Countries Making Progress in Area of Livestock Genetic Diversity

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is claiming progress has been made in an effort to stop the decline of genetic diversity in livestock. Five years ago - due to the news that nearly one-quarter of the world's livestock breeds were at risk for extinction - the FAO urged the international community to adopt a global action plan to stem the erosion and protect the food supply. The FAO said livestock breeds play an important role in helping to feed the world's poor - and that diverse genetic resources can help mitigate the effects of global warming. Based on reports at the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture - many governments are working to reverse the decline in the numbers of indigenous livestock breeds.

In fact - Chief of FAO's Animal Genetic Resources Branch Irene Hoffman says about half of the actions agreed to under the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources - which was adopted in 2007 - have been implemented on average. The actions range from conservation schemes to surveys of livestock numbers, to the development of policies and legal frameworks addressing livestock biodiversity. Hoffman says about 45 countries are preparing - or have prepared - national strategies and action plans for their animal genetic resources. About half of those are developing countries. Many countries in Africa, the Near East and Latin America and the Caribbean are lagging behind.

According to the latest available data - about 22-percent of the world's livestock breeds are classified as being at risk for extinction.

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