A virtual workshop on development of national gene banks in the member states of the OIC has been held under the chairmanship of UAE. Around 160 delegates and experts from 30 OIC countries and 10 international organizations gathered at the event.
Taking into consideration the damaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and loss of bio-diversity, the workshop participants emphasized the critical significance of collective action.
The stimulation and coordination of national actions for the acquisition, conservation and sustainable utilization and sharing of plant and animal genetic resources would increase food production and agricultural development in the OIC countries and help fight malnutrition and hunger.
To achieve its goals, the workshop adopted a multilateral approach to the issues of food security and proposed a number of international initiatives to preserve and facilitate agricultural biodiversity.
In view of the newfound popularity of traditional Islamic finance instruments such as wakf (endowment), the IOFS called for the creation of a Seed Wakf as an endowment fund by net-worth philanthropists, which could support research and development of new stress-tolerant varieties of crops, and construction of physical infrastructure for conservation and exchange.
The workshop also submitted a proposal to establish a Technical Committee with membership from member states, private sector and national gene banks or research institutions. The Committee would oversee the implementation of action plans and related issues, in collaboration with the Executive Board and IOFS Secretariat.
The workshop participants submitted a number of suggestions such as organizing training sessions or seminars, mounting awareness campaigns, conducting surveys of biodiversity and establishing National and International Gene Banks. The achievement of abovementioned goals requires strengthening of international partnership and networking, development of national and human capacities, allocation of more resources and funding to gene banks.