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How Secure is the Doomsday Global Seed Vault? 

June 2017

Global seed vault compromised by soaring arctic temperatures

Buried deep inside the Arctic Circle, the Global Seed Vault is a giant project that protects the world’s most valuable seeds from global disasters and ensures the world’s food supply. Opened in 2008, it has been described as ‘the ultimate back up plan’. Permafrost and thick rock ensure that the seeds remain frozen in the vault even without power. However, in May 2017 meltwater gushed into the entrance of the vault, it was produced as a result of rising temperatures in the Arctic caused by climate change. Though the meltwater did not reach the seeds, there is now growing concern that the Global Seed Vault is no longer an impenetrable policy for the humanity’s food supply. This resource takes a look at what happens at the vault, the geopolitics of seed saving, and how climate change may be changing the landscape of Svalbard.

In the Members' Area:

  • Where is the Global Seed vault?
  • Why was the Global Seed Vault established?
  • What happens there?
  • Why is international co-operation important to the success of the seedbank?
  • How is the arctic changing?

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