Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture





Global Assessments

The Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture oversees and guides the preparation of global assessments of genetic resources for food and agriculture. In 1996, FAO launched The State of the World’s Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, and in 2007 published The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

The Commission’s Multi-Year Programme of Work foresees updates of these reports and, in addition, global assessments of the state of the world’s forest and aquatic genetic resources. The first integrated global assessment of The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture is foreseen for the Sixteenth Regular Session of the Commission.

The State of the World’s Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

In 1996, The State of the World’s Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture was received by 150 countries attending the Leipzig International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources. The Leipzig Conference welcomed the report as the first comprehensive worldwide assessment of the status and use of plant genetic resource conservation and use. The report was prepared through a participatory, country-driven process under the guidance of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The State of the World’s Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture assesses the state of plant genetic diversity, and capacities at the local and global levels for in situ and ex situ management, conservation and utilization of plant genetic resources. The International Technical Conference also adopted the Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture based on the analysis provided by the State of the World report.

In 2009, at its Twelfth Regular Session, the Commission endorsed the Second Report on the State of the World’s Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture as the authoritative assessment of this sector. The updated version identifies the most significant changes since 1996, gaps and needs and provides the Commission with a sound basis for updating the rolling Global Plan of Action.

The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

In 1999, the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture agreed that FAO should coordinate the preparation of The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture was prepared through a participatory, country-driven process under the guidance of the Commission. By 2005, 169 countries had submitted country reports that, combined with reports from international organizations and input from scientists and experts provided the basis of The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The report assessed the state of animal genetic resources, the state of management of animal genetic resources, and the state of capacities for the use, development and conservation of animal genetic resources. In 2007, the final report was presented to the International Technical Conference on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, held in Interlaken, Switzerland and welcomed by the FAO Conference as the first worldwide assessment of the state of animal genetic resources. The Interlaken Conference also adopted a Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources based on the analysis provided by The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

The State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources

At its Twelfth Regular Session, the Commission requested FAO to prepare The State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources, for consideration at its Fourteenth Regular Session, as foreseen in the Multi-Year Programme of Work.  The timeline provided in the Strategic Plan 2010-2017 identifies the agreed preparatory steps.

The Commission stressed the need to involve relevant international and regional organizations, institutions, research centres, and funding agencies in the preparation of this first assessment of forest genetic resources.