Nordic stakeholder workshop on Long-term Conservation and Access to Nordic Crop Wild Relatives

A very interesting Nordic stakeholder workshop on Long-term Conservation and Access to Nordic Crop Wild Relatives took place 23-24 October 2023 in Helsinki, Finland.

It was quite intensive sharing of knowledge with presentations and discussions in separate subgroups on the following topics:

  1. Conservation of crop wild relatives (CWR) in their natural environments

-Discussing aspects of long-term robustness of different protected area (PA) categories. Are all PAs equally suitable for CWR conservation? If not, what would the preferable model look like?

-MAWP (Most Appropriate Wild Population) is an adopted concept to help prioritizing CWR populations. Discuss whether we should apply the concept in our region and, if yes, how would we proceed?

  1. Access to these genetic resources

-The availability of genetic resources – in our case a CWR – very likely depends upon the category of PA where the taxon grows. Could you envisage the development of a simplified procedure that would facilitate access? Discuss pros and cons.

  1. What future Nordic and Baltic cooperation activities do you envision could strengthen conservation and access of CWR in the Nordic-Baltic region?

In conclusion, it could be observed is that the regional approach (or subregional if viewed from the context of Europe as a region itself) is going to be more and more promising as there are at least several common things joining partner-countries including similar climatic conditions, species composition of the national floras, peoples‘ attitudes towards CWR and wild food species conservation, etc. What we need to do is to develop a common approach to CWR conservation planning which has been already started by the five Nordic countries, but should include the three Baltic states as well. A common information system on crop wild relatives for the region would also be a significant achievement in strengthening the regional cooperation.

Credits should be given to the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM) which provides support through its representatives in all Baltic states to promote the regional collaboration. Total 41 participants including 6 from the Baltics, also from Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, took part in the workshop.