Meeting on Animal Genetic Resources Documents Progress on Livestock Diversity

FAO24 October 2012: In an effort to stop the loss of livestock genetic diversity, delegates from 80 countries met to present reports and discuss progress on implementing the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resource. The Plan of Action was developed in 2007, and has been followed by the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which met from 24-26 October 2012, in Rome, Italy.

An estimated 22% of global livestock breeds are at risk of extinction, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) notes, and countries are beginning to consider actions to safeguard genetic diversity of rare breeds through policies, legal frameworks, surveys and conservation schemes.

The meeting recorded advances in 45 countries in implementation of the Global Plan of Action, but noted that developed countries have taken stronger efforts to safeguard diversity than developing countries, overall. According to FAO, the protection of rare breeds offers genetic diversity that can be used to combat challenges posed by epidemic diseases and changing climate. [FAO Press Release]