Prerequisites For An Efficient Pgrfa Conservation Approach

All of the mentioned actors involved in the conservation of PGRFA will have a role to play in the conservation of plant genetic resources in the future. It will be essential for the future success of increased utilization of improved varieties that the relations between these actors will be productive and some increase in the efficiency of their efforts attained. The main task for the public sector is to set priorities according to the national capacity. Furthermore, it will improve the efficiency of conservation and utilization in a country if collaborations between the actors, especially at the regional and international levels, as well as between the public and the private sectors, are realized, strengthened, and reinforced. These efforts will increase the efficiency of all conservation activities.

A method of strengthening conservation activities worldwide through international and regional collaborations can utilize different synergetic effects based on the principle economies of scale, resulting in an efficient PGRFA conservation and utilization system for the benefit of all involved. The opportunity for collaborations is good, all the more because there is an urgent call for action to improve PGRFA-conservation efforts in the majority of countries.

The backbone of all regional and international collaborations is reliable national programs. It should be emphasized that, in order to be sustainable, collaborations must be based on sound national programs. In other words, international funding does not remove the need for domestic funding. National commitment is essential to provide sustainable funding for national programs and projects through specific funding allocations from governments. Only a regular funding for a national program can guarantee the sustainability of the national program as well as attract sufficient external funding for regional networks or international collaborations.

Different collaborations are based upon varying objectives. Emphasis must be on measures, which improve the efficiency of conservation through the rationalization of efforts, e.g., the rationalization of collections through regional and international collaboration, improved data and information management, as well as the reduced over-duplication of samples. This can be achieved through a joint accessible database with information on the ex situ and in situ germplasm that are available in the region. Furthermore, this can be achieved through the information gathering and distribution as well as the sharing of research results.

The efficiency of the implementation of PGRFA conservation activities will be increased by including an expenditure survey of all related activities in an overall monitoring-reporting system. In this way, a flexible but objective feedback mechanism for the implementation process can be established. Only by monitoring the expenditures can the effectiveness of the implementation be identified and the allocation of scarce financial resources be optimized. This guarantees the best possible implementation of PGRFA conservation activities. This system may take advantage of synergy effects, reducing the financial and human resources needed for the reporting of the different data. By harmonizing the reporting system with other international monitoring systems, e.g., animal genetic resources or CBD, synergy effects can also be increased.

A final prerequisite for any collaboration on the regional or international level is the maintenance of national sovereignty of those countries involved. Only with their sovereign rights over materials such as germplasm are countries willing to place materials in secure storage facilities outside their borders. This includes the implementation of a cost-efficient "Farmers' Rights" system.

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