Finland strengthens its genetic resources policy as part of climate change adaptation
On 20 December 2018, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry published new guidelines for the genetic resources policy and a National Genetic Resources Programme for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to support these. The aim of the national genetic resources policy is to safeguard Finland’s genetic resources and promote the adaptation of primary production to climate change.
The impacts of climate change are reflected everywhere in the natural environment and all sectors of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, which highlights the strategic role of genetic resources. A diverse genetic heritage of arable crops, breeds of farm animals, forest trees and fish stocks must be preserved to respond to the changing needs of plant and animal breeding. Through this we can secure the conditions for primary production to adapt to the new conditions in a controlled manner.
“The guidelines for our genetic resources policy strengthen the strategic approach of our policy. By this we can ensure that genetic diversity is preserved for future generations and create a sufficiently solid foundation for plant and animal breeding in conditions that we cannot fully predict in advance”, says Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Jari Leppä.
According to the new guidelines, Finland’s genetic resources policy will be linked to the strategies guiding the protection and sustainable use of biological natural resources. The aim is to ensure the maintenance and continuity of genetic resources and promote their sustainable use.
Finland’s National Genetic Resources Programme for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries guides the operations concerning the conservation, protection and sustainable use of genetic resources in Finland and replaces the Plant and Animal Genetic Resources Programmes published in 2001 and 2004. The programme covers the genetic resources of arable crops, farm animals, forest trees and fish as individual sectors. The aim of the programme is to improve the usability of genetic resources collections, support business based on genetic resources, and develop cost-efficient operating models that support the maintenance and sustainable use of genetic resources and the access to them.
This is also the first time when the genetic resources of the Åland Islands have been included in the national programme.
The implementation of the programme is supervised by the National Advisory Board for Genetic Resources under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and coordinated by the Natural Resources Institute Finland. In Finland genetic resources are being conserved by several public and private operators, of which the Natural Resources Institute Finland has the most significant role.
Inquiries at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry:
Risto Lahti, Special Adviser, tel. +358 50 565 0424
Tuula Pehu, Ministerial Adviser. tuula.pehu(at)mmm.fi, p. + 358 40 724 6132