Towards a network for the conservation of Europe’s plant genetic resources
On 22 – 24 October the first Farmer’s Pride workshop took place in Helsingør, Denmark. Farmer’s Pride is a European Union funded project involving a diverse range of stakeholders who are together building a collaborative network for in situ (on-site) conservation and sustainable use of Europe’s plant genetic resources (PGR) for food, nutrition and economic security throughout the region. The focus of the project is on maintaining genetically diverse local crop varieties and crop wild relatives.
The workshop was the first of three, and provided a forum for the PGR conservation and user communities to discuss and make decisions on the development and establishment of a European network of stakeholders and sites for in situ conservation and sustainable use of PGR. The 58 workshop participants comprised members of the project consortium and External Advisory Board, Farmer’s Pride Ambassadors, national, regional as well as international policy-makers, and other invited specialists and experts.
Participants discussed the concept of the European network in three sessions addressing: a) the roles, interests and needs of the potential network stakeholders; b) requirements regarding the network structure and its practical operation; and c) governance of the network, policies relevant to its establishment and long-term operation, and needs for policy change. Within each session, participants were divided into a number of working groups to address specific objectives under these three themes. A report of the workshop is under preparation and the outcomes of the working group discussions will inform on-going tasks in the project.