On 14 December 2010, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the “International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.” The treaty, which went into force in 2004, aims to ensure food security throughout the world through the conservation, exchange, and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. According the letter of transmittal from President George W. Bush to the U.S. Senate in 2008: “The centerpiece of the Treaty is the establishment of a multilateral system under which a party provides access to other parties, upon request, to listed plant genetic resources held in national genebanks. These resources are to be used solely for purposes of research, breeding, and training in agriculture.” Unfortunately, the Senate failed to act on the treaty prior to the chamber’s adjournment for the year. This means that the Committee on Foreign Relations must pass the treaty again in the next session of Congress before it can be considered by the full Senate. The United States signed the treaty when it was drafted nearly ten years ago, but the treaty has not yet been ratified.


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