International Collaboration

View over Circo Massimo in Rome with the FAO flag to the right.
View over Rome from the rooftop of FAO’s headquarters.

During the 1960s, the realization that biological and genetic diversity was diminishing spread. Since then, genebanks have been established, genetic resources mapped and international agreements signed to try to reverse the trend. But genetic resources do not follow the boundaries drawn on a map. Preserving genetic resources is an international effort, so NordGen often works in international contexts.

One of the most important overall agreements concerning NordGen’s operations is the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), an international agreement signed in Rio in 1993 by most of the world’s countries, including all the Nordic countries. Since 1993, the Cartagena Protocol (2000) and the Nagoya Protocol (2010) have been adopted as additions to the Convention.

NordGen is also an observer in the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA). CGRFA was formed in 1983 at an FAO congress aimed at preserving and promoting the use of biodiversity relevant to food and agriculture. 178 countries and the EU are members of the Commission that meet every two years.

The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) was established by FAO in 2001 and is a tool used to implement parts of CBD. The purpose of ITPGRFA is to highlight the efforts of the world’s farmers to preserve a diversity of crops and to ensure that everyone who needs it has access to plant genetic material and that the profits that arise are distributed fairly. NordGen is an observer in ITPGRFA’s Governing Body, which meets every other year.

Other Networks

Outside the international arenas, the work on genetic resources is just as dedicated. At a European level, NordGen participates in a variety of networks and projects to strengthen the work on genetic resources. Examples of such networks and projects are ECPGR, EUFORGEN, ERFP and Farmer’s Pride.

Within the Nordic region, NordGen’s working groups, the Farm Animal Genetic Resources Council and the Forest Regeneration Council are important networks that help us to better fulfill our mission. We also collaborate with the Nordic countries’ national gene banks, which are responsible for vegetatively propagated plants. In forestry, we collaborate with Nordic Forest Research (SNS), which funds networking in forestry. Since NordGen’s headquarter is located on the campus of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Alnarp, it is natural for us to collaborate with, among others, the Programme for Diversity of Cultivated Plants (POM) and the university’s various student programs.

”Conserving genetic resources is not a one-man-show” Christine Dawson, chair ITPGRFA (2018)