Director-General  QU Dongyu

Biodiversity and food diversity go hand in hand


24 February 2020, Rome – FAO Director-General QU Dongyu met with Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, the Acting Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), following a high-level meeting on biodiversity - the second meeting of the Open-ended Working Group established by CBD - hosted today by FAO.

The two stressed the importance of biodiversity, which is fundamental for ecosystems, for human beings, and is the basis of food diversity.

Food diversity and biodiversity go hand in hand, and their importance, stressed the Director-General, needs to be acknowledged by all – from scientists to producers and consumers, and reflected in all sectors, including environment, food and agriculture, and innovation.

The Director-General highlighted initiatives based on indigenous populations’ knowledge and nature-based solutions as examples of addressing biodiversity loss or making the most of biodiversity, including ancestral agricultural systems such as Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS).

Earlier today at the biodiversity meeting, the Director-General also noted that FAO has shepherded "many milestones" in the history of UN efforts to achieve biodiversity conservation, pointing to the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture as well as knowledge products such as last year's The State of the World's Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture.

Keystone functional services FAO provides to member states, such as data collection and dissemination, standard-setting, policy consultation and capacity building, will be useful in the pursuit of protecting biological diversity.

Qu urged the delegations present at the meeting to ensure that biodiversity is an integral part of the issues discussed at the 2021 World Food Systems Summit to be hosted by the UN Secretary General.