Many countries have made progress in the establishment of the policies, programmes and institutional frameworks needed to promote the sustainable management of genetics resources of plant and animal species. Many weaknesses still need to be addressed, particularly in developing countries.
Today, there are some 1,750 gene banks around the world, preserving more than 7 million samples of seeds, cuttings or genetic material. There are massive international gene banks exist in the world, and regional and national gene banks that operate with small budget and lack of knowledge and experience. All of them are crucial to preserving biodiversity, yet for smaller gene banks, the difficulties associated with acquiring, storing and disseminating the genetic material.
Considering the critical need for promoting biodiversity and efficient conservation of genetic resources, the Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS) works on enhancing human resource capacity, as well as establishment strong collaboration between OIC Member countries through running its Programme on “Development of National Gene Banks in OIC. The IOFS has organized several activities within this Programme in past 2 years, and of them was implemented in partnership with COMSTECH and PARC-BCI.
The series of training conducted for Asia, Africa and Mena regions have gained a plenty of praise from participants and their willingness to expand cooperation within OIC region. As Dr. Ismail Abdelhamid, Director of Programs and Projects of IOFS noted ‘training allowed us to have linkages with all stakeholders from Member countries to begin mutually beneficial activities. Participants wished to have more workshops on other themes as in-situ conservation, farm management, and others. Dr. Khaled Abulaila, Director of Biodiversity and Plant Genetic Resources at Jordan's National Agricultural Research Center (NARC), expressed the importance of constructing partnership with neighboring countries that share the same genepool in order to access, share, and exchange genetic resources. This is one of the IOFS's visions for program implementation.
The Organizing Institutions agreed to compile all training materials in proceedings to disseminate to participants. Concluding the training workshops, it was agreed to conduct International Conferencebefore the end of the year 2021 with participation of all attendees and international organizations. The institutions also highlighted that there are numerous opportunities and initiatives that have emerged to be implemented in collaboration with Genebanks and Research Institutions from OIC Member countries. In total, the IOFS, COMSTECH, and BCI trained 182 PGR specialists from the OIC region.
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