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Genetic resources in agriculture - Review of Community Regulation

The European Commission has published a review of the first three years' implementation of the Community Regulation (EC No 1467/94) creating a programme for the conservation, characterization, collection and utilization of genetic resources in agriculture, adopted in June 1994...
The European Commission has published a review of the first three years' implementation of the Community Regulation (EC No 1467/94) creating a programme for the conservation, characterization, collection and utilization of genetic resources in agriculture, adopted in June 1994.

The objective of this programme is to coordinate and to promote, at Community level, work on the conservation, characterization, collection and utilization of genetic resources in agriculture undertaken in the Member States, with a view to the achievement of the aims of the Common Agricultural Policy. In addition, it would support and supplement the efforts made in Member States where current work appeared inadequate.

The procedures for implementing the Regulation include:

- A permanent inventory of genetic resources in agriculture in the Community;
- Concerted measures and shared cost projects for the conservation, characterization, collection and utilization of those genetic resources;
- Accompanying measures.

The review outlines progress in implementing measures in these three areas. The Commission produced a first version of the inventory in November 1994. A draft second version, with complementary information, was made available on the World Wide Web in October 1996. Two calls for proposals for shared cost and concerted actions were published in December 1994 and April 1996. A total of 100 proposals were received between the two calls. Of these, 14 were selected for funding, following evaluation by independent experts. A number of accompanying measures have also been supported, including specialized technical groups to exchange information, seminars, conferences and workshops, training courses and promotion of the utilization of results.

The scope of the Regulation also includes coordination of activities at Community level. Here the Commission has undertaken to coordinate the Community position in international negotiations, and has also coordinated work with the Biotechnology and Environment and Climate specific RTD programmes.

A total of slightly more than ECU 6 million was committed up to the end of 1996, out of a maximum of ECU 20 million for the five years of the programme. Of this the bulk will go to the 14 projects selected. The programme aims to split its resources between plant and animal genetic resources at a ratio of three to one. However, thus far the ratio of projects selected is over four to one in favour of plant genetic resources. The Commission intends to rectify this in the remaining calls but notes that, by their nature, animal projects tend to be more expensive than plant projects.

In concluding the review, the Commission makes a number of recommendations, both for the remaining period of the programme (up to 1999) and for a possible renewal after this period. These recommendations cover managerial aspects of the programme and technical and scientific aspects.

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