Ola Tveitereid Westengen

Research Fellow
Image of Ola Tveitereid Westengen
Postal address UiO Centre for Development and the Environment PO Box 1116 Blindern 0317 Oslo

Academic Interests

  • Biodiversity and genetic resources, conservation and use
  • Crop Evolution, geneflow and adaptations
  • Livelihoods and crop diversity
  • Food Security and Adaptation to Climate Change

Project involvement

Researcher, SUM, NFR AidEffect project: Impacts of Norwegian and Chines Development Assistance in Malawi and Zambia (PI: Dan Banik)


Ola Westengen is a research fellow at SUM and an Associate Professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences.

Ola holds a PhD in Biology from the University of Oslo and a Master in Management of Natural Resources from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. From 2008-2015 he was the Coordinator of Operation and Management for the Svalbard Global Seed Vault – a storage facility to back-up genetic diversity held in genebank collections of crop diversity worldwide. From 2006-2008 he worked as a Programme Officer with The Global Crop Diversity Trust based in the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Previously he worked in Sri Lanka on relief and rehabilitation of farmers’ and fishers’ livelihoods after the tsunami, with the Norwegian Development Fund’s local partner organization ‘Green Movement of Sri Lanka’.

Tags: Natural Resource Management, Aid, Food, Poverty, Africa


  • Westengen, Ola; Skarbø, Kristine & Berg, Trygve (2018). Access to genes. Food Security.  ISSN 1876-4517.  s 9- 25 . doi: 10.1007/s12571-017-0751-6
  • Westengen, Ola; Skarbø, Kristine; Mulesa, Teshome Hunduma & Berg, Trygve (2018). Access to genes: linkages between genebanks and farmers' seed systems. Food Security.  ISSN 1876-4517.  10(1), s 9- 25 . doi: 10.1007/s12571-017-0751-6
  • Haugen, Hans Morten & Westengen, Ola (2017). A Review of Intellectual Property Rights in Food Biotechnology, In Geoffrey Smithers (ed.),  Reference Module in Food Science.  Elsevier.  ISBN 978-0-08-100596-5.  Kapittel.  s 1 - 5 Show summary
  • Westengen, Ola (2017). Crops in context: Negotiating traditional and formal seed institutions, In James Sumberg (ed.),  Agronomy for Development: The Politics of Knowledge in Agricultural Research.  Routledge.  ISBN 978-1138240315.  Chapter 9.  s 121 - 135
  • Westengen, Ola; Nyanga, Progress Hanzwida; Chibamba, Douty; Guillen-Royo, Monica & Banik, Dan (2017). A climate for commerce: the political agronomy of conservation agriculture in Zambia. Agriculture and Human Values.  ISSN 0889-048X.  35(1), s 255- 268 . doi: 10.1007/s10460-017-9820-x Full text in Research Archive.
  • Westengen, Ola & Banik, Dan (2016). The State of Food Security: From Availability, Access and Rights to Food Systems Approaches. Forum for Development Studies.  ISSN 0803-9410.  43(1), s 113- 134 . doi: 10.1080/08039410.2015.1134644 Show summary
  • Westengen, Ola & Berg, Trygve (2016). Crop Adaptation to Climate Change in SSA: The Role of Genetic Resources and Seed Systems, In Rattan Lal; David Kraybill; David O. Hansen; Bal Ram Singh; Theodosy Mosogoya & Lars Olav Eik (ed.),  Climate Change and Multi-Dimensional Sustainability in African Agriculture.  Springer Publishing Company.  ISBN 978-3-319-41236-8.  Chapter 18.  s 327 - 344 Show summary
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid & Brysting, Anne Krag (2014). Crop adaptation to climate change in the semi-arid zone in Tanzania: the role of genetic resources and seed systems. Agriculture & Food Security.  ISSN 2048-7010.  3(3) . doi: 10.1186/2048-7010-3-3 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid; Okongo, Mark Atam; Onek, Leo; Berg, Trygve; Upadhyaya, Hari; Birkeland, Siri; Khalsa, Siri-Dharma Kaur; Ring, Kristoffer Hofaker; Stenseth, Nils Christian & Brysting, Anne Krag (2014). Ethnolinguistic structuring of sorghum genetic diversity in Africa and the role of local seed systems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.  ISSN 0027-8424.  111(39), s 14100- 14105 . doi: 10.1073/pnas.1401646111 Show summary
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid; Ring, Kristoffer Hofaker; Berg, Paul Ragnar & Brysting, Anne Krag (2014). Modern maize varieties going local in the semi-arid zone in Tanzania. BMC Evolutionary Biology.  ISSN 1471-2148.  14(1), s 1- 12 . doi: 10.1186/1471-2148-14-1 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid; Jeppson, Simon & Guarino, Luigi (2013). Global Ex-Situ Crop Diversity Conservation and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault: Assessing the Current Status. PLoS ONE.  ISSN 1932-6203.  8(5) . doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0064146
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2012). One Billion Hungry People Missing: Framing Food Security and Livelihoods, In Kenneth Bo Nielsen & Kristian Bjørkdahl (ed.),  Development and Environment: Practices, Theories, Policies.  Akademisk Forlag.  ISBN 9788232100330.  3.  s 41 - 59
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid; Berg, Paul Ragnar; Kent, Matthew Peter & Brysting, Anne Krag (2012). Spatial Structure and Climatic Adaptation in African Maize Revealed by Surveying SNP Diversity in Relation to Global Breeding and Landrace Panels. PLoS ONE.  ISSN 1932-6203.  7(10) . doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0047832 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2005). Genetic Diversity and Geographic Pattern in Early South American Cotton Domestication. Theoretical and Applied Genetics.  ISSN 0040-5752.  (110), s 392- 402 . doi: 10.1007/s00122-004-1850-2
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid; Huamán, Zosimo & Heun, Manfred (2005). Genetic diversity and geographic pattern in early South American cotton domestication. Theoretical and Applied Genetics.  ISSN 0040-5752.  110, s 392- 402 . doi: 10.1007/s00122-004-1850-2
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2003). Biologia y Etnobotanica del Algodon nativo Peruano (Gossypium barbadense L., Malvacea). Arnaldoa.  ISSN 1815-8242.  10(2), s 93- 108 Show summary

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  • Westengen, Ola (2018). Seeds: Political economic botany, Seminar in honour of Desmond McNeill: Science, Politics and Policy in Sustainable Development.
  • Westengen, Ola (2018, 26. februar). Svalbard Global Seed Vault reaches 1 million specimens https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2018633850/svalbard-global-seed-vault-reaches-1-million-specimens. [Radio].  New Zealand.
  • Westengen, Ola (2018). What have seeds got to do with it?.
  • Westengen, Ola & Haug, Ruth (2018). Kan norsk næringsliv fikse mat og landbruk i Afrika?. Bistandsaktuelt.  ISSN 1501-0201. . doi: http://www.bistandsaktuelt.no/arkiv-kommentarer/2018/kan-norsk-naringsliv-fikse-mat-og-landbruk-i-afrika/
  • Westengen, Ola & Partapuoli, Kari Helene (2018). Frø og katastrofer. Avisa Vårt land.
  • Eriksen, Siri; Westengen, Ola & Aune, Jens Bernt (2017). Klima og landbruk – et internasjonalt utviklingsperspektiv. Presentasjon ved besøk av Jonas Gahr Støre.
  • Westengen, Ola (2017). Hva skal vi med mat og landbruk i utviklingsarbeidet?.
  • Westengen, Ola; Hunduma Mulesa, Teshome & Skarbø, Kristine (2017). From Genebanks to Farmers. A study of approaches to introduce genebank material to farmers’ seed systems Noragric report No 80.
  • Westengen, Ola; Skarbø, Kristine & Hunduma Mulesa, Teshome (2017). Never the twain shall meet?Ex situ conservation – on farm use linkages in the global PGR landscape.
  • Bjørnstad, Åsmund & Westengen, Ola (2016). Det blir ikkje fred når svelten rår. Dag og Tid.  ISSN 0803-334X.
  • Westengen, Ola (2016). Crops in context: negotiating traditional and formal seed institutions.
  • Westengen, Ola (2016, 18. september). Ei orgie i svartsyn og pessimisme.  Firda.
  • Westengen, Ola (2016). Mat er ut. Bistandsaktuelt.  ISSN 1501-0201.
  • Westengen, Ola (2016). Presentation in Norwegian Parliament: Klimatilpasning, matsikkerhet og mangfold i landbruket – internasjonalt samarbeid. Show summary
  • Westengen, Ola (2016, 10. februar). Vi må gjennoppdage Edens hage. [Radio].  NRK Ekko.
  • Westengen, Ola (2016, 17. april). Ville planter kan gi bedre matsikkerhet.  Bistandsaktuelt.
  • Westengen, Ola; Ring, Kristoffer Hofaker & Orozco-Ramirezc, Quetzalcoatl (2016). Crops and culture: conserving the seed heritage.
  • Eastwood, Ruth; Cody, S; Roland, von Bothmer & Westengen, Ola (2015). Conservation Roles of the Millennium Seed Bank and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, In Robert Redden; Shyam Singh Yadav; Nigel Maxted; Mohammad Ehsan Dulloo; Luigi Guarino & Paul Smith (ed.),  Crop Wild Relatives and Climate Change.  Wiley-Blackwell.  ISBN 978-1-118-85433-4.  Chapter 10.
  • Westengen, Ola (2015, 20. mai). A worldwide network of seed information is taking root. [Internett].  Scidev.net.
  • Westengen, Ola (2015). Afrikansk landbruk – mer enn privat næringsliv. Bistandsaktuelt.  ISSN 1501-0201.
  • Westengen, Ola (2015, 02. februar). En el Polo Norte existe el "Arca de Noé" de las plantas. [Radio].  Colombia.
  • Westengen, Ola (2015). En klar ideologisk dreining. Klassekampen.  ISSN 0805-3839.
  • Westengen, Ola (2015, 26. mai). Frøbanken i Syria reddes til Svalbard. [Radio].  NRKP1.
  • Westengen, Ola (2015). Frøhvelvet på Svalbard. Faktafyk : om saker ungdom er opptekne av.  ISSN 1893-8507.  3(1), s 50- 54
  • Westengen, Ola (2015). Keynote: The Global Back-up.
  • Westengen, Ola (2015, 18. juni). Save seed banks, save the world. [Internett].  Positive News.
  • Westengen, Ola (2015, 22. mai). Svalbard kan være Syrias redning.  Aftenposten.
  • Westengen, Ola (2015, 22. mai). Syrias frølager kan være ødelagt - Svalbard er livsviktig backup.  Aftenposten.
  • Westengen, Ola & Berg, Trygve (2015). Crop adaptation to climate change in SSA: the role of genetic resources and seed systems.
  • Westengen, Ola & Haug, Ruth (2015). Crop adaptation to climate change: A seed system perspective.
  • Westengen, Ola & Roland, von Bothmer (2015). The Frozen Arch, In  The Ice is Melting: ethics in the arctic.  Fagbokforlaget.  ISBN 978-82-450-1843-1.  Chapter 12.
  • Westengen, Ola & von Bothmer, Roland (2015). Den frosne Arken, I: Leif Magne Helgesen; Kim Holmén & Ole Arve Misund (red.),  Isen smelter - etikk i Arktis.  Fagbokforlaget.  ISBN 978-82-450-1794-6.  Ressurser og næringsliv i Arktis.  s 165 - 178
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2014, 15. november). Ark in the Arctic.  The Hindu.
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2014). Cultural determinants of crop diversity: implications for conservation and use.
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2014). Fakta og fiksjon om Svalbard Globale Frøhvelv.
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2014, 15. juni). Frø frå borgarkrigens Aleppo sikra på Svalbard. [Internett].  NRK.
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2014, 31. august). Norway’s ‘Doomsday Vault’ holds a priceless treasure: Seeds.  The Star.
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2014, 28. november). Svalbard, 300 milioni di semi nella fortezza scavata nel ghiaccio.  Corriere della Sera.
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2014). The Svalbard Global Seed Vault: a frozen ark for food security.
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2013, 27. november). - Jeg kan ikke tenke meg et tryggere sted.  Aftenposten.
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2013). Bevaring av genetiske ressurser på Svalbard. Genialt.  ISSN 0804-225X.  (2)
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2013). Klimaendringer og matsikkerhet.
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2013). Livelihoods and adaptation to climatic stress in the semi-arid zone in Tanzania.
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2013). Modern maize varieties going local in the semi-arid zone in Tanzania: Implications for adaptation to climate change.
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2013). Temporal population structure in sorghum landraces from Lafon, South Sudan: Genotypic responses to climatic variability and change?.
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid; Jeppson, Simon & von Bothmer, Roland (2013). Safety duplicating global ex-situ collections: taxonomic and institutional representation in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2012). Challenging adaptation categories -The role of crop diversity and seed systems in adapting to climatic stress in the semi-arid agricultural zone in Tanzania.
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2012). Recursos genéticos, su conservación y acceso en la Bóveda Global de Semillas, Svalbard, Noruega.
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2012). Svalbard Global Seed Vault -Your back-up in the Arctic.
  • Holsten, Hilde Hartmann & Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2011, 28. november). Sikkerhet i et lite frø. [Internett].  Forskning.no. Show summary
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2010). Science for Development? International Foundation for Science, NORAD.
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2010). Svalbard Global Seed Vault doubles its content after two years. Newsletter for Europe. Bioversity International.  (40), s 17- 17
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2010). The use of controlled environments for storing plant genetic resources for the future.
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2009). En ny grønn revolusjon?. Klassekampen.  ISSN 0805-3839.
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2008). Svalbard Globale Frøhvelv -Symbol og Realitet. Nordiske Genressurser.  ISSN 1603-3922.
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2008). Svalbard Seed Vault. Newsletter for Europe. Bioversity International.  (36), s 14- 15
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2008). The day of the big freeze in Svalbard. Global Seed Vault opened. Geneflow.  1(1), s 6- 8
  • Westengen, Ola Tveitereid (2007). Conservation of crop biodiversity for a food secure future.

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Published Aug. 15, 2011 2:53 PM - Last modified Aug. 22, 2015 4:34 PM


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