Workshop on Plant Genetic Resources and Genebank Operations Management System (Jointly sponsored by COMSTECH, PARC AND ECOSF)
May 8-11, 2018

Venue: COMSTECH Secretariat, Islamabad

Deadline for Applications: March 2, 2018
Plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA) are imperiled due to both manmade and naturally occurring hazards. Diseases, disasters and climate change threaten not only the produce and reproduction but at times the very existence of plant species is endangered. Researchers and breeders use these PGRFA as the building blocks to tackle the challenges of food security for growing populations not only to sustain productivity but also to enhance the food and nutrition production for feeding the ever increasing population.
Impacts of climate change on global agriculture and ultimately the food security are serious threats for feeding the growing population. The only viable option to mitigate these impacts is development of climate resilient crop varieties that can thrive in more extreme, changeable and uncertain environmental conditions. In the changing scenario, PGRFA have become crucial for minimizing risks of crop production. Development of new cultivars has been found to be the most effective modification to improve crop yields in a range of climate change and adaptation scenarios, achievable through facilitated access to PGRFA. Plant breeders are therefore in need of a continuous supply of diverse and novel genetic diversity to produce new crop varieties able to sustain various challenges. A vast pool of this diversity exists in production systems in nature, and can be preserved in genebanks. The PGRFA community has the knowledge, tools, techniques and rapidly evolving technology to conserve and use these genetic resources wisely to sustain crop production. However, as highlighted by FAO, there is a range of complex issues being confronted in this context in general and in OIC countries in particular. These are causing significant limitations to the effective management and availability of PGRFA, resulting in loss and inefficient utilization of plant diversity, which is critical for food industry and food security
Objectives of the Program: 
The workshop is aimed to achieve two main objectives;
  1. Raise the capacity of the existing PGRFA conservation and utilization facilities in OIC countries with particular focus on;
    • Current status of plant diversity: its use & preservation
    • Main achievements at the global, regional and national level
    • Key technical and scientific advances 
    • Major gaps and needs that require urgent attention  
  2. Development of projects in consultation with the experts for setting up Gene Banks in the OIC member states 
Target Audience:
Managers, technicians and conservationists working in genebanks are mainly targeted to benefit from the workshop. Faculty members from the relevant departments can also attend the workshop. The workshop is aimed to entertain 30-35 participants from OIC member countries. Early applications from OIC countries other than Pakistan will be processed on priority basis. 
Resource Persons:
Leading national & international experts with vast experience in plant genetic resources and genebanks will conduct the workshop. 
Workshop Contents:
  1. Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA): Past, Present and Future Needs
  2. Protection of Genetic Resources and Traditional Knowledge: Current Scenario and Future Plans
  3. Genebank Database Management
  4. PGRFA Evaluation, Utilization and Pre-Breeding in Context of International Centers 
  5. Develop GO Flow-chart by Participants
  6. International Treaties and National Legislation on PGRFA
  7. Management of Risk, Infrastructure and Equipment
  8. Country Reports
  9. Visit to BCI/NGP and Allied Facilities; National Herbarium and Hands-on Practice for PGR Collection
Registration Fee:
There is no registration fee for foreign participants from OIC Member States.  Registration fee for Pakistani participants is Pak Rupees 2,500. 
Travel & Local Hospitality: 
ECOSF is offering travel support to the participants from OIC & ECO common member countries (Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgys Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan). Limited number of travel grants are also available for participants from other OIC countries. Interested candidates are required to download the travel grant form from here and send the duly filled form along with application form by the deadline.
COMSTECH will provide accommodation and meals for selected participants from OIC member states, and PARC will provide accommodation to those residing outside the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Airport pick-and-drop service on arrival and departure will be provided to all participants upon prior information. 
Registration Process: 
  • Step 1: Download Application Form from here
  • Step 2: Read instructions in the application form carefully and submit properly filled form along with your CV to / Foreign participants must submit scanned copy of first three pages of their passport along with the application form. 
  • Step 3: Selected candidates will be notified through email, hence, applicants are required to regularly check their emails. 
Workshop Coordinator: 
Hanifa Beg 
Program Manager, COMSTECH
Tel: +92-51-9220681-3
Fax: +92-51-9205264, +92-51-9220265
Technical Focal Person:
Dr. Abdul Ghafoor
Director, Bio-resources Conservation Institute (BCI)
National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC)
Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC),
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-321-5189487

Profiles of the Speakers

Dr. Jonas Mueller is a senior manager at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, one of the world’s most famous botanic gardens. As Senior Research Leader in Seed Conservation and chairman of Kew’s Banking the World’s Seeds strategic output group, Dr. Mueller is heading the seed biology and conservation research agenda across Kew Science and building the bridge between scientific research, conservation and horticulture. He is the lead for the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) Partnership, a global network for plant conservation which aims to collect and put in safe storage high quality seeds of 25% of the world’s bankable flora. At the same time, Dr Mueller leads global thematic projects within Kew, such as the Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change project and the Global Tree Seed Bank Project. The Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change project is jointly managed by Kew and the Crop Trust and collects Crop Wild Relatives of 29 major crop gene pools worldwide. A plant ecologist by training, Dr. Mueller is particularly interested in the ecology of germination and of the establishment of plants, and in understanding the plants’ responses to stress, such as heat or drought stress. His interests focus on plants from seasonal climates and mountain ecosystems.

Dr. Mohd Shukri Mat obtained his Ph.D. in Plant Product and Nutrition (Phytochemistry) from University of Glasgow, Scotland in 2008. He has been active in the area of research and development (R&D) on plant genetic resources for 17 years mainly in the utilisation of plants for added value products such as antibacterial agent and biopesticidal formulation. He has patented two IPs and has won several awards at national and international exhibitions such as Malaysian Technology Expo (MTE), International Technology Exhibition (ITEX), BioInno (BioAsia), Seoul International Invention Fair (SIIF) and British Invention Show (BIS).

He is currently a Principal Research Officer and Deputy Director of the Program on Conservation and Management of Genetic Resources, Genebank and Seed Centre, Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) which focuses on conservation of plant genetic resources to be further utilised for food and agriculture. Dr. Mohd Shukri is also responsible on the operation of National Rice Genebank in Seberang Perai, Penang and National AgroFood Genebank (MyGeneBank™) in Serdang, Selangor under the International Treaty on Plant genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA). He has supervised one Ph.D. student from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).

Dr. Farshid Talat is an Assistant Professor of Crop genetics and Breeding at Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization of Iran. Dr. Talat is Deputy Director General at West Azerbaijan Agricultural Research Center. He is doing research in the field of crop genetics and biotechnology for 18 years and has been teaching Genetics and Biostatistics in several universities since 1999. He has conducted extensive studies on crop breeding and plant architecture systems in Iran. Dr. Talat served as a coordinator of 44 national projects .He received his B.Sc. degree in Agronomy and Plant Breeding from Urmia University in 1997 and his M.Sc. in Plant Breeding-Biotechnology from University of Tehran in 1999. Dr.Talat received his PhD from Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Genomics on wild cotton sequencing program. He is the author of 70 national and international published papers.

Dr. Batma Tentieva graduated in 1974 from the Leningrad Agricultural Institute, Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation. From that time until 1980 she worked in Botanical Garden of the National Academy of Sciences as an agronomist and then as a junior researcher. In 1981-1984 Batma Tentieva studied in Graduate School at the All-Union Fodder Research Institute and in 1987 obtained her PhD.. Since 1980 she has been working at the Kyrgyz Research Institute of Breeding of Livestock and Pasture (KRIBLP), Komsomolsky, Kyrgyz Republic.

From 1994 she has been working in the capacity of Head of Laboratory of Breeding of Alfalfa, Kyrgyz Research Institute of Breeding of Livestock and Pasture. Alfalfa cultivars created by her have been cultivated in numerous farms of the Kyrgyz Republic and are being tested in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.

Dr. Tentieva is an author of 3 cultivars of alfalfa, 44 scientific works, 2 methodical instructions, 7 recommendations on technologies of forage grasses cultivation. For her services she was awarded an honorary diploma and number of awards of the Institute (KRIBLP). For her performance in the field of Agriculture, she was also awarded "Outstanding Worker in Agriculture." Currently, Dr. Batma Tentieva is working on the creation of long-term pasture cultivated variety of alfalfa with involvement of wild-growing ecotypes of alfalfa as donors.

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