068 Farming solutions with benefits for biodiversity and access to healthy, diverse and nutritious food

Showcasing how biodiversity conservation can be an essential part of sustainable food systems

Organizers

  • Government of Mexico
  • Government of Hungary
  • IFOAM - Organics International
  • Rare
  • CBD

Abstract

Sustainable solutions rely on major shifts in policy, practice, behaviors, and knowledge to explore how we can do farming while maintaining soil fertility and preserving biodiversity. The side-event is aiming at showcasing some of these solutions and discuss the efforts and experiences of countries such as Mexico and Hungary to scale up such initiatives by creating a conducive policy environment for them.

Preserving biodiversity and ecosystem services contributes directly to human well-being and development priorities, creating great synergies between the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the SDGs.  Biodiversity is important for enhancing the resilience of farmers to climate change, pests, diseases and other threats.

Agriculture is associated with all primary threats to biodiversity:  as identified by the CBD. Unsustainable farming practices such as monoculture, overfishing lead to deforestation, the destruction of wetlands and aquatic environments.
Through the Farming for Biodiversity Solution Search, over 330 innovative and replicable ideas have been identified, connecting agriculture, livelihood and the environment. These innovators apply agro-ecological methods to reduce the use of agrochemicals. They reduce waste and utilize crop residues, including producing compost, animal feed, or biofuel. They bring new-found economic benefits and recognition for traditional varieties, knowledge, and practices. They harness the potential of youth and women farmers to drive change.

Explore some of these innovations at the recently launched Agriculture and biodiversity solutions' site of the Panorama platform.

Key speakers/presenters

Keynotes:

  • Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Executive Director, FAO
  • H. E. Mario Arriola Woog, Alternate Permanent Representative of Mexico to FAO

Panelists:

  • Levente Kőrösi, Deputy Head of Department, Ministry of Agriculture, Hungary
  • Gábor Figeczky, Head of Global Policy, IFOAM – Organics International
  • Kevin Farrera, Director, Desarollo Alternativo e Investigacion, Mexico
  • Paúl Carrasco Carpio, Prefect of the Provincial Government of Azuay-Ecuador (tbc)
  • Stefano Padulosi, Senior Scientist, Bioversity International

Main themes/issues discussed

The panel at the side-event discussed how policy makers, innovators and experts are taking concrete solution towards biodiversity conservation. Although we are aware that food systems need healthy soils, safe water and a variety of genetic resources to be productive and that it is precisely this diversity and variability that has allowed our agriculture to evolve over the past 10,000 years, our food systems are disrupted. We are getting 50% of our calories from plants relying on only three species: rice, wheat and maize. However, our production systems destroy the diversity of these species. Unsustainable modes of agricultural expansion is driving the destruction of critical ecosystems like forests and polluting our drinking water.
At the side-event, we have looked at initiatives at all scales from local to national that present viable options to combine food security with biodiversity protection.

Summary of key points

Mario Arriola opened the discussion by stating that food security depends largely on biodiversity and on the services provided by ecosystems. At the same time, agriculture poses one of the biggest threats to vulnerable natural ecosystems and endangered species. The solutions presented at this side-event show initiatives which, if scaled up, can strike a balance between food security and biodiversity conservation.
Agroecological approaches and other innovations for sustainable agriculture and food systems that enhance food security and nutrition are part of the solution together with a conducive policy environment.

Maria Helena Semedo spoke about the tremendous efforts undertaken within the international policy arena to set the right framework so that both agriculture and biodiversity can thrive.

Gabor Figeczky presented the Farming for Biodiversity Solution Search contest, through which over 330 innovative and replicable ideas have been identified, connecting agriculture, livelihood and the environment. These innovators employ methods, with an emphasis on agroecology, organic farming, bringing new-found economic benefits and recognition for traditional varieties, knowledge, and practices. They celebrate the potential of youth and women farmers to drive change. these ground-breaking innovations at the recently launched ‘Agriculture and biodiversity solutions’ site of the Panorama platform.

Kevin Farrera from Chiapas in Mexico, who was among the winners of the Farming for Biodiversity Solution Search contest, provided an overview of the activities implemented by his organization focusing on Participatory Seed Dissemination programs to counteract the negative impacts of local policies and private investments providing conventional seeds and agrochemical packages to smallholder farmers in Chiapas.

Levente Körösi highlighted how the Hungarian National Biodiversity Strategy addresses the political necessity of mainstreaming biodiversity in agriculture.  This is done mainly by integrating biodiversity issues into different sectoral policies, by providing dedicated financial support and by joining the forces with several research centers across the country.

Stefano Padulosi presented the findings of Bioversity International programs on the reintegration of underutilized and neglected crops to fight climate change and food security in Mali, India and Peru and the value of traditional vegetables for supporting more nutrition-sensitive agriculture.

Summary of key points

  • It is possible to change the current paradigm which sees farming as major driver of agrobiodiversity loss, countless examples of innovators show how it is actually possible to farming for biodiversity.
  • Conducive policy frameworks tackling biodiversity as a cross-cutting issue are pivotal for preserving and enhancing biodiversity.
  • Nutrition and biodiversity are tightly linked together. Preservation of traditional vegetables is a key intervention for supporting more nutrition-sensitive agriculture resilient to climate change.
CFS - Side Event 068: Farming solutions with benefits for biodiversity and access to healthy, diverse and nutritious food