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Establishment

A Plant Genetic Resources Center, Ethiopia (PGRC/E) was initially established in May 1976 through a bilateral technical cooperation agreement between the Governments of Ethiopia and Germany. The main objective was to rescue the country’s plant genetic resources from adverse impacts of various human activities and natural calamities and thereby, support crop improvement programs. In 1998, it was re-established as the Institute of Biodiversity Conservation and research. (IBCR) broadening its mandate and duties to implement Ethiopia’s obligation to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD).  In 2004, the Institute of Biodiversity Conservation (IBC) was amended. At the moment, the institute is renamed as Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute(EBI).

[Click Here to View the Pictures of Former Managers]

Vision 

By 2023, to be center of Excellence in Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use in Africa.

Mission

Undertake study and research on the proper conservation of Ethiopia’s Biodiversity and associated indigenous knowledge; Establish participatory conservation mechanisms; Ensure fair and equitable Access and Benefit Sharing; Promote sustainable utilization of biodiversity for sustainable development.

Objectives

The Objective of the Institute is to ensure the appropriate Conservation and Utilization of the Country’s Biodiversity.

Mandates and Duties

Ethiopia has set clear national policy directives on conservation of biological resources. In the past, conservation efforts focused on plant genetic resources and priority was given to field crops. Since 1998, the Institute was given a wider mandate of conservation and sustainable utilization of all forms of biological resources including plants, animals and microbial genetic resources as well as associated indigenous knowledge. Ecosystem management is also recognized as one of the areas to be given top priority.

As to the importance of biodiversity and our dependence on biological resources, biodiversity conservation efforts give emphasis to local and national needs and values. The Institute, thus, has power and duties related to the conservation and promoting the sustainable utilization of Ethiopia’s biodiversity. This includes maintaining and developing international relations with bilateral and multilateral bodies having the potential to providing technical assistance. The Institute, on the basis of national legislation, has the responsibility and duty to implement international conventions, agreements and obligations on biodiversity to which Ethiopia is a party.

Organizational Structure

The Institute consists of five key processes (Directorates), namely: crop and horticulture Biodiversity directorate, Animal Biodiversity directorate, Microbial Biodiversity directorate, Forest and range land plants Biodiversity directorate and Genetic Resources access and benefit sharing directorate; and five support processes, namely: Public Relations, education and Communication directorate, Finance, Procurement and Property Administration directorate, Internal Audit directorate, Plan & Program directorate and Human Resources Development and Administration directorate.
The Institute establishes seven (7) additional biodiversity centers in Metu, Hawasa, Harer, Mekele, Goba, Bahirdar and Asosa, two botanical gardens in Jimma and Shashemene and Fiche duplicate gene bank to enhance the accessibility of biodiversity conservation and research.
The Director General (DG) leads the institute which supported by management commete. The Management Commete consistes of all directorate directors.

1. Conservation and Sustainable Use

Conservation and sustainable use of biological resources are two of the objectives/pillars of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The four directorates namely: (1) Crop and Horticulture Biodiversity Directorate, (2) Animal Biodiversity Directorate (3) Microbial Biodiversity Directorate (4) Forest and Range land Biodiversity Directorate focused on these two pillars.  Read more about Conservation and Use  on our website: www.ebi.gov.et/about-us/departments

2. Genetic Resources Access and Benefit Sharing

Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS), Article 15 of Convention on Biological Diversity, refers to the way in which genetic resources may be accessed, how the benefits that result from their use are shared between the people or countries using the resources (users) and the people or countries that provide them (providers). ABS is based on prior informed consent (PIC) being granted by a provider to a user and negotiations between both parties to develop mutually agreed terms (MAT) to ensure the fair and equitable sharing of genetic resources and associated benefits. Based on these purposes, the Genetic Resources Access and Benefit Sharing Directorate has been established in Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute (EBI). Working areas include:

  • Provide genetic resources export and import permits
  • Regulate the transfer of genetic resources
  • Build capacity on ABS
  • Prepare manuals and guidelines on ABS
  • Promote high value genetic resources for Benefit Sharing
  • Advise the government on ABS issues

Read more about Genetic Resources Transfer and Regulation Directorate on our website: www.ebi.gov.et/about-us/departments.

EBI as Focal Point of CBD

Globally, the value of biodiversity as a key component of the environment was recognized during the build-up to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Ethiopia endorsed, signed and ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1994. Since then, the Environmental Protection Authority took the lead as a focal point of CBD until 2005 and handed over to EBI, same year, after a thorough revision of the mandates and duties of the two institutions.

Collection and Conservation

The Gene bank is one of the leading Gene banks in Africa and has accomplished a tremendous work in exploration, collection, and conservation of plant genetic resources.
Currently, the Gene bank holds more than 77560 accessions of 493 plant species in cold storage facilities obtained through collection, repatriation and donation; and more than 7190 accessions of 465 species in field Gene banks. Until recently, 605 species of microbial genetic resources and 19694 various samples are conserved under ex situ. About 167489 accessions of plants had been distributed from ex-situ collections to different research and educational institution in Ethiopia as well as worldwide. Note that the number of accessions and species may vary from time to time due to collection and distribution activities.
Moreover, more than 600 species of forest plants conserved in 15 in situ conservation sites and there are 21 community gene banks established in different part of the country to conserve land race crop varieties.
14 ex situ field Gene banks of endangered forest, medicinal, and forage and pasture plants and 2 ex situ field Gene of Horticulture have been established and they are expanding.

Future Direction

Based on the priority objectives, EBI will continue to develop scientific strategies for all the relevant Biological resources conservation, Sustainable utilization and Access and benefit sharing. International standards will be adopted and special efforts will be made to tackle the enormous qualitative and quantitative dimensions of conservation problems unique to Ethiopia

In addition to seed storage, the Institute will make a major effort to increase in situ conservation areas in relevant ecosystems. A major component of the plans will be the conservation of species where many of the wild and weedy relatives of cultivated species exist. In situ conservation of indigenous and local animal species, both domestic and wild, will be enhanced. New and appropriate conservation techniques and methodologies will be adopted for aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity. The rich indigenous knowledge associated with biodiversity will be studied and used for biodiversity conservation and promoting sustainable utilization.

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