The government proposes to allocate 100 million NOK to upgrade the Svalbard Global Seed Vault

After ten years of operation, it is time for technical improvements at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. The measures are part of a long-term plan to enhance the performance and extend the viability of the seed vault. The government is now proposing a start-up grant of 100 million NOK in 2018 (circa 10 million Euro or 12.7 million USD).

– The upgrades, which we hope to begin presently, will ensure that the Svalbard Global Seed Vault can continue to offer the world's gene banks a secure storage space in the future. It is a great and important task to safeguard all the genetic material that is crucial to global food security, Norway's Minister of Agriculture and Food Jon Georg Dale said.

Statsbygg has prepared a feasibility study, commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. The project includes the construction of a new, concrete-built access tunnel, as well as a service building to house emergency power and refrigerating units and other electrical equipment that emits heat through the tunnel.

– In 2017 the important role of the seed vault was made evident. For the first time seeds were redeposited at the seed vault on Svalbard. The ICARDA International Research Center, previously operating out of Aleppo in Syria, returned seeds harvested after they had retrieved their seeds from Svalbard in 2015. This demonstrates that the seed vault is a worldwide insurance for food supply for future generations, Jon Georg Dale says.

Hele frøhvelvet ligger i utsprengt fjell ved foten av Platåfjellet, omtrent en kilometer i luftlinje fra Longyearbyen flyplass. Totalarealet er 1000 kvadratmeter, men det er bare inngangsportalen i betong som er synlig utenfra. Hvelvet ligger i permafrosten, som holder 3-4 minusgrader.
Deep inside a mountain on a remote island in the Svalbard archipelago, halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole, lies the Global Seed Vault. It is a long-term seed storage facility, built to stand the test of time — and the challenge of natural or man-made disasters. The Seed Vault represents the world’s largest collection of crop diversity. Credit: Matthias Heyde

The parties that finance and operate Svalbard Global Seed Vault are the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the Global Crop Diversity Trust and the Nordic Genetic Resource Center (NordGen).

Agriculture and Food Minister Jon Georg Dale is on Svalbard from Sunday 25.02.- Tuesday 27.02.

Press contact for Dale: Heidi E. Riise, +47 975 17 227.

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