Livestock genetic diversity is key to global food security; this is the native black pig of the mountainous region of northern Vietnam (photo on Flickr by Rock Portrait Photography).
‘Germany, Norway and Switzerland have contributed a first donation of $1,000,000 to a new, FAO [United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization]-managed fund designed to help developing countries conserve and sustainably use their livestock breeds.
‘The fund will provide financing for individual projects submitted by countries in support of the internationally-agreed Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources. The plan, adopted by all FAO member countries in 2007, has become a key instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of animal genetic resources at global, regional and national level.
‘Any developing country may put forward projects for financing by the fund, which is due to become operational in September. “The money will be disbursed on the basis of letters of agreement between applicant countries and FAO, following an innovative, transparent and impartial selection process led by FAO’s Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture,” says Linda Collette, the Secretary of the Commission.
‘Some 21 percent of the world’s more than 8000 livestock breeds are classified as at risk of extinction. But since the Global Plan of Action went into force, countries’ reporting on breeds’ population status is improving and points to a slowing of the reported rate of extinction. . . .
‘A wide portfolio of animal genetic resources is crucial to adapting and developing agricultural production systems to meet the challenges of climate change and growing world population. Other contributions to the fund will be needed from different sources, including from the private sector.’
Read whole article at the Media Centre of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization: New fund for livestock biodiversity management at FAO: Will offer grants to developing countries, 21 Jul 2011.
And watch a new 15-minute film by ILRI: Livestock under threat: Managing the future of native West African ruminant livestock, 29 Jun 2011.