The need to develop an EU-agrobiodiversity strategy

Published on
May 23, 2017

The final report of the Preparatory Action for an EU programme for the conservation and sustainable use of plant and animal genetic resources in agriculture - PrepActGR(I) - has just been published by the European Commission. CGN experts were member of the consortium of consultants that carried out an extensive study, following an initiative taken by the European Parliament. The main recommendations of the study is to develop an EU agro-biodiversity strategy that considers the conservation and valorisation of genetic resources for food and agriculture in line with the EU Biodiversity Strategy.

The findings and recommendations of the authors are expected to contribute to further develop the conservation and sustainable use of agricultural genetic resources at national and/or EU level. Further development of the Common Agricultural Policy and other policy actions could make use of these recommendations.

Gathering information

A preparatory action on the conservation and sustainable use of EU plant and animal genetic resources in agriculture and forestry was carried out over a period of two years (2014-2016). Information was gathered through a variety of means in the context of the study. These included a mapping exercise of current activities and the stakeholders involved, a review of existing literature, over three hundred interviews with stakeholders and competent authorities, twenty-one case studies of good practices, and seven thematic workshops covering methodological issues. The findings of the study were shared with stakeholders and competent authorities across the EU28 during a conference which took place at the end of the preparatory action.

Need for strategy

The analysis highlighted the need to develop an agro-biodiversity strategy towards the conservation and sustainable use of genetic diversity in the EU, while considering issues specific to each of the four domains of the study: plant genetic resources, animal genetic resources, forest genetic resources; and microbial and invertebrate genetic resources.

Significant efforts have to be made by all stakeholders to secure an optimal conservation of genetic resources in the EU, and use these resources in a sustainable way in agriculture and forestry. This can be achieved through e.g. supporting partnerships and cooperation between stakeholders at all levels in the supply chain.