World Environment Day: ICARDA has News

Jun 05 2022

On World Environment Day, ICARDA has a new Genebank, and a sensational Lebanese para-athlete is carrying our seeds to Svalbard.

Our planet is in a state of emergency. As such, this year’s World Environment Day theme “Only One Earth” is an apt reminder of the urgent global action needed to address climate change and care for our planet. Without prompt and concerted efforts, we are looking at faster agrobiodiversity loss, increasingly frequent and long-lasting droughts, worsening food insecurity, crippling water scarcity, and other equally dreadful repercussions. 

According to the 2022 report of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), even if we could limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels in the coming decades – which is looking increasingly unrealistic – a staggering 14% of the planet’s biodiversity could still go extinct.  

This year, World Environment Day has a particular resonance for us at ICARDA as it occurs between the inauguration of the ICARDA Morocco genebank in Rabat in May, and Michael Haddad’s Svalbard Walk for Climate Resilience and Food Security – slated for June 7th. 

Seeds for Life – Climate-Proofing Future Food Systems   

On May 18th, ICARDA officially inaugurated its Morocco Genebank in Rabat. The state-of-the-art facility, which operates in tandem with ICARDA’s sister genebank in Lebanon, holds a unique and remarkable collection of wheat, barley, chickpea, and lentil genetic material from the region and beyond.

Together, ICARDA genebanks reinforce CGIAR’s mission to protect vital biodiversity and help utilize sought-after climate-smart traits to develop crops that can cope with harsher growing conditions. 


Svalbard Walk for Climate Resilience and Food Security  

This week, Lebanese endurance para-athlete and UN Goodwill Ambassador Michael Haddad will carry multiple ICARDA seed packets with him as he walks five kilometers in the snow to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway.

The seeds, carefully selected by Dr. Mariana Yazbek, the manager of ICARDA Lebanon genebank, alongside FAO, will then be deposited, expanding on ICARDA’s substantial collection of accessions that are stored there.

The samples of wheat, barley, lentil, chickpea, and forage crops, which originate from 12 Arab countries, were handed over to Michael by Dr. Hassan Machlab, ICARDA Country Manager for Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine, at ICARDA’s Terbol station in Lebanon last week.

By achieving this walk, which is an exceptional physical and mental feat, Michael is determined to raise awareness on the key role that genebanks play to fight climate change and biodiversity loss. 

Happy world environment day! 

Source: ICARDA