8th Global Conference on the Conservation of Animal Genetic Resources

8th Global Conference on the Conservation of Animal Genetic Resources – Tekirdag, Turkey, 4 – 8 October 2011

Between 4th and 8th October 2011, the 8th Global Conference on the Conservation of Animal Genetic Resources entitled “Sustainable Conservation of Livestock Breeds Diversity for the Future: Impact of Globalisation of Animal Breeding and the Loss of Farm Animal Genetic diversity – A conflict?” was held in Tekirdag (Turkey).

The conference was organized by Rare Breeds International (RBI) – an international non-governmental organization and the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture with the support of the Turkish Agency for International Cooperation and Development.

Rare Breeds International (RBI) was established in 1989 in Great Britain as the organization that focuses, coordinates and supports the activities of non-governmental organizations in the whole world. RBI has organized 8 conferences so far, which took place every three years: in Hungary (1991), Canada (1994), Nepal (1997), Brazil (2000), South Africa (2005), Vietnam (2008) and at present in Turkey.

By taking part in the activities of FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), which since signing the Global Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1992 has carried out intensive activities for the conservation of genetic resources of farm animals, RBI has become a partner for a wide range of initiatives at the level of continents, regions and sub-regions.

The Department of Animal Science at the Agricultural Faculty of the Namik Kemal in Tekirdag was the host of this year’s conference.

Representatives from 38 countries, who presented 34 papers and 44 posters (78 reports in total) took part in the conference. The main problems discussed during the conference, apart from the strategy of protection of rare and vanishing breeds, their contribution to the systems of production, their monitoring, and the use of unique traits, were the exchange of information and experience on the systems of production, assessment of the efficiency of productive traits, morphological and genetic characteristics, and adaptation to husbandry and breeding in extreme conditions. The other issues raised were famine in the world and the necessity for intensification of animal production in order to fulfil the increasing needs of the population. Attention was also paid to the need for creating information flow networks among governmental and non-governmental organizations, research institutes, social institutions and the necessity for promoting subjects concerning biodiversity and the threats associated with biodiversity loss.

Two papers from Poland were presented during the conference. The first one, entitled:Rare Native Dairy Cattle Breeds: Quo vadis?”, by E. Martyniuk, N. Saether and J. Krupiński was presented by Professor Elżbieta Martyniuk, Ph.D. The paper concerned the problems of meat use of Polish Red cows, the breed which is included in the programme of conservation of cattle genetic resources.

The second paper, presented by Grażyna Polak, Ph.D. and  entitled: “Restoration of Polish Native Breeds of Cold-Blooded horses: Challenge and problems”, authored by G. Polak and J. Krupiński, concerned the process of restoration of endangered Sztumski and Sokólski horses.

In addition, on 4 and 7 October 2011 there were two meetings of the working group European Regional Focal Point (European Coordination Centre for the Conservation of Animal Genetic Resources). The meetings discussed the “Subsibreed” project,  which is prepared in cooperation with FAO and concerns the means of financing conservation programmes in the future. There were also discussions on ex situ conservation, the use of cryopreservation, fair access to and division of benefits from use of genetic resources, and the effect of climatic changes on movement of breeds and species.