Global efforts to preserve biodiversity receive Royal endorsement
16 October 2015 – World Food Day – The cause of biodiversity conservation has been boosted on World Food Day by news that His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, has taken on the role as Patron of the Global Crop Diversity Trust (‘Crop Trust’). The Prince of Wales has been a most passionate and outspoken advocate of environmental protection and sustainable agriculture for many years.
The Crop Trust is the international organisation tasked with preserving the biodiversity of food crops so that current and future generations can develop the crop varieties needed to feed themselves despite a changing global climate. In an effort to build, manage and fund a global system for the conservation and availability of crop diversity, the Crop Trust supports the work of eleven international collections holding the most important diversity of agricultural crops that feed our world.
For many years, The Prince of Wales has called for international collaboration to meet the challenges of our age. His Royal Highness has stressed the immense value of preserving natural resources, complimented by sustainable development. His strong dedication to build a better future based on sustainability has been an inspiration and catalyst for change throughout the world.
Marie Haga, Executive Director of the Crop Trust, said: “We are immensely grateful for His Royal Highness’ deep commitment to our essential work. His public endorsement further highlights the understanding that preserving global crop diversity is essential to help achieve food security.”
The past century has seen extraordinary changes in agricultural production. A recent study co-authored by the Crop Trust found that the planet’s food supply has grown increasingly dependent on only a few crop types. No nation is able to feed itself by indigenous crops alone. In this interdependent age, the work of the Crop Trust in preserving crop diversity and ensuring access to this genetic capital is vital for sustaining and increasing agricultural production.
The Crop Trust also helps fund the Svalbard Global Seed Vault – a back-up facility in the permafrost of northern Norway holding over 860,000 samples of crops from nearly every country. The Vault’s value became evident last month when the crisis in Syria prompted the first-ever withdrawal of seeds from the Vault, to replenish the vital collection for barley, wheat, lentils and grass pea held by the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Aleppo, Syria.
Preserving crop diversity to help mankind address current and future challenges is both vital and achievable. If we are to feed a growing population despite climate change, we need to offer researchers and farmers access to the invaluable natural diversity of the world’s crop plants. This is the mission of the Crop Trust and the partners that support its work.