The Norwegian Nature Diversity Act stipulates that genetic diversity within domesticated species is to be managed so as to contribute to ensuring the resource foundation for the future, reflecting Norway's commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA).

However, the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement may complicate realization: EU regulations on variety release, seed marketing and conservation varieties prohibit the distribution of seeds among farmers, allowing only the marketing of seeds of varieties from authorized seed shops that comply with strict criteria. This seriously limits farmers' possibilities to conserve and sustainably use crop genetic diversity.

Although Norway has chosen a less restrictive path, there is still a long way to go before the inconsistencies are resolved and Norwegian policy can promote the conservation and sustainable use of crop genetic resources. The project is designed to identify the actions and regulations required to resolve existing inconsistencies. Matches and mismatches between EU directives, CBD and ITPGRFA will be identified, and the findings explained by analysing driving forces, interests, power sources, and strategies.

We apply a theoretical framework that includes instrumental, structural and discursive power concepts. The effects on regulations and management practice in Norway are assessed. Finally, we identify the room of manoeuvre for Norway, and options for the EU.

The project builds mainly on political science and law, with some input from plant sciences.

Project period: 2011-2015


  • Research Council of Norway (ENVIRONMENT2015 Programme)