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Case Study Details

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In situ Conservation of Crop Wild Relatives Through Enhanced Information Management and Field Application: South-South Cooperation to Develop Global Tools for Crop Wild Relatives Conservation and Sustainable Use

Executive Summary
Carried out between 2004 and 2010, the Project was funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in collaboration with the Governments of Armenia, Bolivia, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, and Uzbekistan. Under the coordination of Bioversity International, the Project set out to establish a broadly-based partnership to enhance the in situ conservation of Crop Wild Relatives (CWR) in these five countries and to use the experience of doing so as a platform to create and test tools that would enable others to use similar methods, adding to the global knowledge about CWR and their conservation and use. Furthermore the project created important synergies and facilitated sharing and learning through South-South and North-South exchanges.

The outcomes of this project included: the safe and effective conservation of CWR and their increased availability for crop improvement in Armenia, Bolivia, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, and Uzbekistan, along with an international information system to support the conservation of CWR throughout the world. Within each partner country, the conservation status of CWR was determined and information management systems were created bringing together information on CWR held by different institutions. The international information management system was created and tested by partner countries and international partners, and allowed dispersed information held by individual countries, international agencies, and other institutions to be brought together and used to support conservation decision-making at the global level. Decision-making procedures allowing countries to identify priority conservation actions were developed and tested, and those of the highest priority were carried out. Benefit-sharing issues relevant to conservation of CWR were investigated, and initiatives were undertaken to increase the involvement of country decision makers and the public in the conservation of CWR.

Actors Involved

2. Bioversity International

Environment and Conservation,  Environment and Conservation,  

SSC Components
1. Effective partnerships - The project was able to engage more than 60 national and international agencies essential to the complex and multidisciplinary nature of CWR in situ conservation.
2. Global and National Information Systems - All participating countries brought together pre-existing and new data on CWR in one or more national databases, all based on the same set of descriptors.
3. Enhanced Capacity Building - The capacity to analyze and use information for conservation decision-making was substantially increased in all project countries. Over 650 project partner staff members have received training to support project implementation.
4. Conservation Actions - The project has expanded substantially the previously limited body of knowledge on in situ CWR conservation in developing countries.

Lessons Learned
1. The effective in situ conservation of CWR is not an easy task. It is not simply a matter of developing conservation biology; there are also a wide range of political, institutional, legal, social, and cultural issues that must be addressed. The amount of time and resources needed to bring together relevant stakeholders for such efforts is often underestimated. Accommodation of South-to-South, cross-country learning and sharing of experiences is needed to enhance the impact of the capacity development support provided by a project of this nature.

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