Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Programme funding

EUR 20 million

Official Journal Reference

L 159 of 1994-06-28

Legislative Reference

1467/94/CE of 1994-06-20
To help ensure and improve the conservation, documentation, evaluation, characterization, collection and utilization of potentially valuable plant and animal genetic resources in the Community.


The five-year programme is established to coordinate and promote, at the Community level, work on the conservation, characterization, collection and utilization of genetic resources in agriculture which is undertaken in the Member States. Activities sponsored by the programme are directed towards the needs of the Community's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and are in line with the Convention on Biological Diversity ratified by the Community in 1993.

For the purposes of the programme, genetic resources in agriculture include both plant and animal genetic resources. Plant genetic resources comprise those agricultural crops (including vines, fodder crops, horticultural crops (market-garden and ornamental crops), medicinal plants and aromatics, fruit crops, forest trees, fungi, micro-organisms and wild flora) which are, or could be of use, in the agricultural domain. Animal genetic resources refer to farm animals (vertebrates and certain invertebrates), micro-organisms and wild fauna which are, or could be of use, in the agricultural domain.

The programme encourages the participation of all relevant disciplines, particularly those concerned with the utilization of stored material.

The work undertaken by the programme is expected to increase diversification in agriculture, help to maintain agricultural diversity, improve the quality of agricultural products and reduce inputs and agricultural costs by promoting, in particular, the extensification of agricultural production.


Three areas:

- Permanent inventory:
To consist principally of the establishment, regular updating and regular publication of the state and nature of genetic resources in agriculture collected in the Community and the listing of current work on the conservation, characterization, collection and utilization of those genetic resources;

- Conservation, documentation and information exchange:
To reinforce the Community's efforts in conserving and documenting agricultural, animal and plant genetic resources, including forest trees, by harmonizing work already underway and eliminating duplication of effort. Work follows a series of logical steps ranging from the establishment of a workplan to characterization and eventual collection of genetic resources;

- Evaluation and utilization:
To improve the evaluation and utilization of the material stored in Community in-situ and ex-situ genetic resource collection. Eligible actions cover:
. Activities leading directly to the use of conserved material in agriculture, e.g. the multiplication of candidate material and its trial in field conditions;
. The acquisition of relevant information from users who have received genetic resources from the gene bank in the past and the collection of relevant information from the literature;
. The routine evaluation of the performance of conserved material in practical conditions;
. The routine screening of conserved material for sources of useful and relevant genes conferring, such as product quality, resistance to diseases, pest and stress conditions, general combining ability and male sterility;
. The recording of other non-economic characters that are useful operationally, e.g. for faster or more precise identification of genotypes.


The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the programme, assisted by the Committee on the conservation, characterization, collection and utilization of genetic resources in agriculture. The Committee is composed of representatives of the Member States and chaired by a representative of the Commission.

In particular, the Commission is responsible for:

- Assisting the coordination, at Community level, of certain national measures for the conservation, characterization, collection and utilization of genetic resources in agriculture to permit the rational organization of the means employed within the Community and to ensure the efficient application of the results obtained;

- The development and implementation of programmes of measures for the conservation, characterization, collection and utilization of genetic resources in agriculture at Community level to support or supplement action undertaken in the Member States.

Member States are required to provide the Commission on a regular basis with technical, economic and financial information on specific measures for the conservation, characterization, collection and utilization of genetic resources in agriculture carried out by bodies within their territories. On the basis of this information, the Commission is to keep a permanent inventory and develop the appropriate measures to encourage exchanges of information between competent organizations in the Member States, in particular exchanges on the origins and individual characteristics of available genetic resources.

A budget of ECU 20 million has been established as necessary for the implementation of the actions covered by the programme. A sum equivalent to 10% of the budget is allocated to the establishment, maintenance and publication of the Permanent Inventory whilst 88% is earmarked for activities concerning Conservation, Characterization, Collection and Utilization (66% for plant generic resources and 22% for animal genetic resources). A sum equivalent to 2% of the total budget is set aside for the evaluation and dissemination of the results of the programme.

The Community may make a financial contribution of up to 100% of the costs of concertation actions carried out in the Member States and of accompanying measures. These consist of:

- The organization of seminars, technical conferences and workshops;
- Internal coordination measures through specialized technical groups;
- Training and mobility schemes for specialist personnel;
- The promotion of the utilization of results.

The Community's financial contribution towards shared-cost projects may not exceed 50% of the total costs of the project's implementation. Shared-cost projects should be carried out by participants established within the Community, with priority given to those projects providing for the participation of two or more unconnected participants established in different Member States. As a general rule, projects are formally selected following a call for proposals in the Official Journal of the European Communities, although the restricted procedure may be used in urgent cases. All project proposals must include a declaration on the impact on the environment, containing an undertaking to comply with the relevant safety rules.

There are two modes of participation in the shared-cost projects: "Designated participant" and "Complementary participant".

A designated participant must be recognized for training at Ph.D. level and be prepared to accept students for post-university (3 years) training; and/or be officially recognized by a Member State; and/or be recognized by a Member State as having a comparable level of competence in the relevant area. If responsible for the collection of genetic resources, this must be accessible to all genuine users, conform to standards of good practice and be in active use.

A complementary participant holds material which complements that of the same species in a designated gene bank or possesses other complementary expertise. They participate in the work as subcontractors in collaboration with the designated participant.

The participation of nationals from non-Member countries in the programme and the Community's financial contribution for such participation must be examined on a case-by-case basis.

Contracts concluded by the Commission for the implementation of the various measures will contain detailed rules for the dissemination, protection and exploitation of the results of the actions on the basis of the pre-defined programme of work. Expenditure on the dissemination of the results of the knowledge gained during the implementation of the programme's activities is met from the programme budget.

An interim review of the programme's activities and financial resources will be conducted during the third year of the programme's implementation. Upon completion of the programme, the Commission will appoint a group of independent experts to assess the effectiveness of the actions undertaken. The reports of both reviews will be submitted to the European Parliament, the Council and the Economic and Social Committee. In addition, the Commission is required to submit regular reports to the European Parliament and the Council on the coordination of activities at Community level and the development and implementation of projects under the programme.
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