Global Crop Diversity

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Posted by Tom Russo on September 02, 2007 at 22:10:21:

G J Persley wrote:

----- Original Message -----
From: 'Executive Director (Global Crop Diversity Trust)'

To:
Sent: Friday, August 31, 2007 6:11 PM
Subject: Global Crop Diversity Trust


Rome 31 August 2007

Dear Colleague,

The Global Crop Diversity Trust wishes to announce the opening of three new
windows of funding as part of our mission to ensure the conservation and
availability of unique plant genetic resources for food and agriculture
(PGRFA) in a rational, efficient, effective and sustainable global system.


1. Regeneration of Threatened, Globally-Important Crop Diversity

What we will do: The Trust anticipates providing financial support to
regenerate more than 100,000 distinct and threatened samples now held in
some 120 collections in developing countries. In identifying specific
collections for support, the Trust has relied on the global crop strategies
which have been formulated by crop experts over the past couple of years, as
well as other consultations. More than 500 experts from over 150 countries
were involved in this process and, among other things, identified which
collections collectively would provide the best coverage of the genepool of
each crop. Funding will support regeneration of threatened samples in
relevant collections. At this time, the Trust is focusing its efforts on 22
crops listed in Annex I of the International Treaty (banana, barley, bean,
breadfruit, cassava, chickpea, coconut, cowpea, fababean, finger millet,
grass pea, maize, major aroids, lentil, pearl millet, pigeon pea, potato,
rice, sorghum, sweet potato, wheat, yam). We expect to invest more than USD
2.5 million in the process over the course of three years.

How we will do it: The Trust will soon be contacting holders of the
identified priority collections. We are not in a position to provide support
to collections not identified as globally unique by crop experts. Financial
support will be provided exclusively to such high priority collections held
in developing countries.


2. Regeneration of Crop Diversity through PGRFA Networks

What we will do: As with the first opportunity, the focus will be on
rescuing and safeguarding unique samples, globally considered, of PGRFA of
the 22 Annex I crops listed above held in developing countries. This window,
however, will target generally smaller collections of regional or national
importance. The Trust will provide support for the regeneration of such
materials, working through the 15 regional networks for PGRFA that cover the
whole of the developing world. We expect to invest more than USD 1 million
in the process over the course of four years.

How we will do it: The Trust will soon contact the Regional Networks to
initiate the process.


3. Award Scheme for Enhancing the Value of Crop Diversity

What we will do: The Trust is initiating a competitive grants scheme to
support evaluation of genetic resources of 22 Annex 1 crops. We will provide
approximately 20-25 grants annually to enable researchers and other users to
screen collections for important characteristics and to make the information
generated publicly available. Priority will be given to screening for
characters of greatest importance to the poor, and especially those relevant
in the context of climate change. We anticipate providing approximately USD
1.5 million in grants for this purpose during the next four years.

How we will do it: The 2008 Call for Proposals will shortly be issued by
email, and posted on our website (www.croptrust.org
).


In Conclusion

The first two programmes outlined above will, by our calculations, rescue
over 90% of the globally unique samples of the crops concerned that are
currently deteriorating and in urgent need of regeneration before being lost
completely. The third programme will add considerably to our knowledge about
these and other collections and thus to their value and use. While the role
of the Trust is not to provide funding to national programmes for
exclusively national purposes - that is the responsibility of national
governments - these initiatives will strengthen and benefit national
programmes as they contribute to building an efficient and effective global
system to ensure conservation and availability of PGRFA. In all cases, the
Trust will be looking towards building partnerships in which all parties
bring resources to the table to accomplish a goal that both are interested
in achieving. Cost-sharing, therefore, will be our model, not
fee-for-service.

Due to funding limitations, staffing constraints, and our own very tight
focus on specific goal-oriented initiatives such as those outlined above, we
are not in a position at this time to consider unsolicited funding proposals
for other PGRFA-related work. We trust you will understand. Our approach
aims to produce the maximum amount of real and lasting global benefit, and
to do so in a manner that we and our partners can sustain over time.

The Role of the Trust is outlined in more detail in a document with this
title that can be found at: http://www.croptrust.org/main/role.php
. This document contains a
'decision-tree' that we use as a general guide for funding decisions. We
believe the paper will be of interest to anyone concerned with the
complexities of and the strategic options involved in creating a rational
global system.


Sincerely,

Prof. Cary Fowler
Executive Director, Global Crop Diversity Trust

Prof. Cary Fowler
Executive Director
Global Crop Diversity Trust
c/o Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 Rome, Italy



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