The basis of the project is collective action, bringing together the existing expertise, experience and knowledge of the Centres, and exploiting synergy and complementarity. This approach will be applied to streamline the CGIAR System’s efforts in managing and delivering global public goods to stakeholders to achieve System goals. The collective action is most evident in work on crops in common, in the one-stop germplasm ordering facility, in common knowledge bases, resources and platforms for best practice in genebank management and plant health, in common principles in risk management and performance measurement, and in promoting a global crop conservation and use system.
The establishment of the CGIAR collections took place in response to an extremely urgent need to secure threatened genetic resources for the future. The crisis circumstances of this international response meant that immediate needs were taken care of, but there was neither an overarching framework for the conservation actions, nor sufficient provision for ongoing financial support. Therefore, recognising the importance of their collections and their potential vulnerability, the CGIAR Centres have responsibly taken measures to secure the genetic resources that they hold by placing them under the legal framework of in-trust agreements with FAO, and embarking upon a programme of upgrading their conservation facilities and improving the conservation status of accessions in terms of storage conditions, health, regeneration, safety backup and information management.
The particular strength of the project is the way that it builds on a foundation of individual Centre competence to develop new modalities of collaboration for the integration and sharing of standards and methodologies across genebanks to increase System-wide efficiency and effectiveness in the management and accessibility of crops, particularly those held in common among Centres. This will be accomplished through the development of common information systems, the identification of replicates between Centre collections, and the sharing of tasks in conserving and distributing material. Effective collaboration among the Centres will, in turn, provide a springboard for the CGIAR to take leadership in the development of a more effective and efficient global crop-based conservation and use system.
The project is implemented over a period of three years starting in 2007, and within a budget of ca. US$ 10.46 million. To achieve effective management of this large and complex project, a dedicated Project Coordinator is appointed to work with the SGRP Coordinator and under the guidance of the SGRP Executive Committee. Individual collaborative activities will be coordinated by Activity Coordinators assigned from among the staff of participating Centres or System groups (e.g. SINGER), in cooperation with Task Groups involving Centres and/or external partners. Responsibility for development and implementation of the workplan and budget, and financial and technical reporting will be devolved to Activity Coordinators.