International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

Supporting genebanks in Latin America

Participants of the Workshop held in Costa Rica from 14 to 18 May 2018


San José, Costa Rica, 31 May 2018 – Thanks to the work of genebank managers and data curators, the International Treaty’s Global Information System (GLIS) is fast developing into a valuable global entry point to crop genetic resources from around the world. As part of global efforts to strengthen the technical capacity and know-how of genebank managers, the International Treaty discussed the benefits and services of the Global Information System at a regional workshop hosted by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) in Costa Rica earlier this month.

Close to 40 experts gathered from 12 countries and 13 national genebanks to participate in the “Genebank Operations and Advanced Learning (GOAL) Workshop,” aimed at supporting Latin American genebanks adopt best practices and achieving excellence, including through the use of standardized documentation systems, such as those offered by the International Treaty through GLIS (

“The adoption of a standardized documentation procedure is fundamental to describing biodiversity, exchanging data and facilitating its use worldwide,” said Adriana Alercia, standards and documentation specialist of the FAO’s International Treaty. “Our ultimate objective is to help genebanks increase the utilization of plant genetic resources. The material held in genebanks is becoming increasingly accessible both through the Genesys website and the Global Information System of the International Treaty.”

The GOAL Workshop was organized by the Global Crop Diversity Trust, with funding from the Norwegian Government, and emphasized the relationships between genebank operations, documentation of PGRFA, procedures and quality management.  Other presentations included those from CIAT, CATIE, the Crop Trust and CIMMYT.

“This event has been an excellent opportunity to work with genebank managers from the Latin America and the Caribbean Region, and to strengthen the technical collaboration between the International Treaty and the Crop Trust on documentation and information exchange, as we have done in other events and workshops in 2017 and earlier this year,” said Alercia.

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