At the heart of our task is the permanent, self-sustaining Crop Diversity Endowment Fund. Each year, a portion of the fund’s value is paid out to ensure that the crop diversity held in genebanks is conserved and maintained.
The support provided by the fund comes solely from investment income earned, so that the actual endowment funds are not drawn on. The fund allows the Crop Trust to fulfil its purpose: to create a permanent legacy of support for the key international collections of critical importance to our food supply.
The Future of the Fund
Crop collections require constant maintenance, and even brief disruptions or variations in funding can leave material at risk of permanent loss. The conservation of crop diversity in genebanks is a very long-term task. Only stable, predictable support from an endowment fund can guarantee a global system of conservation for a shared resource that is too important for anything less than perpetual care.
Completing the Crop Diversity Endowment Fund is of the highest priority. The Crop Trust is working to reach the fund’s target size of USD 850 million. The fund will be used:
- to conserve and make available the eleven collections of the CGIAR and other collections in Article 15 of the International Treaty
- to conserve and make available other key collections most important for food security
- to maintain the Svalbard Global Seed Vault
- to support the further development and maintenance of information systems for plant genetic resources for food and agriculture
- to fund the operation of the Crop Trust secretariat
Until the end of 2022, the CGIAR Fund will complement the endowment for the collections managed by the 11 CGIAR centers. The endowment funding complements the CGIAR Genebank Platform, a six-year partnership of the 11 CGIAR genebanks and the Crop Trust. The Platform secures the long-term conservation of plant genetic resources, which are essential elements of agricultural research and development.
To date, approximately 95% of the endowment’s value has been provided by national governments. The remainder has been provided by the private sector. Gifts of any size are welcome to the Crop Diversity Endowment Fund. It requires, on average, only $625 to conserve an accession in an Article 15 collection for everyone, forever.
Unlike project funds that are disbursed and exhausted on grant activities upon receipt by the implementing organization, endowment resources are safeguarded and invested by the Crop Trust to retain their real value against inflation. Meanwhile, they provide annual benefits over the very long term as investment income is disbursed to key international collections.
By contributing to the Crop Diversity Endowment Fund of the Crop Trust, donors ensure that future generations will have at their disposal the options necessary to develop food crops that can address mounting challenges. These challenges will surely include the consequences of climate change and associated rising temperatures, stronger and more frequent droughts and floods, rising sea levels, pest and disease outbreaks and extreme weather. Adaptable food crops will help overcome shortages in production caused by lack of water, land and other resources. Donors are thereby ensuring that mankind will be able to adapt to climate change and produce the additional food that is required to feed a growing – and more demanding – world population.