Among existing sources of funding which may be applicable is official bilateral development assistance, the World Bank, the FAO, the UNDP, the UNEP, other specialized UN trust funds, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, regional development banks, NGOs, foundations, and universities and other research institutes.9

For countries that do not yet enjoy sufficient access to private flows and in order to assist developing countries more generally in investing in areas

that do not seem "profitable" in the short term, official development finance remains a primary source of external resources. However, with the higher priority in donor countries for fiscal consolidation, there has been a reassessment of official development assistance commitments in several of these countries. Conventional bilateral aid flows now seem set on a downward trend.

5.1.2 Potential new funding mechanisms

Increased attention has been recently given to possible alternative sources of finance. A number of possible new and potentially complementary options for the funding of regional activities can be identified (see Fig. 8-6). As an essential element, an international fund, say, under the auspices of the IT, could be established which would be supported by contributions from various financial sources. The International Fund for the conservation and utilization of PGRFA can be seen as a further component of FAO's Global System for the Conservation and Utilization of PGRFA. This fund could be utilized on the one hand as a financing instrument to provide additional financial resources to national, regional, and international plant genetic resources activities. On the other hand, the International Fund could be used for financial transfers as compensations for countries or specific farmer groups or individuals, which have offered their in situ conservation areas to the international community for bioprospecting.

The International Fund is expected to become a key mechanism for sharing benefits and a critical element in ensuring the equitableness of the Global System for the Conservation and Utilization of PGRFA. The International Fund, as the core element of the funds, could be complemented by a "virtual fund." This fund would monitor all financial resources, which are invested for PGRFA-conservation activities, no matter what their source and funding channels. In this way, all private, bi- and multi-lateral investment into implementing any activity related to the PGRFA conservation can be recorded. The International Fund as well as the virtual fund could be based partly on mandatory contributions and partly on voluntary or ex gratia contributions. Besides financial contributions, technology transfer will be the most important alternative resource for the implementation of conservation activities.11

An additional fund can also be classified as resources transferred for activities with other objectives, but with a positive impact on the conservation and utilization of PGRFA. These nonrelated expenditures, for instance, development assistance, may be listed in the financing mechanisms due to their positive effect on the conservation and utilization of PGRFA.

11 See the IT's text for detail on funding possibilities (CGFRA [undated]).

All potential funding sources should be invited to contribute or to implement some or more activities related to the conservation of PGRFA. Besides already being involved in the funding of activities, organizations not yet involved as well as all beneficiaries of PGRFA utilization are targeted as funding sources. These sources could contribute to the International Fund as well as to the virtual fund by contributing on a bi- or multilateral level. All contributions could be recorded so as to develop a funding record. This will contain contributions made to the International Fund as well as to the virtual and the additional fund.

All countries, as well as organizations of the public and private sector which act as a funding source to the International Fund, as well as to the virtual fund, will be given access to PGRFA in return for their contributions.

Financial contributions from a country, a private company, or other funding sources should be directed to the International Fund. It may, however, also be contributed by a bi- or multilateral agreement to the activities of a country or to a local, national, regional, or even international organization working in the field of conservation and utilization of PGRFA.

From the discussion above, it can be seen that there are several possibilities for allocating resources for the implementation of conservation activities. On the one hand, a decision is needed as to how to allocate the funds from the International Fund (see, e.g., Chapters 10 and 11). On the other hand, countries, organizations, and all other funding sources can choose their own priorities for fostering specific activities for the conservation and utilization of PGRFA.

Figure 8-6. The financing mechanisms for conservation activities Source: Virchow (1999b).
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