Historical archive

Ten-year anniversary of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault

Historical archive

Published under: Solberg's Government

Publisher: Ministry of Agriculture and Food

Minister of Agriculture and Food Jon Georg Dale in cooperation with Crop Trust and NordGen is pleased to host a celebration of the tenth anniversary of Svalbard Global Seed Vault. From February 25. to 27., depositors and partners from all over the world will meet in Longyearbyen to attend the "Seed Vault Summit", and to be present when a new seed delivery from 20 international gene banks is carried into the seed vault.

The first meeting of the International Advisory Panel on the Svalbard Global Seed Vault will be held at some time during the summit. The panel is to advise on daily operations and activities of the seed vault. The panel consists of representatives from gene banks and other stakeholders. The Norwegian representative is Kristin Børresen from Graminor.

The seeds stored in the Svalbard Global Seed Vaults
The seeds stored in the Svalbard Global Seed Vaults are packed in crates, each containing a maximum of 400 seed types. The crates are sealed by the gene bank depositing the seed. A single crate will hold up to 400 seed samples, and each seed sample consists of about 500 seeds stored in a sealed aluminium bag. Svalbard Global Seed Vault can hold 4, 5 million different seed types, enough to store duplicates of all the unique seed types found today in the many gene banks around the world, with room to spare for new seed types collected by future researchers. Credit: Riccardo Gangale

Seeds from around the globe

The Svalbard seed vault on was opened in February 2008 by former Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Dr. Wangari Maathai, the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize recipient. The purpose of the seed vault is to provide a stock of duplicates of seeds stored in national, regional and international gene banks worldwide . The goal is to maintain genetic variation among the world's crop plants, thus ensuring that food and utility plants are not eradicated in local or global disasters such as war, terrorism and natural disasters. At present, the seed vault holds more than 5.000 plant species of important crop plants, such as beans and potatoes, in addition to grains and rice.

The Seed Portal has an overview of all seeds stored in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault https://www.nordgen.org/sgsv/

Seed from Icarda.
Potentially, each seed sample could turn out to be of immense value to farmers, researchers and the food industry tasked with producing food for an increasing population. Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a worldwide insurance for food supply for future generations. In 2017, for the first time, seeds taken out of secure storage were redeposited in the seed vault on Svalbard. The International Research Center, ICARDA, which previously operated from Aleppo in Syria, sent back seeds that were formed after retrieving their seeds from Svalbard in autumn 2015. Credit: Riccardo Gangale

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.

Svalbard Global Seed Vault.
The entrance to Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Credit: Riccardo Gangale