Strengthening agriculture-biodiversity linkages for food security

Strengthening agriculture-biodiversity linkages for food security

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Since 1993, the Trondheim Conferences on Biodiversity have provided a valuable forum for dialogue amongst stakeholders on key issues relating to implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Against the backdrop of the CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets as the framework for action,the 8th Trondheim Conference, held from 31 May to 3 June 2016, focused on the complex interlinkages between agriculture and biodiversity. The Conference recognized that unless these are properly understood, it would be difficult to bring about effective change.By 2030, world population will be 8.5 billion and food demand will have increased. Yet 70% of essential crop wild relative species are already in need of protection while 17% of livestock breeds are at risk of extinction. The Conference recognized that such statistics showed that the current model of food production was not sustainable and focused on how to build “food systems for a sustainable future”. Some of the key findings of the Conference are as follows:
Biodiversity and ecosystem services are essential in supporting agriculture in multiple ways. Increased focus on the value of biodiversity to agriculture and food production can deliver very positive outcomes, for example, diversity in and around farmers’ fields can significantly reduce pests and decrease disease damage.
Access to genetic diversity can be increased through a range of public and private approaches, and benefit sharing can be a major opportunity for stakeholder engagement. Gender and social inclusion is a significant issue for ensuring full engagement of all relevant stakeholders.
There is a need to build food systems that meet increased demand while remaining profitable and sustainable in the face of climate change. Conserving local varieties and landraces is one way to support adaptation to climate change.
It is feasible to move away from intensive and industrial agricultural practices to make food systems more ethical. Multifunctional agricultural landscapes can be an effective means for increasing understanding of interlinkages and moving towards sustainability.
Increasing cooperation between biodiversity and agriculture sectors is critical to achieving both the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
The first thematic report of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food), ‘From Uniformity to Diversity: A paradigm shift from industrial agriculture to diversified agroecological systems’ was launched at the Conference. Its key message, of the need to transition from input-intensive crop monocultures and industrial-scale feedlots towards a diversification of agriculture and reorientation around ecological practices, resonated well with the Conference theme and identified agroecology as exemplary of the interlinkages between biodiversity and agriculture. – Third World Network

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