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The International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI) is an autonomous International Scientific Organization supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). IPGRI’s mandate is to advance the conservation and use of genetic diversity for the well being of present and future generations. IPGRI’s headquarters are based in Rome, Italy with offices in another 14 countries worldwide. 

IPGRI’s work in the Central & West Asia and North Africa region (CWANA) started as early as 1977 with a FAO project that helped the establishment of gene banks in West Asia, including the germplasm conservation facility of the Aegean Agricultural Research Institute (AARI) in Izmir, Turkey. The IPGRI regional Office for the WANA region (West Asia and North Africa) was established in 1983 in Larnaca, Cyprus, from where was relocated in 1992 to Aleppo, Syria, at the International Center for Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). In 1997 the Office broadened its mandate to include also Central Asia and changed its name accordingly into CWANA. Following this decision, a sub Office was opened in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in 1998 at the ICARDA Facilitation Unit for Central Asia. 

Activities at the IPGRI CWANA Office are carried out by a Team of 8 scientists whose specialization in plant genetic resources (PGR) enable them to cover a variety of issues ranging from complementary conservation through-use methodologies to documentation and information technologies, forest genetic resources, public awareness and policy & legal aspects.

The ultimate goal of IPGRI CWANA is the strengthening of the capacities at national and regional level to achieve an effective conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources. The strategy for pursuing this goal closely reflects the institutional objectives of IPGRI’s long term vision, with particular awareness of the fact that this region is an important center of origin (three Vavilovian centers of crop diversity are located here) and primary diversity of major species of world importance as well as of countless minor cultivated and wild species of local importance which contribute as well to the sustainable development of rural and forest areas. In view of the fact that such unique wealth is under threat, IPGRI’s efforts in the region are conceived so as to take into proper account the primary causes of genetic erosion, which are specific to the CWANA (e.g. desertification and overgrazing). 

The CWANA region as defined by IPGRI includes as a whole 28 countries grouped as follow: West Asia 17; North Africa 5 and Central Asia 5. 

The Research Agenda of IPGRI in CWANA

The research activities of IPGRI CWANA can be grouped in 8 main domains, identified by IPGRI through a comprehensive need assessment analyses of the whole CWANA region:

    1- Development and dissemination of methodologies and technologies for effective conservation
       and use of PGR with special emphasis on arid and semi-arid ecosystems
    2-  Provision of technical support to regional PGR networks
    3-  Strengthening inter-regional links
    4- Human Resources Development
    5- Production and dissemination of appropriate public awareness material to target audience
    6- Assistance in proposal-development and management of regional biodiversity projects
    7- Analysis of national context of legal and policy trends in CWANA
    8- Strengthening CGIAR inter-center collaboration on PGR

You can visit IPGRI website at: http://www.ipgri.cgiar.org 

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