Svalbard Global Seed Vault first year a success
Svalbard Global Seed Vault: 25 national and international institutions have deposited more than 400 000 unique seed samples for long-term back up security storage in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. - The Svalbard Seed Vault has proven to be great success in its first operative year, says Norway’ minister of Agriculture and Food, Lars Peder Brekk.
Message to Copenhagen
New crop varieties are needed to maintain the level of food production under the climate changes predicted for the 21st century in all IPCC scenarios, irrespective of any action taken today.
This is the message more than 60 scientists and leaders from public and private sector, meeting at Svalbard are conveying to the Copenhagen Climate Conference in December 2009. Celebrating the first year of operations of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, Norway’s Minister of Agriculture and Food, Lars Peder Brekk convened scientists and policymakers from large parts of the world to discuss the challenges of climate change with a focus on food security and biological diversity.
Climatic change will place unprecedented pressures on agriculture. The statement from the meeting underlines that all countries should recognize their responsibility for food production and the need for international collaboration in this regard. Breeders are dependent on genetic diversity from many countries to adapt crops to changing climatic conditions. This biological diversity is under continuous threat. The meeting underlined the need for international action, from the FAO, UN and others, to ensure that this diversity is conserved for the future. The Svalbard meeting also stressed the need for national and international support of breeding in crops of importance to food security that are of little interest for commercial breeding companies. There is a need for financing mechanisms based on the sale of seeds in developed countries to finance such breeding activities within the framework of the International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
First annual contribution from Norway
- At the inauguration of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault a year ago, Norway pledged to contribute 0,1% of the annual value of seed sales to the Treaty’s Access and Benefit Sharing Fund. Just before I left for Svalbard, I approved the transfer of the contribution for 2009, says Minister of Agriculture and Food Lars Peder Brekk.
First year operational year a success
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault’s first year of operation has been a great success. 25 international and national gene banks have deposited more than 400 000 seed samples for long term safety storage. Moreover, the Seed Vault has fulfilled an equally important function of creating public interest and awareness of the importance of genetic diversity.
Minister of Agriculture and Food Lars Peder Brekk and executive director of Global Crop Diversity Trust, Cary Fowler. Photo: Kjell Werner, ANB.