Meeting of the ECPGR Task Force on EU matters

An ECPGR Task Force (TF) on EU matters, with the tasks of coordinating ECPGR’s actions towards the EU, met at BLE in Bonn on 31 May and 1 June 2012.

The TF, composed of Paul Freudenthaler, Lars Landbo, Fernando Latorre and Jan Engels, worked together with a number of observers on a draft strategy paper on the ECPGR relationship with the European Commission.

The major outputs and recommendations by the Task Force to the ECPGR Steering Committee include:

  1. A comprehensive strategy was developed on the complex relationship of ECPGR with the European Commission and other bodies in the area of PGRFA. The strategy summarizes the current status, existing gaps and proposed activities on a) in situ conservation, b) on-farm management, c) ex situ conservation,  d) research infrastructure, and e) the policy framework for PGRFA conservation and use, including the CBD, IT and seed legislation related aspects.   
  2. On 13 June 2012 the Commission is presenting to the relevant Committee the results of the independent evaluation of the Genetic Resources Programme GEN RES of the DG Agriculture. During the meeting, a round table discussion is planned about future options. The ECPGR National Coordinators will be alerted by the Secretariat that it will be important that national delegates promote the ECPGR position in this meeting, i.e.  encouraging the Commission to propose a continuation of the Programme with increased funding and simplification of administrative rules.
  3. In the absence of a clear policy framework for PGRFA conservation and use in the EU (see  also point 5 below), it was proposed to try to use the opportunity of the ongoing review process of the European seed legislation to suggest specific PGRFA conservation and use aspects to be included in this legislation, specifically the recognition of ex situ collections as an important component of the entire chain from germplasm through to final varieties.  
  4. Recommendations were developed with respect to lobbying activities with organizations such as the European Seed Association, Botanic Garden Conservation International, the European variety protection office and others as well as how best to lobby existing EU committees and the Parliament through their national representations.
  5. With respect to the policy framework it was noted that the European Commission does not have a unified policy on PGRFA conservation and use and that it will be important for ECPGR to work towards such a policy by offering its assistance and knowledge.  It was suggested to include the development of an ECPGR strategy on PGRFA in Europe among the outputs planned for the next Phase of ECPGR and that this should then inspire the EC policy framework.  
  6. The report of this TF meeting will be finalized for the attention of the Executive Committee meeting in September 2012, and will then feed the overall discussion on the next Phase of ECPGR , that will take place at the ECPGR SC meeting in December 2012 in Vienna.


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Task Force Members:

  • Paul Freudenthaler
  • Lars Landbo
  • Fernando Latorre
  • Jan Engels (meeting Chair)

Other participants in the meeting:

  • Frank Begemann
  • Lorenzo Maggioni
  • Sarah Sensen
  • Stefan Schröder
  • Matthias Ziegler