Livestock Biodiversity Workshop
Which strategies and policies are needed to successfully maintain European animal genetic diversity? What are the latest technologies to characterize and prioritize livestock breeds? These were the topics at a two-day Livestock Biodiversity Workshop hosted by FAO on 5-6 May 2010 that has been jointly organized by the A global view of livestock biodiversity and conservation (GLOBALDIV) and Towards self-sustainable EUropean, REgional CAttle breeds (EURECA) projects. Both projects receive financial support from the European Commission, Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development, under Council Regulation (EC) No 870/2004. The workshop aimed at bringing together and drawing lessons from the five animal related GENRES project that will come to closure in 2011.
98 persons from science, governments and NGOs from 24 countries attended the meeting. Within an overall framework of future challenges for the livestock sector, including climate change, lecture topics covered methodology development in genomics, databases, geo-referencing and priority setting for conservation. Recommendations were formulated for better conservation strategies and policies in Europe. In addition to GLOBALDIV and EURECA presentations, speakers from different countries also presented the results of other EC funded GENRES projects.
While research gaps were identified, the workshop concluded that there is still an urgent need for promoting animal genetic resources at regional, national and EU level. Through collaboration at European level, the EU GENRES programme contributed to international networking hence fostering the coordination of national programmes promoting conservation and sustainable use of animal genetic resources. From this point of view, GENRES has played a strategic role in permitting the reaching of a remarkably large audience. It was therefore concluded that the continuation of the GENRES programme is needed to train, educate, research and inform about animal genetic resources and slow down at the international level their loss that is continuing world wide at a worrying pace.