Director-General  QU Dongyu

Restoring the links between people and nature is vital to feed the world in a sustainable manner


15 July 2020, Rome/New York - As the world faces the unprecedented pandemic, we must restore the links between people and nature to accelerate the transformation of our food systems to make them more sustainable, resilient and equitable, FAO-Director-General QU Dongyu said on Tuesday. He delivered his remarks at a special virtual side-event on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework held on the margins of the 2020 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and convened by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

The FAO Director-General stressed that while our immediate priority is to tackle the public health emergency and ensure continued food supply, our long-term response must address the underlying causes of pandemics and the loss of biodiversity is among them.

“The loss and degradation of biodiversity is increasing the risk and exposure of people to emerging diseases,” Qu said.

Highlighting the need to restore the links between people and nature if we want to feed the world in a sustainable manner, the FAO chief called on all sectors, governments and the whole of society to collaborate on this path to transformation.

“We all agree that business as usual is not an option. We know that despite all our technological advances we are dependent on healthy ecosystems for our health and food”, he said adding that now more than ever, it is crucial to work together to better manage and conserve our precious biodiversity in order to build a better future.

In his remarks, the FAO Director-General also informed the audience that biodiversity would have a prominent role in FAO’s new Strategic Framework starting from 2022, which would be even more aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“FAO therefore stands ready to become a custodian agency for those targets and indicators of the Global Biodiversity Framework that fall within our mandate”, he concluded.

The event entitled “Urgent Action on Biodiversity for Sustainable Development – Update on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework with a focus on how biodiversity contributes to Planetary and Human Health” also included statements from high-level representatives from national governments and intergovernmental agencies on key issues and questions related to biodiversity conservation and the emerging Global Biodiversity Framework.

FAO's work on biodiversity

Over the past years, FAO has made significant progress on mainstreaming biodiversity across all agricultural sectors.

Last year, it launched its flagship report on the State of the World's Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture. The report highlights the need to protect natural resources, including biodiversity, and the need to conserve and use genetic resources to increase productivity.

The Organization also adopted its Strategy on Mainstreaming Biodiversity across Agricultural Sectors, which aims to reduce the negative impacts of agricultural practices on biodiversity, to promote sustainable agricultural practices and to conserve, enhance, preserve and restore biodiversity as a whole.

In addition, FAO developed a range of biodiversity related tools and guidance across sectors, including the International Code of Conduct for the Sustainable Use and Management of Fertilizers and the Ten Elements of Agroecology.