International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

Development of a globally agreed list of descriptors for in situ crop wild relatives documentation

Starting date: 1 June 2019

Ending date: 31 December 2020

Donor: Government of Germany – BMEL

FAO project code: GCP /GLO/974/GER

Related Treaty Program:  Global Information System (GLIS)

Project Objectives:   The project addresses the gaps and the lack of coherence in the documentation methods for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA), in particular for Crop Wild Relatives (CWR) under 'in situ' conditions. Those gaps represent a barrier for the sharing of information in the scientific community and for the development of added-value services for plant breeders and organizations working on agricultural biodiversity. The project will consolidate work done on CWR descriptors by recent initiatives developed at national and international levels from different regions.

During the first phase, it took as starting point the Core Descriptors for in situ conservation of CWR v.1 published by Bioversity International. Besides, it built on recent experiences conducted by the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) of FAO and its Global Information System (GLIS) and DOIs (GCP/GLO/685/GER), as well as International projects such as the Horizon 2020 Farmer’s Pride.  

The project organized an online consultation from February to April 2020 involving more than 107 experts from 87 institutions in 48 countries and of authoritative international experts of the Core Advisory Group (CAG) that helped to approve a revised strategic short list of CWR in situ documentation descriptors. The new list was published online as “ Descriptors for Crop Wild Relatives conserved under in situ conditions (CWRI v.1)” (

The second phase of the project from August 2020, envisages a testing of the globally validated descriptors against national cases. In doing so it allows for the mapping of these descriptors against existing catalogues and inventories to facilitate the establishment of national in situ databases of CWR.

The project will promote and disseminate to the Treaty National Focal Points and to CWR experts, the resulting international validated standard descriptor list for CWR in situ documentation. On-farm management of PGRFA is not addressed in this project. The project beneficiaries are national focal points of the International Treaty, researchers, plant breeders, and conservationists worldwide.

Notification on project inception

Notification on the publication of CWRI Descriptors (New link)



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