Launch of the Genetic Resources Strategy for Europe

Published on
December 13, 2021

On November 30, the Genetic Resources Strategy for Europe (GRSE) was launched in Brussels. This strategy aims to strengthen conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources of plant, animal and forest genetic resources for agriculture and forestry. The strategy was developed by the GenRes Bridge project consortium, of which the CGN (WUR) is a part.

The strategies respond to a call from European Commission to “provide a framework in which the existing mosaic of European, national/regional structures can join forces to develop and implement ambitious approaches and strategies for the management of crop, forest and animal GenRes”.

Outcome of the GenRes Bridge project

The overall Genetic Resources Strategy for Europe is a product of GenRes Bridge, funded by the EU under the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme. It brought together 17 partners to draw up a strategic vision that will secure genetic resources and enable Europe to meet its commitments under the European Green Deal, as well as under global policy frameworks and legislative instruments, including the Sustainable Development Goals.

European genetic resources networks

Within the GenRes Bridge project, the Centre for Genetic Resources the Netherlands (CGN) has worked closely with partners and stakeholders in the three European genetic resources networks for plant, animal and forest genetic resources:

Plant, animal and forest strategy

In addition to the joint Genetic Resources Strategy for Europe, the three networks also developed domain-specific strategies, which they presented on November 30th:

  1. The Plant Genetic Resources Strategy for Europe from ECPGR
  2. The Animal Genetic Resources Strategy for Europe from ERFP
  3. The Forest Genetic Resources Strategy for Europe from EUFORGEN

Implementation of the strategies

It is important that these strategies will be futher adopted and translated into European and national policies. All relevant stakeholders are expected to contribute to the implementation of the strategy. The strategy emphasises that both ex situ conservation (genes in the genebank) and in situ conservation (genes in living populations of animals and plants) are important and should receive more attention. It is also emphasised that variety in the use of genetic resources in food systems and forestry should be stimulated more. Optimal use of genetic diversity in crops, farm animals and trees, both between and within species, is essential for the further development of sustainable and resilient agriculture and forestry. For example, by developing crops that can better withstand droughts or too much water. In addition to more general challenges, the necessary measures and optimal use of genetic resources should be considered on a region-specific base.