International collaboration for plant genetic resources
European Cooperative Programme for Plant Genetic Resources (ECPGR)
Germany is actively involved in the European Cooperative Programme for Plant Genetic Resources (ECPGR). This collaborative programme for plant genetic resources among most European countries is aiming at facilitating the long-term in situ and ex situ conservation on a cooperative basis as well as improving the utilisation of plant genetic resources in Europe.
One important activity within the ECPGR collaboration is the implementation and further development of the European Plant Genetic Resources Search Catalogue (EURISCO) which is strongly supported by Germany. EURISCO is a web-based catalogue that provides information about ex situ plant collections across Europe. It currently contains so called passport data for more than one million samples of plant diversity held in nearly 240 European institutes in 38 countries. The German National Inventory data (PGRDEU) in EURISCO are being updated several times per year.
Another important activity of ECPGR supported by Germany is the implementation of AEGIS (A European Genebank Integrated System). The ECPGR conducted an AEGIS feasibility study between 2004 and 2006. The analysis was made within four pilot crop working groups (Allium, Avena, Brassica and Prunus). Germany is actively participating in the further development of AEGIS, especially in the ongoing work on Allium and Avena and in the AEGIS Advisory Committee.
International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
At international level, the most important framework regarding plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture came into force in 2004. Germany has ratified the International Treaty in the same year and its national implementation is now well underway. Major steps towards the implementation of the International Treaty and its Multilateral System of Access and Benefit-Sharing (MLS) in Germany have been taken.
This International Treaty especially calls for the sustainable use of plant genetic resources. Through the International Treaty, countries agreed to establish an efficient, effective and transparent Multilateral System to facilitate access to plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. A standard material transfer agreement (SMTA) provides the terms and conditions of the facilitated access to these plant genetic resources.
PGRDEU - the National Inventory for Plant Genetic Resources in Germany allows a web-based search of material provided for the MLS. German providers are at present the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) in Gatersleben and the German Fruit Genebank, which is coordinated by the Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants - Julius Kuehn Institute (JKI) in Dresden. The contribution amounts to some 100.000 accessions. This material is now available to users under the conditions of the Standard Material Transfer Agreement of the International Treaty.
The Multilateral System established by the International Treaty covers plant genetic resources for food and agriculture listed in Annex I (about 35 main agricultural crops and 30 forages) to the International Treaty, which are in the management and control of the Contracting Parties and in the public domain.