Objective I: Plant diversity is well understood, documented and recognized
Objective II: Plant diversity is urgently and effectively conserved
Objective III: Plant diversity is used in a sustainable and equitable manner
Objective IV: Education and awareness about plant diversity, its role in sustainable livelihoods and importance to all life on earth is promoted
Objective V: The capacities and public engagement necessary to implement the Strategy have been developed
The genetic resources of crops and other socio-economically important valuable plant species are the biological base for food security and directly or indirectly support the livelihoods of every person on Earth.
This target addresses:
Wild relatives of crops - i.e. species that are related to crops and can potentially donate genes to them in breeding and improvement programmes. Such species may provide beneficial traits to crops, such as pest and disease resistance, drought tolerance etc.
Traditional varieties or landraces that constitute the 'within-species' diversity and that provide resilience and local adaptation in traditional farming systems.
Other socio-economically important plants, such as medicinal plants, ornamental species, tree and fodder crops etc. that support the livelihoods of millions of people around the world.
Such plant genetic resources, and the associated indigenous and local knowledge, are among the most important, and often the only assets available in many poor rural communities. Their significance increases as other resources dwindle or disappear.
Download an introduction to Target 9 here.
The Global Crop Diversity Trust has been established to ensure the conservation of crop diversity for food security worldwide. It works within the framework of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which is the key global instrument for the conservation of genetic diversity for food and agriculture.
The target calls for 70% of the genetic diversity of crops, crop wild relatives and other socioeconomically important plant species to be conserved. Theory and practice demonstrate that, with an appropriate strategy, 70% of the genetic diversity of a species can be contained in a relatively small sample (generally less than 1,000 accessions). While the target has probably already been met for 200-300 major crops, the challenge is to meet this target for the many thousands of other species included in the target.
Crop genetic diversity is maintained on-farm as well as ex situ in genebanks. By combining genebank, on-farm and other in situ approaches, it is believed that the target could be reached for all crops in production. Working with local communities would also help to address the issue of maintenance of associated indigenous and local knowledge.
Other socio-economically important species, such as medicinal plants, should be selected on a case-by-case basis according to national priorities.
Implementation of this target contributes to Target 13 of the Aichi targets of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020:
T13: By 2020, the genetic diversity of cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and of wild relatives, including other socio-economically as well as culturally valuable species, is maintained, and strategies have been developed and implemented for minimizing genetic erosion and safeguarding their genetic diversity.
This target is also closely linked to the Global Plan of Action for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO).
In July 2011, the 13th regular session of the FAO Commission on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA 13) adopted the Second Global Plan of Action for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA).
A toolkit to support the development of national strategies for the conservation and sustainable exploitation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA) is being produced by FAO. This suggests the following steps in developing a national strategy:
Creating a national inventory of crop wild relatives and landraces.
Setting conservation priorities.
Carrying out taxonomic, ecogeographic and genetic analysis of priority species.
Identification of threats to PGRFA diversity.
Conservation gap analysis.
Development of in situ and ex situ conservation strategies.
Promoting use of conserved diversity.
This toolkit will be available shortly.
Many of the training packages include lecture support notes, exercises, notes for trainers, further reading, references, links and slides. Some materials are available in different languages. The thematic areas covered include:
Ex situ conservation/Genebank management.
Forest genetic resources.
In situ conservation.
Molecular analysis of diversity.
Please also check in the database of Tools of Resources for Case Studies relevant to this target.
EUFORGEN is a collaborative programme among European countries to promote and safeguard the forest genetic diversity.Download
This manual published by Bioversity International is the standard reference for genebank work and one of the few sources of practical information for genebank curators and technicians on seed conservation, technology, storage and management.Download
It is widely recognized that many of the world’s protected areas contain CWR diversity and yet few specific actions have been taken to conserve these species. This paper draws attention to the need for a global approach to conserving priority and threatened CWR in the wild.Download
The Second Report on the State of the World’s Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture – SoWPGR-2 – was published in 2010. It provides a comprehensive overview of recent trends in PGRFA conservation and use around the world. It is based on information gathered from more than 100 countries, as well as from regional and international research and support organizations and academic programmes. The report documents the current status of plant genetic resources diversity, conservation and use, as well as the extent and role of national, regional and international efforts that underpin the contributions of PGRFA to food security. It highlights the most significant changes that have occurred in the sector since 1996, when the first report on The State of the World’s Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture was produced by FAO, as well as the gaps and needs that remain for setting future priorities.
Work is presently on-going to produce a similar report on the State of the World's Forest Genetic Resources and this is expected to be completed in 2013.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was officially opened on February 26, 2008, to serve as the ultimate safety net for the world’s crop diversity. The Vault is managed in partnership between the Global Crop Diversity Trust, the Nordic Genetic Resource Center (NordGen) and the Government of Norway. The Trust is currently supporting more than 100 institutes worldwide to regenerate unique accessions and deposit a safety duplicate sample in the Vault. Today the Vault holds over 500,000 samples.
A major new initiative was launched in 2010 to systematically find, gather, catalogue, use, and save the wild relatives of wheat, rice, beans, potato, barley, lentils, chickpea, and other essential food crops, in order to help protect global food supplies against the imminent threat of climate change, and strengthen future food security. The initiative is led by the Global Crop Diversity Trust, working in partnership with national agricultural research institutes, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The work is scheduled to take 10 years, from determining where to collect, through to having material ready for crop breeding programs. Watch a video about the project by clicking here.
Please contact us if you have any questions, comments and suggestions related to this target.