The Legal Status of CGIAR Germplasm Collections and Related Issues
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Paper prepared by two legal consultants for the CGIAR Secretariat on the control, ownership and legal status of CGIAR center germplasm collections, internationally and within their host countries. The document was considered at a joint meeting held in Rome January 30 to February 1, 1992, of the Center Directors Committee on Intellectual Property and the Center Directors/TAC Committee on Plant Genetic Resources, and served as a background document at TAC 57 to the discussion of CGIAR policy on intellectual property rights and related matters.A review of IARC constitutions and headquarters agreements revealed a general lack of provisions for the ownership of genetic material or for its devolution in the event an IARC ceases to operate. There was wide variation among cases depending on the legal status of the center, and the headquarters agreement in effect. In general, however, the consultants' view was that the germplasm collections would not pass automatically to the host government.The authors found potential benefit for IARCs to join the base collections network proposed by the FAO under the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources, as a means of establishing the international legal status of IARC genebank collections. Agenda document, TAC 57.