Champions of Global Food Security: Dr. Geoffrey Hawtin and Dr. Cary Fowler

Dr. Geoffrey Hawtin and Dr. Cary Fowler have been recognised as the 2024 World Food Prize Laureates for their significant contributions to seed conservation and the promotion of crop biodiversity. Their pioneering work in establishing the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, an underground facility within the Arctic Circle, has solidified their roles as instrumental figures in safeguarding global food security.

Establishing the “Doomsday Vault”
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, often called the “Doomsday Vault,” was inaugurated in 2008 and today protects 1.25 million seed samples from over 6,000 plant species. This vault serves as a crucial backup facility, preserving the genetic diversity essential for responding to potential crises such as pandemics and climate-related disasters. The vault’s establishment was largely driven by Dr. Fowler, who proposed the idea during his tenure at CGIAR, leading to his role as the first Chair of the Vault’s International Advisory Council.

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