Our main event in July 2015 was participation in the UN Financing for Development conference in Addis Ababa.
We presented our brand new and innovative financing mechanism developed by Deutsche Bank. Our side event was titled ‘Private Funding for Food Security: the Investment Sharing Facility’. The event was very well received and we had an engaging audience with representatives from Governments as well as International organizations. This new and innovative financial instrument offers investors an equity mutual fund invested in accordance with environmental, social and governance criteria while also supporting crop conservation in vital genebanks.
The Investment Sharing Facility will go live any day. We are very grateful to Deutsche Bank. The Bank has put a lot of effort into developing the facility. How much money it will give to ex situ conservation of crop diversity remains to be seen, but it sure is worth giving it a try!
On the innovating financing side, we are also working on a study on the benefits and risks of the Crop Trust accepting possible concessional donor loans into the Endowment Fund. The intention is to have the study done and discussed at the forthcoming joint meeting of the Donors’ Council and the Executive Board on 26 October 2015 in Rome.
We continue to consult with donors to develop the Donors’ Council to become an even more meaningful forum – without changing the present governance structure of the Crop Trust. Our plan is to conclude this work at the already mentioned joint Executive Boards and Donors’ Council meeting on 26 October.
On communications, we concluded the call-for-proposal process and begun the redesign of the website for the Crop Wild Relatives project. It should be launched in September.
In the media front, Wired Magazine (Japan) and Tapas Magazine (Spain) published stories on the Svalbard Global Seed Vault and the Crop Trust. More coverage on our work will soon be published as July was a busy month of interviews, such as with National Geographic, Newsweek, the BBC and Vanguardia.
The CGIAR is in the midst of the process to develop new Consortium Research Programs (2017 – 2021). We continue to work with CG genebank managers and will deliver a so-called Genebank pre-proposal by 15 August. The Genebank Program fully builds on the decisions of the CGIAR Fund Council in Bogor in April.
We are furthermore delighted to work with Japanese colleagues to finalize a project of support to AfricaRice. We have launched a seed longevity research initiative under the present Genebank CRP with CG centre genebanks. The aim is to analyze historical seed testing data to identify possible improvements in efficiency. We can also mention that we are working with ICRAF on a proposal for impact assessment of their genebank.
We enjoy having visitors at the Crop Trust. In July we were delighted to receive Rob Bertram from USAID for very constructive discussions and various genebank managers: Michael Abberton (IITA), Sally Norton (Australia) and Stephanie Greene (Ft Collins).
Since everybody does not visit us, we visit them! In the last month we have met with embassies in Berlin and in Rome, including Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Israel, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Slovenia, and Venezuela. We have also visited Vilnius for meetings with the Government of Lithuania. The purpose of these visits has mainly been to raise awareness of our Pledging Conference in Washington on 14 April next year.
In Svalbard, at the Global Seed Vault, we hosted visitors from Colombia including a delegation from CIAT. We are now getting ready for a new visit to Svalbard. We are looking forward to receive the FAO Director General, the Minister of Agriculture from Costa Rica, the State Secretary for Agriculture from Norway, the Director General of CATIE and our main contact in Deutsche Bank at the end of August. The occasion being deposit of potato seeds from Parque de la Papa. A delegation from the Parque will of course also come.
All the best from all of us in Bonn,