Bill Gates and other investors have secured a 'doomsday seed vault' to preserve a wide variety of plant seeds in the remote Arctic Svalbard archipelago.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a secure seed bank on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen in the remote Arctic Svalbard archipelago. Conservationist Cary Fowler, in association with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), started the vault to preserve a wide variety of plant seeds that are duplicate samples, or "spare" copies, of seeds held in gene banks worldwide. The seed vault is an attempt to ensure against the loss of seeds in other genebanks during large-scale regional or global crises. The seed vault is managed under terms spelled out in a tripartite agreement among the Norwegian government, the Crop Trust, and the Nordic Genetic Resource Center (NordGen).
The Norwegian government entirely funded the vault's approximately 45 million kr (US$8.8 million in 2008) construction. Storing seeds in the vault is free to end users; Norway and the Crop Trust pay for operational costs. Primary funding for the Trust comes from organisations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and from various governments worldwide.