The loss of biodiversity is a global environmental problem that poses important governance challenges. Effective governance of crop genetic resources as a component of biodiversity is essential, given that such resources are the building blocks of today's modern agriculture. This article examines the formal governance framework in place for crop genetic resources, as embodied in the Convention on Biological Diversity and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, and compares this to alternative modes of governance proposed by peasants' organizations such as Via Campesina. The author argues that the existing formal governance framework falls short of providing an effective mechanism for the conservation of crop genetic resources. Alternative governance mechanisms may more effectively connect the local and the global in a way that recognizes the contributions of local communities to conserving genetic resources in centers of diversity, and re-embeds their control over agricultural production processes.

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