The Initiative: A global endowment fund that guarantees the longevity of gene banks
Greater diversity of genetic resources made available to all through an efficient, global gene bank system, can ensure and establish a resilient food supply and more stable prices when times are turbulent.
The only international organization dedicated solely to conserving crop diversity, the Global Crop Diversity Trust’s mandate is to help develop and fund a rational, cost-effective global system to conserve crop diversity in gene banks, through long-term, sustainable support to key collections of the crops that are most important for food security and nutrition. With its Endowment Fund, the Crop Trust provides guaranteed financial support to gene banks worldwide.
Partnering with the Government of Norway and the Nordic Genetic Resource Centre (NordGen), the Endowment Fund established the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which provides a last-resort back-up facility for the world’s gene banks. It currently houses duplicates of about one million seed samples originating from almost every country in the world. The Fund also contributes to the running costs of eight international gene banks and has established a partnership agreement with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), pledging financial support for the essential operations of the world’s most important rice gene bank.
The support provided by the Crop Trust’s Endowment Fund comes solely from investment income earned, so that the capital is not drawn upon. Approximately 95% of the Endowment Fund’s capital is provided by national governments, with the remainder coming from the private sector. In an effort to diversify its funding base and to develop innovative funding mechanisms, the Crop Trust is also exploring crop-based fundraising strategies and crowdfunding that aims to raise awareness and increase name recognition within a broad audience.