Global Crop Diversity Trust

A Foundation for Food Security

Press releases

For media related inquiries, Please contact Paul Gough at the Crop Trust press office at +44 (0) 20 3463 0825 or +44 (0) 7415 297984, or by email at

The creation of the Global Crop Diversity Trust and the 2008 opening of the Global Seed Vault at Svalbard has truly put crop diversity on the agenda as the importance of these resources are increasingly recognized. The Trust has received considerable attention from the international press over the last few years. For a list of selected media coverage, please visit our section In the Media. For resources on the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (including images, video and publications), please visit the Resources section.



2014 Press Releases

14 October 2014
WORLD FOOD DAY – THOUSANDS MORE CROP VARIETIES TO ARRIVE AT GLOBE’S BIGGEST SEED VAULT Almost 10,000 crop varieties from more than 100 countries will be deposited in the world’s biggest seed bank this week

26 February 2014
Keeping the World Safe for Miso Soup and Brazilian Beans, While Giving Sanctuary to Endangered Wild Crop Relatives, Arctic Seed Vault Welcomes New Treasures as it Turns Six. Over 20,000 crops originating from over 100 countries arrived today at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. 

21 February 2014
Crop Trust Celebrates 10-year Anniversary of Ensuring a Stable, Affordable Global Food Supply; Announces New Board Members. Beginning its second decade ensuring the conservation and availability of crop diversity worldwide, the Crop Trust announced today six new members of its executive board. 

2013 Press Releases

24 September 2013
Norway Invests US $23.7 Million to Ensure Farmers Face Climate Change Armed with a Wide Array of Crop Diversity. 
The government of Norway announced the contribution at the 5th session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. 

27 August 2013
Crop Trust Executive Director Visits Brazil: A Global System for Brazilian Agriculture. 
In order to maintain the success of its agriculture and feed a growing population in the midst of climatic chaos Brazil needs continued access to crop diversity to develop crops that yield more, resist pests and diseases, and respond to whatever other challenges the future may bring.

22 May 2013 
Global Crop Diversity Trust Headquarters on the Move: Crop Trust Welcomed to Germany.  The Global Crop Diversity Trust was welcomed to Germany today by the Federal Minister for Food, Agriculture, and Consumer Protection, Ms. Ilse Aigner, at a ceremonial opening of the new headquarters in Bonn. The Crop Trust works with partners around the world to ensure the conservation and availability of crop diversity for global food security.

31 January 2013
New Pact Invests US$109 Million to Secure Raw Genetic Material Critical to Maintaining Food Production WorldwideConcerned that inconsistent funding eventually could weaken a global network of seed banks at a time when farmers face unprecedented challenges, two of the world’s leading agriculture organizations announced today a bold new effort to secure what many consider the foundation of food security in the developing world.


2012 Press Releases

18 October 2012
Global Crop Diversity Trust Announces New Executive Director. The Global Crop Diversity Trust announced today the appointment of Åslaug Haga as its next Executive Director. The Trust works to guarantee the conservation of crop diversity, which is the raw material that underpins all agriculture and the world’s future food supplies. 

28 February 2012 
Amaranth Grain from Ancient Aztecs, Barley used by Modern Craft Beer Brewers, and Wheat from Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan, Among New Shipments to Arctic Seed Vault. Rare wheat collected from the “Roof of the World” in the Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan; amaranth, with its exotic blood-red stalks that are used in a “Day of the Dead” drink; barley that helped spawn the craft beer revolution; and once-forgotten forage crops that could sustain livestock in these climate-stressed times are among the 24,948 seed samples arriving this week for the fourth birthday of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV).

7 April 2011
Latin American Effort to Rejuvenate Crop Collections Rooted in the Origins of Agriculture
Global Partnerships to Protect Thousands of Varieties from Threats Ranging From Climate Change to Volcanic Eruption. 

25 February 2011
Amid New Threats to Global Crop Diversity, Valuable Lima Beans, Tomato, Spinach and Cantaloupe Seeds Add to Growing Collection of Global Seed Vault. Third birthday of Arctic repository brings surge in seed deposits, but also reminders from Egypt, Australia and Russia of natural and man-made risks to global agriculture.

15 February 2011
Indigenous Communities from Peru’s Sacred Valley of the Incas to Send Some 1,500 Potato Varieties to Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Arctic Circle. As climate change and disease threaten potato farming in the tuber’s ancestral home in the Peruvian Andes, potato preservationists today launched a major effort to safeguard more than 1,500 varieties by sending them to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) in the Arctic Circle.

10 December 2010
Norway Pledges $50 Million to Campaign to Collect and Employ Endangered Wild Relatives of World’s Major Food Crops Global field expeditions aim to help farmers adapt to climate change by securing valuable genetic traits of key food crops.

22 October 2010
Coalition to Rescue Gauguin’s Bananas, Giant Swamp Taro,Other Nutritious Indigenous Pacific Island Crops Saving vulnerable indigenous crop diversity is key to developing crops in the future and promoting healthier diets

21 September 2010
50,000 Petitioners Worldwide Declare Support for Campaign To Save Pavlovsk Experimental Station Biodiversity advocates from around the world flood Russian officials with petition messages, letters, and tweets to voice their opposition to the destruction of Russian plant collection.

8 September 2010
Global Project Underway to Preserve Yam Biodiversity World yam collection in Nigeria provides ultimate rescue for African yam diversity in an initiative to conserve critical crop collections backed by the Global Crop Diversity Trust.

9 September 2010 
International Scientific Community Calls on Russian President To Halt Destruction of Pavlovsk Station – the Russian Plant Collection Critical to World. Amid mounting pressure from scientists, the Russian Housing Development Foundation postpones sale of Pavlovsk site, and forms independent commission to evaluate situation.

6 August 2010


World’s Largest Collection of European Fruits and Berries at Risk of Being Bulldozed by Property Developers in Russia. Hearing date is 11 August for Pavlovsk fruit collection case; Russian government called on to intervene.



11 July 2010
Red Hot Chili Peppers Arrive in Sub-zero Arctic Seed Vault. A new collection of some of North America’s hottest foods—an eclectic range of New World chili peppers—were delivered to the cool Arctic Circle environs of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault this week, where their exotic tongue-scorching qualities can be kept safe for centuries.



11 March 2010
Arctic Seed Vault Inventory Passes Half-Million Mark to Become World’s Most Diverse Collection of Crop Diversity. Days after celebrating its second anniversary, the Svalbard “Doomsday” Global Seed Vault is receiving this week thousands of new seeds that will push its collection to more than half a million unique samples, making it the most diverse assemblage of crop diversity ever amassed anywhere in the world.


Download Press Release

18 November 2009
World's Leading Food Security Experts Warn that Failure to Focus on Agriculture Will Undermine Success of Next Global Climate Agreement and Worsen Global Hunger Alarmed by a substantial oversight in the global climate talks leading up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen next month, more than 60 of the world’s most prominent agricultural scientists and leaders underscored how the almost total absence of agriculture in the agreement could lead to widespread famine and food shortages in the years ahead.EN FR IT ES


To read full statement and list of signatories, click here.

4 June 2009
Global Crop Diversity Trust enters into long-term grant agreement with Secretariat of the Pacific Community to safeguard collections of yam and edible aroids The agreement came in effect as SPC signed the International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources, recognizing that "sharing our resources and importantly further recognizing that the genetic diversity found in genebanks today may become the most important resource we have in shaping an effective response to climate change". Download Press Release

22 May 2009
In celebration of World Biodiversity Day: the Global Crop Diversity Trust Announces New Grant Awards Support given to scientists to explore the millions of seed samples maintained in 1,500 crop genebanks around the world. "We want to support scientists to probe crop genebanks for natural traits that will allow farm production to stay one step ahead of climate change," says Cary Fowler, Executive Director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust. Download Press Release

24 February 2009
Global Seed Vault Marks One-Year Anniversary with Four-Ton Shipment of Critical Food Crops from Countries around the World With New Evidence Warning Climate Change Threatens Food Production, Scientists Gather In Svalbard To Discuss Crop Diversity and the Vault's Role in Averting Agricultural Disaster Download Press Release

16 February 2009
One of History's Biggest Biological Rescue Efforts Poised to Save 100,000 Critical Crop Varieties from Certain Extinction Push by Global Crop Diversity Trust is Rapidly Reviving Ailing Seed Samples From 46 Countries That Could Provide Genetic Traits Vital to Maintaining Global Food Security Download Press Release

19 September 2008
Scientists Behind "Doomsday Seed Vault" Accelerate Search For Traits Needed To Breed Climate-Proof Crops Global Crop Diversity Trust Grants Will Safeguard Critical Crop Diversity Download Press Release

26 February 2008
Arctic Seed Vault Opens Doors for 100 Million Seeds


Ceremony Marking Unprecedented Effort to Protect Global Agriculture Draws World Leaders and Seeds from Over 100 Countries


Video from Svalbard Global Seed Vault This video footage is provided free of charge to media provided proper credit information is included.

  1. Seed vault b-roll Quicktime PAL. DV Resolution 720x480 (1024x576) 25 FPS. Contact to request tape. [credit: Mari Tefre/Global Crop Diversity Trust]
    1. Part I: Construction of seed vault and stock shots of Svalbard (TRT 4:27, 936 MB - warning large file)
    2. Part II: Interview with Cary Fowler (TRT 3:26, 720 MB - warning large file)
    3. Part III: Interview with Wangari Maathai (TRT 2:15, 475 MB - warning large file)
  2. Preparing rice collection for Svalbard [credit: IRRI]
    1. IRRI_Seed_Preparation.wmv (24 MB)
  3. Video/Photos and Agenda from opening ceremony. To access download, email for password. [credit: Dinamo Story]
    1. Video from opening ceremony for DOWNLOAD
    2. Video from opening ceremony for VIEWING
    3. Media agenda for opening ceremony

16 November 2007
Engineers Begin Critical "Cooling Down" of Arctic Doomsday Seed Vault for Deep Freeze and 24-Hour Polar Night Refrigeration units began pumping chilly air deep into an Arctic mountain cavern today, launching the innovative and critical "cooling down" phase of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in advance of its official opening early next year as a fail-safe repository of the world's vital food crops. Svalbard is now three days into the three-month "Polar Night" period when there is 24 hours of complete darkness. Download PDF

FR: Des ingénieurs lancent le « refroidissement » crucial de la « chambre forte du Jugement dernier » pour la congélation et la nuit polaire permanente Les unités de réfrigération ont commencé à pomper aujourd’hui l’air glacé qu’elles injectent dans les profondeurs d’une caverne montagneuse arctique pour lancer la phase de « refroidissement » innovante et cruciale du Dépôt international pour les semences de Svalbard. Ce dernier sera officiellement ouvert au début de l’année prochaine et constituera un dépôt à sûreté intégrée des principales cultures vivrières mondiales. Svalbard est désormais plongé depuis trois jours et pour trois mois dans la « nuit polaire ». Pendant cette période, l’obscurité est complète et permanente.Download PDF

ES: Ingenieros comienzan “Enfriamiento” Crítico de la Bóveda Ártica del Fin del Mundo para Congelamiento y Noche Polar de 24 Horas Hoy las unidades de refrigeración comenzaron a bombear aire frío en la caverna de la montaña Ártica, poniendo en marcha la innovadora y crítica fase de “enfriamiento” de la Bóveda Global de Semillas de Svalbard, antes de su inauguración oficial a principios del año que viene como un depósito a prueba de fallas de los cultivos alimenticios vitales del mundo. Svalbard ya lleva tres días del período de “Noche Polar” de tres meses, donde hay 24 horas de oscuridad total.Download PDF

IT: Gli ingegneri hanno dato inizio al cruciale raffreddamento del deposito artico di sementi, detto "dell'Apocalisse", per portarlo ad uno stadio di congelamento profondo, nella notte polare lunga 24 ore Oggi le unità di raffreddamento hanno iniziato a pompare aria gelata nel profondo della caverna nella montagna artica, dando inizio alla fase critica e innovativa del raffreddamento del deposito internazionale di sementi di Svalbard, in anticipo sulla sua apertura officiale all' inizio del prossimo anno, che lo consacrerà come il deposito più sicuro delle più importanti colture del mondo. Svalbard é già da tre giorni nella notte polare che dura tre mesi, durante la quale le giornate hanno 24 ore di totale oscurità.Download PDF

23 July 2007
United States Congress Agriculture Committee Approves Contribution of $60 Million to Conserve the World's Most Important Food Crops Download PDF

19 April 2007
Gates Foundation Funds Efforts to rescue 95 percent of World's Endangered Critital Crop Biodiversity Download PDF

FR: La Fondation Gates finance les efforts men's pour sauver 95 pour cent de la biodiversit' des cultures fondamentales en danger dans le monde Download PDF

ES: La Fundacion Gates financia esfuerzos para reuperar el 95 por ciento de la biodiversidad agr?cola en peligro del mundo Download PDF

IT: Fondazione Gates finanza sforzi per salvare il 95 per cento della diversita' delle colture in via di estinzione nel mondo Download PDF

DE: Gates-Stiftung unterst?tzt Rettung von 95 Prozent der gef?hrdeten Nutzpflanzen-Vielfalt Download PDF

12 March 2007
New Agreement to Permanently Secure Biodiversity of Rice, The World's Most Important, and Most Consumed Crop The Global Crop Diversity Trust and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) unveiled an agreement today to secure the world's largest repository of rice varieties - conserving forever the extraordinary diversity of arguably the world's most important crop. Today, about three billion people depend on rice for their survival, with the thousands of varieties carefully stored at IRRI providing the last line of defense between them and possible famine?especially in times of war, natural disasters, and attacks from pests and diseases. The agreement offers, for the first time in the history of modern agricultural research, stable and long-term support to an unrivalled collection of genetic diversity of a food crop. Download PDF

16 February 2007
Global Crop Diversity Trust Announces New Board The Global Crop Diversity Trust announced today the confirmation of eight new Board members, representing the highest levels of the corporate, academic and political worlds. Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai is among those who will serve on the Trust's highest body. Download PDF

9 February 2007
Architectural Plan Revealed of Doomsday Arctic Seed Vault The Norwegian government has revealed the architectural design for the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, to be carved deep into frozen rock on an island not far from the North Pole. The entrance to the "fail-safe" seed vault will 'gleam like a gem in the midnight sun,' signaling a priceless treasure within: seed samples of nearly every food crop of every country. The vault is designed to protect the agricultural heritage of humankind- the seeds essential to agriculture of every nation. Download PDF

Generation Challenge Programme and Global Crop Diversity Trust sign commitment to collaborate Download PDF

Die globale Nutzpflanzenvielfalt muss erhalten werden Download PDF

3 million Irish Aid Pledge for Crop Diversity on World Food Day Download PDF

Scientists to Employ Arctic Ice and Polar Bears To Protect Diversity of World's Crops Download PDF

FR: Des scientifiques pour l'emploi des glaces arctiques et des ours blancs afin de proteger la diversita' mondiale des cultures Download PDF

ES: Cient?ficos a Emplear Hielo ?rtico y Osos Polares para Proteger la Diversidad de los Cultivos Mundiales Download PDF

IT: Ghiaccio artico e orsi polari a tutela della diversit? delle colture mondiali Download PDF

DE: Wissenschaftler nutzen arktisches Eis und Polarb?ren zum Schutz der weltweiten Kulturpflanzenvielfalt Download PDF