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European Crop Wild Relative Diversity Assessment and Conservation Forum Workshop 5: Genetic erosion and pollution assessment Terceira Isla, Azores, 8 – 11 September 2004.

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S. Diulgheroff, FAO

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S diulgheroff fao

European Crop Wild Relative Diversity Assessment and Conservation Forum

Workshop 5: Genetic erosion and pollution assessment

Terceira Isla, Azores, 8 – 11 September 2004

A global overview on assessing and monitoring genetic erosion of crop wild relatives and local varieties using WIEWS and other elements of the FAO Global System on PGR

S. Diulgheroff, FAO


Contents

Contents

  • Introduction

  • The Global Plan of Action

    • Monitoring GPA implementation

    • New Approach for GPA monitoring

  • The World Information and Early warning System

  • The State of the World’s PGRFA

  • Conclusions and recomendations


Genetic erosion definition

Genetic Erosion Definition

  • “Loss of genetic diversity, in a particular location and over a particular period of time, including the loss of a unique allele, the loss of particular combinations of genes such as those manifested in landraces or varieties. It is thus a function of change of genetic diversity over time.”1

    1 FAO and IPGRI 2002


On going ge monitoring processes

On going GE monitoring processes

  • IUCN’s Species Survival Commission,

  • CBD,

  • UNEP/WCMC,

  • OECD,

  • PGR Forum (EU),

  • IPGRI and FAO,


Global system on plant genetic resources

Global System on Plant Genetic Resources

Under the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture - CGRFA

Objectives: to ensure the safe conservation, and promote the availability and sustainable use of plant genetic resources by providing a flexible framework for sharing the benefits and burdens


Global system on plant genetic resources1

Global System on Plant Genetic Resources

Inter alia, three key elements are:

  • the Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of PGRFA (GPA);

  • the World Information and Early Warning System (WIEWS) on PGRFA; and

  • the Report on the State of the World's PGRFA (SOW)


The global plan of action

The Global Plan of Action

In Situ Conservation and Development

1   Surveying and Inventorying PGRFA 

2   Supporting On-Farm Management and Improvement of PGRFA 

3   Assisting Farmers in Disaster Situations to Restore Agricultural Systems  

4   Promoting In Situ Conservation of Wild Crop Relatives and Wild Plants for Food Production

Ex Situ Conservation

5   Sustaining Existing Ex Situ Collections  

6   Regenerating Threatened Ex Situ Accessions

7   Supporting Planned and Targeted Collecting of PGRFA 

8   Expanding Ex Situ Conservation Activities

Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources

9   Expanding the Characterization, Evaluation and Number of Core Collections to Facilitate Use  

10   Increasing Genetic Enhancement and Base-Broadening Efforts  

11   Promoting Sustainable Agriculture through Diversification of Crop Production and Broader Diversity in Crops  

12   Promoting Development and Commercialization of Under-Utilized Crops and Species  

13   Supporting Seed Production and Distribution  

14   Developing New Markets for Local Varieties and 'Diversity-Rich' Products

Institutions and Capacity Building

15   Building Strong National Programmes  

16   Promoting Networks for PGRFA 

17   Constructing Comprehensive Information Systems for PGRFA 

18   Developing Monitoring and Early Warning Systems for Loss of PGRFA

19   Expanding and Improving Education and Training  

20   Promoting Public Awareness of the Value of PGRFA Conservation and Use


The global plan of action1

The Global Plan of Action

Priority Activity Are 18   Developing Monitoring and Early Warning Systems

for Loss of PGRFA

It calls for governments to “periodically review and report on the situation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture... [and to] ... designate / re-confirm a focal point to convey this information to FAO, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, and other appropriate bodies”. (GPA 1996)


Monitoring gpa implementation

Monitoring GPA Implementation

In Situ Conservation and Development

1   Surveying and Inventorying PGRFA

2   Supporting On-Farm Management and Improvement of PGRFA

3   Assisting Farmers in Disaster Situations to Restore Agricultural Systems

4   Promoting In Situ Conservation of Wild Crop Relatives and Wild Plants for Food Production

Ex Situ Conservation

5   Sustaining Existing Ex Situ Collections  

6   Regenerating Threatened Ex Situ Accessions

7   Supporting Planned and Targeted Collecting of PGRFA 

8   Expanding Ex Situ Conservation Activities

Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources

9   Expanding the Characterization, Evaluation and Number of Core Collections to Facilitate Use  

10   Increasing Genetic Enhancement and Base-Broadening Efforts  

11 Promoting Sustainable Agric through Crop Production Diversification + Broader Diversity in Crops

12   Promoting Development and Commercialization of Under-Utilized Crops and Species  

13   Supporting Seed Production and Distribution  

14   Developing New Markets for Local Varieties and 'Diversity-Rich' Products

Institutions and Capacity Building

15   Building Strong National Programmes  

16   Promoting Networks for PGRFA 

17   Constructing Comprehensive Information Systems for PGRFA 

18   Developing Monitoring and Early Warning Systems for Loss of PGRFA

19   Expanding and Improving Education and Training  

20   Promoting Public Awareness of the Value of PGRFAConservation and Use


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Monitoring GPA Implementation 1996-2004

  • 1998 Global Survey (narrative format)~110 countries replied

  • 2000 Natl. Focal Pointnomin./confirmation 151

  • 2000 Global Survey(tabular, y/n, m-choice answers fmat) ~110

  • 2004 Global Survey (tabular, y/n, m-choice answers fmat) ~80


Monitoring gpa implementation1

Monitoring GPA Implementation

In Situ Conservation and Development

1   Surveying and Inventorying PGRFA

2   Supporting On-Farm Management and Improvement of PGRFA

3   Assisting Farmers in Disaster Situations to Restore Agricultural Systems

4   Promoting In Situ Conservation of Wild Crop Relatives and Wild Plants for Food Production

Ex Situ Conservation

5   Sustaining Existing Ex Situ Collections  

6   Regenerating Threatened Ex Situ Accessions

7   Supporting Planned and Targeted Collecting of PGRFA 

8   Expanding Ex Situ Conservation Activities

Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources

9   Expanding the Characterization, Evaluation and Number of Core Collections to Facilitate Use  

10   Increasing Genetic Enhancement and Base-Broadening Efforts  

11 Promoting Sustainable Agric through Crop Production Diversification + Broader Diversity in Crops

12   Promoting Development and Commercialization of Under-Utilized Crops and Species  

13   Supporting Seed Production and Distribution  

14   Developing New Markets for Local Varieties and 'Diversity-Rich' Products

Institutions and Capacity Building

15   Building Strong National Programmes  

16   Promoting Networks for PGRFA 

17   Constructing Comprehensive Information Systems for PGRFA 

18   Developing Monitoring and Early Warning Systems for Loss of PGRFA

19   Expanding and Improving Education and Training  

20   Promoting Public Awareness of the Value of PGRFAConservation and Use


Area 1 surveying and inventorying pgrfa

Area 1 – Surveying and inventorying PGRFA

  • Number of inventorying activities reported by countries has steadily increased since 1998

  • >1,400 surveys and inventories were carried out since 2001, of which 1,079 have taken place in India alone

  • 3,000 species, ecotypes or populations under threat were identified since 2001, half of them in Europe


Area 2 supporting on farm management and improvement of pgrfa

Area 2 – Supporting on-farm management and improvement ofPGRFA

  • Slight increase throughout the years in the number of projects

  • >80% of the countries reported participatory crop improvement as the main research activity

  • In Africa, 93% of countries reported that projects in this area included, in addition, on-farm seed production, marketing and distribution activities


Area 2 supporting on farm management and improvement of pgrfa1

Area 2 – Supporting on-farm management and improvement ofPGRFA

  • Research studies of on-farm management of underutilized crops were prioritized by many countries in Europe and in Asia and the Pacific

  • On-farm conservation of sorghum and cowpea in Malawi

  • Utilization and development of an old rye variety in Austria


Area 2 supporting on farm management and improvement of pgrfa2

Area 2 – Supporting on-farm management and improvement ofPGRFA

  • participative management of genetic resources of date palms in the Maghreb oases in Morocco,

  • germplasm management of African leafy vegetables in Senegal and

  • in situ conservation and breeding of local varieties to improve the quality of maize bread “broa de milho” in Portugal


Area 3 assisting farmers in disaster situations to restore agricultural systems

Area 3 – Assisting farmers in disaster situations to restore agricultural systems

  • In 2000, 32% of the countries with national plans in operation for assisting farmers in recovering/restoring germplasm following disaster situations

  • In 2004, 46%

  • most improvements took place in Asia and Pacific, Latin America and Europe


Area 4 promoting in situ conservation of cwr and wpfp

Area 4 – Promoting in situ conservation of CWR and WPFP

Table 1. Priority level given to Activity Area 4 Promoting in situ conservation of CWR and WPFP (1 - high priority; 2 - medium priority; 3 - low priority)


Area 4 promoting in situ conservation of cwr and wpfp1

Area 4 – Promoting in situ conservation of CWR and WPFP

Table 2. Status of plans and implementation activities for conservation and use of CWR+WPFP (% of countries).


Area 4 promoting in situ conservation of cwr and wpfp2

Area 4 – Promoting in situ conservation of CWR and WPFP

Table 3. Percentage of countries, grouped by regions, having identified CWR+WPFP for in situ conservation since previous survey.


Area 4 promoting in situ conservation of cwr and wpfp3

Area 4 – Promoting in situ conservation of CWR and WPFP

Table 4. Percentage of countries, grouped by regions, having made arrangements to place threatened diversity of CWR into ex situ collections.


Area 6 regenerating threatened ex situ collections

Area 6 Regenerating threatened ex situ collections

Multiyear plans for regeneration in place

  • in almost all reporting countries in Asia and the Pacific, Europe and the Near East

  • in 50 percent of the Latin American countries

  • in 60 percent of the African countries


Area 6 regenerating threatened ex situ collections1

Area 6 Regenerating threatened ex situ collections

  • regeneration of accessions continues to be an urgent need for 70% of the reporting countries

  • a significant decrease in their need for regeneration is reported in only 40% of European countries


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Area 11 – Promoting sustainable agriculture through diversification of crop production and broader diversity of crops

  • few studies undertaken to assess genetic diversity and vulnerability of cultivated varieties

  • the majority of countries are taking various measures to increase diversity by encouraging diversification of crop production


Area 14 developing markets for local varieties and diversity rich products

Area 14 – Developing markets for local varieties and “diversity-rich” products

Figure 1. Changes in the range of local crop varieties available in the markets


Area 18 developing monitoring and early warning systems for loss of pgrfa

Area 18 – Developing monitoring and early warning systems for loss ofPGRFA

Table 5. Monitoring threats of genetic erosion in situ and ex situ (% of countries).

*

Yes, threats are monitored, and action can be taken as needed

Partial monitoring of threats, partial preventive action is possible

No mechanism for monitoring; no mechanism in place for taking action to prevent genetic erosion


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Monitoring GPA Implementation 1996-2004

  • Limits of the applied methodology:

  • Lack of detailed information limited the depth of analysis

  • Need for more quantitative info

  • Need to widen the sources of information including stakeholders

  • Missing information in the cases presented include:

  • the number and kind of threatened CWR, WPFP and local varieties inventoried;

  • which CWR species and areas were identified for in situ conservation;

  • the number and kind of taxa and accessions conserved ex situ including threatened CWR;

  • which accessions urgently need regeneration;

  • the number and kind of local varieties in use; etc.


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New GPA Monitoring Approach

Two guiding principles:

  • Ensure National Programmes benefit directly from it

  • Ensure widest possible participation of National Stakeholders


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New GPA Monitoring Approach

Main objectives were to:

  • Promote understanding of PGRFA status and dynamics

  • Allow meaningful analysis of gaps + priorities

  • Improve decision-making on and planning of available resources

  • Increase visibility of on-going efforts

  • Improve countries capacity to manage PGRFA info + to meet intl. reporting commitments


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New GPA Monitoring Approach

A country-driven, participatory and capacity building process, culminating with the establishment of national information-sharing mechanisms on the implementation of the Global Plan of Action, which will constitute the skeleton of a global monitoring system under the Commission


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New GPA Monitoring Approach

The four main components developed by FAO and IPGRI and with inputs from ITWG, National Programmes on PGRFA and an expert group include:

  • a list of indicators for monitoring the implementation at country level of all priority activity areas of the Global Plan of Action;

  • a reporting format, which is a structured questionnaire based on these indicators;

  • a computer application, which has been developed to facilitate and simplify recording, processing, analysis and sharing of the information addressed by the indicators and the questionnaire; and

  • guidelines for initiating and coordinating this process, including guidelines for the involvement of stakeholders and for establishing a national information-sharing mechanism.


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New GPA Monitoring Approach

New Monitoring approach tested and implemented in:

  • Ecuador (March 2004),

  • Cuba (February 2004),

  • Czech Republic (March 2004),

  • Fiji (June 2004),

  • Ghana (March 2004),

  • Kenya (March 2004) and

  • Papua New Guinea (June 2004)

    and evaluated in Germany and Canada.


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New GPA Monitoring Approach

A meeting to examine the lessons learned during the testing phase and, based on these experiences, to refine the indicators and reporting format was held at FAO Headquarters in Rome on 5-7 May, 2004.

Country reports, describing the process carried out to establish the National Information-Sharing Mechanism on the GPA and including an analysis of the information gathered, are made available under WIEWS and the country web sites.


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New GPA Monitoring Approach

Activities for the implementation of the new monitoring approach have already started in:

  • Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam;

  • Mali and Uzbekistan; and

  • Bolivia.


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World Information and Early Warning System on PGR

It was established by FAO as a world-wide dynamic mechanism to facilitate the exchange of information that governments provide on plant genetic resources collections and related technologies.


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World Information and Early Warning System on PGR

It serves as an important tool for the periodic updating of the

Report on the State of the World’s Plant Genetic Resources

and as the platform of the

Global Monitoring Mechanism on the implementation of the Global Plan of Action


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World Information and Early Warning System on PGR

The Early Warning System on PGRFA, whose original specification was to warn “on any hazards that threaten the efficient maintenance and operation of a centre [genebank], with a view to prompt international action to safeguard the material maintained”,[1] is now being developed in order to address not only PGRFA ex situ collections but also in situ CWR and local varieties [1] International Undertaking on PGR Art. 7.1 (f)


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Report on the State of the World's PGRFA

First Report – 1998

Second Report – 2006

Needs, emergencies and priorities identified in second report will provide the basis for the operation and periodic updating of the Global Plan of Action


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Report on the State of the World's PGRFA

In Article 17.3 of International Treaty on PGR a call for cooperation with the Commission in its periodic reassessment of the state of the world’s PGRFA is made to all Contracting Parties


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Report on the State of the World's PGRFA

Chapter 1 of the first report of State of the World’s PGRFA discusses the State of Diversity including Genetic Vulnerability and Erosion.

Narratives examples of occurrences of genetic erosion particularly related to loss of local varieties, based on reports submitted by countries


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Report on the State of the World's PGRFA

Second Report will show trends where feasible.

+

A number of thematic studies, among these, one on “Indicators of genetic diversity, genetic erosion and genetic vulnerability”

to present the “state of the art” of indicators development and use for genetic diversity, erosion and vulnerability, at various scales, including an evaluation of the feasibility of assessing genetic diversity/erosion at national level, also through modern molecular techniques


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Report on the State of the World's PGRFA

GPA Monitoring (new approach) and preparation of Second Report will be fully integrated.

Guidelines are being drafted and will be presented to the CGRFA-10 and discussed in regional meetings.


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Conclusions and Recommendations

  • Surveys carried out on the implementation of the Global Plan of Action have shown that some progress is being achieved in terms of management of agro-biodiversity by countries throughout the world.

  • National Programs awareness of the importance of and capacity for monitoring genetic erosion has slightly but constantly improved, although there are huge differences in this regard among regions.


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Conclusions and Recommendations

  • It is scientifically and technically very difficult to measure genetic diversity and its loss directly. The most definitive measurement would take place at the DNA level.

  • However, ex situ PGR collections commonly contain hundreds of accessions representing different genotypes, and they are often only a fraction of the genetic diversity presented by a given crop.

  • Although it’s possible to study the genetic diversity of one or two genes very intensively across many genotypes, or to determine the entire genetic composition of one or two genotypes, through current technologies it is not possible to measure the genetic diversity of the entire genome of a very large number of genotypes.


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Conclusions and Recommendations

  • Genetic diversity and its loss therefore must be measured by proxy.

  • It’s therefore crucial to establish proxy measures which are relevant and as scientifically accurate as possible.

  • Proxy indicators of genetic erosion which take advantage of existing available information including indigenous knowledge for local varieties as well as spatial and temporal comparisons for crop wild relatives should be agreed upon and applied on a large scale.


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Conclusions and Recommendations

  • As monitoring genetic erosion of CWR and local varieties is scientifically, technically and logistically difficult and requires substantial efforts and long term commitment particularly at national level, it would important to link such efforts to some short term return benefit that ensure sustainability to such considerable, if systematically applied, investment.

  • An ideal way would be to take advantage of the information generation and gathering processes for monitoring genetic erosion to contribute to information requirements of existing breeding programs.

  • Existing international efforts need to be reinforced in order to provide methodologies which can be applied by National Programs and enable good estimations of the status and dynamics of diversity.


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Conclusions and Recommendations

  • The ongoing activities for the preparation of the second report of the State of the World’s PGRFA as well as agreed targets under the CBD offer an excellent opportunity of collaboration among international organizations and National PGRFA Programs in order to set up realistic and sustainable mechanisms for monitoring genetic erosion.


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