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Plant genetic resources management: a forum theater experiment to collectively define better collaborative practices

Jankowski F., Berthouly C., Billot C., Diao Camara A., Kane N.A., Louafi S., Pham J.L., Barnaud A.. 2019. In : Dedicated to the origins of agriculture and the domestication, evolution and utilization of genetic resources. Abstracts book. Montpellier : IRD, p. 86. Jack R. Harlan International Symposium. 3, 2019-06-03/2019-06-07, Montpellier (France).

Crop diversity represents a major resource for sustainable agriculture. They are at the nexus of important societal and economic issues that involve a wide range of actors (farmers, breeders,researchers) who do not necessarily share the same objectives but yet are interdependent with regard to their access to diversity, either locally or even globally. In this context, there is a growing need to engage all stakeholders on their exchange practices: modalities of access to, and use of genetic resources and associated knowledge, and of benefit-sharing. With the objective of building a common vision of equitable exchange practices and partnership rules within the framework of the ITPGRFA and the Nagoya Protocol, we chose a singular medium: the forum theatre. This form of participatory theatre was specifically designed for discussing issues related to power relationships. In this sense, the play brings the audience to discuss choices made and action taken by various characters and their relationships. It also offers the opportunity to interact directly by proposing actions to alleviate tensions between parties. A script was built by researchers from different disciplines and presented in different contexts: (i) as part of a multi-stakeholder workshop bringing together public researchers, breeders and representatives of civil society from West Africa; (ii) during regional and national peasant seeds fairs, in Senegal that gathered producers, peasant organizations, associations and NGOs. By performing the play in front of different audiences, multiples points of view were expressed. The forum theatre allowed (i) to open public spaces for discussion about plant genetic resources management, (ii) to collectively identify and experiment different ways of improving collaborative practices and (iii) to contribute in the formalization of a charter for increased fairness in collaboration among the diversity of stakeholders involved.

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