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Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a backup facility for the world’s crop diversity. By putting seed duplicates for long-term and safe storage in Svalbard, genebanks reduce the risk of losing invaluable genetic material if anything should happen to their original collections. NordGen is responsible for operating the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in cooperation with the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the international organization Global Crop Diversity Trust. NordGen’s role in the Seed Vault partnership is to communicate with genebanks, handle seed deposits and update the Seed Portal – a publicly accessible database gathering information about the seeds stored in the Seed Vault.
Seed Vault Openings:
3, February, June
and October
22, 2 first time
Number of seed samples
in the Vault (31/12 2021):
New seed
samples duplicates:
New institutions signing
the deposit agreement:
1 , Serbia
Number of depositing institutions (31/12 2021):

Key Activities 2021

New Depositors

Two genebanks deposited seeds for the first time in 2021; the national genebanks in Serbia and in Latvia. Delegations from the two countries were present in Svalbard and accompanied their seed deposits at the Seed Vault Opening in October.

More Than 50,000 Saftey Duplicates

In total 50.926 safety duplicates from 22 depositors were added to the Seed Vault collection in 2021. By the end of the year the total holding of seed accessions in the Seed Vault was 1.125.419 samples deposited by 89 genebanks/institutes. 

100-year Seed Experiment

The second set of seeds belonging to the 100-year seed germination experiment in the Seed Vault produced by IPK, Germany and INIAV, Portugal was prepared and packed at NordGen in Alnarp and put in place in the Seed Vault in 2021.

Nanofilm Securing Information

Nanofilm labels displaying data on seed samples stored in the seed boxes in the Seed Vault were produced in 2021. The film labels will be fixed to all seed boxes in the Seed Vault in 2022.
The Seed Vault was established in 2008 and is owned by Norway. NordGen is responsible for managing the Seed Vault in partnership with the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the international organization Crop Trust. The iconic building, on the top of the world, safeguards security copies of seeds stored in genebanks and thereby contributes to securing the world’s food supply.
The location of the Seed Vault was chosen due to Svalbard being a remote, cold and safe place, yet easily accessible for shipping and handling. In addition, the Nordic Genebank (now NordGen) stored a backup of the Nordic seed collection here already from 1984, something that inspired to the establishment of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. The seed chambers of the Seed Vault are carved out from the solid rock of the Plateau mountain. They offer a frozen environment where artificial cooling keeps the temperature at a constant –18°C and according to FAO’s genebank standards. The ownership of the seeds stored in the Seed Vault remains with the depositing genebank, and only the institution that deposited the seeds are allowed to withdraw them.