Preserving genetic diversity in cultivated plants

Conserving agricultural plant genetic resources
Protecting crop diversity

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has developed a global system to facilitate the maintenance of biodiversity, according to the FAO, essential for stable agricultural production. It consists of an International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources, the collection, conservation and unrestricted availability of germplasm, as well as a Commission and an International Fund for plant genetic resources. The activities of FAO's Commission on Plant Genetic Resources include, among others: advising Committees on Agriculture and on Forestry as necessary; preparation of a code of conduct for international collectors; active monitoring of new biotechnologies. The Commission is a basic institutional component of the Global System for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Sustainable Agriculture, which aims to ensure safe conservation and promote unrestricted availability and sustainable utilization of plant genetic resources (genes, genotypes and genepools at molecular, population, species and ecosystem level) for present and future generations.

The activities of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) include, among others, conserving genetic resource in order to contribute towards sustainable improvements in the productivity of agriculture and forestry in developing countries. The International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI) operates under the aegis of CGIAR. Programmes IPGRI coordinates include inter alia: Andean Network on Plant Genetic Resources (REDARFIT, est. 1992) and the Coconut Genetic Resources Network (COGENT, est. 1992). REDARFIT activities include the conservation and use of Passifloraceae germplasm as part of 2-year project on tropical fruits. COGENT aims to support collaborative research on coconuts, and promote the sharing of results and information among members. Activities include: using genetic markers to study coconut genetic diversity and to identify coconuts carrying disease; developing a global coconut conservation strategy; providing information services database of ex situ coconut germplasm. Since 1994, IPGRI includes the International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain (INIBAP), which has been working on Musa genetic resources.

The West Asia and North Africa Plant Genetic Resources Network (WANANET) has been founded within the framework of the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). Working groups: specify priorities in plant genetic resources; identify and implement collaborative projects; implement regional activities.

Established since 1929, the CABI Bureau of Plant Breeding and Genetics operates within the framework of CAB International (CABI). The Bureau provides information and documentation on the breeding and genetics of plants of economic importance.

Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 15: Life on Land