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An Empirical Assessment of the Effects of the 1994 In Trust Agreements on IRRI Germplasm Acquisition and Distribution

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Gotor, Elisabetta; Caracciolo, Francesco
Journal: International Journal of the Commons
Volume: 4
Page(s): 437–451
Date: 2010
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/5953
Sector: Agriculture
Social Organization
Subject(s): change
genetic resources
public goods and bads
Abstract: "The objective of this paper is to assess the possible influence of the 1994 In Trust Agreements (ITAs) on acquisition and distribution of germplasm held by the International Research Rice Institute (IRRI) genebank. The agreements, legally affirmed the ‘public good’ status of the collections that were placed ‘In Trust’ for the benefit of the world community under agreements with FAO. They initiated a formal system of multilateral access to CGIAR-held ex situ genetic resources. The hypothesis that the consequences of the ITAs lead to an enhancement of CGIAR germplasm utilization is tested here using a basic conceptual framework to infer on factors determining the distribution of germplasm. Subsequently, a Bayesian empirical model is applied to IRRI accessions distribution’s time-series to provide formal evidence to the hypothesis. Results show that there is a discernible ‘change’ point that would support a significant drop in germplasm distribution followed by a new growing trend around the establishment of the ITAs. This had followed a period beginning around 1989 and leading up to the establishment of the ITAs of a large number of requests for restoration of germplasm back to countries of origin and a reduction in acquisitions. As a result the number of accessions held by IRRI reached a low point around 1994. The number of accessions might not have been built back up without the establishment of a stable policy environment that was provided by the ITAs."

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