Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
Global Instruments





Global Assessments

The Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture oversees and guides the preparation of global sectoral and cross-sectoral assessments of genetic resources for food and agriculture. To date, two reports on the state of the world’s genetic resources have been prepared for the plant sector and one each for the animal and forest sectors. The global assessments address the state of genetic resources in the respective sectors, along with their uses, drivers that contribute to their erosion, and the challenges and opportunities involved in conserving and using them in a sustainable manner to contribute to food security and nutrition. They are prepared through participatory, country-driven processes. To address the main gaps and challenges identified in the global assessments, the Commission may decide to agree on policy responses, such as Global Plans of Action through which governments commit themselves to taking action to promote the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources for food and agriculture. The Commission’s Multi-Year Programme of Work foresees regular updates of these assessments and the preparation of reports on the state of the world’s aquatic genetic resources for food and agriculture and on the state of the world’s biodiversity for food and agriculture. 


The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture

The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture will provide the first integrated global assessment of biodiversity for food and agriculture. It will go beyond the scope of the other assessments prepared under the aegis of the Commission, which target specific sectors of genetic resources for food and agriculture. The goal is to provide a comprehensive description of the state of the conservation and use of the world’s biodiversity for food and agriculture and of its current and potential contributions to food security, nutrition, livelihoods, human well-being and the maintenance of a healthy planet.


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

The State of the World’s Aquatic Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture will be the first global assessment based on national reporting on aquatic genetic resources for food and agriculture. At its Fourteenth Regular Session, the Commission decided that the focus of the report would be farmed aquatic species and their wild relatives within national jurisdiction.


The State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources

The State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources recognizes that forest genetic resources make an important contribution to sustainable development through the provision of timber, food, fuel and various environmental services. The report assesses the status and trends of forest genetic resources at global level, based on country reports and regional syntheses. The themes covered in the report include the state of the conservation and management of forest genetic resources, trends affecting the forest sector and their implications for genetic resources, institutional and policy frameworks for the conservation and management of forest genetic resources, the state of knowledge of current and emerging technologies, and future needs and required responses. The preparation of the report assisted in the identification of the priorities reflected in the Global Plan of Action for the Conservation, Sustainable Use and Development of Forest Genetic Resources


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

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 the sector. The second report is an update of the first report (see below) and identifies the most significant changes that occurred between 1996, when the latter was published, and 2009. It analyses the status and trends of plant genetic resources and their use, in situ management and ex situ conservation. It also addresses the state of relevant programmes, training needs and legislation at national level. It discusses regional and international collaboration in the management of plant genetic resources, taking into account the question of access to these resources and the sharing of benefits derived from their use, as well as the contributions that their sustainable use makes to food security and poverty alleviation. It also looks at the role of plant genetic diversity in sustainable agriculture and the provision of ecosystem services. For each of the main subjects addressed, the report includes an analysis of gaps and needs. The report provided the basis for the development of the Second Global Plan of Action for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

In 1996, the first State of the World’s Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture was welcomed by 150 countries attending the Leipzig International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources as the first comprehensive worldwide assessment of the status and use of plant genetic resource conservation. The conference also adopted the Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.


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

In 2013, the Commission requested FAO to prepare The Second Report on the State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture for publication in 2015. The report will be an update of the first report on The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (published in 2007). The first report provides an analysis of the status and trends of animal genetic resources and their management at national, regional and global levels, and identifies gaps and priorities for action. It addresses the following main areas: the state of agricultural biodiversity in the livestock sector; livestock-sector trends; the state of capacities to manage animal genetic resources; the state of the art in the management of animal genetic resources; and needs and challenges in animal genetic resources management. It was presented to the International Technical Conference on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, held in Interlaken, Switzerland, in 2007. It was subsequently welcomed by the FAO Conference as the first comprehensive worldwide assessment of the state of animal genetic resources. It provided the basis for the development of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources.