The Commission for Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is the central international coordination and negotiating body for biological diversity for food and agriculture. Established in 1983 for the coordination of plant genetic resources, the Commission has been responsible since 1995 for the genetic resources of crops, livestock, forest plants, aquatic genetic resources, microorganisms and invertebrates. Important cross-cutting issues are access to genetic resources and equitable benefit sharing, biotechnology for the conservation and use of genetic resources, monitoring and indicators, and ecosystem approaches.
In its multi-year work programme on biological diversity for food and agriculture (MYPOW), CGRFA has set goals and milestones. The BMEL participates in the implementation of the MYPOW with various projects.
The 178 CGRFA member states meet every two years in plenary session to coordinate global activities for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and genetic resources for food and agriculture. At the same time, CGRFA advises other FAO bodies on these issues and coordinates with other international bodies for biodiversity, such as the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The Commission has set up 4 Intergovernmental technical working groups (ITWG)
• on plant genetic resources (ITWG-PGR)
• animal genetic resources (ITWG-AnGR)
• Forest Genetic Resources (ITWG-FGR)
• aquatic genetic resources (ITWG-AqGR)
• Expert Group on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing (Ad hoc Technical Expert group on Access and Benefit Sharing ABS)
which meet alternately to the plenary every 2 years.