This site uses cookies to provide a better experience. Continuing navigation accept the use of cookies by us OK




Bioversity International is the largest international organization dealing with conservation and the application of biodiversity in agriculture and forestry.
Founded in 1974, under the aegis of the FAO, the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources (IBPGR) was intended to coordinate an international programme for plant genetic resources, as well as to build and expand national, regional and international genetic databases.
In 1991, the IBPGR became the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI), and in January 1994 began to operate as the independent CGIAR (Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers), simultaneously taking on the management and administration of the International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain Plantations (INIBAP).
From 2001 the Institute moved to its new headquarters, in Maccarese Science Park, near Rome, and in 2018 celebrates 44 years of activities.
In 2006, IPGRI and INIBAP merged into one organization and later changed name, becoming Bioversity International. This significant change reflects a broader view of the agency’s role in the field of agricultural and forest biodiversity, and research for the development of related activities.
Margaret Ann Tutwiler is the current Director General of Bioversity International.
Bioversity’s mission is to preserve genetic diversity in germplasm banks, on farms and in their natural state, so that the biodiversity data are available and for the benefit of the entire world community.
This diversity is the result of a selection process carried out by generations of farmers on hundreds of thousands of crops and derived wild plants. It is the raw material from which farmers and scientists are able to develop other varieties and new farming systems, ensuring better food security and more reliable ways of making a livelihood. Diversity must, however, deal with phenomena of environmental destruction, crop substitution and other threats. To this end, Bioversity contributes to preserving the genetic information necessary for species to adapt to changing environmental conditions such as global warming, the presence of new pesticides, disease, drought and floods.

The FAO and IFAD are two leading partners of Bioversity. The common goal is to end hunger. Hunger and poverty, exacerbated by a changing climate and poor harvests, urgently need long-term sustainable solutions for a food secure future for everyone.
The new 2030 Agenda has mapped out the path for sustainable development over the next 15 years. The Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers, which owns Bioversity International, aligns strategies to achieve global objectives approved by the General Assembly in September 2015. In its field projects, Bioversity has already worked on matters covered by the 2030 Agenda, but with the new Post 2015 process, the convergence of Sustainable Development Goals has become more structured. With its research and other activities, Bioversity contributes specifically to the achievement of several and fundamental SDGs. In first place it is strongly involved for the attainment of Goal 15: promote biodiversity and sustainable soil management; moreover, it directly participates in the numerous initiatives directed to eradicate poverty in all its form (SDG 1); to achieve food security and nutrition by promoting sustainable agriculture (SDG 2); to ensure health and well-being for all (SDG 3); to spread sustainable production and consumption patterns (SDG 12), and to combat climate change and its adverse effects (SDG 13).

The partnership between Italy and Bioversity International has always been solid and results-oriented: Bioversity Director General, Ann Tutwiler, emphasized the role played by Italian cooperation in ensuring the long-term sustainability of the research pursued by the agency.
For 2017 the Italian Government made a contribution equal to 2.500.000 euros for “core activities” to enforce multilateral planning; contribution that has been planned and confirmed also for 2018.


Bioversity International announces appointment of new Director General

On 27 November 2018, the Colombian Juan Lucas Restrepo Ibiza has been named as Bioversity International’s Director General. Unanimously elected by the Board of Trustees of Bioversity International at its meeting in Washington, Restrepo will assume office in March 2019.
Moreover, considering the Memorandum of Understanding recently signed by Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) designed to establish a strategic alliance between the two organisations, Restrepo has also been appointed as CEO-Designate for the Alliance. Amongst his responsibilities, indeed, not only will he have to foster the development of the newly created Alliance, but also represent it in the key international fora, including in particular the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) to whom Bioversity belongs.

Having more than 25 years’ experience in the agricultural domain, Restrepo has worked both for the public and private sectors. He served in the Colombian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as Vice Minister, has been frequently convoked by the Colombian government as a specialist of the agricultural field. On the private side, he served as Chief Commercial Officer in the Colombian Federation of Coffee Growers. Currently, from 2010 he is Executive Director of the Colombian Agricultural Research Corporation (AGROSAVIA) – formerly known as CORPOICA – the largest agricultural research organisation in Colombia.

A Colombian and French national, Juan Lucas Restrepo graduated in Civil Engineering from Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá in 1992 and then earned a master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University of Ithaca (New York, USA) in 1997.

The newly appointed Director General Restrepo will succeed the American M. Ann Tutwiler and will remain in office for a five-year term, renewable once.