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Svalbard global seed vault

The meaning of «svalbard global seed vault»

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault (Norwegian: Svalbard globale frøhvelv) is a secure backup facility for the world's crop diversity on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen in the remote Arctic Svalbard archipelago.[5] The Seed Vault provides long-term storage of duplicates of seeds conserved in genebanks around the world. This provides security of the world’s food supply against the loss of seeds in genebanks due to mismanagement, accident, equipment failures, funding cuts, and natural disasters. The Seed Vault is managed under terms spelled out in a tripartite agreement among the Norwegian Government, the Crop Trust, and the Nordic Genetic Resource Center (NordGen).[6][7]

The Norwegian government entirely funded the Seed Vault's approximately 45 million kr (US$8.8 million in 2008) construction cost.[3] Norway and the Crop Trust pay for operational costs. Storing seeds in the vault is free to depositors.

In 1984, the Nordic Gene Bank (now NordGen) began storing backup Nordic plant germplasm via frozen seeds in an abandoned coal mine at outside of Longyearbyen.[8]

In 2001, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) was adopted and national governments began to ratify the Treaty soon after. The Treaty establishes a multilateral system for plant genetic resources that includes providing access to the materials and providing mechanisms so that those who use the resources can share any derived benefits.[9]

A team led by conservationist Cary Fowler, in association with CGIAR,[10] actively campaigned for the development of the Seed Vault and approached the Norwegian Government. They conducted a feasibility study in 2004 and concurred that Svalbard was an appropriate location for long-term storage.[11]

Also in 2004, the ITPGRFA entered into force and created the legal framework for having one international security facility.[9] The FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture endorsed the initiative[12] and in October 2004 the Norwegian Government committed to fund the Seed Vault and begin the construction.[8]

The Seed Vault officially opened on 26 February 2008,[2] although the first seeds arrived in January 2008.[13]

As part of the Seed Vault's first anniversary, more than 90,000 food crop seed samples were placed into storage, bringing the total number of seed samples to 400,000.[14] Among the new seeds included were 32 varieties of potatoes from Ireland's national genebanks and 20,000 new samples from the U.S. Agricultural Research Service.[15] Other seed samples came from genebanks in Canada and Switzerland as well as international genebanks in Colombia, Mexico and Syria.[16] This 4 t (3.9-long-ton; 4.4-short-ton) shipment brought the total number of seeds stored in the Seed Vault to over 20 million.[14] As of this anniversary, the Seed Vault contained samples from approximately one-third of the world's most important food crop varieties.[16] Also as part of the anniversary, experts on food production and climate change met for a three-day conference in Longyearbyen.[17]

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