Last updated: 08/09/2016

DivSeek consolidates its internal governance

27 April 2015 – The Diversity Seek Initiative is consolidating its governance mechanism after the recent election of its steering committee, which will craft the major components of a programme of work to sustain global efforts on plant genomics.

DivSeek is a community-driven initiative to facilitate the linking of germplasm with characterization data with a view to enabling interoperability among information systems, broadening the usability of data and germplasm, and supporting access to germplasm-associated data.

“DivSeek contributes to international cooperation on the Global Information System of Article 17 of the Treaty,” said Shakeel Bhatti, Secretary of the International Treaty.  “And the Treaty is supporting it through joint facilitation with the Global Crop Diversity Trust, with the additional contribution of the Global Plant Council and the CGIAR Consortium Office.”

Over 60 partner organizations, currently involved in the DivSeek initiative, gathered for the first time as the “DivSeek Assembly” in San Diego (USA) in January 2015, immediately following the Treaty Expert Consultation on the Global Information System and back-to-back with the annual International Plant & Animal Genome Conference (PAG XXIII). They approved the DivSeek Charter at the January meeting in San Diego. The Charter sets forth the mission and principles of DivSeek, and provides for internal governance of the initiative through an annual Assembly, a Chairperson of the Assembly and an elected Steering Committee.

The DivSeek Assembly elected Prof. Susan McCouch as Chairperson and initiated an election process, which completed the Steering Committee that comprises a wide group of experts: Mr Andreas Graner, Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK); Mr Ruaraidh Sackville-Hamilton, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI); Ms Elizabeth Arnaud, Bioversity International; Mr David Marshall, James Hutton Institute; Ms Emily Marden, University of British Columbia (Canada);  Mr Peter Bretting, USDA Agricultural Research Service (USDA–ARS); Ms Sarah Ayling, The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC); and Mr Rajeev Varshney, International Crop Research Institute for Semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT).

A Growing Initiative

DivSeek is open to institutions from all relevant sectors, including public, private, academic, civil society and intergovernmental organizations. DivSeek and other initiatives within the Global Information System are expected to trigger networking among otherwise disconnected efforts, and to contribute to significant activities and outputs for the plant breeding and conservation community.

The Treaty Secretariat will host the first meeting of the newly-elected DivSeek Steering Committee on 28 May 2015 in Rome (Italy). The meeting will discuss the elements of the first programme of work for DivSeek, with a particular focus on information management, community development and networking, research strategies and plant genetic resources related rights. Information on the DivSeek initiative and its linkages to the Global Information System of the Treaty will be reflected in the documentation being prepared for the Sixth Session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty in October 2015.