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Expert Committee Meeting to revise Nepal's Agricultural Biodiversity Policy

SAWTEE, together with the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives/Government of Nepal, USC Canada Asia and Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development, organized a meeting of the Expert Committee formed by the Ministry to revise Nepal's Agricultural Biodiversity Policy 2007 on 6-7 June 2011 in Dhulikhel, Nepal. In connection to an earlier meeting of this committee held in 2010, this meeting finalized a number of issues that need to be incorporated into a New Agricultural Biodiversity Policy of Nepal. Among others, the meeting strongly incorporated guiding provisions for the implementation of farmers' rights to genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge. In the interest of Nepal, the revised policy has also been designed to deal with the country’s crucial obligations under the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Similarly, on 8 June 2011, a meeting of another Expert Committee, constituted by and held together with Seed Quality Control Center/Government of Nepal, finalized the revision of Nepal's Seed Policy. While revising a new Seed Policy, this meeting addressed various concerns regarding farmers’ rights and the national implementation of international instruments. The New Seed Policy will be implemented to, among others, regulate and promote seed business, marketing, trade, as well as variety conservation and development initiatives in Nepal. These committees formed a group of representatives from concerned government agencies, National Agriculture Research Council, civil society, community-based organizations and private sector.