Nutrition and biodiversity converge to a common path leading to food security and sustainable development. They feature directly in the Millennium Development Goals to halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger (Goal 1) and to ensure environmental sustainability (Goal 7).
The alarming pace of food biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation makes a compelling case for re-examining food systems and diets. Globalization, industrial agriculture, population increases and urbanization have changed patterns of food production and consumption in ways that profoundly affect ecosystems and human diets.
Presently, one billion people suffer from hunger and another two billion suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. Simplification of diets, low in variety but high in energy, contributes to the escalating problems of obesity and chronic disease, which are increasingly found alongside micronutrient deficiencies and undernourishment, particularly in poor areas of the developing world.
Biodiversity plays a key role in ensuring dietary adequacy; nutrients in varieties / cultivars / breeds of the same food
can differ dramatically
Biodiversity plays a key role in ensuring dietary adequacy, because nutrient contents between foods and among varieties/cultivars/breeds of the same food can differ dramatically.
FAO, together with the Bioversity International, is leading the "Cross-cutting Initiative on Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition", under the umbrella of the Convention of Biological Diversity.
The Initiative identifies agricultural biodiversity as a priority for improving nutrition and health especially of the rural and urban poor, and provides the framework for sustainable diets.