Safeguarding seeds for the future
Preventing further loss of seeds
for the future of our food supply
After ten years of operation, technical improvements will now be carried out at Svalbard Global Seed Vault. The measures are part of a long-term plan to further secure the Seed Vault for the future. The Norwegian government is now proposing a startup grant of 100...
Seed Vault Summit Policymakers, scientists, seed bank experts and other guests have been invited to Svalbard for the 10 year anniversary, to participate in a Seed Vault Summit. With the theme "Towards rational conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic...
In February 2008, the eyes of the world focused on a frozen mountainside on an archipelago in northern Norway – the site of the Government of Norway’s Svalbard Global Seed Vault. The Vault was built to provide a backup system for storing and safeguarding samples of...
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located in Longyearbyen, on the Spitzbergen island, which is the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago. Longyearbyen is considered to be the northernmost town in the world, situated at 78 degrees north and only 1309 km away from the North Pole.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located in the hillside above Longyearbyen airport, 130 meters above seed level. The entrance portal is a quite simple concrete construction, however, it has gained a kind of iconic status all over the world. Not at least, due to the nice piece of art ‘Perpetual repercussion’ made by the Norwegian artist Dyveke Sanne, that decorates the entrance. Many Svalbard visitors go the the Vault’s entrance for shooting selfies and to tick off ‘been there’.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault facilitates security conservation of seeds, comprising genetic material of importance for food and agriculture. This includes crop varieties, farmers’ land races, breeding material and wild plants that are related to, and could be gene donors to new varieties of, crops. At the moment more than 5000 plant species are represented in the Seed Vault holdings.
The overall objective of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is to offer an extra security level for the conservation of global stocks of genetic resources for food and agriculture. The Seed Vault aims at storing safety duplicates of all unique seed accessions conserved in national, regional and international gene banks.
The principal purpose of the Seed Vault is to conserve seeds and main operations relate to to seed transfer and handling. However, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a strong symbol for the challenge and the joint efforts that is carried out globally for conserving crop diversity and use genetic resources for providing food for a growing population.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault has been established and is fully funded by the Norwegian government, and the responsibility for operations is resting with the government, under the Ministry of Agriculture and Food.
The Norwegian government invites gene banks holding long term and sustainable seed collections to free of charge deposit duplicates of their seed samples in Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Being a Seed Vault depositor requires that the gene bank sign a depositor agreement and comply with the provisions.
For The General Public
A side effect of the Seed Vault, its mission and operation, is public awareness and increased commitment for contributing to safeguarding crop diversity. The Seed Vault often receives offers for seed donations and voluntary seed collecting for the Seed Vault, voluntary work and different supporting projects.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a strong symbol of the importance of conserving plant genetic resources for human food supplies for future survival. Due to this, media and journalists are given access to the Seed Vault when the purpose is increasing public awareness and political will to support global efforts for conserving plant diversity and utilizing it to develop food production.
Documents and Annual Reports
The management and operation of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is carried out by NordGen through an agreement between the Norwegian Ministry for Agriculture and Food, the Global Crop Diversity Trust and NordGen.