b'Four Quarters of ISF,and Onwards to the FifthPART 1: 1924-2000. BY: NIELS LOUWAARSWHY IT MATTERS T his article is Part 1 of a two-part series. In this part, well look at the start of the fed-The Internationaleration in 1924 and follow its developments Seed Federation (ISF)all the way to the turn of the Millennium. In Part celebrates 100 years of2, which will be published in the next edition of operation in 2024. Thethis magazine, we will focus on the new roles of centennial anniversary isISF in the first quarter of this century and look an excellent opportunityahead at the years to come.to look at the future of ISF. Looking at the past canFIRST QUARTER: 19241949: sometimes help. So, letsREGULATING THE BUSINESS.have a look at how theThe reason to get together and establish ISF in Fdration Internationale1924, and the primary focus of the new organiza-du Commerce destion for its first 25 years, was a need for self-reg-Semences (FIS)/ISFulation at the global level. The International evolved from its initialTrade Rules were established for forage seeds andAt the time, ASSINSEL was also mainly origins. The book that wassubsequently for other crop groups in responsetalking amongst its own members to figure out published for the occasionto more crop seeds being traded internationally.options for protection, using existing systems like will be available duringEven though these rules were meant to increasepatents, trademarks and copyright. Right after the the 2024 ISF World Seedtransparency and reduce conflicts among tradingSecond World War, when ASSINSEL re-started Congress. Lets look herepartners, an arbitration system was necessary toin 1946, government officials were involved more more specifically at theenforce the rules, which was indeed developed inclosely, which led to an intergovernmental system evolution of the roles ofparallel. The rules were adopted in 1929; the arbi-The International Union for the Protection of ISF over time. This historytration system one year later. The FIS-arbitrationNew Varieties of Plants (UPOV)during the can very well be split intofit in with the course of global developments. Thesecond phase. FIS restarted in 1950.four almost equal phases.League of Nations adopted the concept of arbi-These represent fourtration in 1923 and the convention for the inter- SECOND QUARTER 1949-1974: THE distinct, major 25-yearnational enforcement of such arbitration awardsSEED SECTOR AND THE EMERGING eras in world history was passed in 1927. During that same period, theGLOBAL INSTITUTIONSand within ISF.International Seed Testing Association (ISTA)The following 25 years provided FIS and defined the first international standards for seedASSINSEL with an important role to position testing (1931). That significantly contributed tothe seed sector in emerging international insti-further promoting international seed trade, thetutions. The organizations relations were strong core objective of FIS. from the start with ISTA, but important new A second association also formed duringorganisations formed in this second phase, with this first period. Private sector plant breederswhom FIS and ASSINSEL needed to build con-established ASSINSEL in 1938: an associationnections.specifically aimed at providing breeders with theThe first such organization was the United necessary returns on investment. The existingNations Food and Agriculture Organisation international breeders federation was dominated(FAO), established in 1945. One of FAOs key by public sector breeders discussing scientificobjectives was (and is) to defeat hunger. FAO developments. FIS, the business-oriented seeddeveloped an important focus on investing in traders association, was not initially consideredpublic seed production and processing infrastruc-an ally in this goal, as it would be the seed pro- ture for the major Green Revolution food crops, ducers and traders who would have to pay for thewhich eventually laid the foundation for private licenses that ASSINSEL was aiming towards.investments in the seed sector. FAO established Another reason ASSINSEL didnt at first con- the International Plant Protection Convention sider FIS was its operation reduced to a bare min- (IPPC) in 1951. These rules on plant health are imum during the Depression in the 1930s andessential for facilitating the international move-during and after the Second World War. ment of seed, particularly when IPPC became The roles of FIS were twofold during its firstthe standard-setting organization under the SPS 25 years of existence, both focused on the seedAgreement of the World Trade Organisation sector: a) provide a platform for seedsmen to meetin 1995. Despite these standards, phytosanitary and discuss joint issues, and b) ensure self-regu- regulations remain a major concern for traders of lation through the Trade Rules and arbitration.seeds and goods. 14ISEED WORLD EUROPEISEEDWORLD.COM/EUROPE'