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Completed projects International Projects

A global information system on forest genetic resources

The Global Plan of Action for the Conservation, Sustainable Use and Development of Forest Genetic Resources adopted by the FAO Conference in 2013, identified the availability of, and access to, information on forest genetic resources (FGR) as one of the priority areas for further action by countries and the international community. The First Report on the implementation of the Global Plan of Action was presented to the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) in February 2019. The preparation of this report confirmed that there is a continued need for increasing countries’ understanding on technical concepts and approaches related to the management of FGR, including the reporting requirements for monitoring the implementation of the Global Plan of Action and for preparing global assessments on FGR. The CGRFA also requested FAO to initiate the development of a new global information system on FGR. The expected outcome of the project is increased availability of information on FGR for policy-making and action at national, regional and global levels.

Project duration: 01.11.2020 – 31.12.2023
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AquaGRIS : A Registry of Farmed Types of Aquatic Genetic Resources

Aquatic genetic resources (AqGR) contribute significantly to global food security, nutrition and sustainable livelihoods. However, information on AqGR at the level of species and below tends to be scattered and incomplete. Although the aquaculture production statistics collected by FAO provide useful benchmark information about the utilization of AqGR in aquaculture at the species level, there is scant information available in terms of the prevalence and production of farmed types. Further, the process of compiling the State of the World’s Aquatic Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (SoW AqGR) revealed that over 1 000 non-wild type farmed types are produced around the world. At the same time, the Country Reports compiled by countries for the preparation of the SoW AqGR revealed that the terminology used for AqGR reporting is not standardized, creating risk for confusion.
The aim of this project is to enhance the ability of national and regional stakeholders to record and track information on AqGR below the level of species (i.e. farmed types) through the provision of information management tools and capacity building, with the direct goal of improving the regulation and monitoring of- and access to AqGR for food and agriculture.

Project duration: 15.12.2018 – 31.12.2023
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Development of a globally agreed list of descriptors for in situ Crop Wild Relatives (CWR) documentation

The project will address the gaps and the lack of coherence in the documentation methods for plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA), in particular for Crop Wild Relatives (CWR)
under  in situ conditions. Those gaps represent a barrier for the sharing of information in the scientific community and for the development of added-value services for plant breeders and organizations working on agricultural biodiversity. The project will consolidate work done on CWR descriptors by recent initiatives developed at national and international levels from different regions. It will take as the starting point the Core Descriptors for in situ conservation of CWR v.1 published by Bioversity International. The project foresees an on-line consultation with authoritative international experts of the Core Advisory Group (CAG) that will help to approve a revised strategic short list of CWR in situ conservation descriptors. It is predicted to validate the short list in countries representing FAO regions through a global survey. Survey results will be finally validated during face-to-face meetings with selected stakeholders and members of the CAG to achieve general consensus on them.
The project will promote the resulting international validated standard descriptor list for CWR in situ documentation. The project beneficiaries are researchers, plant breeders, and conservationists worldwide.
The list of descriptors developed in the first project phase is already available and can be downloaded here.

Project duration: 01.06.2019 -  30.06.2023
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Breathing New Life into the Global Crop Conservation Strategies

Michael Major, Crop Trust

The aim of this project is to revise and update comprehensive global strategies for the efficient and effective conservation of the genetic diversity of key crops and help identify priority germplasm collections for support, upgrading, and/or capacity building. The global crop conservation strategies will promote the rationalization of conservation efforts at regional and global levels, for example through encouraging partnerships and sharing facilities and tasks, and will link with relevant regional conservation strategies and other relevant initiatives. Through this project, the Crop Trust, in partnership with the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), is hoping to put in place a sustainable, dynamic system for further developing and updating crop strategies into the future.
The main activities proposed under this project are centered around updating selected conservation strategies and creating new strategies by using new and updated information sources and following a `diversity tree’ approach to quantify diversity in a given crop genepool.

Project duration: 15.07.2019 – 31.05.2023

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Foundations for rebuilding seed systems post Cyclone Idai in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi

Source: Elly Barrett, FAO

In March 2019, tropical cyclone Idai caused severe damage in the south-east African countries of Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi. Among other things, the destruction affected agricultural production and was responsible for the loss of important crop varieties. The result was a lack of availability and affordability of food for the population. To improve immediate and long-term food and nutrition security in the affected regions, the project aimed to support national and regional coordination and to assess the extent of the loss of plant genetic resources. Based on this, strategies were developed to restore seed reserves and rebuild local seed systems. In addition, capacity building within the framework of the International Plant Treaty was strengthened, and awareness of the special role of plant genetic resources in the project countries was increased through targeted communication activities.

Project duration: 15.09.2019 – 31.12.2022
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GLIS – The Global Information System on Plant Genetic Resources

The aim of the project is the development of a search engine for plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA), which allows to search for information on plant genetic resources in global databases. Global access to information and knowledge about PGRFA should strengthen the conservation, management and use of PGRFA. An IT-infrastructure will be established and standards for the identification and documentation of PGRFA will be developed. So-called Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) will help to uniquely identify samples of plant genetic resources. The information system allows the search for characteristics such as drought tolerance. This will make it easier for users worldwide to link research results from different institutions and exchange findings on the same genetic material.

Project duration: 01.01.2017 – 31.12.2019
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APFORGIS - Expanding EUFGIS to other regions

The European Forest Genetic Resources Programme (EUFORGEN) has developed and successfully implemented a tree species conservation planning approach based on Genetic Conservation Units (GCUs). Criteria for the size and management of these units for broad species groups were developed based on expert opinion and considerable empirical research. GCUs for specific species were then identified by European countries based on common criteria.
This project will enable APFORGEN (Asian-Pacific Forest Genetic Resources Programme) to implement key actions by building on the knowledge sharing and learning experiences of EUFORGEN.
The approach taken by EUFORGEN enables setting up a regional network of tree species conservation sites even in the absence of genetic information on the species. This is done by assessing environmental variability within a tree species range and ensuring that GCUs are optimally distributed across diverse environmental conditions.

Project duration: 01.12.2017- 30.11.2019
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First State of the World Report on Aquatic Genetic Resources

In April 2013, the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) recognized the need to conduct a worldwide survey of the existence and use of aquatic genetic resources for food and agriculture (AqGR). The project "Aquatic Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture - Contribution towards the First State of the World Report (SoW-AqGR)" supported the preparation of the State of the World’s Aquatic Genetic Resources at FAO. As part of the project, in addition to conducting regional workshops and producing five background studies, the FAO website on AqGR was substantially redesigned and translated into all official United Nations languages. The SoW AqGR was completed in 2019 and includes the description of the status and a global assessment of the conservation, sustainable use and development of AqGR. The focus was specifically on aquatic species farmed in aquaculture as well as their native species found in the wild. Overall, the Sow-AqGR, based on 92 country reports, emphasizes the need to conserve aquatic diversity in their natural habitats and to implement breeding programs in the aquaculture sector to develop aquatic genetic resources. The well-prepared results of the project are accessible to all interested parties through the website of FAO.

Project duration: 15.12.2014 - 31.03.2019
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  • Contact person: Dr. Michaela Haverkamp
  • Telephone number: +49 (0)228 6845-3385
  • Authority: Federal Office for Agriculture and Food
  • Department Unit 331
  • Street/house number: Deichmanns Aue 29
  • Post code/town: D-53179 Bonn
  • michaela.haverkamp(at)ble(dot)de