On August 10-11, 2021 the IOFS in partnership with the Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation of the OIC (COMSTECH) and Bio-resources Conservation Institute (BCI) of Pakistan Agricultural Research Centre (PARC) has concluded 2 days Training Workshop on the theme “Acquisition, Conservation, Exchange, and Safety Duplication of Plant Genetic Resources in OIC Member Countries – AFRICA Chapter”. In the speech, the IOFS Director-General H.E. Yerlan A. Baidaulet emphasized the importance of establishing strong collaboration with institutions, specialists, and scientists to collectively work on efficient conservation of plant genetic resources in the face of drought, climate change, and progressive erosion of traditional agricultural varieties, which will be critical for Africa's future food security. H.E. Mr Prof. Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary, Coordinator General of COMSTECH has also highlighted the value of joint events with IOFS held for OIC MC, especially on promotion of agriculture and food security, as well as expanding this partnership with more activities.

About 50 participants from Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Uganda, Mali, Niger and Mozambique, as well as Pakistan and Kazakhstan have attended the event. The participants expressed their interest and positive feedbacks on training underlining that it was meeting high standards.  The training program included interactive videos and polling on major PGR conservation topics. According to the poll, 20% of participants indicated a need for support for capacity-building programs, 33% for the development of complete genebanks in their countries, and 27% for assistance with facility enhancement. The actual feedback of participants would provide the organizing Institutes with a real understanding of proper implementation and adaption of genetic resources-related programs to the needs of member countries.

It is important to note that Mr. Ben Naceur, Director of Tunisia's National Genebank expressed his willingness to support the initiatives of IOFS and COMSTECH in terms of conducting trainings, establishment of genetic resource database within OIC, and cooperation in exchange programs with Member countries and International Organizations.

The training was lectured by respected specialists from Genebanks of Tunisia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Genetic resources Centers from Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Nigeria.

The event will be followed by similar training sessions for MENA region on 21-22 September 2021.

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