A tool developed by our scientists has been awarded the 2 million dollar prize granted by the Curt Bergfors Foundation.
"The Agrobiodiversity Index has done something that has never been tried before", said the announcement of our researchers winning the Food Planet Prize, one of the most important environmental awards in the world. The news was broken today, June 9th, in Stockholm, Sweden, by the Curt Bergfors Foundation after a year-long process of selecting and shortlisting more than 1,000 nominations. The Agrobiodiversity Index (ABDI) is a tool developed by scientists working for the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT.
"It has a vision of using science and empirical evidence to quantify and measure the sustainability of the food system, and translate this into a quantitative index for farmers, businesses, and policy, in order to accelerate the adoption of sustainable and healthy food systems", details the news on the Food Planet Prize website. In fact, the Agrobiodiversity Index provides the means to measure the gap between the agricultural biodiversity we have in our food system, and the thousands of plant and food species and varieties we could have, to help maintain healthy diets and resilient production systems now and in the future.
"Winning the Food Planet Prize 2023 means that we can take our work to the next level. Change is a process, and this will allow us to catalyze the process into policies and practices," commented Sarah Jones, who co-leads the initiative.
The Science of the Agrobiodiversity Index
Despite its importance, little is known about the current state of agrobiodiversity (the wealth of plants, animals, and microorganisms used for food and agriculture) across the world. As a result, it is often left out of dietary guidelines, agricultural and environmental policies, business strategies, and other areas that influence our food systems.
The Agrobiodiversity Index aims to correct this by collecting data on biodiversity across the often-disconnected domains of Nutrition, Agriculture, and Genetic Resources. Besides measuring the status of agrobiodiversity, the Index identifies actions, risks, and opportunities to increase its use and conservation.
This innovation, developed by an Alliance team, has been adopted as an indicator of sustainable agriculture in the UN's Global Biodiversity Framework.
Its latest recognition comes with The Curt Bergfors Foundation's Food Planet Prize, after a selection process that started last year and ended with a list of ten potential candidates. These were put through a rigorous process of academic and practical evaluation, on-site visits by an investigative journalist and a photographer commissioned by the Foundation, and a full compliance and due diligence report. Eight finalists were then chosen, presented to the jury, and given the chance to address them in person, telling them why they should win this year’s award and answering questions.
Our colleagues Sarah Jones and Arwen Bailey, representing the Alliance, were present at the Stockholm award ceremony to present the Index, and accept the Food Planet Prize.