National Strategies/ Action Plans


Most countries’ biodiversity strategies and action plans do not specifically refer to crop wild relatives (CWR) or even to the in situ conservation of targeted species. Given the unique nature of CWR conservation, it is desirable for countries to develop a separate national strategy and action plan specifically for CWR conservation and use.

CWR’s unique character and importance require special care and attendance. The development of a specific national strategy or action plan can provide a coherent approach for conservation and use of CWR.

This module presents the idea of national strategies and action plans regarding CWR and it offers steps to develop a national strategy/action plan.

Why develop a strategy?

A national strategy is needed to provide a coherent approach to CWR conservation and utilization. The strategy should seek to:

  • Ensure coordination of planning and implementation of CWR conservation so activities are harmonized between stakeholders;
  • Institutionalize (or formalize) the practice of CWR conservation by embedding it in national planning mechanisms; and
  • Promote public awareness and understanding of the importance and value of CWR and their conservation.

To top

Steps to developing a national strategy/action plan

  • Provide the background context for CWR.
  • Compile a national inventory of CWR and lists of other potential economically important target species and their conservation status.
  • Review existing national CWR data sources and assess the current status of CWR conservation in the country.
  • Select a list of priority CWR species for conservation action - A national action plan and strategy for CWR should elaborate a list of CWR (the long list) and then prioritize those that will be the subject of conservation actions in the short-, medium- and long-term.
  • Make a baseline assessment of the ecogeographic status and undertake a threat assessment for priority species.
  • Undertake a gap analysis to establish gaps in conservation measures.
  • Outline proposals for in situ conservation action (including threat management), both within and outside of protected areas.
  • Make proposals for the sampling and storage of priority species requiring ex situ conservation.
  • Make proposals for other actions to safeguard CWR outside protected areas. 
    Make proposals for complementary ex situ conservation.
  • Review the policy framework for CWR conservation and the changes needed - Undertake an analysis of national policy documents.
  • Review legal framework for CWR conservation and determine what further action required.
  • Assess budget and funding issues and develop a financing plan.
  • Make proposals for ensuring and raising national awareness of the importance of conserving and using CWR sustainably.
  • Devise a capacity development plan.
  • Make arrangements for strategy implementation and allocate management responsibilities to relevant parties.

To top

The national CWR inventory

The backbone of a national CWR strategy is the inventory or listing of CWR. The main source of data for the inventory will be the national Flora(s). For most countries, one or more standard Floras exist: these are acknowledged by botanists in the country or region as the most reliable sources of information on the occurring plants. If the country does not have a comprehensive Flora or even a catalogue, cooperation with local taxonomists should be sought.

To top