Coordinating Institution: Genetic Resources Institute
Supported by: Republic of Srpska Government
In view of the present-day topics, genetic resources play a crucial role. Global warming and climate change are currently the main issues of concern. In this sense, a new challenge to humanity is the creation of improved varieties which would be resistant to adverse environmental conditions, such as high temperature, droughts, etc, with the aim to provide sufficient food of adequate quality. Gene banks, as institutions which carry out the preservation of genetic resources, bring certain solutions to the problem by storing a huge number of different properties of plants in their collections. In addition to the threats associated with global warming, there are more and more talks about the dangers of genetic erosion. The loss of biodiversity is a serious threat to all humanity because biodiversity forms the basis of agricultural production and thus provides for lives of millions of people.
The Programme for Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources in the Republic of Srpska envisaged the establishment of the Genetic Resources Institute as a professional unit for coordination of the Programme activities and all other activities in the field of conservation of the plant genetic resources. Pursuant to the law, the University of Banja Luka established the Genetic Resources Institute as its organizational unit in January 2009. In this way, the institutional and legal framework for the implementation of the Programme for Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources in the Republic of Srpska has been completed.
With this Programme, which regulates the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources, the Republic of Srpska is a unique example in the region in terms of the legal basis for the activities related to genetic resources. The Programme is the end result of the renewed activities related to plant genetic resources. Through the institutionalization of the Genetic Resources Institute of the University of Banja Luka together with the Gene Bank of the Republic of Srpska and the Botanical Garden, the Programme can face the challenges of the future.
The Committee on Plant Genetic Resources which proposes short and long term action plans and initiatives to upgrade the legal framework has also been established as a result of the Programme.
This Programme provides the basis for scientific research in this field, which has not been systematically implemented until now.
The Second Report on the State of the World’s Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO UN) in 2009, refers to a higher number of conserved accessions as well as local level programmes and gene banks. The Republic of Srpska Gene Bank and its collections as well as this document have also contributed to the aforementioned.
Having adopted the Programme, the Republic of Srpska has not only fulfilled one of the world's most compelling obligations - to conserve agricultural biodiversity of plants, but also a moral obligation to future generations.