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UN representative visits NordGen to discuss closer collaboration

Date: 20.06.2018 Author: Sara Landqvist Category: Plants

Preserving genetic resources is not a one-man-show. Although NordGen focuses on the Nordic countries, the biological inheritance we leave to future generations is a global matter, involving all the countries in the world. Today, UN representative Kent Nnadozie visits NordGen’s head office in Alnarp to discuss our further collaboration.

Kent Nnadozie is the Secretary of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. He may not have the shortest title in the world, but he also carries a large responsibility. The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (which we in the future, for all our sakes, call The International Treaty) is a part of FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

“International cooperation is crucial when it comes to finding sustainable solutions for our plant genetic resources. I am here today to explore ways to enhance the linkages between the International Treaty, NordGen and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. As NordGen is an important international actor, we look forward to collaborating even closer with them in the future,” Kent Nnadozie said.

Wants to ensure sharing of benefits

The International Treaty is based at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy and came into force in 2004. It has three particular aims:

establishing a global system to provide farmers, plant breeders and scientists with access to plant genetic materials;

supporting the conservation of the diversity of plant genetic materials and at the same time promoting their sustainable use; and

ensuring that recipients share benefits they derive from the use of these genetic materials with the countries where they have been originated.

The International Treaty also recognizes the enormous contribution of farmers to the diversity of crops that feed the world – by encouraging member countries to protect Farmers’ Rights.


History of contributing internationally in the Nordics

The International Treaty’s Governing Body includes all 144 member states. The chairperson of the Governing Body, Christine Dawson, is also the chairperson of Svalbard Global Seed Vault’s International Advisory Panel. In February 2018, she, as well as Kent Nnadozie, joined us as we celebrated the first 10 years of Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Longyearbyen.

“This time we’re very happy to welcome Kent Nnadozie to NordGen and Alnarp. The Nordic countries have a long history of actively contributing to the international cooperation on genetic resources. At this point, we’re aiming to even further evolve our collaboration with the International Treaty, both in our role as a Nordic gene bank and as responsible for the operation and management of Svalbard Global Seed Vault,” said NordGen CEO Lise Lykke Steffensen.

Read more about the role and responsibilities of The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture here.