PROCEDURE FOR A NEW COUNTRY TO JOIN ONE OR MORE OECD SEED SCHEMES
1. Eligibility for the OECD Seed Schemes
1.1 OECD Member countries may participate in the Schemes on the basis of a written notification to the Secretary-General of the OECD.
1.2 A Member of the United Nations Organization, its Specialised Agencies or the World Trade Organisation may submit a written application to the Secretary-General of the OECD to participate in one or more Scheme(s).
1.3 The technical criteria necessary to operate the Schemes shall apply equally to OECD Members and non-Member countries.
2. Technical criteria
Technical criteria to be satisfied by the notifying or applicant country are set out in the rules of the OECD Seed Schemes in force and include the following:
2.1 The country shall provide a description of the national scheme for the certification of seed and a copy of the national rules and procedures governing the certification of seed.
2.2 A comparison shall be made between the OECD Scheme rules and the rules of the national scheme, for each Scheme to be implemented, especially in respect of:
i) previous cropping;
ii) isolation, both physical and from sources of foreign pollen in the case of cross-pollination species;
iii) verification of varietal identity;
iv) varietal purity standards.
2.3 The country shall describe the development of its certification scheme over the previous five years and specify in detail the amounts of certified seed produced during the three most recent years.
2.4 The country shall have a national list of varieties, the seed of which is intended to be certified under the OECD Schemes in the immediate future. The national list of varieties shall include only those varieties that have been tested and found to be distinct, uniform and stable following internationally recognised guidelines and, in the case of agricultural species, varieties also found to have acceptable Value for Cultivation and Use in at least one country.
2.5 The country shall have been growing-on samples of Basic and Certified seed in pre- and post-control plots for at least three years. The pre- and post- control plots must be carried out according to OECD methods or similar domestic methods, with the results presented to the Secretariat.
2.6 The country shall dispose of suitably qualified staff and all the necessary facilities to enable seed certification to be carried out effectively according to the rules and procedures of the OECD Seed Schemes.
2.7 The country shall give information on the nature and prospects of current international seed trade, as well as indicate participation in international seed-related organisations.
3. Evaluation mission
3.1 The OECD Secretariat shall acknowledge receipt of the notification/application and shall examine the attached technical documentation. If the technical documentation is satisfactory, the Secretariat shall organise an evaluation mission to the notifying/applicant country, well in advance of the Annual Meeting of the OECD Seed Schemes. The tasks of the mission shall be:
i) To ascertain that the technical and administrative implications of the Rules of the Schemes, as well as its organisation procedures and facilitation of international trade are well understood;
ii) To ascertain that adequate technical and administrative facilities are available for the operation of the Schemes. The various steps of the certification process (field inspection, control plots, sampling, sealing, labelling, laboratory analysis, etc.) shall be evaluated accordingly;
iii) To consider and make recommendations on the need for expert assistance during the initial period of operating the Schemes.
3.2 The evaluation mission shall provide an objective assessment on the ability of the notifying/applicant country to fulfil the Seed Schemes’ technical criteria.
3.3 The evaluation mission shall be carried out by experts nominated by, and reporting directly to the OECD Secretariat. Their conclusions and recommendations will be based on the findings of the evaluation mission. A comprehensive Evaluation Report, including conclusions and recommendations, will be drafted by the Secretariat and the Evaluation Team for discussion and approval at the Annual Meeting of the OECD Seed Schemes.
3.4 In the course of the evaluation process, the applicant country and all countries participating in the OECD Schemes shall respect due process and ensure the independence and objectivity of the evaluation process and the subsequent decision making.
3.5 The process of preparation for accession is the responsibility of the OECD Secretariat, in close cooperation with the applicant country, the evaluation experts and the Bureau. All correspondence with the evaluation experts shall be done through the OECD Secretariat.
3.6 The notifying/applicant country will be responsible for the financing of the mission (travel costs etc.), as well as providing the necessary logistics (interpretation etc.) and contributing to the Evaluation Report.
4. Participation in Annual Meetings
4.1 Before admission, the notifying/applicant country shall be authorised to attend the Annual Meeting as an observer, with a view to presenting the documentation submitted according to section 2 above.
4.2 The notifying/applicant country agrees that on admission, its representatives will attend the Annual Meetings of the National Designated Authorities held in Paris, OECD Headquarters, or elsewhere. Representatives attending the Annual Meetings will be persons directly responsible for the implementation of the Schemes in their country. The cost of attendance at the Annual Meetings will be borne by the notifying/applicant country.
5. Supervision by the OECD
5.1 The notifying/applicant country shall agree to accept the minimum level of supervision by the OECD, and shall co-operate with the OECD Co-ordinating Centre in regard to the OECD listing of varieties, which is essential if the Schemes are to maintain their integrity. This supervision and co-operation would commence upon admission of a notifying/applicant country to the Seed Schemes, i.e. fulfilment of technical criteria, as set out in Section 2.
5.2 If considered necessary by the evaluation mission or by the Annual Meeting in the course of implementation of the Schemes, the OECD may require:
• that a person or persons responsible for the application of the Schemes in the newly admitted country be sent to a selected OECD country or to the Co-ordinating Centre for a period of further instruction; and/or
• that an annual visit, for the first two years, be made by a seed certification specialist selected by the OECD. The specialist will examine the administrative and technical procedures operated by the new participating country with particular reference to seed crop inspection and control plot recording.
The OECD, in consultation with the authorities of the new participating country, will decide the timing and duration of these measures and the financing of them will be the responsibility of the country.
6. Annual contribution
The notifying/applicant country shall agree to the payment to the OECD of an annual contribution as set out in the General Principles, section 5 of Annex I of this Decision. This shall be effective starting from the calendar year immediately following the year of the Decision of the Council admitting the country to the OECD Seed Schemes.
7. OECD internal procedure for ratifying new country participation
Provided the OECD is satisfied with the results of the review mentioned in section 3 and the notifying/applicant country has agreed, in writing, to respect the undertakings set out in sections 4, 5 and 6, the Annual Meeting will recommend that country adherence be acknowledged. The Committee for Agriculture of the OECD will then be invited to endorse the acknowledgement and request that the Council ratify the participation of the country.
The Secretary-General of the OECD shall notify the country of the outcome of the procedure. The National Designated Authorities of all the countries participating in the Schemes will be informed accordingly.
9. Specimen labels and certificates
The new participating country shall submit to the OECD Secretariat for approval specimens of the OECD labels and certificates to be used by the National Authority, before implementing seed certification according to the OECD Schemes.