General trends of development imply an increasing uniformity of animal genetic resources, caused by the loss of endangered breeds and increased inbreeding within commercial breeding populations. The implications of these trends point to a reduction in the genetic diversity of the animal genetic resources, which may reduce possibilities for utilization in the future, while at the same time a dramatic change in environmental production conditions can be observed. In order to change this developmental trend, sustainable management of animal genetic resources must be promoted globally. The fundamental issues for such sustainable management are illustrated by the principles given in the Convention on Biological Diversity. In order to accomplish sustainable management of these resources, the following actions must be taken:
• The development of policies to promote national and global responsibility for maintaining genetic diversity, which will not be addressed within this paper
• The development of knowledge as a fundamental concept to impose sustainable management principles on these animal genetic resources. This will be dealt with in this paper. A more complete description of these features can be found in Woolliams et al, 2005 in (Sustainable Management of Animal Genetic Resources).