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Implementing the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources


Animal genetic resources for food and agriculture (AnGR) provide crucial options for the sustainable development of livestock production. The erosion of these resources globally, and particularly in many developing countries, has accelerated in recent years as a consequence of the rapid changes affecting livestock production systems (intensification and industrialization) as they respond to surging global demand for animal products. Disease outbreaks, other disasters and emergencies (armed conflicts, droughts, etc) and the degradation of grazing land are also threats.


FAO’s work in the field of AnGR management takes a broad approach – addressing technical, policy and institutional issues, and taking account of interactions with other aspects of natural resource management, production system dynamics and general economic development.


The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (published in 2007) identified significant gaps in capacity to manage AnGR, particularly in developing countries. In response, the international community adopted the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources (GPA) at the International Technical Conference on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture in September 2007. The GPA was later endorsed by the 34th FAO Conference. It includes 23 strategic priorities for action grouped into four priority areas: characterization and monitoring; sustainable use and development; conservation; and policies, institutions and capacity-building. The Second Report on the State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (published in 2015) provides the basis for a review and possible update of the GPA.


The main responsibility for implementing the GPA lies with national governments. However, some strategic priorities are particularly relevant to implementation at regional or international level. The following table illustrates the main levels at which each Strategic Priority is to be implemented.

tablePriority levels of implementation of the strategic priorities (SPs) of the Global Plan of Action.

[click to enlarge]


The Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture oversees, monitors and evaluates the implementation of the GPA. It also adopted the Funding Strategy for the Implementation of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources which aims to enhance the availability, transparency, efficiency and effectiveness of the provision of substantial and additional financial resources, and to strengthen international cooperation to support and complement the efforts of developing countries and countries with economies in transition in the implementation of the GPA.


FAO supports the implementation of the GPA by facilitating global and regional collaboration and networks, supporting the convening of intergovernmental meetings, maintaining and developing the Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS), mobilizing donor resources for AnGR, developing communication products, and coordinating the preparation of global status and trends reports. FAO is also developing a set of technical guidelines, and provides technical assistance and training to support capacity-building and action at country level.