Significant developments in the scientific front and international policy arena have affected the use and exchange of genetic resources, and the management of intellectual property. These developments are now reshaping public agricultural research and development (R&D) in developing countries, especially in the access, generation, and dissemination of research outputs. Three of the most important international treaties and conventions that are important in this context are the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (WTO-TRIPS), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA). Already, majority of the developing countries are signatories to these treaties and could be expected to exploit them for their own advantage. On the other hand, non-member countries, despite their non-participation, must find alternative scenarios to be able to effectively address issues concerning IPR, agricultural biotechnology, and plant genetic resources. As the main source of innovation in public agricultural research, national agricultural research extension systems (NARES) need to be enlightened on the various aspects of these treaties and agreements and the impact on their respective research and extension activities. It may be necessary, for example, to tailor capacity-building initiatives on the IPR, agbiotech, and PGR aspects of international treaties to specific countries or regions since policy and enforcement mechanisms among NARES vary according to the availability of human and logistical resources, research priorities, and technology transfer objectives. This paper takes a look at the critical aspects of TRIPS, CBD, ITPGRFA, and other agreements, and studies their implications on public agbiotech R&D among NARS; compares initiatives by several Asian developing countries to comply with the provisions of these treaties and agreements; highlights PhilRice’s initiatives to help its national government comply with its obligations under these treaties; and assesses and recommends a plan of action on the capacity-building of NARES institutions on IPR, agbiotech, and PGR management.


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