Genetic resources for food and agriculture encompass the diversity of plants, animals, forests, aquatic resources, micro-organisms and invertebrates that play a role in food and agricultural production.
If properly conserved and used, for example, plant genetic resources may provide seeds that can tolerate or thrive amid greater aridity, frost, flooding or soil salinity. Livestock breeds raised in harsh production environments over a long period of time tend to acquire characteristics that enable them to cope with these conditions.
Guidelines fill a gap
Currently, there is no commonly adopted approach to integrating agricultural biodiversity into strategic planning for climate change adaptation. The Guidelines aim to address this gap. They will assist countries in addressing genetic resources dimensions when developing or updating their National Adaptation Plans (NAPs).
"We need to secure and mobilize genetic resources now to have options for the future - we need to have effective conservation, improved information and improved utilization pathways - and we need to plan. Funding is required to support countries in this process," says Irene Hoffmann, Secretary of FAO's intergovernmental Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, under whose aegis the guidelines were developed.
Given that all countries depend on genetic diversity from other countries and regions, international cooperation and exchange of such material is crucial. In this regard, the Commission negotiated the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which allows researchers and breeders to access genetic resources from other countries.
Tuesday November 24, 2015/ FAO.