Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
Global Instruments





Codes, Standards and Guidelines

 
Genebank Standards for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

The Genebank Standards for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which were endorsed by the Commission in 2013, are the outcome of a revision of the 1993 FAO/IPGRI Genebank Standards. The revision was undertaken at the request of the Commission in the light of changes in the global policy landscape and advances in science and technology. Whereas the 1993 Genebank Standards addressed the storage of orthodox seeds only, the revised Genebank Standards also cover field genebank standards and standards for in vitro culture and cryopreservation.

The International Code of Conduct for Plant Germplasm Collecting and Transfer

The International Code of Conduct for Plant Germplasm Collecting and Transfer  aims to promote the rational collection and sustainable use of genetic resources, to prevent genetic erosion and to protect the interests of donors and collectors of germplasm. Among other elements, it sets out minimum responsibilities, with respect to the collection and transfer of plant germplasm, for collectors, sponsors, curators and users of germplasm. The Code is addressed primarily to governments and is intended to be implemented in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity and other legal instruments protecting biological diversity. The Code, adopted by the FAO Conference in 1993, was negotiated through the Commission, which is also responsible for overseeing its implementation and review.

Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries and Aquaculture Development – 3. Genetic Resource Management

At its Eleventh Regular Session in 2007, the Commission recognized the importance and vulnerability of aquatic genetic resources, their roles in an ecosystem approach to food and agriculture, and their contributions to meeting the challenges presented by climate change. The Commission also confirmed the need to develop technical guidelines for the conservation and sustainable use of aquatic genetic resources in relation to the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Together with FAO's Regular Programme, the World Fisheries Trust and technical experts, the Commission supported the preparation of the guidelines Aquaculture Development – 3. Genetic Resource Management  by FAO's Fisheries and Aquaculture Department. The guidelines were developed to support FAO's Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. They provide a set of instruments that support the improvement of genetic resources management in aquaculture and are addressed to decision-makers as well as to senior resource officers, consumers and others interested in responsible fisheries and aquaculture.

Surveying and monitoring of animal genetic resources

Knowledge of animal genetic resources is fundamental to their sustainable use, development and conservation. These guidelines  provide advice on how to draw up a strategy for meeting national requirements for data and information on animal genetic resources. They also offer practical advice on how to plan and implement animal genetic resources surveys. They were endorsed by the Commission at its Thirteenth Regular Session in 2011.

Phenotypic characterization of animal genetic resources

These guidelines offer advice on how to conduct a well-targeted and cost-effective phenotypic characterization study that contributes to improving animal genetic resources management in the context of country-level implementation of the Global Plan of Action. They were endorsed by the Commission at its Thirteenth Regular Session in 2011.

Molecular genetic characterization of animal genetic resources

These guidelines provide a short overview of developments in the field of molecular characterization, along with practical advice for researchers who wish to undertake a molecular characterization study. They emphasize the importance of obtaining high-quality and representative biological samples that yield standardized data that can be integrated into analyses on an international scale. They were endorsed by the Commission at its Thirteenth Regular Session in 2011.

Breeding strategies for sustainable management of animal genetic resources

Genetic improvement is an essential component of animal genetic resources management and can make important contributions to food security and rural development. These guidelines, which were endorsed by the Commission at its Twelfth Regular Session in 2009, are intended to help countries develop effective and sustainable genetic improvement programmes, taking into account their livestock development objectives and the characteristics of their production systems.

Cryoconservation of animal genetic resources

These guidelines provide advice on how to plan and implement a cryoconservation programme (conservation based on the maintenance of frozen genetic material): from priority setting and institutional development to the practicalities of designing and constructing a gene bank and cryoconserving different types genetic material. They were endorsed by the Commission at its Thirteenth Regular Session in 2011.

In vivo conservation of animal genetic resources

These guidelines  provide advice on how to plan and implement an in vivo conservation programme (conservation based on the maintenance of live animals): from the development of a national conservation strategy to the implementation of breeding programmes in small populations and a range of methods that can be used to promote the self-sustainability of at-risk breeds. They were endorsed by the Commission at its Fourteenth Regular Session in 2013.

Preparation of national strategies and action plans for animal genetic resources

Preparing and implementing national strategies and action plans helps countries translate the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources into comprehensive and effective national approaches to the sustainable use, development and conservation of livestock biodiversity. These guidelines, which were endorsed by the Commission at its Twelfth Regular Session in 2009, set out a practical approach to the development of a national strategy and action plan, describing how to get the planning process started, implemented and completed – culminating in government endorsement of the plan. They may also be useful in the revision and implementation of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans.

Developing the institutional framework for the management of animal genetic resources

A sound institutional framework provides a basis for effective management of animal genetic resources both nationally and internationally. These guidelines  present an overview of the components of the global network for the management of animal genetic resources and provide advice on how these components can be strengthened at national and regional levels. They were endorsed by the Commission at its Thirteenth Regular Session in 2011.