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Global Seed Vault Founders Named 2024 World Food Prize Laureates

Two scientists, Dr. Geoffrey Hawtin OBE, Founding Director and Executive Board member at the Global Crop Diversity Trust, and Dr. Cary Fowler, currently the U.S. Special Envoy for Global Food Security, have been named the 2024 World Food Prize Laureates. They were chosen by the World Food Prize Laureate Selection Committee for their longstanding contribution to seed conservation and crop biodiversity. The two men played key roles in establishing the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which today holds 1.25 million seed samples of more than 6,000 plant species in an underground facility in the Arctic Circle.

Figure:  Photo Source: World Food Prize Foundation.

 

Two scientists, Dr. Geoffrey Hawtin OBE, Founding Director and Executive Board member at the Global Crop Diversity Trust, and Dr. Cary Fowler, currently the U.S. Special Envoy for Global Food Security, have been named the 2024 World Food Prize Laureates. They were chosen by the World Food Prize Laureate Selection Committee for their longstanding contribution to seed conservation and crop biodiversity.

 

The two men played key roles in establishing the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which today holds 1.25 million seed samples of more than 6,000 plant species in an underground facility in the Arctic Circle. The repository, often referred to as the “Doomsday Vault,” opened in 2008 and stands as the last line of defense against threats to global food security, including pandemics and climate catastrophes.

 

Drs. Fowler and Hawtin also played pivotal roles in the development of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, or Plant Treaty, which was adopted in 2001, to facilitate the global movement of plant genetic resources. By codifying international agreements and mechanisms for the sharing of seeds, the treaty laid the foundations for the Svalbard seed vault.

 

The Laureates were announced at a ceremony in the U.S. Department of State hosted and presided over by Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “In choosing these two visionaries, the Selection Committee recognized the importance of this long-term thinking and planning for facing climate change and other existential threats, and for the example it sets and the wisdom it imparts in all of us on how we may collectively mobilize the equitable use of the rest of our global endowments to ensure food security for all,” said Gebisa Ejeta, Chair, World Food Prize Laureate Selection Committee.

 

For more details about the 2024 World Food Prize Laureates, read the news release from the World Food Prize Foundation Newsroom.

 

See https://www.isaaa.org/kc/cropbiotechupdate/article/default.asp?ID=20809

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