The Norwegian government invites gene banks holding long-term and sustainable seed collections to deposit duplicates of their seed samples in Svalbard Global Seed Vault free of charge. Being a Seed Vault depositor requires that the gene bank sign a depositor agreement and comply with the provisions. There are three main conditions, reflected in the depositor agreement that must be fulfilled by gene banks and institutes that want to deposit seeds in the Seed Vault:
1.The depositing gene bank / institute is conserving the material that is to be deposited, as a part of a long term and sustainable gene bank collection, including having the capacity and routines for multiplication of new seeds when needed.
2.The depositor should certify that the samples being deposited in the Seed Vault have been safety duplicated in a suitable gene bank, in order to make the Seed Vault the second security back up.
3.The depositor agrees to make available from their own stocks seed samples of the deposited genetic resources for breeding, research and education purposes on terms similar to the International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and its Standard Material Transfer Agreement (sMTA).
Signing the depositor agreement
The Depositor Agreement is to be signed by the depositing institute or gene bank and by NordGen on behalf of the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Once the depositor agreement has been signed, the depositor prepares the accession list, according to the guidelines and template that are provided. The accession list should be submitted to NordGen at least six weeks before shipment. NordGen validates and uploads the data in the Seed Portal database, provides an Import permission document from the Norwegian Food Authority and gives permission for shipment. Guidelines, instructions and documents available from this webpage.
Shipping to the Seed Vault
The depositing gene bank choses its own logistic partner for the shipment of seed boxes or parcels to the Oslo Airport. Upon the shipment’s arrival, NordGen’s partner, Jetpak, takes over the responsibility for onward transfer to Svalbard. The sender should forward the Airway Bill Number (AWB) provided by the freight company to NordGen. This makes it possible to track the shipment on its way to Norway. Depositing and storing seeds in the Seed Vault, including handling of boxes in Svalbard is free of charge. The depositor is responsible for covering freight charges to the Oslo Airport, and for the further Jetpak transfer to Longyearbyen, Svalbard.
Announced Seed Vault openings
As NordGen has no permanent staff for handling of seeds and boxes in Svalbard, shipment of seeds must be done in accordance with preset dates for Seed Vault openings, which are pre-announced. The handling process carried out by NordGen when the shipment arrives to the Longyearbyen Airport includes security scanning of all seed boxes and packages using the airport’s regular security system and labelling all boxes with institute codes, box numbers and shelf location codes.
When the boxes are in place, NordGen sends a confirmation email or SMS to the depositor institute confirming arrival and placement in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Further, NordGen updates the Seed Portal, which maintains data on the depositing institutes associated with the Seed Vault and the total numbers of seeds and crop species and varieties that have been deposited.
Address for seed shipments:
Fridtjof Nansens vei,
N-2061 Gardermoen / Norway
Phone + 47 63 94 54 00
Svalbard Global Seed Vault
Attn.: NordGen / Åsmund Asdal
Phone + 47 91 36 51 66