Aquatic biodiversity: underpinning aquatic food security

A Global Plan of Action for Aquatic Genetic Resources

In response to a recommendation from the ITWG-AqGR the 17th Session the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (Commission) requested FAO to "prepare a draft Global Plan of Action (GPA) for aquatic genetic resources for food and agriculture (AqGR)".
Following extensive consultation as illustrated below, including through five regional workshops, a draft GPA was prepared in March 2021. This draft was reviewed and revised by the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group on Aquatic Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and endorsed by the Commission and was adopted by members at the 168th session of the FAO Council in December 2021.
The Commission further requested FAO to assist Members in the implementation and monitoring of the GPA, especially in terms of financial resources and technical assistance.

What is a Global Plan of Action?

The GPA for AqGR is a framework for the promotion of enhanced and effective conservation, sustainable use and development of these important resources. It is voluntary and non-binding and should be implemented in concordance with existing national legislation and international agreements, where applicable. Given the huge variability in the types of AqGR and their national, regional and global status, it is understood that the relative importance of priorities and actions will differ between countries and regions. Its development and implementation should act as a catalyst for countries to develop national and regional strategies for effective management of their AqGR and promote the development of globally applicable resources (e.g. information systems). It should also provide a basis for investment by countries and by donors to secure the contribution of aquatic diversity to future aquatic food supply.

Timeline for the development of the Global Plan of Action for AqGR illustrating the stages of consultation and approval (note: CSL = Circular State letter to all members of the Commission)

What will be the focus of the Global Plan of Action?

The four Priority Areas for a Global Plan of Action on AqGR
The four Priority Areas for a Global Plan of Action for AqGR

The GPA identifies four Priority Areas for action and identifies 21 strategic priorities within these areas and nearly 100 specific actions that can be taken. These priorities reflect the specific characteristics of AqGR which differ in some particular aspects from those of terrestrial animal and plant resources, most notably with regard to the low levels of genetic improvement being applied in the development of farmed types for aquaculture.