Have your say—international sharing of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture

Consultation has concluded

Image of a field of wheat

The department is seeking your insights about proposed changes to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

Your input will help inform Australia’s position when proposed changes to the treaty are discussed at an international meeting in Rwanda later this year.

We want to ensure any changes to the treaty are ultimately good for Australia’s agriculture, industry and research sectors, as well as those of our neighbouring regions such as the Pacific.

About the treaty

The treaty provides a framework for the world-wide sharing of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture to foster biodiversity and drive productivity.

The broad aim of this treaty is to protect and enhance access to plant genetic resources, and the global benefits arising from their use, in order to:

  • increase farm productivity and income for farmers

  • increase global availability of diverse and nutrient-rich food

  • minimise the threat to global food security posed by adverse environmental impacts (e.g. climate change), including by enhancing farmers’ resilience to production shocks.

The proposed changes

The treaty’s governing body is considering ways to improve access to genetic material by those countries who are signatories to the treaty—including:

  • changing the Standard Material Transfer Agreement (template for transferring plant genetic resources) to generate further funding into the Benefit-Sharing Fund

  • by expanding the treaty’s coverage to include all plant species that are present in all signatory countries.

You can find the full papers being considered by the governing body on the website of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

We want to hear from you

This online consultation is open to all Australian stakeholders, but you will find it easier to participate if you have some knowledge of the treaty—including its Standard Material Transfer Agreement–an agreement between providers and recipients of plant genetic resources outlining the obligations of each party.

Submissions are particularly being sought from those stakeholders who work with, use or perform research on plant genetic resources.

Your insights will support Australia’s attendance at the governing body meeting in Rwanda later this year, and will help to ensure that any decisions made are favourable for Australian agriculture, industry and research sector.

How you can participate

We have prepared a survey below to step you through the proposed changes and to seek your input.

Feel free to answer all of the survey questions or just those that interest you.

Alternatively, if you would like to provide a written submission, it can be uploaded below through our survey tool.

We are particularly interested in your insights about the following:

  • Do you support expanding the treaty’s coverage to include additional plant species? And what might be the potential benefits and risks for Australia in doing so?

  • What are your views about charging different types of users different amounts to gain access to plant genetic material, including providing free access to genetic material for students and researchers?

  • What are your insights about the various specific measures—as spelt out in the survey—that are being proposed to improve access to genetic material? How might some or all of these changes affect you in your own work, as well as the industries and farmers who you represent? (Feel free to answer only those sections of the survey that apply to you and your work.)

Online discussion forum

A discussion forum will be opened on 11 September for you to discuss topics that will help inform the face-to-face meeting in Canberra on 4 October. Follow the project or check back for the announcement of the topics and to have your say.

The department is seeking your insights about proposed changes to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

Your input will help inform Australia’s position when proposed changes to the treaty are discussed at an international meeting in Rwanda later this year.

We want to ensure any changes to the treaty are ultimately good for Australia’s agriculture, industry and research sectors, as well as those of our neighbouring regions such as the Pacific.

About the treaty

The treaty provides a framework for the world-wide sharing of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture to foster biodiversity and drive productivity.

The broad aim of this treaty is to protect and enhance access to plant genetic resources, and the global benefits arising from their use, in order to:

  • increase farm productivity and income for farmers

  • increase global availability of diverse and nutrient-rich food

  • minimise the threat to global food security posed by adverse environmental impacts (e.g. climate change), including by enhancing farmers’ resilience to production shocks.

The proposed changes

The treaty’s governing body is considering ways to improve access to genetic material by those countries who are signatories to the treaty—including:

  • changing the Standard Material Transfer Agreement (template for transferring plant genetic resources) to generate further funding into the Benefit-Sharing Fund

  • by expanding the treaty’s coverage to include all plant species that are present in all signatory countries.

You can find the full papers being considered by the governing body on the website of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

We want to hear from you

This online consultation is open to all Australian stakeholders, but you will find it easier to participate if you have some knowledge of the treaty—including its Standard Material Transfer Agreement–an agreement between providers and recipients of plant genetic resources outlining the obligations of each party.

Submissions are particularly being sought from those stakeholders who work with, use or perform research on plant genetic resources.

Your insights will support Australia’s attendance at the governing body meeting in Rwanda later this year, and will help to ensure that any decisions made are favourable for Australian agriculture, industry and research sector.

How you can participate

We have prepared a survey below to step you through the proposed changes and to seek your input.

Feel free to answer all of the survey questions or just those that interest you.

Alternatively, if you would like to provide a written submission, it can be uploaded below through our survey tool.

We are particularly interested in your insights about the following:

  • Do you support expanding the treaty’s coverage to include additional plant species? And what might be the potential benefits and risks for Australia in doing so?

  • What are your views about charging different types of users different amounts to gain access to plant genetic material, including providing free access to genetic material for students and researchers?

  • What are your insights about the various specific measures—as spelt out in the survey—that are being proposed to improve access to genetic material? How might some or all of these changes affect you in your own work, as well as the industries and farmers who you represent? (Feel free to answer only those sections of the survey that apply to you and your work.)

Online discussion forum

A discussion forum will be opened on 11 September for you to discuss topics that will help inform the face-to-face meeting in Canberra on 4 October. Follow the project or check back for the announcement of the topics and to have your say.

  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    Survey on the international sharing of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture

    The department is seeking your insights about proposed changes to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

    Your input will help inform Australia’s position at the Seventh Session of the Governing Body to discuss the treaty in Rwanda later this year.

    This is your chance to have your say.

    Disclaimer: Note that agenda papers for the Seventh Session of the Governing Body have yet to be released. 

    The department is seeking your insights about proposed changes to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

    Your input will help inform Australia’s position at the Seventh Session of the Governing Body to discuss the treaty in Rwanda later this year.

    This is your chance to have your say.

    Disclaimer: Note that agenda papers for the Seventh Session of the Governing Body have yet to be released. 

    Consultation has concluded
  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    Written submissions on the international sharing of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture

    If you have drafted a written response about the proposed changes to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, please click to upload.


    If you have drafted a written response about the proposed changes to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, please click to upload.


    Consultation has concluded