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Scientists honored as 2024 World Food Prize Laureates for roles in world seed vault project

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault holds 1.25 million seed samples of more than 6,000 plant species in an underground facility in the Arctic Circle.
World Food Prize
Posted at 3:43 PM, May 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-11 16:43:43-04

Two scientists were honored for their roles in a seed storage project meant to protect the world's food supply in total disaster. Dr. Geoffrey Hawtin of the Global Crop Diversity Trust and Dr. Cary Fowler were selected as the 2024 World Food Prize Laureate recipients.

The scientists played key roles in the "Doomsday Vault" repository project that holds 1.25 million seed samples of more than 6,000 plant species in an underground facility in the Arctic Circle.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, "The World Food Prize is bestowed to individuals for recognition of their achievements in the fight against hunger and food insecurity – one of the most pressing issues of our time."

Dr. Cary Fowler, the U.S. Special Envoy for Global Food Security — who was part of the project's development — worked with Dr. Geoffrey Hawtin to form International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. It was adopted in 2001.

Blinken said, “This year’s awardees, Dr. Geoffrey Hawtin and the State Department’s very own Dr. Cary Fowler, have made extraordinary contributions towards this cause. They have done critical work to advance global crop biodiversity and conserve over 6,000 varieties of crops and culturally important plants which has had a direct impact in addressing hunger around the world."

He said, "This is the 20th year the Department of State has played a role in this announcement and we are honored to be able to support the World Food Prize Foundation’s recognition of Dr. Fowler’s and Dr. Hawtin’s work.”

The World Food Prize honors those who work to improve the quality of food globally.