A Global Agricultural Research Partnership

CGIAR Research Program for Managing and Sustaining Crop Collections

This is a comprehensive 5-year program for the management, as well as the secure and sustainable funding, of the collections of plant genetic resources held by 11 members of the CGIAR Consortium. It is a partnership between the members of CGIAR Consortium and the Global Crop Diversity Trust.

The objective is to conserve the diversity of plant genetic resources in CGIAR-held collections and to make this diversity available to breeders and researchers in a manner that meets high international scientific standards, is cost efficient, is secure, reliable and sustainable over the long-term and is supportive of and consistent with the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

Highlights include:

Fulfilling obligations

  • Faithful adherence to international legal obligations under the Treaty
  • Global partnerships and service provision

Meeting standards

  • Articulated principles and goals guiding activities and funding allocations
  • Implementation of high international standards of conservation and Quality Management Systems across the Centers

Ensuring accountability and increasing cost-efficiency

  • Dedicated attention to efficiency and cost saving opportunities
  • Mechanisms for addressing larger cross-Center scientific and budgeting issues
  • Independent monitoring and oversight linked with financing
  • Controls and checks over expenditures

Improving long-term sustainability

  • 5-Year funding commitment that facilitates proper long-term management
  • Commitment to phase out annual funding by building the Trust’s endowment to ensure true sustainability
  • A significant leadership role for the Global Crop Diversity Trust

Nurturing collaboration and communication

  • Forum for Center cooperation and for planning with NARS
  • No micro-management of genebanks; minimal transaction costs
  • Planning and review at a global level for individual crops

It is commonplace in describing programs such as this to articulate even higher order objectives such as poverty alleviation and food security.  Conserving the CGIAR collections and making them easily available to users with associated information, will not by itself reduce poverty or increase food security. Nor will it be the isolated act that ensures that crops are adapted to climate change, or can be grown in a manner that is water and energy efficient and ecologically-friendly.

It is clear, however, that conservation and availability of plant genetic resources is an absolutely indispensible prerequisite for achieving such higher order goals. The work to be undertaken through this program – all too often “assumed” as a given – underpins and is essential to the activities, outputs and outcomes of a huge portion of the research undertaken in CGIAR and beyond by other agricultural research and development organizations. The objectives of those programs, including other CGIAR Research Programs, should thus also be considered the objectives of this work.