The loss of biological diversity is currently one of the greatest challenges facing the environment and sustainable development. The diversity of food crops is under constant pressure. The consequence could be an irreversible loss of the opportunity to grow crops adapted to climate change, new plant diseases and the needs of an expanding population.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which is currently being established in the permafrost in the mountains of Svalbard, is designed to store duplicates of seeds from seed collections from around the globe. Many of these collections from developing countries are in developing countries. If seeds are lost, e.g. as a result of natural disasters, war or simply a lack of resources, the seed collections may be reestablished using seeds from Svalbard.
Most of us will probably miss the opening next Tuesday because it is in Norway, but there will be "media files" available in the Press Room.