New ecosystem approach based project: wild pollinators for food production

FAO is coordinating a United Nations Environment Programme/Global Environment Facility (UNEP/GEF) project worth $26.45 million to better manage those aspects of wild biodiversity that provide pollination services for human livelihood. The five-year project, entitled, “Conservation and Management of Pollinators for Sustainable Agriculture, through an Ecosystem Approach”, will be implemented in seven countries: Brazil, Ghana, India, Kenya, Pakistan, Nepal and South Africa.

Over the past decade, the international community has increasingly recognized the importance of pollinators as an element of agricultural diversity supporting human livelihoods. The total economic value of pollination worldwide has recently been estimated $224 billion, representing 9.5% of the value of world agricultural production used for human food. Despite this, mounting evidence points to a potentially serious decline in populations of pollinators. Maintaining and increasing yields in horticultural crops, seeds and pastures through better conservation and management of pollinators is critically important to health, nutrition, sustainable food production and better farm incomes for poor farmers.

The development objective of this unique project is improved food security, nutrition and livelihoods through enhanced conservation and sustainable use of pollinators. The immediate objective is to harness the benefits of pollination services provided by wild biodiversity for human livelihoods and sustainable agriculture, through an ecosystem approach in selected countries.

The project will show how the services of pollination can be conserved and used sustainably in agriculture through the application of the ecosystem approach. Project outcomes will be tested, evaluated and showcased in a set of representative farming systems in seven countries with a wide diversity of ecological zones and farming patterns. Through the development of good farming practices for pollination services, built on an extended knowledge base, capacity will be increased and awareness raised to promote wise management of pollinators and their services. The result will be a set of tools, methodologies, strategies and best management practices that can be applied to pollinator conservation efforts worldwide.

The project will be executed through partnerships with the national governments in the seven countries, in collaboration with stakeholders from different environment and agricultural communities at national and international level, including ministries, research institutions, agencies, academia, NGOs, private sector and farming communities.

The GEF will contribute $7.8million and an additional $18.65 million will be leveraged from other partners which include FAO, other multilateral organizations, governments and academic institutions.

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Core Themes