Biodiversity for food and agriculture is among the Earth’s most important resources. It is what the world relies on to improve the productivity and quality of crops, livestock, aquatic organisms, forest trees, micro-organisms and invertebrates – thousands of species and their genetic variability – that make up the web of biodiversity upon which the world’s food production depends.

Though biodiversity is indispensable, it is being threatened. Maintaining biodiversity for food and agriculture is a global responsibility.

As countries seek to diversify and adapt their agricultural and food-production systems, the exchange of genetic resources and the interdependence of countries increases. With climate change, the conservation and sustainable use of genetic diversity have become more critical than ever. The challenge of conserving and sustainably using genetic resources extends across all continents and ecosystems and demands a broad-based response. It also requires collaboration among countries as no country alone is able to conserve and sustainably use all the biodiversity it depends on.

The Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture is the only intergovernmental body that specifically addresses biodiversity for food and agriculture. It allows countries to agree on joint actions and global policies to support the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity for food and agriculture. The Commission also deals with a range of cross-sectoral matters relevant to several or all components of biodiversity for food and agriculture, such as access and benefit-sharing and climate change.