Crop seeds from more than 100 countries reside in Norway's Svalbard Global Seed Vault near the Artic Circle. The facility, established to protect biodiversity, can store 2 billion seeds.The Doomsday Vault as the media have nicknamed it, was officially opened on February 26, 2008, to serve as the ultimate safety net for one of the world’s most important natural resources.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a secure seedbank located on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen near the town of Longyearbyen in the remote Arctic Svalbard archipelago. The island of Spitsbergen is about 1,300 kilometres (810 mi) from the North Pole. The facility was established to preserve a wide variety of plant seeds from locations worldwide in an underground cavern. The seed vault holds duplicate samples, or "spare" copies, of seeds held in genebanks worldwide. The seed vault will provide insurance against the loss of seeds in genebanks, as well as a refuge for seeds in the case of large scale regional or global crises. The seed vault is managed under terms spelled out in a tripartite agreement between the Norwegian government, the Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT) and the Nordic Genetic Resource Center.
Construction of the seed vault, which cost approximately 9 million USD, was funded entirely by the Government of Norway. Storage of seeds in the seed vault is free of charge. Operational costs will be paid by Norway and the Global Crop Diversity Trust. The primary funding of the Trust came from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, United Kingdom, Norway, Australia, Switzerland and Sweden, though funding has been received from a wide variety of sources including four developing countries: Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia and India.
From The Old Farmer's Almanac