World Information and Early Warning System on PGRFA

Survey on GPA Implementation 1998-2000


The World Information and Early Warning System (WIEWS ) on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA), has been established by FAO, as a world-wide dynamic mechanism to foster information exchange among Member Countries, by gathering and disseminating information on PGRFA, and as an instrument for the periodic assessment of the State of the World's PGRFA. This was done in conformity with Articles 7.1 (e) and (f) of the International Undertaking on PGR and following the recommendations of the Commission on PGRFA (now, CGRFA).

In 1997, WIEWS was externally evaluated. The conclusions and recommendations of the reviewing panel are available in the Progress report on WIEWS, presented at the Eighth Regular Session of the CGRFA, Rome, 19-23 April 1999.

The Seed Information System (SIS), was initially developed by the Seed and Plant Genetic Resources Service (AGPS) in the 1970s as a supporting tool to the seed-exchange activities carried out by the Seed Laboratory of the Service and to satisfy specific requests for information on varieties and seed suppliers. SIS is currently being included under the new version of WIEWS.

WIEWS presently consists of:

WIEWS relational databases

Among WIEWS and SIS relational databases, there are:

  • the Country Profiles database, including the structure of 190 national PGR programmes and activities;
  • the Ex-situ Collection database, containing summary records of PGR holdings (more than 5 million accessions belonging to more than 18,000 species) reported by more than 1,500 national, regional or international genebanks;
  • the PGRFA and Seed Laws and Regulations database (70 countries);
  • the World List of Seed Sources database (approx. 8,000 entries from 150 countries); and
  • the List of Crop Varieties database (about 65,000 varieties from 1,249 cultivated crops).
Most of these databases are already accessible through this site; the remaining ones are in the process of being publicly released.

Support to the Network on PGRFA Information Exchange

Support to the Network on PGRFA Information Exchange is also an essential part of the activities for the implementation of WIEWS. In this regard, since 1996, four regional meetings and one scientific meeting were held in Poland, Cameroon, India, Morocco and the Czech Republic, respectively. A meeting for Latin America and the Caribbean, to deliver the new web version of WIEWS, was held in Costa Rica, in November 2001, and an expert consultation meeting on the definition of workable indicators for monitoring genetic erosion is scheduled to take place during the second part of 2002.

As a follow-up to agreements between International Genetic Resources Networks (e.g. International Coconut Resources Network, COGENT) and FAO, regarding the placing of genetic resources collections into the International Network of Ex Situ Collections under the auspices of FAO, information management support for enhancing visibility and accessibility to PGR available data at national genebanks and/or crop-related networks is being provided.

Further Expansion of WIEWS as the Host of the Information Sharing Mechanism on the Implementation of the Global Plan of Action (GPA)

The WIEWS web application, hosted under the FAO World Agricultural Information Centre (WAICENT) for remote, on-line search, update and report, has been renewed and improved in order to allow a friendlier access and utilisation of the information, as well as to ensure a more efficient Country-WIEWS-Country information flow.

In addition, the scope of the information covered by the System is presently being expanded to include the Seed Information System and an Early Warning System for Monitoring Plant Genetic Erosion (presently in a design phase). The integration of information related to PGRFA (mainly, germplasm holdings and early warning mechanism) and Seed/Crop Varieties, as well as the enhancement of linkages with existing international, regional and national information repositories on PGR (e.g. SINGER; GRIN; IPGRI; etc.) and on seed related issues (e.g. OECD; UPOV; etc.) are intended for delivering to Member Countries a unique instrument which can contribute to the dynamic assessment of the state of the world's PGRFA preservation and utilisation and to the definition of PGR and Seed related policies.

WIEWS is also being conceived to become a common repository, among Member Countries, for exchanging experiences, tracking achievements, highlighting constraints and needs during the GPA implementation process. In this regard, following the recommendations of the Commission on Genetic Resources (CGRFA), at its Tenth and previous Regular Sessions, WIEWS is hosting an Information Sharing Mechanism on GPA Implementation, made up of National Mechanisms. These are being established by applying a new, participatory and country-led approach for monitoring GPA implementation.

Go Top

Department of Agriculture - AG    Plant Production and Protection Division - AGP   

Notice :
The designations employed and the presentation of material in this database do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations does not assume responsibility for addresses contained herein nor does the mention of any company constitute its recommendation.
All rights reserved. No part of this database may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. Applications for such permission, with a statement of the purpose and extent of the reproduction, should be addressed to the Director, Publications Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, Rome, Italy.

Go to the FAO Home Page. For further information please contact WIEWS.

© Copyright FAO 1990-2011