The international seed vault that Norway administers on the Arctic island of Spitsbergen in Svalbard has been ranked among the world’s most influential projects during the past 50 years. That puts it on par with the Apollo 11 moon landing, bitcoins and Harry Potter.
The vault landed on a list compiled by the Project Management Institute (PMI), which has more than 3 million members around the world. It evaluated major projects over the past 50 years as it celebrated its own 50th anniversary in Philadelphia.
The Svalbard seed vault was lauded for its importance in securing the world’s food production. Seeds from all over the world have been placed in the vault that’s built inside a mountain in Svalbard with initial funding from the Gates Foundation and ongoing support from the Norwegian government. It now contains around a million seed samples to prevent them from dying out in the event of natural catastrophes.
Its entrance has also become a tourist attraction, perched and visible on the mountainside above the airport at Longyearbyen. The seed vault is among influential and important projects on PMI’s list including the Harry Potter books, the Opera House in Sydney, bitcoins, the iPod and Apollo 11. “It’s great news that (the seed vault) project has won international acclaim,” Harald Nikolaisen of the state building agency in charge of it, Statsbygg, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).