Biodiversity @ FAO


All people worldwide make use of plant and animal biological resources. Rural men and women, however, are often entirely dependent on the environment. Frequently among the world’s most poor and vulnerable groups, their livelihoods are intimately intertwined with the utilization of biological variety. In this respect, any change in biodiversity patterns will first and foremost affect the viability of rural survival. Preserving agricultural biodiversity is hence crucial for sustainable rural development, food security, and poverty alleviation. All at the same time the fight against hunger also depends on paying greater attention to the complexities of agricultural systems and to the different roles and knowledge systems that men and women hold within them.

FAO is developing activities to enhance rural people’s food security and promote sustainable management of agro-biodiversity by strengthening the capacity of institutions in the agricultural sector to apply approaches which recognize men and women farmers' differential needs, concerns and knowledge in their programmes and policies.

To preserve agricultural biodiversity we need to greater attention to the different roles and knowledge systems that men and women hold within them.

The main activities include training on how to record and document local knowledge and how to use gender analysis and participatory methods for both research and action processes, technical assistance for research on gender-based differences in farmer's knowledge related to agro-biodiversity conservation and management (e.g. use of medicinal plants, local seed management etc.), as well as technical assistance to enhance communication and the exchange of information based on local knowledge systems in agriculture within and between communities, or with institutions that interact with farmers and with policy-makers.

©FAO/J. Koelen