HomeGlobal Seed VaultEstonia celebrated its 100 Year Anniversary with first deposit to Svalbard Global Seed Vault

Estonia celebrated its 100 Year Anniversary with first deposit to Svalbard Global Seed Vault

Date: 09.03.2018 Author: Åsmund Asdal Category: Global Seed Vault


The Estonian Crop Research Institute became the 76th gene bank institute to deposit seed samples in Svalbard Global Seed Vault. The seeds were brought to Svalbard exactly on the 100th birthday of the Republic of Estonia.

– A nice part of our country’s celebration activities, says Külli Annamaa, head of the Estonian national gene bank.


In all, 23 gene banks deposited seeds in the Seed Vault on the occasion of celebrating the 10 Year Anniversary. During a ceremony just at the Seed Vault entrance, chaired by the Norwegian Minister of Agriculture and Food, Jon Georg Dale, representatives from the gene banks carried own seeds into the Vault.

Passed 1 million deposited samples
Külli Annamaa, carries the first Estonian seed box to Svalbard Global Seed Vault during the 10 Year Anniversary Deposition.

In total, 77671 seed samples were added to the Seed Vault collection exactly on the 10 years anniversary day, Monday the 26th of February. Through this the total number of deposited samples passed 1 million,  ending at 1060987 deposited seed accessions. As ICARDA over the last three years has withdrawn 92430 seed samples for the establishment of new gene bank collections in Morocco and Lebanon, the current holdings of the Seed Vault are 968557 accessions.

The International Agricultural Research Centers (IARCs) were well represented at this major seed deposit event. New seed samples were deposited from The The World Vegetable Center in Taiwan, CATIE (The Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) in Costa Rica and from the CGIAR centres IRRI (The Philippines), ICARDA (Lebanon & Morocco), ICRAF (Kenya), ICRISAT (India), IITA (Nigeria), CIAT (Colombia), CIP (Peru) and AfricaRice in Benin.

Many countries took the opportunity to ship seeds from their national gene bank system; Ireland, Germany, Chile, Switzerland, Canada, United States, Portugal, New Zealand and Australia, in addition to Estonia. NordGen as a regional gene bank for the Nordic countries deposited seeds, as well as the US based NGO Seed Savers Exchange.

Anniversary events

The anniversary was also celebrated by a Seed Vault Summit, attended by gene bank managers and experts from all parts of the World. Below you can download the Summit program and the presentations made as well as photographs taken during the event.

Alice Muchugi and Ramni Jamnadass of World Agroforestry Center, ICRAF in Kenya, poured forest seeds in the Foundation Stone

At the beginning of the Summit, representatives from 27 gene banks poured seeds of important food and forage crops in their region into a Foundation Stone Seed Cylinder, that was established already in 2006, when the Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, together with colleagues from the Nordic countires announced that Norway would take on the task of building a Global Seed Vault in Svalbard.

Here, at NordGens’ Flickr-page you can download pictures taken during the event. Please credit the images NordGen.

Seed Vault Summit


Dr Irene Hoffman, Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, FAO : Which steps will FAO take to strengthen the links and complementarity between ex situ and in situ conservation?

Patrick Mulvany, Food Ethics CouncilSnapshots of farmers’ biodiverse seed systems: re-visioning in situ and ex situ conservation strategies in the framework of food sovereignty.

Ahmed Amri, ICARDAStrengthening the continuum between conservation and use of genetic resources for adaptation to climate change.

Ann Tutwiler, Bioversity International: The state of cryo conservation and possible interactions with programs using other PGR conservation methods.

Arthur da Silva Mariente, EmbrapaHow Embrapa combines different conservation approaches to optimize conservation and use of PGR in Brazil.

Kent Nnadozie, ITPGRFA, FAO: Steps the Treaty’s Governing Body wishes to take in supporting countries’ efforts to provide access to PGRFA for researchers, plant breeders and farmers.

Kristin Børresen, GraminorPGR material used by plant breeders and researchers, and how conservation systems can facilitate increased use.

Pitambar Shrestha, LI-BIRD: Conserving and Utilizing Crop Genetic Resources in Nepal_draft

Jean-Marc Genevay, Bassins Distillery: Interaction of farmers and gene banks, example of aromatic and medicinal plants in Switzerland.