Blog Eat, Grow and Save Agrobiodiversity to meet UN Biodiversity Targets

Photo credit: Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT/Trong Chinh

This week, 193 member states to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted the Kunming Declaration at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference. ‘Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth’ follows extensive consultation between member states led by the Government of China and marks an important milestone on the road to the second part of the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) in April 2022. This meeting will adopt new global biodiversity goals and targets, which are being increasingly regarded as having the same urgency as those made in Paris in 2015 for climate change.

Member states are aware of the scale of the job ahead which they call “the defining challenge of this decade,” noting the need for “strong political momentum to develop, adopt and implement an ambitious and transformative post-2020 global biodiversity framework.” This must be translated in a sustained political commitment at all levels of government to allow an expedient implementation process.

The existing draft of the Framework includes a target to ensure that all food-producing areas are managed sustainably and ecosystems are protected and restored. But it can go further to advocate for nature-based solutions such as agrobiodiversity, agroecology, agroforestry, regenerative agriculture practices and diversification for enhanced production, resilience, and sustainability in agroecosystems.

Why agrobiodiversity matters

Agrobiodiversity is the variety of different plants, animals, and micro-organisms that make up our agri-food systems. It provides the menu of different foods we eat, and the species and genetic diversity that supports our food production systems. It is a vehicle that farmers, Indigenous Peoples, and local communities can use to boost rural livelihoods and strengthen their resilience towards climate change and variability.

Alliance contributions on global biodiversity negotiations

In the run-up to COP15 and the new Global Post 2020 Biodiversity Framework (GBF), the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT (hereafter The Alliance) has represented OneCGIAR within the Convention on Biological Diversity, working closely with partners and member states to advocate and provide evidence for the greater use and conservation of agrobiodiversity for sustainable, resilient, productive, and nutritious food systems and a healthy planet. In particular, we have argued for a more comprehensive, ambitious, and transformative food systems target, as well as to align provisions on access and benefit sharing to enable the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol and the Plant Treaty in mutually supportive ways.

The Alliance advocated for the inclusion in the GBF of mechanisms to guarantee that all areas under agriculture, aquaculture, and forestry are managed to regenerate ecosystem services and promoting biodiversity in agriculture as a key contributor to climate change mitigation. Indeed, raising the levels of ambition, for example, by having cropped landscapes with at least 20% natural land, can also support food systems and their resilience.

The Alliance has also developed an action-oriented tool to measure agrobiodiversity in food systems. The Agrobiodiversity Index provides nutrition, agriculture, and genetic resources metrics, to enable countries, businesses, and projects to measure and report on their progress on the use and conservation of agrobiodiversity for sustainable food systems.

We are also working to raise the profile of agrobiodiversity to deliver progress across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at international fora, including the UN Food Systems Summit, and as co-hosts of the 2nd International Agrobiodiversity Congress with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The virtual congress will be held in November 2021 and bring scientists, business leaders, and policymakers together to commit to transformative actions to use and conserve agrobiodiversity to transform food systems.

Read the Kunming Declaration here

Read it in: English / Spanish

Sign up for the Agrobiodiversity Congress here