IPGRI promotes among others the conservation of genetic resources of important plant species, especially in areas where the spread of new varieties may put traditional varieties at risk. Specific aims include: assisting countries, particularly in the developing world, to assess and meet their needs for conservation of plant genetic resources and strengthen links with users of those resources; building international collaboration in conservation and use of plant genetic resources, mainly through support of networks on both a crop and a geographical basis; developing and promoting improved strategies and technologies for conservation of plant genetic resources; providing an information service to inform the genetic resource community of practical and scientific developments in the field. IPGRI also promotes research relevant to its mandate, with a worldwide programme in 120 countries.
Programmes IPGRI coordinates include [inter alia]: Andean Network on Plant Genetic Resources (REDARFIT), (1992); Meso-American Network for Plant Genetic Resources (REMERFI); Plant Genetic Resource Network for South American Tropics (TROPIGEN); Regional Cooperation in Southeast Asia on Plant Genetic Resources (RECSEA-IPGRI), (1993). RECSEA-IPGRI has developed into a regional forum for cooperation, promoting the conservation and management of the region's plant genetic resources through collaborative activities of benefit to member countries. Exchanges take place on the basis of prior informed consent. Activities include assistance to On-Farm Conservation Workshop; development and improving of information systems for plant genetic resources at national and regional levels. IPGRI proposes setting up the Caribbean Network on Plant Genetic Resources and has supported founding of the Caribbean Committee for the Management of Plant Genetic Resources (CMPGR) for that purpose. IPGRI houses the Forest Genetic Resource Information System (TRESOURCE) to provide forestry researchers with background information on the germplasm of forest trees and shrubs. TRESOURCE comprising five databases on plant aspects of plant genetics. IPGRI cooperates with the other centres supported by CGIAR.
International agreements being negotiated through the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Commission on Plant Genetic Resources include the: [International Code of Conduct for Plant Germplasm Collecting and Transfer]; [Code of Conduct on Biotechnology]; basic agreements on genebanks. Global mechanisms being developed: network of in situ base collections (with technical assistance of IPGRI); network of areas established or demarcated for [in situ] conservation of genetic resources; establishment of Global Information and Early Warning System on Plant Genetic Resources (WIEWS) arising from the [Seed Information System]. WEIES and the [Global Plan of Action on Plant Genetic Resources] are being developed within within the framework of the Global System for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Sustainable Agriculture. The former is a network of [in situ] base collections and areas established or demarcated for [in situ] conservation of genetic resources. The former aims to collect and disseminate data and facilitate exchange of information on plant genetic resources and related technologies; draw rapid attention to hazards threatening operation of genebanks and loss of genetic diversity throughout the world. The latter is proposed to overcome restraints and face emergency situations identified in the state of the world's plant genetic resources; permit recommendation of priorities and promote rationalization and coordination of efforts in the area.
The Plant Genetic Resources Centre (SPGRC) operates under the framework of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). SPGRC: promotes and coordinates a regional network for plant genetic resources management through national centres; trains specialists; develops national plant genetic resource management programmes; through collection and preservation efforts, prevents erosion and loss of regional resources; provides service to plant breeders and researchers in the SADC region through a system of National Plant Genetic Resources Centres; collects, conserves, documents, evaluates and utilizes regional plant germplasm. SPGRC has medium and long-term storage facilities, and collected material is available to any bona fide user.
Other organizations working in the field of plant genetic conservation include among others the Islamic Plant Genetic Research Centre and the Action Committee on Latin American Cooperation and Consultation on Plant Genetic Resources (CARFIT).