The management of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is overseen by an International Advisory Panel. The Panel consists of representatives from depositing gene banks and other stakeholders. Six members have just accepted the appointment and confirmed that they will go to Svalbard and take part in the 10 year anniversary at the end of February 2018.

ICARDA became the first gene bank to claim withdrawals of seed from the Seed Vault, for establishment of new gene bank collections, first in 2015 and secondly now in September 2017. Image: Riccardo Gangale.

The members representing depositing gene banks are:

  • Ahmed Amri, head of gene bank at the International Centre for Agricultural Research for Dry Areas, ICARDA, based in Morocco,
  • Teresita H. Borromeo, head of Plant Genetic Resources Division at the Crop Science Cluster, University of the Philippines,
  • Arthur da Silva Mariante, leader of the Genetic Resources Program at Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, Embrapa, which also hosts the Brazilian plant gene bank CENARGEN, and
  • Gordana Djuric, head of Genetic Resource Institute at the University of Banja Luka in Bosnia & Herzegovina

International representation

In addition to depositors, Ann Tutwiler, director general of Bioversity International, one of the CGIAR Research Centres, based in Rome, Italy and director of communications Kristin Børresen at the Norwegian plant breeding company Graminor are members of IAP.

This group is considered to be a very good team, with the capacity to anchor the Seed Vault mission and operations among gene banks, national genetic resource programs and governments, and to give the partners behind the Seed Vault high quality and scientifically based advice for future management and activities at the Seed Vault.

Plant Treaty cooperation

The chair of the Governing Body to the International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture will be asked to be the seventh member and to chair the meetings of the Panel. The Governing Body is having its 7th meeting in Rwanda by the end of October/beginning of November, and election of chair and decision on cooperation between the Treaty and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault will be on the agenda for this meeting.

The partners cooperating on the funding, management and operations of the Seed Vault, the Norwegian Ministry for Agriculture and Food, Global Crop Diversity Trust and the Nordic Genetic Resource Centre, NordGen will participate in the meeting as observers. NordGen is acting as the secretary for the Panel.