Bioversity International

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Bioversity International
Bioversity logo.svg
Motto Research for development in agricultural and forest biodiversity
Formation 1974
Type Non-profit research and training centre
Legal status International organisation
Purpose Research for development
Headquarters Maccarese, Rome
Location
Region served 16 offices worldwide
Director General M. Ann Tutwiler
Staff Approx. 300
Website www.bioversityinternational.org

Bioversity International is a global research-for-development organization with a vision – that agricultural biodiversity nourishes people and sustains the planet. The organization delivers scientific evidence, management practices and policy options to use and safeguard agricultural biodiversity to attain global food and nutrition security, working with partners in low-income countries in different regions where agricultural biodiversity can contribute to improved nutrition, resilience, productivity and climate change adaptation.

Bioversity International is a member of the CGIAR Consortium - a global research partnership for a food-secure future.

The organization is highly decentralized, with about 320 staff working from 16 offices worldwide. Headquarters is in Maccarese, outside Rome, Italy, with regional offices located in Americas, Asia, Pacific & Oceania, Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Background[edit]

The organization’s was formerly known as the Institute for Plant Genetic Resources(IPGRI). At first it worked on the emergency collection of plant genetic resources. Early work focused on the emergency conservation of crop genetic resources in genebanks. Today it is focused on the use of agricultural biodiversity to help meet four global challenges - improved nutrition through diverse diets; increased productivity, ecosystem services and resilience of farming systems, farming systems more resilient to climate change and pest and disease outbreaks through more diverse quality seeds and other planting materials available to farm households and rural communities; an increase of agricultural biodiversity in global food systems through safeguarding, assessing and monitoring.[1]

The organization takes the view that the diversity of plants and animals offers opportunities not only through breeding but also by delivering many other benefits. Some are direct, such as the better nutrition and greater sustainability that come with locally adapted crops. Others are indirect, like the ecosystem services delivered by healthy populations of pollinators, biological control agents, and soil microbes. Agricultural biodiversity will also be absolutely essential to cope with the predicted impacts of climate change, not simply as a source of traits but as the underpinnings of more resilient farm ecosystems.[2]

Bioversity International works with partners to provide evidence of the wider benefits of agricultural biodiversity and to explore what types of diversity can make the greatest contribution and in what ways this can be done.

Governance[edit]

Bioversity International is governed by a Board of Trustees, including one Trustee nominated by the host country (Italy) and one nominated by FAO. The Board also appoints the Director General who manages the operation of the various programs.

History[edit]

In 2014, Bioversity International marks 40 years of operations. Bioversity International was originally established by the CGIAR as the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources (IBPGR) in 1974. In October 1991, IBPGR became the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI)and in 1994 IPGRI began independent operation as one of the centers of the CGIAR. At the request of the CGIAR, in 1994 IPGRI took over the governance and administration of the International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain (INIBAP). In 2006, IPGRI and INIBAP became a single organization and subsequently changed their operating name to Bioversity International. Bioversity International still maintains the world's largest banana genebank - the Bioversity International Musa Transit Centre in Belgium [3] and manages ProMusa- a platform to facilitate the exchange of information and expertise on banana.[4]

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