The activities of the CGIAR Genebank Platform (GENEBANK) in 2018 were targeted specifically to bring about increased conservation and use of genetic resources with the aim of achieving CGIAR System Level Outcomes (SLOs) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


The work of GENEBANK directly contributes to indicator 2.5.1 of SDG Target 2.5, which aims to “maintain the genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species, including through soundly managed and diversified seed and plant banks … and promote access to and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge”.


In 2018, a total of 96,566 germplasm samples (66,930 accessions) were distributed by the CGIAR genebanks to users. Of these, 56,393 (58%) were distributed to recipients outside CGIAR in 87 countries and 40,173 samples (42%) were provided to CRPs. For the second year in a row, germplasm distribution outside the CGIAR exceeded that inside CGIAR.


Table 14 shows germplasm numbers for 2017 and 2018. It shows that the percentage of samples delivered outside of CGIAR was higher in 2018 (58%) than in 2017 (56%). It also shows that developing countries received a larger proportion of germplasm in 2018 (77%) compared to 2017 (67%).


Figure 4 presents a summary of germplasm distributions for 2018 (GENEBANK, 2018).




By the end of 2018, CGIAR genebanks were managing 773,112 accessions, including 25,576 in vitro accessions and 32,212 accessions held as plants or trees in screenhouses or fields. Approximately 80% of total accessions are immediately available for international distribution. Of the seed accessions, 57% is secured in safety duplication at two levels and 78% is duplicated at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV). 72% of clonal crop collections is safety duplicated in the form of cryopreserved or in vitro cultures.


Progress is being made in upgrading collections and strengthening quality management systems (QMS) of both genebanks and germplasm health units (GHUs). More than 156 standard operating procedures have been drafted and genebank procedures for acquisition, distribution, conservation, regeneration and characterization have been audited and will be externally validated in 2019 and 2020.


Photo by M. Major/Crop Trust