A Short History of the Annex I List
Lim Engsiang and Michael Halewood
Resolution 7/93 of the FAO Conference requested the Director General of the FAO to 'provide a forum for negotiations among governments' for the adaptation of the IU in harmony with the CBD, and for 'consideration of the issue of access on mutually agreed terms to plant genetic resources, including ex situ collection not addressed by the Convention'. At that point, the potential scope of coverage of what would later be called 'the multilateral system of access and benefit sharing' was open; it could have applied to all PGRFA without reference to, or reliance on, explicitly listed genera or species. Nor was there explicit discussion of such a list during the two first international meetings addressing the adaptation of the IU (the Ninth Session of the Working Group, and the First Extraordinary Session of the CPGR). A Secretariat paper submitted to the First Extraordinary Session highlighted the need for delegates to consider whether access arrangements under the revised IU should apply to: a) all PGR in a country, b) all PGRFA in a country, or c) specific genera, species or accessions decided upon by each country. But that paper was not actually considered until later meetings.
In May 1995, during the Tenth Session of the Working Group, the option for a list of crops was proposed 'to add a list of mutually agreed species to which specific provisions of the IU would apply, particularly in relation to access to and the distribution of benefits'. There was also discussion about the criteria for selecting species or gene pools being based on their relevance to food security and strong interdependency between countries. In June 1995, at the Sixth Regular Session of the CGRFA, the EU proposed a list including 231 genera, including major grain crops and grasses.
In December 1996, at the Third Extraordinary Session of the CGRFA, the US submitted a list of 25 crops (at the level of genus) and forages selected according to the criteria of being essential to global food security. Brazil submitted a list of 25 crops selected on the basis of their basic importance for human world food consumption. The African Group proposed that the list should be comprised of whatever species individual state members decided should be included. France suggested that for each species there should be a differentiation between: a) designated material with unrestricted access through an international network of collections and b) nondesignated material with negotiated access on a case-by-case basis. No decision was made about which concept was most appropriate: all of these options were included in the negotiating text.
The options remained in the text throughout the negotiations of the Seventh Regular Session of the CGRFA in May 2007. In December, during the Fourth Extraordinary Session of the CGRFA, there was a breakthrough, with everyone agreeing to