Germany leads the way with major contribution to protect global biodiversity
19 JANUARY 2016, BERLIN—Global efforts to protect biodiversity have been boosted by the announcement of a major grant from the German government to an endowment fund being raised by the Global Crop Diversity Trust, an international organisation working to safeguard the world’s crop diversity.
The grant was announced during a ceremony at International Green Week in Berlin, a global gathering of agriculture leaders from government, politics, industry, academia and civil society.
A symbolic handover of seeds was part of the ceremony in which the multi-million euro contribution was announced by the German Minister for Development Cooperation, Gerd Müller.
To date, this is the largest single contribution made to the Crop Trust Endowment Fund, which is targeted to increase to USD 500 million through new donor commitments by the time of the Crop Trust Pledging Conference in April 2016.
Crop collections require constant maintenance and even brief disruptions or variations in funding can leave material at risk of permanent loss. The fund is a sustainable financial model that will guarantee the long-term conservation and availability of the building blocks of agriculture, which are needed to develop crop varieties that can adapt to changing climate conditions.
The contribution to the Crop Trust’s Crop Diversity Endowment Fund 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 Trust was established, contributing EURO 7.5 million into the endowment fund between 2006 and 2010. Since 2013, Germany has hosted the Crop Trust Secretariat, which is headquartered in Bonn’s former Parliament building.
The Crop Trust is working to establish, fund and manage a global system for the conservation of crop diversity. To fulfil its mission, it helps manage and fund 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 beneath the Arctic permafrost.
Dr. Gerd Müller, Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, said:
Protecting biodiversity contributes to preserving the natural heritage of our planet. We must secure this biological diversity for current and future generations. That is our responsibility since our generation may be the last one to accomplish a shift towards a sustainable development.
We need food crops that are resilient against climatic changes. Our funding for the Crop Trust contributes to this objective as we help ascertain the survival of our agricultural plants into the future.
Christian Schmidt, German Minister of Food and Agriculture, said:
I am glad about the engagement of the Ministry of Development Cooperation on this important topic. We cooperate closely on this issue, since raising agricultural productivity and fighting hunger and poverty in rural areas depend on the diversity of food crops. Protecting crop diversity is therefore the duty of the entire world community.
Marie Haga, Executive Director of the Crop Trust, said:
The Global Crop Diversity Trust is most grateful for the continued support by the German Government of our work to protect the diversity of food crops, which is a prerequisite for adapting agriculture to the unknown climatic conditions of the future. We hope that Germany’s leadership in the conservation of biodiversity will inspire other nations to make similar contributions towards ensuring the food security of future generations