The BOLD Project

Biodiversity for Opportunities, Livelihoods and Development is a groundbreaking 10-year project to combat climate change

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Harnessing Crop Diversity to Adapt to the Effects of the Climate Crisis

Crop diversity is the biological foundation of agriculture, a treasure trove of useful traits in plants that we can harness to build climate-resilient crops that have a long-term impact in farmers’ fields and sustain productivity, income, resilience, and ultimately food and nutritional security.

Conserving and using our crop diversity is the foundation for developing crops and diversifying farming systems that are resilient to the devastating effects of a rapidly changing climate, ensuring food security and nutrition for all in a sustainable way.

BOLD (Biodiversity for Opportunities, Livelihoods and Development) is a groundbreaking 10-year project to strengthen food and nutrition security worldwide by supporting the conservation and use of crop diversity. Funded with USD 58 million from the Government of Norway and launched in 2021, it builds on the work and achievements of the decade-long Crop Wild Relatives Project (2011- 2021).

Supporting United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2

BOLD directly contributes to Target 2.5 of SDG 2, to “maintain the genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species, including through soundly managed and diversified seed and plant banks at the national, regional and international levels, and promote access to and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge.”

Addressing Challenges, Together

BOLD is organized in five complementary work packages, or components, as described below.

Project Components

  • Capacity and resource development
    This element of the project will strengthen the capacity of 15 partner national genebanks, and other partners, to manage, document, conserve, and duplicate crop diversity, and make it available to farmers and breeders.

    This will be achieved by:
    ● Upgrading facilities and equipment
    ● Training staff on genebank operations and relevant policies
    ● Implementing a quality management system
    ● Identifying and making available useful diversity
    ● Engaging in pre-breeding activities
    ● Establishing and engaging user groups and involving (pre-) breeders, farmers, extension services, researchers and others
  • Making new diversity available
    Grasspea, alfalfa, durum wheat, potato, rice, finger millet and barley are the focal crops of this element, which will facilitate the use of new diversity of these crops by breeders and farmers for climate change adaptation and food security in partner countries and continue work with pre-breeding and collecting partners from the CWR Project.

    BOLD will complement the capacity of national genebank partners to conserve crop diversity by extending and advancing existing pre-breeding and evaluation partnerships from the CWR Project. This will include on-farm trials and other participatory approaches with farmers and breeders.
  • Genebanks and seeds systems
    This element of the project will include a major research component led by the Norwegian University of Life Science (NMBU), to explore different, complementary ways that crop diversity can be readily accessed by farmers by developing models for strengthening the connection between genebanks and national seed systems.

    Innovative pilot efforts by national genebanks in four partner countries will then be supported to actively contribute diversity to national and regional seed systems as models for other national programs to follow.
  • Safeguarding seed samples
    Backing up key crop diversity from low- and middle-income countries in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault will ensure its continued availability to the farmers, breeders and researchers of those countries in the future, especially in case of disasters and extreme events. This element of the project will establish agreements with 20 partners to provide technical and financial support for the regeneration and safety duplication of key collections at the Seed Vault. Proposals for support will be accepted through 31 October 2021. See details in the link provided below.
  • Creating connections and sharing outcomes
    Proactively communicating the results of BOLD to stakeholders to advocate for the necessary financial, legal, technical, and institutional support at national and international levels is essential.

    This element will highlight the vital role of genebanks and project partners on the global development agenda, including the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, in the conservation and use of crop diversity in support of climate change adaptation and food security.

    This component will also create and leverage a sustainable community of practice among partners to improve communications and outreach capacity. National and global campaigns will target stakeholders, especially farmers, seed system actors, and policymakers.

Focus Crops

Barley

Finger millet

Grasspea

Potato

Rice

Wheat

Alfalfa

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