In response to recent media attention about a warmer climate in Svalbard and water intrusion in the Global Seed Vault entrance tunnel, the partners behind the Seed Vault decided to give a joint statement, see below. It is confirmed that the seeds are safe and informed that construction improvements have started in order to make the Seed Vault adapted to future climate change.
Svalbard Global Seed Vault in sunny,but cold weather in May 2017
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is the world’s backup for crop collections. It currently safeguards more than 930,000 different varieties. It has been reported that the Seed Vault has seen water intrusion due to melting permafrost. The Royal Ministry of Agriculture and Food in Norway, the Crop Trust, and NordGen would like to assure seed depositors and the public that the seeds are completely safe and no damage has been done to the facility. The Royal Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Statsbygg, Norway, is taking appropriate measures to ensure the protection of the Seed Vault and improve the construction to prevent future incidents. Globally, the Seed Vault is, and will continue to be, the safest backup of crop diversity.
Pål Vidar Sollie, Director General, The Royal Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Norway
Marie Haga, Executive Director, The Crop Trust
Lise Lykke Steffensen, Executive Director, NordGen
Hege Njaa Aschim, Director of Communications, Statsbygg, Norway
In order to prevent water from coming into the entrance of the Seed Vault construction in the future, Statsbygg, which is the Norwegian government’s property manager and developer, have started on a series of measures and building operations and improvements; removal of heart sources, drainage measures and a new watertight wall. More details about ongoing work can be found on Statsbyggs webpages.