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Svalbard Global Seed Vault

User ID: 426718
05/02/2008 08:26 AM
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Svalbard Global Seed Vault
They are preparing on global scale. Everybody in top politics now what is coming and noone wants to fear the people:

Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen near the town of Longyearbyen (population 2,075)[1] in the remote Arctic Svalbard archipelago. The island is about 1,120 kilometres (700 mi) from the North Pole.

The Seed Vault is managed under terms spelled out in a tripartite agreement between the Norwegian government, the Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT) and the Nordic Genetic Resource Center (previously named the Nordic Gene Bank, a cooperative effort of the Nordic countries under the Nordic Council of Ministers).

The GCDT has played a key role in the planning of the Seed Vault and is coordinating shipments of seed samples to the Vault in conjunction with the Nordic Genetic Resource Center. The Trust will provide most of the annual operating costs for the facility, and has set aside endowment funds to do so, while the Norwegian government will finance upkeep of the structure itself. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has provided approximately $750,000 to assist developing countries and international agricultural research centers to package and ship seeds to the Seed Vault. An International Advisory Council is being established to provide guidance and advice. It will include representatives from the FAO, the CGIAR, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources and other institutions.

The main donors are the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (with $37.5 million), the Rockefeller Foundation, Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont Pioneer Hi-Breed, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)[2] and the Norwegian government (funded all of the approximately $8 million construction cost).

The prime ministers of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland participated in a ceremonial "laying of the first stone" on 19 June 2006.

The seedbank is constructed 120 metres (394 ft) inside a sandstone mountain at Svalbard on Spitsbergen Island.[3] The bank employs a number of robust security systems. Seeds are packaged in special four-ply packets and heat sealed to exclude moisture. The facility is managed by the Nordic Genetic Resource Center, though there are no permanent staff on-site.

Spitsbergen was considered ideal due to its lack of tectonic activity and its permafrost, which will aid preservation. The location 130 metres (430 ft) above sea level will ensure that the site remains dry even if the icecaps melt.[3] Locally mined coal provides power for refrigeration units that further cool the seeds to the internationally-recommended standard −20 to −30 °C (0 to −20 °F).[4] Even if the equipment fails, at least several weeks will elapse before the temperature rises to the −3 °C (30 °F) of the surrounding sandstone bedrock.[1]
The entrance to the Vault.
The entrance to the Vault.

Prior to construction, a feasibility study determined that the vault could preserve seeds from most major food crops for hundreds of years. Some seeds, including those of important grains, could survive far longer, possibly thousands of years.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault opened officially on February 26, 2008.[5] Approximately 1.5 million distinct seed samples of agricultural crops are thought to exist. The variety and volume of seeds stored will depend on the number of countries participating the facility has a capacity to conserve 4.5 million. The first seeds arrived in January 2008.[6] Five percent of the seeds in the Vault, about 18,000 samples with 500 seeds each, come from the Centre of Genetic Sources, part of Wageningen University, Netherlands.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault's mission is to provide a safety net against accidental loss of diversity in traditional genebanks. While the popular press has emphasized its possible utility in the event of a major regional or global catastrophe, it will certainly be more frequently accessed when genebanks lose samples due to mismanagement, accident, equipment failures, funding cuts and natural disasters. Such events occur with some regularity. In recent years, some national genebanks have also been destroyed by war and civil strife. There are some 1,400 crop diversity collections around the world, but many are in politically unstable or environmentally threatened nations.

The Nordic Gene Bank has stored a backup of Nordic plant germplasm as frozen seeds in an abandoned coal mine at Svalbard since 1984. The Nordic Gene Bank (NGB) has deposited more than 10,000 seed samples of more than 2,000 cultivars of 300 different species over the years. In addition, seed samples from southern Africa (SADC) have been safety duplicated with the Nordic collection for some years. Both the Nordic and African collections are expected be transferred to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in the future. Since January 1, 2008 the Nordic Gene Bank is an integrated part of the newly formed Nordic Genetic Resource Center (NORDGEN).