Preparatory actions on EU plant and animal genetic resources in agriculture

Preparatory Actions

This chapter presents the detailed objectives of each of the two preparatory actions.

Preparatory Action II (January 2016 – December 2018)

The preparatory action is intended to provide (different categories of) stakeholders with concrete examples to valorise the use of neglected breeds and varieties in an economically viable way.

These concrete examples will be delivered in twofold manner:

  1. Through the implementation of four projects; and
  2. The compilation of a compendium of projects.

These will lead to:

  1. The development of a “user guide” for the valorisation of neglected breeds and varieties within the agro-food supply chain for stakeholders; and
  2. The deployment of a communication campaign including the production of a video clip, a conference to present the results of the preparatory actions and other additional communication tools.

The overall aim of this preparatory action is therefore to enhance the willingness of stakeholders to invest in neglected agricultural genetic resources in both plant and animal domains and to provide success stories and valuable secure optimal investment.

The preparatory action will build on past experience and present circumstances. It will take into account the lessons learned from comparable projects under relevant policies, especially but not limited to those under agriculture, regional, research and innovation policy.

The scope of the preparatory action is the European Union (EU 28 MS). The four agricultural genetic resources (neglected breeds and varieties) to be selected for the implementation of the four projects have to be localised in four different EU Member States.

Preparatory Action I (July 2014 – December 2016)

Conservation and promotion of the use of genetic resources for food and agriculture, as well as for the purpose of breeding, are vital to a) ensure global food security, b) advance sustainable production, facilitate adaptation to climate change and new pests and diseases, and c) promote rural development.

Thus, the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 emphasises a sustainable management of genetic resources, including an action to conserve Europe’s agricultural genetic diversity. This is done by encouraging the uptake of agri-environmental measures for the conservation of genetic diversity.

Furthermore, the evaluation of the second Community programme on genetic resources in agriculture underlined the need for further action to enhance conservation of genetic diversity within agriculture, and to promote sustainable use of traditional varieties and breeds so as to make conservation economically viable.

Following an initiative tabled by the European Parliament, the European Commission (DG Agriculture and Rural Development) contracted a Preparatory action on EU plant and animal genetic resources in agriculture”. The project was launched in July 2014 for a period of two years.

The objective of this preparatory action is to support the EU in recognising the potentials for added value in the field of conservation and sustainable use of agricultural genetic resources. In particular, the project will:

  1. identify, describe, and analyse activities undertaken in the EU Member States regarding the conservation and sustainable use of agricultural and forest genetic resources; and
  2. identify missing links, and actions to be addressed in future actions regarding the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources in agriculture and forestry. This analysis may contribute to developing a strategy for the conservation of genetic diversity in the EU.

The study covers the 28 EU Member States, and the following domains:

  1. Plant genetic resources;
  2. Animal genetic resources;
  3. Forest genetic resources;
  4. Microbial & invertebrate genetic resources.