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6 International Programs and a Global Mechanism Changing patterns of livestock production, with the goal of improving animal performance through genetic selection and improved production methods, are increasingly placing the global genetic diversity of livestock at risk. Since the 1950s, when freezing the semen of many species became possible, artificial insemina- tion has become widely used. The international movement of live- stock germplasm has also grown with the aim of increasing livestock production in developing countries (Hodges, 1991~. In the developed world, the displacement of traditional breeds is well advanced. Few adaptation problems were encountered when traditional tem- perate breeds were replaced by other temperate breeds. In the trop- ics, however, problems in adaptation have become more evident. Live- stock improvement programs have needed to focus on the appropriate mix of exotic and indigenous genes for a given environment, the genetic effects of crossbreeding, and methods for achieving the de- sired gene mix. Although the changing patterns in livestock breeding have been recognized for more than 40 years, effective action to prevent losses of potentially valuable germplasm has been limited. Funds for germ- plasm conservation have been difficult to justify for several reasons. The actual extent and rate of genetic depletion are not readily quanti- fiable, and, until recently, there has been little consensus on either the most effective approaches to conserving and managing endangered populations or to identifying priority candidates for conservation ef- forts. In addition, it is difficult to assess current and future values
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112 / Livestock for conserved material in relation to the expense of conservation. The last decade, however, has seen some progress toward a resolu- tion of these difficulties including the development of new scientific methods for ex situ conservation. International awareness of the im- pact of human activities on biological diversity has been raised and there is a growing realization that something must be done (Food and Agriculture Organization, 1992; Hodges, 1991, 1992b). This chapter provides an overview of major international activi- ties, particularly during the past 10 years. It reviews information sources and data bases, proposed programs to conserve livestock genetic re- sources, conferences and studies that have identified concerns and assessed needs, regional programs to store germplasm, pilot projects, alternative methodologies, and key related issues of plant genetic resource programs. It identifies the need for a global mechanism for conserving livestock germplasm and examines the potential for de- veloping global leadership. INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS Concern over the potential loss of valuable genetic diversity for livestock has increased in recent years (Henson, 1992), although the issue was recognized decades ago. For more than 40 years, interna- tional activity with animal genetic resources has been focused prima- rily through the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. In 1948, FAO published its first study on the subject (Food and Agriculture Organization, 1948), and over the next 25 years, studies or projects have led to many different publications on live- stock species. These reports largely describe the breeds in the envi- ronments in which they occur, production gains through improved health care and nutrition, and genetic improvements gained largely by selection within the indigenous breed, often with slow and lim- ited success. Although FAO has taken a lead position, many other interna- tional and nongovernmental organizations are actively involved in livestock germplasm issues. Studies or other activities have been undertaken by international agricultural research centers, especially the International Livestock Center for Africa (ILCA), International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases (ILRAD), and Centro Agronomico Tropical de Investigacion y Ensenanza, (Tropical Agri- culture Research and Training Center). Other concerned and active organizations include regional institutions such as the Society for the Advancement of Breeding Researches in Asia and Oceania (SABRAO), European Association for Animal Production (EAAP), Asociacion
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International Programs and a Global Mechanism / 113 Latinoamericana de Produccion Animal (ALPA, Latin American As- sociation of Animal Production), Danubian Countries Alliance for Gene Conservation in Animal Species, Inter-African Bureau for Animal Re- sources (IBAR) of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), and SABRAO as well as Arabic and Nordic countries. The United Nations Environ- ment Program (UNEP), United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, World Conservation Union (IUCN), and World Resources Institute, also have indicated their interest. Various conferences and studies have addressed managing and conserving livestock genetic resources and have contributed to an increasing awareness of the issues involved (Henson, 1992; Hodges, 1991~. Early references to animal conservation were made at a 1959 symposium on germplasm (Hodgson, 1961) and at a 1964 poultry con- ference (European Poultry Conference, 1964~. The need for concerted conservation action for livestock genetic resources has been discussed in a variety of forums. A continuing global forum on genetic resources has been organized since 1974 under the International Committee for World Congresses on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production. Livestock genetic resources are also on the agenda of the United Nations Development Program and the World Bank, and they were included within biological diversity at the United Nations Confer- ence on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Brazil in June 1;992. The issue is scheduled as a major topic at the 1993 World Conference on Animal Production, to be held in Canada. In addition, an international nongovernmental organization, Rare Breeds Interna- tional (RBI), was created in 1991 in Budapest, Hungary, with private and governmental conservation organizations from 30 countries as members. Although FAO is primarily interested in conservation ef- forts in the developing world, it has expressed interest in coordinat- ing efforts with RBI for developed countries. Efforts on a Global Level The growing international awareness of a deteriorating global environment in the early 1970s led to a United Nations conference on the environment and to the creation of the UNEP (Hodges, 1991~. The FAO was one of the first specialized agencies of the United Na- tions to join with the newly established UNEP in formulating projects that addressed the need for development and conservation. Thus, in 1973, FAO started a pilot program with UNEP to conserve animal genetic resources (Office of Technology Assessment, 1987~. Prelimi- nary inventories of endangered livestock populations indicated the need for further action, but it soon became clear that activity on a
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114 / Livestock single country basis was inadequate. Many issues and needs were common to all developing countries. The FAO publications of the period show interest moving to regional activities and species (for example, dairy cattle breeding in the humid tropics). In 1980, the FAO and UNEP held the Technical Consultation on the Conservation and Management of Animal Genetic Resources to identify priority areas and activities on a global and regional basis (Hodges, 1991~. At that time, the term management included development activi- ties; thus the concepts of improvement and conservation were already linked. All member governments of FAO and UNEP were invited to participate in the meeting. It produced a comprehensive series of recommendations covering the reasons for genetic erosion in animal resources; the rationale for linking conservation with improved man- agement; establishment of regional activities, data banks, and germ- plasm banks; promotion of appropriate research in areas likely to aid conservation and reproduction; training of nationals from develop- ing countries; study of health barriers to germplasm movement; breeding programs for conservation and improvement; special studies of little- known animal populations in the People's Republic of China and the former Soviet Union; and publication of a newsletter. Another result was the creation in the 1980s of an FAO and UNEP loins Expert Advisory Panel on Animal Genetic Resources Conserva- tion and Management, which consisted of 36 scientists, representing various areas of the globe, whose expertise covered the principal dis- ciplines within animal breeding and genetics and the major species of domestic animals. The panel has presented technical papers and recommendations in the areas of conservation by management, ani- mal genetic resources data banks, cryogenic storage of germplasm, ge- netic engineering, training programs (such as embryo transfer methods), principles for improving indigenous animals in the tropics, principles for preserving endangered species and breeds in the tropics, and education and training in the tropics (Food and Agriculture Organization, 1984a,b; Hodges, 1987~. Activities related to training were also jointly sponsored by the FAO and UNEP (Hodges, 1991~. A course on livestock genetic re- sources conservation and management was hosted by the University of Veterinary Science in Budapest, Hungary, in 1983 for 18 scientists from developing countries, and a training manual was published (Bodo and Hodges, 1984; Bodo et al., 1984~. A manual on establishing and operating animal germplasm banks was prepared following a 1989 workshop held in Hanover, Germany (Food and Agriculture Organi- zation, 1990~.
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International Programs and a Global Mechanism / 115 The FAO and UNEP have worked with regional organizations to arrange meetings on animal genetic resources. In 1976 the OAU rec- ommended that the IBAR establish an expert committee on animal genetic resources in Africa. With support from the FAO and UNEP, the committee was formed. A joint meeting was held with FAO, UNEP, and IBAR in 1983 to identify high potential and endangered livestock in Africa. In 1978 a conference was held in Colombia in cooperation with ALPA, and ALPA thereafter established a commis- sion on evaluating and conserving animal genetic resources in Latin America. In Asia, SABRAO established an expert committee on ani- mal genetic resources in 1977. In 1980 the EAAP, in response to FAO's recommendations for action at national and regional levels, established the Working Party on Animal Genetic Resources (European Association for Animal Pro- duction, 1984~. It serves as a coordinating body for European activi- ties. For example, the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) have cooperative efforts under way to docu- ment and preserve animal genetic resources. The activities defined by the FAO and UNEP technical consulta- tion in 1980, and monitored by the loins Expert Advisory Panel, were completed between 1982 and 1989. Methodology studies and field trials in many countries were completed, documented, and published for characterizing breeds; operating animal genetic data banks; sam- pling endangered populations; collecting semen, embryos, and DNA; conducting health checks and monitoring; and establishing cryogenic germplasm. In 1989, the FAO Committee on Agriculture (COAG) reviewed the programs on animal genetic resources (Hodges, 1991~. Subse- quently, the FAO council affirmed the recommendations of the COAG and called for the program to be expanded and further developed. As a result, the FAO reviewed its animal genetic resources program and convened an expert consultation in September 1989 to provide guidance on global program directions (Wiener, 1990~. The papers and recommendations covered the following: institutional, legal, and financial aspects of a global program; biotechnology in preserving animal germplasm; live animal preservation; status of endangered breeds and establishment of a world watch list and early warning system; and technical and organizational aspects. Unfortunately, due to a poor economic climate and the absence of an organizational sys- tem for a worldwide program, these recommendations did not lead to a global program at that time. The FAO continued with some activities supported by the regular program and UNEP.
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116 / Livestock The FAO Program on Managing Animal Genetic Resources In January 1992 FAO announced the initiation of a program to conserve and develop the livestock and poultry genetic resources of developing nations (Cunningham, 1992~. The program's five elements addressed conservation of important or valuable germplasm resources and assistance in developing national programs for livestock and poultry improvement. The elements encompassed initiatives in a global in- ventory, breed preservation, indigenous breed development and con- servation, gene technologies, and the development of an international legal framework. An Expert Consultation in April 1992 examined the proposed program and provided further guidance and refinement of the plan, including definition of the operating mechanism for a pro- gram (Food and Agriculture Organization, 1992; Hodges, 1992b). The ILCA is assisting with the implementation of this program in sub- Saharan Africa, in collaboration with FAO (Rege and Lipner, 1992~. Global Inventory Building from the EAAP data base developed at the Hanover School of Veterinary Medicine, the program will develop a data base of breed descriptions and population statistics for livestock and poul- try species that will, ultimately, contain a comprehensive global in- ventory. The program will also develop a World Watch List of Threatened Livestock (Cunningham, 1992; Food and Agriculture Organization, 1992; Hodges, 1992b). Classification of breeds will be in accordance with a scheme published by FAO (Food and Agriculture Organiza- tion, 1992; Henson, 1992; Hodges, 1992b). Breed Preservation Endangered breeds or populations will be evaluated and those that are also unique will be the objects of country-based conservation strategies. Such strategies could include ex situ (cryopreservation of semen and embryos) and in situ (breeding herds or flocks) methods. Where appropriate, FAO will work to establish regional banks for ex situ materials. The intent is to link conservation and use efforts in developing countries. Indigenous Breed Development and Conservation The intent is the genetic improvement of selected indigenous breeds of livestock and poultry. The original plan of FAO was to focus on 12
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International Programs and a Global Mechanism / 117 unique populations, chosen on the basis of regional importance and genetic uniqueness (CuIuiingham, 1992~. That list was expanded by the Expert Consultation to include six cattle populations, Tree buffalo popu- lations, five each of sheep and goat populations, four pig populations, three camelids, two horses, and eight poultry forms (Table 6-1~. TABLE 6-1 Breeds, Strains, or Populations of Livestock and Poultry Suggested as Having Highest Priority for Conservation by Management Geographic Regiona Species Asia Africa Latin America Cattle Sahiwal (1) N'Dama (2) Criollo (3) Kenana (4) Guzera (6) Boran (5) Buffalo Murrah (1) Nili-Ravi (3) Swamp (2) Sheep Javanese Djallonke (1) Pelibuey (2) Thin-tailed (3) D'man (4) Awassi (5) Goats Damascus (2) Fouta Gallon (1) Moxoto (4) Jamnapari (3) Boer (5) Pig Taihu (1) West African (3) Piau (2) Min (4) Camelidae Huacaya alpaca (1) Suri alpaca (2) Qara llama (3) Horses Akhal-Teke (1) Pantaneiro (2) Poultry Domestic duck (4) Guinea fowl (2) Indigenous Muscovy duck (3a) Chicken (5b) turkey (1) Chicken (5a) Muscovy duck (3b) Chicken (5c) NOTE: Conservation by management is defined as that aspect of conservation by which a sample, or the whole of an animal population, is subjected to planned genetic change with the aim of sustaining, utilizing, restoring, or enhancing the quality or quantity of the animal genetic resource and its products of food, fiber, or draught animal power. Numbers in parentheses indicate priority order within species. SOURCE: Adapted from Food and Agriculture Organization. 1992. Expert Consulta- tion on the Management of Global Animal Genetic Resources, Rome, Italy, April 7-10, 1992. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
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118 / Livestock Gene Technologies To promote development of DNA technologies, gene mapping, ge- netic engineering methods, and ex situ storage methods (e.g., cryo- preservation), FAO will seek to establish a research fund from extra- budgetary sources for support of relevant projects. The intent is to foster the development of more efficient and cost-effective methods of conservation and use. The Expert Consultation urged FAO to develop opportunities to train developing country scientists in these emerging technologies (Food and Agriculture Organization, 1992; Hodges, 1992b). An International Legal Framework With global distribution and use of germplasm comes the need for clearly established understandings about ownership, exchange, and compensation. FAO, in consideration of existing instruments and proposals (such as the Convention on Biological Diversity signed in June 1992 at UNCED), will seek relevant agreements to ensure an appropriate legal framework for global animal genetic resource ac- tivities (Food and Agriculture Organization, 1992; Hodges, 1992b). In addition, the Expert Consultation recommended that FAO pro- mote and encourage the formation of national and appropriate re- gional programs for the conservation and management of livestock and poultry (Food and Agriculture Organization, 1992; Hodges, 1992b). INFORMATION SOURCES AND DATA BASES The information available on livestock populations generally takes three forms: published reports, analyses from qualified individuals, and unpublished production records. Publications include research papers in periodicals, reports, proceedings, theses, and books. Most publications are catalogued and available through libraries, while some printed materials, such as extension service bulletins, may not be indexed and may be difficult to identify and obtain. The publications in the series entitled FAO Animal Production and Health are a valuable contribution to the characterization and man- agement of global animal genetic resources. They include proceed- ings of meetings of the Expert Advisory Panel on Animal Genetic Resources Conservation and Management (Food and Agriculture Or- ganization, 1984a,b; Hodges, 1987), descriptions of specialized popu- lations (for example,Awassisheep [Epstein, 1985~;Przewalskihorse [Food and Agriculture Organization, 1986a]), and descriptions of the livestock populations for an entire country or region (for example,
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International Programs and a Global Mechanism / 119 livestock of China [Cheng, 1985~; livestock of the former Soviet Union [Dmitriev and Ernst, 19893~. In addition, the FAO publishes, at irregular intervals, Animal Genetic Resources Information, a bulletin containing short articles, news items, and book reviews about general topics. Data Bases The need for data bases on animal genetic resources has been recognized in Asia (Society for the Advancement of Breeding Re- searches in Asia and Oceania, 1980), Latin America (Muller-Haye, 1981), Africa (Organization of African Unity et al., 1985), and Europe (European Association for Animal Production, 1984~. Probably the most important source of documentation for animal genetic resources is the data base of the Commonwealth Bureau of Animal Breeding and Genetics (operating under the Commonwealth Agricultural Bu- reaux [CAB]) (Turton, 1984~. It consists of the Animal Breeding Ab- stracts, a journal that has been in existence for more than 55 years, and a computer-stored version of the journal, CAB Abstracts, which was started in 1973 and is maintained by the Knight Ridder Company's Dialog Information Services, Miami, Florida; the European Space Agency Retrieval Service, Frascati, Italy; and Deutsches Institut fur Medizinische Dokumentation und Information (DIMDI, German Institute for Medical Documentation and Information), Koln, Germany. As an abstracting service, the CAB data base does not fulfill all content and retrieval requirements for use in animal genetic resources. Another, more seri- ous problem is that it contains only a small amount of information from developing countries (Hodges, 1986~. The FAO and the UNEP have implemented pilot trials to estab- lish data bases for animal genetic resources in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Methodologies for data handling, including data entry and retrieval, and descriptor lists for the major species have been devel- oped. During data collection, it was found that only 25 to 30 percent of important information for the characterization of animal popula- tions was included in the CAB data base (Food and Agriculture Or- ganization, 1986b,c,d). Much of the information from developing countries is not readily available to an abstracting service because it is not published or has a restricted distribution. Further, the need for foreign language translations inevitably reduces the volume of mate- rial that can be covered. Thus, an urgent need exists for establishing comprehensive data bases to store and make available more complete information on the genetic resources of animal populations. Workshops were held in the three regions to evaluate the pilot trials, and conclusions were published in three reports (Food and
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120 / Livestock Agriculture Organization, 1986b,c,d). The joint FAO and UNEP trials provide valuable information about the advantages and disadvan- tages of various alternatives for data collection and processing in developing countries and have identified problems to be resolved. The reports discuss alternative computer programs for animal ge- netic resource data bases; establishment of regional versus global data bases; recommendations on, as well as cost of, software and hard- ware for computerized data bases; and descriptor lists for cattle, buf- falo, pigs, sheep, and poultry. The descriptor lists provide for envi- ronmental as well as genetic characterizations and consist of an open-ended system for including unlimited data. The EAAP Working Party on Animal Genetic Resources has con- ducted extensive surveys to identify the number and degree of en- dangerment of breeds of cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, and goats (Maijala et al., 1984, 1985~. In 1985 the EAAP decided to establish, at the Hanover School of Veterinary Medicine in Germany, a central data base for European countries. In 1988 an agreement was reached with the FAO to cooperate with the school to create the EAAP and FAO Animal Genetic Data Bank (Simon, 1990~. The data bank is based on the use of simplified descriptors identified by the FAO and UNEP and contains information on about 700 entries. Each entry refers to a single breed or breed variety within a country. The two principal information categories are (1) census data on populations of breeds and (2) genetic characterization data. Because experience is still lim- ited, the data base in Hanover remains the principal international animal genetic resources data base that is routinely operational. Un- fortunately it has received little information from developing coun- tries apart from India and China, which have staff who were trained at the Hanover data bank. The ILCA has gained much data-base experience. In particular, the ILCA has been engaged in documenting unpublished material that can be used for describing populations and in analyzing field and experiment station records, the results of which can be used for data bases (Brumby and Trail, 1986~. Starting in 1976, a documenta- tion staff from ILCA has microfilmed more than 10,000 documents in 17 African countries. Their efforts constitute a valuable source of information for describing populations that can eventually be used for an animal genetic resources data base. Titles, descriptors, and abstracts of documents have been stored in a computerized data base and are accessible on-line (Trail, 1984~. The ILCA has also established a service that assists in data analysis, if it cannot be done locally, and contributes to producing information for entry in data bases. Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden have set up the
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International Programs and a Global Mechanism / 121 Nordic Gene-Bank for maintaining information on local populations of sheep, goats, horses, cattle, and pigs. Plans call for including data on fur-bearing farm animals, poultry, rabbits, reindeer, and bees. Since the mid-1980s, information on the water buffalo has been collected and recorded in a data base at the International Buffalo Information Center at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, Thailand. The International Development Research Center, Ottawa, Canada, is funding the project. To begin to remedy the lack of information from developing countries, FAO set up a data bank in 1991 that includes all areas of the world except Europe, but including the former Soviet Union. It has been designed to combine the animal genetic information from the large variety of FAO livestock reports, publications, and projects. The FAO data base uses software developed at the Hanover data bank and the World Dictionary of Livestock Breeds as a framework (Mason, 1988~. The dictionary is the only orderly world list of domestic breeds. It provides breed names and synonyms, indicates where breeds are found, and gives a basic description of the origin, physical appearance, and main uses of each breed. Although the dictionary has little character- ization data, it offers a unique classification of most breeds. The FAO data bank has names of 1,974 breeds (buffalo, cattle, goat, horse, pig, sheep) in Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America, Oceania, and the former Soviet Union, and allows one entry per breed, even if the breed is found in more than one country (Ruane, 1992~. Of these entries, 30 percent have some information on production, 26 percent have some information on population size, and 18 percent have in- formation on both. Within 5 years, FAO, as part of its new initiative on global animal genetic resources, plans to finish this first global inventory of animal genetic resources. A joint effort is being made by the FAO and UNEP to describe breeds based on surveys of non-European countries, with good re- sponses from Asia and Latin America to date (International Livestock Center for Africa, 1992~. Some developing countries do not have data on certain parameters, such as average milk yield or total feed consumed. However, numerous workshops and seminars have pro- duced a considerable volume of information about the description of populations, which will help in establishing data bases (Muller-Haye and Gelman, 1981; Organization of African Unity et al., 1985~. CREATING REGIONAL STORES OF FROZEN GERMPLASM Considerable logistic and technical difficulties, such as obtaining technical expertise for collection, maintaining constant supplies of
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122 / Livestock liquid nitrogen, or establishing ownership of frozen samples, are in- volved in creating repositories of frozen germplasm, particularly in developing countries. There is growing concern, however, that if action is not taken soon to preserve the genetic material of endan- gered breeds, many of these breeds will be lost (Alderson, 1990a; Wiener, 1990~. A recent activity of the FAO and UNEP has been the develop- ment of plans for the cryogenic storage of sperm and embryos from rare and endangered breeds of livestock in regional animal germplasm banks (Food and Agriculture Organization, 1990; Hodges, 1990b). The material to be deposited in the germplasm banks would be for long- term storage as insurance against unexpected future changes, rather than for current use. The necessary infrastructures for these regional cryogenic germplasm banks were negotiated with governments in seven developing coun- tries. Lack of funding has so far restricted the inflow of germplasm from other countries in the regions. Nevertheless, the infrastructure is in place, and the FAO and the UNEP are working with national governments to train personnel and identify samples meriting depo- sition (Hodges, 1990b). Training courses for nationals were held in Brazil and in Asia in 1991 and 1992, respectively. Most of the partici- pants were from countries that did not have national germplasm banks. Two germplasm banks are located in Asia (China and India), two in Africa (Ethiopia and Senegal), and three in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico). Because of regional differences in the status of foot-and-mouth disease in Latin America, the Mexican germplasm bank will be a subregional bank. For example, samples from Central America, if stored in South America, may not be eligible for return to the countries of origin. The regional animal germplasm banks will store the blood, ga- metes, and embryos of donor animals, enabling future development of gene libraries. Blood samples may also be of value for diagnostic testing. Plans call for linking the regional animal germplasm banks with the FAO global data bank. RELATED ISSUES OF PLANT GENETIC RESOURCE PROGRAMS National and international programs for conserving livestock ge- netic resources have not had the widespread support that exists for crops. The issues bearing on collection, creation of germplasm banks, and exchange of resources differ in many respects between animals and plants. However, important lessons are to be learned from plant
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International Programs and a Global Mechanism / 123 conservation activities, which embrace a wide range of genetic diver- sity, from wild relatives to highly selected lines. Ownership of plant genetic resources is often not well defined, and issues surrounding it have caused considerable international debate. The species of pri- mary concern for livestock conservation are essentially all the domes- ticates, and ownership has been clearly established. Proprietary rights, however, are likely to become a more controversial issue with the advent of laws allowing patents on genetically engineered animals. In addition, as nations come to recognize they may hold unique, potentially valuable breed types, they may wish to impose limita- tions on the sale, exchange, or movement of these breeds. They may also wish to retain control over semen or embryos deposited in re- gional or global germplasm banks and to impose restrictions on the export of wild relatives, should an interest develop in the commercial potential of the genetic material of those species. National and international activities in plant genetic resources can provide guidance for emerging efforts to conserve animal genetic resources. Several national plant genetic resource conservation pro- grams have been developed in the past 30 to 40 years. In 1974 the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources (IBPGR) was estab- lished within the FAO by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and given a mandate to conserve plant genetic resources. The IBPGR coordinates international efforts in plant conservation and has fostered the development of new efforts. It oversees a network of base collections of important species located within various national programs and at international agricultural research centers. Pending approval of a headquarters agreement by the Italian government, IBPGR will soon become the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI) a CGIAR center indepen- dent of FAO. GLOBAL CONSERVATION OF ANIMAL GERMPLASM Given the potential for genetic losses in livestock populations, the often limited knowledge of the level of genetic diversity present in populations, and the benefits of collaboration among nations, the need to establish a global mechanism for conserving animal germplasm becomes compelling. Global leadership is needed to · Inventory and describe livestock populations; · Establish a uniform data base for collecting and disseminating data concerning animal populations, institutions, research, and germplasm banks;
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124 / Livestock · Provide technical guidance to nations in structuring their na- tional animal germplasm conservation strategies; and · Develop training programs in animal germplasm conservation; · Assist in obtaining financial support for establishing national or regional programs. Currently, the FAO, with cooperation from the UNEP, is the only international agency addressing animal germplasm conservation on a global scale. The FAO and UNEP activities have greatly contributed to an understanding of the need for conserving genetic diversity in domestic animals, but, in the past, they have fallen short of provid- ing effective programs or leadership to the international community. Criteria for a Global Program The task of promoting, coordinating, and instituting global man- agement of animal genetic resources is significant. Leadership will require an organization to be technically capable and have the inter- national position to bring about real progress. The committee identi- fied several criteria for evaluating the suitability of particular options for global leadership. Donor Confidence The institution must be able to provide or secure sufficient fund- ing to accomplish program goals. This capability requires the some- what intangible quality that can be termed "donor confidence" based on the institution's record of success, the donor can be reasonably assured of the institution's continued success. Scientific Capability The institution must also be able to provide the scientific exper- tise essential to developing and guiding a program. It is not essential that the institution have research capacity, since essential research can be arranged with appropriate scientists or institutions on a coop- erative basis. Rather, the capacity must exist for the institution to make the scientific and technical aspects of genetic resources conser- vation, management, and use a central concern in program develop- ment. The program also should be responsible to a board or commit- tee designed to provide technical and scientific oversight and recommendations about program activities.
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International Programs and a Global Mechanism / 125 Administrative Expertise Within the institution there must be an understanding of the es- sential processes that guide international organizations. This under- standing will be crucial to the development and execution of interna- tional agreements and cooperative activities. There must also be the understanding and expertise to forge appropriate legal and interna- tional agreements with regard to exchange, ownership, and use of livestock genetic resources. Consultative Mechanism As this report has demonstrated, there are many interests and differing views concerning managing animal genetic resources. A global program must enfold this diversity of views and activities. The program must have a mechanism for including the perspectives of national programs, university researchers, nongovernmental orga- nizations, industry, and others. Options for a Global Program Three potential options for developing the necessary global lead- ership were identified and considered by the committee. Each takes advantage of institutional infrastructures already in place. They are discussed below. An Institute Within the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research The CGIAR was established in 1972 to enable private, bilateral, and multilateral organizations to collaborate in addressing the prob- lems of agricultural development. The relative freedom and flexibil- ity of organization, management, funding, and oversight shared by the CGIAR centers are unique among international bodies. The cen- ters have a strong emphasis on basic food crops, several maintain important collections of plant germplasm, and one the IBPGR pro- motes and coordinates activities related to plant genetic resources. Two centers, the ILCA in Ethiopia and ILRAD in Kenya, have pro- grams devoted to animals. A model similar to IBPGR could be used to incorporate animal genetic resources into the CGIAR. The ILCA and ILRAD undertake animal genetic research, but neither has global responsibility for ani- mal germplasm conservation. The ILRAD's genetic research is pri
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126 / Livestock marily at the molecular level, including contributions to mapping the bovine genome. The ILCA's research involves characterization of indigenous cattle, sheep, and goat populations in sub-Saharan Africa. However, these institutions could provide a base for other genetic resources activities. Additional national programs or institutions would need to be identified for collaboration in other regions. A proposal to create a center for animal genetic resources within the CGIAR is not new (Council for Agricultural Science and Technol- o~v 1984: Office of Technolo~v Assessment 19871. Such a Program - - ~ ~ - r - ~ on- A ~ 1 ~ ·1 ~ .' · ~ . . · ~ .~ ~= ~ ~ ~ =~ could build on the experience and reputation of the (~GlAlk and lUl~(Sl<. The center would coordinate national and regional efforts to con- serve and manage livestock genetic resources. It could foster appro- priate research, provide support for information and germplasm ex- change, and assume a leadership role. As an alternative to a new institution, the activities of the new IPGRI might be expanded to include animals. This would require a significant change in the mandate of IPGRI and a probable restruc- turing of its advisory boards. The new activities would, however, benefit from the history of experience in crop genetic resources. Significant new financial resources would be required to organize a new program within the CGIAR or to expand the existing IBPGR/ IPGRI. The CGIAR is cautious about undertaking new activities that would increase competition for resources among the centers (Consul- tati~re Group on International Agricultural Research, 1990), and its donors generally prefer to emphasize research rather than service functions. Recent decisions will expand CGIAR's activities to in- clude agroforestry, aquaculture, and irrigation, but several other ini- tiatives were deferred or turned down (Consultative Group on Inter- national Agricultural Research, 1990~. The addition of work in animal genetic resources could entail considerable study before action is taken. Donors who support the IBPGR might be reluctant to expand its mandate to include animals without assurance of increased financial resources. Expanded Efforts of Ike Food and Agriculture Organization The FAO could assume leadership for developing strategies and programs for animal germplasm conservation. Currently the Animal Production and Health Division of the FAO, working with the UNEP, is engaged in the only global initiative in animal germplasm conser- vation. In addition, the FAO collaborates with regional programs, including ALPA, EAAP, ILCA, and SABRAO. It has information and experience related to animal germplasm issues in different regions.
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International Programs and a Global Mechanism / 127 The FAO, however, has not yet had adequate funding to fully de- velop many of the actions recommended by its advisory panels. The FAO has been concerned with conserving animal genetic re- sources for more than 2 decades. It has a standing expert panel on conservation and management of animal genetic resources and pro- gram officers within the Animal Production and Health Division with designated responsibility for conservation. In addition, the FAO is accustomed to working with national governments, and it has an experienced bureaucracy in place that could manage a conservation program. Thus, there is institutional experience to support the FAO in undertaking this initiative. The FAO's history of involvement with conservation issues and programs carries some costs, however. There has been some conflict of views about several issues related to plant genetic resources as they affect developed and developing nations. It is possible that disagreements, if they continue, could carry over to animal conserva- tion programs and hamper their effectiveness. Furthermore, given the important role for the private sector, the FAO's limited involve- ment with private organizations could pose a difficulty. Expanded Support of an Existing Conservation Organization Most conservation-related organizations are not structured to deal with agricultural germplasm conservation. Some reorientation of pro- grams, funding, philosophy, and purpose might be required. In gen- eral, these organizations are skilled in international conservation ac- tivities and have highly dedicated staffs. An organization that might undertake responsibility for animal genetic resources is the World Conservation Union, formerly the In- ternational Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, with headquarters in Switzerland. The IUCN has been involved in conservation activities for more than 40 years. Its membership in- cludes governments, government agencies, and national and interna- tional nongovernmental organizations. It has experience in develop- ing data bases for supporting conservation activities, monitoring natural areas, and fostering international cooperation for conservation (Of- fice of Technology Assessment, 1987~. Expansion of the IUCN's mandate would be required to include livestock genetic resources. However, philosophical conflicts between agricultural necessities and the organization's environmental priori- ties are likely. Efforts developed through conservation organizations such as the IUCN would need the expertise and experience of groups
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128 / Livestock such as the FAO to fully address agricultural livestock conservation, management, and use. The most feasible strategy may well involve a combination of these three options, with each institution taking responsibility for that aspect most clearly within its mandate, experience, and capabili- ties. However, a continuing call for global leadership would remain. - RECOMMENDATIONS The committee examined alternatives for establishing a global mechanism for managing livestock genetic resources. To be effective, an organization must have a clear mandate, competent leadership, consistent funding, the confidence of its members and clients, and the freedom and flexibility to act expeditiously. The program's costs, effectiveness, and continuity must be properly established and moni- tored. National authorities must ultimately define the policies and strat- egies appropriate for their nation's needs, but the support and coun- sel of an international scientific body are highly desirable. National and regional programs can function in the absence of global coordi- nation, but many actions common to all national programs can be performed more effectively if coordinated at the international level. A global mechanism should be established to provide leadership and support to nations to ensure the adequate conservation of livestock genetic resources. An international organization would provide leadership to coor- dinate and facilitate national and regional efforts. It can enhance national activities, foster cooperation' and assemble experienced spe- cialists to develop priorities and guidelines for global cooperation. Global leadership could be achieved through the creation of a new organization or through modification of existing organizations, as previously discussed. However, none of the three options presented fully meets all criteria outlined. No one existing organization has the elements necessary to fully undertake the tasks. A global strategy will likely involve the cooperation of several institutions that would take responsibility for the aspects of conservation most appropriate to their experiences and capabilities. Thus it becomes essential that leadership for an international program rests with an institution that has the capacity to organize and coordinate these diverse interests. In the past it has been difficult for FAO to move beyond the initial phases of program description and planning. However, new confidence and encouragement has come with the development of
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International Programs and a Global Mechanism / 129 the current FAO program. Plans are moving forward for active coop- eration with international centers and scientific experts to accom- plish definite goals. With the identification of particular populations to receive attention, FAO has the potential to address a specific and achievable task. Further, the scientific expertise present in the lead- ership of the FAO program provides a significant measure of confi- dence that donors will see real results. Finally, moving forward with a program at FAO would allow for efforts to begin relatively rapidly. As noted above, execution of a global program through a new or expanded CGIAR center or through a nongovernmental conservation organization would require significant restructuring or institutional development. Considering the urgency to begin a program of global leadership in the coordination, promotion, and institution of animal genetic re- sources activities, FAO was considered by the committee to be an appropriate institution for these efforts. Further, because FAO has been active in this arena for several decades, establishment of a pro- gram would require minimal development of new institutional mecha- nisms. It is expected, however, that in implementing such a pro- gram, the FAO will call on the expertise of other national and international institutions to achieve its goals. Comprehensive data bases are needed to store and make available infor- mation on animal genetic resources. Data bases should be set up to assemble information that de- scribes animal populations according to size, geographic distribu- tion, objectives, production system, and priority for conservation. They should also contain quantitative information on important traits and estimates of phenotypic, genetic, and environmental parameters, to- gether with information on the environmental conditions under which the data were obtained. They can be established at national or inter- national levels. Some efforts are already under way (Hodges, 1990b; Simon, 1990~. The FAO Global Data Bank for Domestic Livestock, modeled on the Animal Genetic Data Bank in Hanover, Germany, should provide much-needed leadership and guidance for national and regional data bases.
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Representative terms from entire chapter: