International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture



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Rome, Italy, 22 March 2021 – The International Treaty has released an updated list of passport descriptors for crop wild relatives conserved in situ. This publication, Descriptors for Crop Wild Relatives Conserved in situ, provides an international standard to ensure consistency in the way data about plant genetic material of crop wild relatives (CWR) are documented and exchanged around the world.

“One of the main factors adversely affecting the conservation, use, monitoring and reporting of information on plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA) has been the lack of access to data and the inefficient exchange of information,” said Kent Nnadozie, Secretary of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

The lack of standardization in PGRFA information has been an obstacle for the plant genetic resources community in terms of exchanging PGRFA data worldwide, and was one of the main challenges for the effective conservation and sustainable use of plant material.

“If crop wild relatives in situ resources are to be conserved and sustainably used, it is fundamental to bring their information into an accessible standardized format to secure a consistent data compilation and management,” Secretary Nnadozie said.

The updated publication addresses the gaps and the lack of coherence in the documentation methods for PGRFA. It is the result of a global survey conducted by the Secretariat of the International Treaty in early 2020, consolidating earlier work done on CWR descriptors around the world, and taking into account input received from over 100 experts from 48 countries from all regions of the world.

It is also the result of testing descriptors against available data sets in selected regions, conducted by the Secretariat with the support of experts, technical staff and national focal points of the International Treaty. The project, funded by the Government of Germany in the context of the Global Information System, also aims at facilitating the adoption of the descriptors at the national level in various regions.

The publication is an evolving document, designed to be a user-friendly global data exchange tool. It provides consistency in documenting data about CWR worldwide. For each descriptor, the list provides a brief explanation of content, its coding scheme, and a suggested field name. The passport descriptors proposed in the booklet constitute the minimum initial list for CWR in situ data exchange.

This new booklet is available in English, Arabic, French and Spanish, and is expected to be particularly helpful for researchers, plant breeders, and conservationists worldwide, in addition to national focal points of the International Treaty.


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