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Emergency Reserve for Genebanks

The Emergency Reserve provides rapid, short-term and urgent support to seed collections in the global system of ex situ conservation. 

Saving our seeds

Genebanks are the foundation of the world’s food supply. They conserve the diversity of crops and their undomesticated cousins and make it available to researchers, breeders and farmers, helping our food systems adapt to the ever-increasing challenges of climate change.

Yet, such collections are not indestructible. Natural disasters, political crises, pest and disease outbreaks, equipment failure and, most recently, the challenges caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic can place them in jeopardy and trigger catastrophic loss of the invaluable resources they conserve.

The permanent loss of crop diversity makes it harder to develop new crops that can withstand climate change and feed a growing world population.

Coming together to build a new safety net

In June 2021, the Crop Trust and the Secretariat of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (Plant Treaty) launched the world’s first fund to provide financial support to genebanks under imminent threat.

The Emergency Reserve provides urgent funding for genebanks to ensure they can respond swiftly to emergency situations.

How to apply for emergency funding for genebanks

1. If you are a genebank in need of urgent funding, please complete our questionnaire so we can evaluate your situation. Your responses are confidential and will be made available only to the representatives of the Crop Trust and the International Treaty for evaluation purposes only.

2. Please note the following eligibility criteria:

  • The collection is located in a developing country.
  • There is a demonstrated actual, imminent threat to a collection in an emergency situation.
  • Proposed rescue activities focus on immediate, short-term impacts.
  • There is demonstrated financial need (i.e., support for the collection has been unsuccessfully solicited from other funding mechanisms, or that no suitable such mechanisms exist).
  • The collection comprises unique genetic resources of regional and international significance.
  • The recipient collection must be part of (or contain a reasonable amount of material that is in) the International Treaty’s Multilateral System (MLS), or is otherwise operating under the terms and conditions as set out by the MLS.
  • The recipient institution managing the collection agrees to transparent, efficient management of funds and timely reporting on their use.
  • The recipient agrees to develop a risk mitigation strategy and contingency plan as a matter of urgency, and generally complies with the due diligence requirements of both the International Treaty and the Crop Trust.

3. For more information, read the Operational Framework for the Emergency Reserve.

Kent Nnadozie headshot

We live in an interconnected world. Losing a unique collection of plant genetic diversity in one country today means losing future opportunities of breeding a plant variety that will be adapted to changing environments and needs [elsewhere].

Kent Nnadozie Plant Treaty Secretary


  • The Crop Trust
  • The Secretariat of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (Plant Treaty)


  • Government of the United States of America
  • Government of Norway
  • Government of Italy

Crop Trust focal point

Nelissa Jamora

Nelissa Jamora

Agricultural Economist | Monitoring & Evaluation Manager

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