Press Release

Germany Comes Through Again

BONN, GERMANY, October 2019 – Once again, global efforts to protect crop diversity can thank the Government of Germany for a much-needed boost. A grant of EUR 10 million from the German Development Bank (KfW) to the Global Crop Diversity Trust was announced on 24 October by Gerd Müller, Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, on the occasion of his visit to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

This allows the Bonn-based Crop Trust to expand its work towards safeguarding the raw materials of agriculture worldwide. The Crop Trust is working to help establish and fund a global system for the conservation of crop diversity. To fulfil its mission, it supports national and international genebanks around the world, as well as the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, in which seeds from almost every country in the world are safely stored as a back-up beneath the Arctic permafrost. The Seed Vault is owned by the Norwegian Government, which was hosting Minister Müller.

Crop collections require constant maintenance and even brief disruptions or variations in funding can leave material at risk of permanent loss. “The Crop Trust is delighted at this latest example of Germany’s commitment to the cause of sustainable funding for the world’s genebanks,” said Marie Haga, Executive Director of the Crop Trust.

“There are over one million seed samples from our world‘s crops conserved here for our future,” said Müller speaking from the Seed Vault. “This is a great achievement, and Germany is proud to support these efforts. Today, we can announce that we will continue our cooperation with the Crop Trust and will provide another EUR 10 million for the next year to preserve the planet’s crop diversity.”

Haga stressed the urgency to protect crop diversity. “Securing up-front funds now is particularly important for us because valuable genetic material is becoming extinct in nature,” Haga said. “We must act immediately to conserve this material in crop collections around the globe. The Crop Trust is deeply grateful to the German government for its continuous political and financial support.”

This contribution to the Crop Trust is the latest development in a long history of cooperation between Germany and the Crop Trust. Germany has been supporting the Crop Trust through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture since the Crop Trust was established, contributing EUR 7.5 million to its endowment fund between 2006 and 2010. In 2016, Germany through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, donated an additional EUR 25 million to the Crop Trust, making it the largest one-time donation to the endowment. In 2017, KfW provided a concessional loan of EUR 50 million. Since 2013, Germany has hosted the Crop Trust Secretariat, which is headquartered in Bonn’s former Parliament building.

ENDS

 

Background: Global Crop Diversity Trust

  • The Crop Trust is the only international organization devoted solely to ensuring the conservation and availability of crop diversity worldwide.

  • The Crop Trust is working to build a global system to guarantee the conservation and availability of the genetic diversity of all major agricultural food crops in seed banks, thus unleashing their potential and promoting their use, forever.

  • This system is made up of international genebanks, national genebanks and the world’s global back up facility for humanity’s agricultural heritage – the Svalbard Global Seed Vault – all with information and quality management systems in place.

  • The Crop Trust allocates funds to support genebanks through the Crop Diversity Endowment Fund – a self-sustaining fund built upon earned investment income. The Crop Trust is working to reach the fund’s target size of USD 850 million.

  • The Crop Trust is an essential funding element of the United Nation’s International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture which 144 countries have acceded to.

Background: KfW Development Bank

  •  KfW is one of the world’s leading and most experienced promotional banks. Established in 1948 as a public law institution, KfW is owned 80 per cent by the Federal Republic of Germany and 20 per cent by the federal states (“Länder”).

  • KfW Development Bank is Germany’s leading development bank and an integral part of KfW. It carries out Germany’s Financial Cooperation (FC) with developing countries on behalf of the Federal Government. The 671 personnel at headquarters and about 386 specialists in its 69 local offices cooperate with partners all over the world. Its goal is to combat poverty, secure the peace, protect the environment and the climate and make globalization fair. KfW is a competent and strategic advisor on current development issues.

If you would like more information about this topic, please call Cierra Martin, Crop Trust Communications at
+49 171 1165036 or email cierra.martin@croptrust.org.

KfW’s contacts: Dr. Charis Pöthig, Press Officer KfW Bankengruppe, Email: charis.poethig@kfw.de, Phone: +49 69 7431 4683

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