ISF Secretary-General Michael Keller speaks at the Congress. Photo by Julie Deering

Engagement, communication and transparency were top of the agenda at the International Seed Federation (ISF) World Seed Congress 2017 in Budapest, which attracted 1,680 delegates from 68 countries around the world.

Highlights of the Congress program included a panel discussion on social media and another on strengthening partnerships with smallholder farmers. Keynote speakers presented perspectives on science in the media, and the effective use of social media.

Building upon ISF’s social media engagement across three platforms, there was live tweeting from open meetings, and delegates were encouraged to participate through the Congress hashtag #WSC2017 as part of the “Join the conversation” campaign.

“In this era of transparency, social media opens up new possibilities to engage more broadly – we want to bring the story of seed to a wider audience,” said ISF Secretary General Michael Keller.

Progress was made in priority areas including plant breeding innovation, with the unveiling of a communication toolkit to support members in proactive engagement across the value chain.

Regarding the essential role of genetic resources in sustainable development, ISF President Jean-Christophe Gouache said: “This Congress enabled us to re-emphasize the seed industry’s commitment and contribution to finding solutions for an effective access and benefit sharing system as part of the International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources.”

The Congress saw the launch of the World Seed Partnership, a joint effort by OECD, ISTA, UPOV and ISF to support the development of the seed sector in countries worldwide to achieve internationally harmonized seed systems.

Next year’s ISF World Seed Congress will be held in the Australian city of Brisbane (3-6 June 2018) with the slogan ‘Where Innovation Shines’.

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