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Conservation, characterisation, collection and utilisation of genetic resources in agriculture

The European Union is complementing and encouraging Member States' efforts on the conservation and sustainable utilisation of biodiversity in agriculture by financing a number of measures under a Community programme for 2004-06.

ACT

Council Regulation (EC) No 870/2004 of 24 April 2004 establishing a Community programme on the conservation, characterisation, collection and utilisation of genetic resources in agriculture, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1467/94

SUMMARY

During the period 2004-06, the Commission is implementing a Community programme covering plant, microbial and animal genetic resources * which are or could be of use in agriculture. The amount allocated to the programme is 10 million.

The Commission selects the actions to be part-financed under the programme on the basis of calls for proposals and following evaluation by independent experts. Proposals may be submitted by a public sector body or any natural or legal person who is a national of a Member State and established in the Community, in an EFTA/EEA country, or in an associated country in accordance with the conditions stipulated in a bilateral agreement.

The actions, which may last for a maximum of four years, may be of three types:

  • targeted actions, part-financed up to a maximum of 50% of their total cost and including:
    - transnational actions promoting the ex situ and in situ conservation *, characterisation, collection and utilisation of genetic resources in agriculture;
    - the establishment of a European decentralised, permanent and widely accessible web-based inventory of genetic resources currently conserved in situ including in situ/on-farm genetic resources conservation activities;
    - the establishment of a European decentralised, permanent and widely accessible web-based inventory of the ex situ collections (gene banks) and in situ resources;
    - the promotion of regular exchanges of technical and scientific information among competent organisations in the Member States;
  • concerted actions, part-financed up to a maximum of 80% of their total cost, transnational in character and promoting the exchange of information on thematic issues for the purpose of improving the coordination of actions and programmes in the sphere concerned;
  • accompanying actions, part-financed up to a maximum of 80% of their total cost and comprising information, dissemination and advisory actions, training courses and the preparation of technical reports.

Once an action has been approved, the Commission will conclude a grant agreement with the participants setting out detailed criteria for the reporting, dissemination, protection and exploitation of the results of the action.

The Commission is assisted by a Committee on the conservation, characterisation, collection and utilisation of genetic resources in agriculture. The Commission may also call on the assistance of scientific and technical experts for the implementation of the programme.

At the end of the programme, the Commission will appoint a group of independent experts to report on the implementation of the Regulation, to assess the results and to make appropriate recommendations. The group's report will be submitted to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee.

Key terms used in the act
  • "Plant genetic resources" means those of agricultural crops, horticultural crops, medicinal plants and aromatics, fruit crops, forest trees and wild flora which are or could be of use in agriculture.
  • "Genetic material" means any material of plant, microbial or animal origin, including reproductive and vegetative propagating material, containing functional units of heredity.
  • "In situ conservation" means the conservation of genetic material in ecosystems and natural habitats and the maintenance and recovery of viable populations of species or feral breeds in their natural surroundings and, in the case of domesticated animal breeds or cultivated plant species, in the farmed environment where they have developed their distinctive properties.
  • "Ex situ conservation" means the conservation of genetic material outside its natural habitat.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Regulation (EC) No 870/20047.5.2004-OJ L 162 of 30.4.2004
Last updated: 17.03.2005

See also

For further information, please consult the website of the European Commission Directorate-General for Agriculture.

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