacity building Inter-regional workshop on International treaty implementation in ASARECA/EAPGREN countries took place in Entebbe, Uganda on 19-20 March 2009. The meeting was organized in collaboration with the Treaty Secretariat and Bioversity International. 

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The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) is a multilaterally negotiated instrument that requires domestication at the regional and national levels. To that effect, a capacity building workshop on the Treaty was held in Entebbe, Uganda on 19-20 March 2009. The workshop was the result of team work led by the Eastern Africa Plant Genetic Resources Network (EAPGREN), which operates under the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which hosts the Treaty Secretariat, as well as Bioversity International and the European Cooperative Programme for Plant Genetic Resources (ECPGR).

The workshop was attended by representatives of seven ASARECA countries, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda, with the active support of resource persons from the above mentioned international institutions, the participants discussed the most efficient regional and national strategies for establishing a global system to provide farmers, plant breeders and scientists with access to plant genetic materials as well as ensuring that recipients of those materials share benefits they derive from their use with the countries where they have been originated.

Representatives of ECPGR (Frank Begemann and Lorenzo Maggioni)  presented the European experience regarding the regional implementation of the International Treaty, particularly through a mechanism to make European Multilateral System accessions visible on the on-line information system EURISCO. Also the concept of a European Genebank Integrated System (AEGIS) was illustrated.

In an effort to make the Treaty operational in the region through cost-efficient and tailor-made measures, the workshop participants approved a road map for the implementation of the Treaty. The road map activities range from a series of practical short-term administrative actions to make genetic materials available under the Treaty rules, to broader measures for the management of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. Participants highlighted the most pressing capacity building needs in relation to all the elements of the road map and, in response to that, the workshop resulted in a concerted plan of assistance between EAPGREN, the Treaty Secretariat and Bioversity International. In addition to this plan, participants recommended actively seeking financial support to further the capacity building efforts in the region. 

Participants in the Capacity building Inter-regional workshop on International Treaty implementation in ASARECA/EAPGREN countries (Entebbe, Uganda, 2009) (Photo:© L. Maggioni)

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