This guide is a showcase of good practices from around the world that use food systems as a pathway to meet many interconnected biodiversity-related targets in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Intended for practitioners and policymakers, it does not set out a ‘one size fits all’ approach but rather good practice examples that have the potential to be adapted and scaled in a variety of food systems around the world.
The post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework sets out an ambitious plan to implement broad-based action to transform society’s relationship with biodiversity, ensuring that by 2050 the shared vision of ‘living in harmony with nature’ is fulfilled. To live in harmony with nature and deliver food and livelihood security to millions of vulnerable people around the world, we must conserve and sustainably use biodiversity in our food systems, and better integrate and align efforts to conserve both agricultural and wild biodiversity rather than pursuing them separately.
That today’s unsustainable agricultural practices are both driving and suffering from the effects of climate change, biodiversity loss, and ecosystem degradation is not under dispute. Modern food systems also invest in and rely on just a narrow handful of plant and animal species. This high-risk approach neglects the myriad of species, breeds, and strains of crops, animals, and fish at the heart of our food systems that boost resilience and provide diverse diets that are nutritious, sustainable, affordable, acceptable, safe, and accessible to all. At the same time, wild biodiversity that contributes to healthy ecosystems and ecosystem services that are critical to food production, such as pollination and soil fertility, is also at risk from agriculture, for example, through land conversion.
The good news is that there are many good practices from around the world that use and conserve biodiversity to replenish ecosystem health and restore forest systems; deliver inclusive development for rural communities and Indigenous Peoples; increase productivity and resilience to climate change in production systems; help drive consumer shifts toward healthy eating for a healthy planet. You will also find examples of efforts to conserve traditional varieties of crops and associated knowledge that may hold unique genetic keys to adapt our food systems now and in the future. Many of these examples are supported by strong innovative enabling policies, at regional, national, and local levels, that incentivize the sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity for resilient, healthy, and sustainable food systems.
Each section in the guide is mapped to its potential to deliver across Action 2030 Targets as set out in the first draft of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (CBD/WG2020/3/3). It is important to note that using and conserving biodiversity in food systems delivers across many objectives of the CBD Framework simultaneously so this is not intended as a definitive list but rather as a useful overview of ways that sustainable food systems can deliver across many objectives of the framework.