Coordinating international efforts to improve the management of animal genetic resources for food and agriculture requires periodic assessments of the global state of these resources, of countries’ capacities to manage them and of the state of the art in their management. The Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture has overseen the preparation of two such assessments: The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, published in 2007, and The Second Report on the State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, published in 2015. The intention is to publish further reports at ten-year intervals. The first report provided the basis for the development of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources. The second report provides the basis for a review and potential update of the Global Plan of Action. The reports on animal genetic resources are part of a series of global assessments that has so far included two reports on plant genetic resources and one on forest genetic resources.