Marie Haga | Marie’s Corner
A lot has happened in the past month in the summer season!
Let us start with the Genebank CRP. The consolidated technical and financial report for 2013 was submitted to the Consortium Office. The Crop Trust financed a total of 16% of the CGIAR genebank’s routine costs from the endowment. Distributions went up about 20% compared to 2012. AfricaRice has received the external review report and will prepare a response and a Recommendation Action Plan. Preparations are continuing for the ICRISAT external review and for the annual meeting of the genebank managers (AGM).
On the Crop Wild Relatives Project, planning is underway with Kew for a training course in Uganda, covering at least 6 African countries, and for a meeting of the management team, both in August. We are following up on possible collaborations with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) and India.
Improvements to Genesys continued to be made (data filtering; data export application). Genebank information system assessments have been carried out in 3 African counties, and others are being planned for Colombia and in the North Africa and Near East region. We are talking to NordGen about sharing data from the East African network (EAPGREN) on Genesys.
There are a wide range of ongoing activities and processes on the Fundraising and Communication front. Let us give you some highlights.
We took part in a joint side event with the International Treaty on the occasion of the FAO Council meeting in Rome. Jane Toll, Senior Project Manager, was in Svalbard for almost a week filming with the BBC and my predecessor Cary Fowler.
Outreach to new partners and potential donors in June began with the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding with CAAS, the institution that also runs China’s national plant genebank. Vice President Dr. Kongming Wu lead the CAAS delegation visiting Bonn. This new partnership adds to the Crop Trust’s network of partners in more than 80 countries.
In cooperation with GIZ in Berlin, the Crop Trust held presentations and a panel discussion on the role of plant genetic resource for food security and sustainable agriculture. High caliber speakers from academia and the public and private sectors addressed an international audience. Strong support for this event was provided by our German partners including the Agriculture Ministry and the Development Cooperation Ministry. Another information event in Bonn introduced the Crop Trust and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault to our local contacts and partners.
We were invited to attend the G20 meeting of Chief Scientists in Brisbane, addressing the DivSeek Initiative, but it also offered opportunity to establish contacts with current and potential donor countries. This visit was combined with bilateral discussions about future financial cooperation with the Australian authorities and the Government of New Zealand.
The Crop Trust also reached out to nine smaller donor and partner countries through their Embassies in Berlin. This included Azerbaijan, Brunei, Chile, Denmark, Ethiopia, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania. At the end of June, there was a visit to London to meet with private asset managers about the proposed new Investment Sharing Facility as well as selected foundations and the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
We have finalized the 2013 Annual Report, using a new report structure and design that aims to make our work more accessible to a broader audience while offering specific metrics on results and impact. We also introduced a new periodic Partner Update for donors and began work on the new corporate website.
Wishing you the best from all of us in Bonn,