Seeds remain depositors' property

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was established and is fully funded by the Norwegian government, with the responsibility for operations assigned to The Ministry of Agriculture and Food. The Ministry coordinates daily operation with the Nordic Gene Resource Centre and the Global Crop Diversity Trust, and receives guidance from a dedicated international council established to advise the Seed Vault. Based on the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources and the FAO International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) provides important international backing.

Ferdigpakkede frø fra Nigeria.
Prepackaged seeds from Nigeria. The seeds arrive in Svalbard under the so-called "black box" regime, meaning that seeds can only be retrieved from the Seed Vault by the institutions that deposited them. Credit: The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture i Nigeria (IITA)

The Seed Vault offers its services to all types of gene banks seeking security storage for unique seed samples. Seed samples in the Vault remain the property of the gene banks that deposit them. These regional gene banks ensure that seed samples are available to farmers, researchers and processors in accordance with international regulations. 

Registrering og pakking av frø i Nigeria.
Registration and packing of seeds in Nigeria. Credit: The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture i Nigeria (IITA)