National Strategic Action Plans

A National Strategic Action Plan for the conservation and sustainable utilization of CWR (NSAP) is a document that sets out a coordinated, systematic and integrated approach to the in situ and ex situ conservation of a particular country’s CWR diversity. It evaluates current conservation actions and establishes future CWR conservation objectives. Equally, the NSAP also addresses the use of CWR, by promoting their value as well as evaluating their use in breeding programmes and the national (and global) demand for CWR in crop improvement. Finally, the NSAP reviews the resources required to implement conservation and sustainable use, it attributes responsibilities and sets CWR conservation action and use in the broader environmental and agricultural policy context.

Why a NSAP is needed for CWR conservation and use?

CWR are unique resources for food security and are increasingly used in crop breeding programmes. However, they are increasingly threatened and are suffering from genetic erosion. A coordinated, systematic and integrated in situ and ex situ approach to CWR conservation is essential to secure these critical resources. In practice, this is best implemented via a NSAP because each nation is responsible for the conservation of the natural resources within its political boundaries and, as such, conservation is predominantly organized on a national basis. In addition, the NSAP promotes the value and the potential for utilization of a country's CWR diversity. The NSAP should be integrated within other national initiatives (e.g. on biodiversity conservation, agriculture and development strategies) but also with regional and eventually global programmes into a coordinated holistic approach to ensure that the most important CWR resources are conserved and available for use in crop improvement.

Which national stakeholders should be involved in the preparation, endorsement and implementation of a NSAP for CWR conservation and use, and how?

Given the dual benefits of CWR as important elements in natural habitats and as gene donors for crop improvement, CWR conservation is best achieved if both national PGR institutes and nature conservation communities work together from the preparation of the NSAP to its implementation. National stakeholders include: farmers’ associations, genebank managers, herbarium managers, pre-breeders, public breeding institutes, private breeding companies, NGOs, academic institutes, ministries of agriculture and environment/conservation of nature etc.

In countries where several ministries share responsibility for PGRFA conservation it is very important that they are all engaged in the preparation of the NSAP and that they then endorse it. Additionally, in countries with a federal structure, where responsibilities for nature conservation are shared between “Länder”, “Cantons” or “Autonomies”, the implementation of conservation actions at national level requires a coordination unit at the federal level.

The table below lists the different stakeholders that were involved in the NSAP for CWR conservation and use in Mauritius (and Rodrigues), South Africa and Zambia, and their level of involvement (preparation, endorsement and implementation of the NSAP).

The Interactive Toolkit for Crop Wild Relative Conservation Planning was developed within the framework of the SADC CWR project (2014-2016),
which was co-funded by the European Union and implemented through ACP-EU Co-operation Programme in Science and Technology (S&T II) by the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States.
Grant agreement no FED/2013/330-210.