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The development of a country-driven process to prepare the first report on the state of the world’s animal genetic resources was agreed by the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA), during its Eighth Regular Session in 1999. The first stage of the reporting process has been successfully completed with the preparation of 169 Country Reports, the majority of which are available on DAD-IS. Also international organizations have contributed with reports on their activities related to animal genetic resources. The CGRFA, at its Tenth Regular Session, decided that the process should be finalized at the first International Technical Conference on Animal Genetic Resources in 2007. The Government of Switzerland has kindly offered to host the Conference.

The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture is the first ever global assessment of the status and trends of animal genetic resources, and the capacity of countries to manage these. In December 2006, the Intergovernmental Working Group on Animal Genetic Resources convened in Rome for its Fourth Session and recommended that the Interlaken Conference, in addition to the presentation of The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, negotiate and adopt a Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources, as its main outcome. This Global Plan of Action will be based on the Strategic Priorities for Action, which was prepared together with The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and reflects national, regional and international priorities for action. It addresses four main areas for action: characterization, inventory and monitoring, sustainable use and development, conservation, and policies institutions and capacity building. The CGRFA will convene in June, in Rome, to review the various elements of the Global Plan of Action for the Interlaken Conference.

There is a greater need than ever, for those concerned about the management of animal genetic resources, to work together to formulate well-informed positions on priorities for action, sensible approaches to the conservation and better use of animal genetic resources to enhance food security and sustainable development, securing broad access to animal genetic resources for farmers and breeders, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits deriving from these resources.

After the very positive spirit of the Working Group and its recommendations we can expect that Interlaken will be for animal genetic resources what the Leipzig Conference in 1996 was for Plant Genetic Resources.


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