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International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

FAO celebrates the International Day for Biological Diversity


FAO celebrated the International Day for Biological Diversity on 22 May in Rome, to which the Secretariat of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture joined.

The United Nations proclaimed the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of the biodiversity issues. This event helped to raise awareness about the outcomes of the UN Biodiversity Conference held in Cancun in December 2016, and the follow-up activities that FAO is developing.

The Cancun Declaration adopted by the High-Level Segment of COP 13 affirms the commitment of governments to step up efforts to integrate biodiversity into the policies regulating their agricultural sectors, including forestry and fisheries.

“This day serves to underline the importance of mainstreaming biodiversity into the agricultural sectors and to highlight and promote sustainable agriculture”, said the FAO Deputy Director-General, Climate and Natural Resources Maria Helena Semedo at the opening of the event.

“FAO is helping countries to connect the sustainable development goals that deal with food production and conservation of natural resources, including biodiversity with the upcoming launching of the Platform on Biodiversity, Food and Agriculture”, said Mr René Castro Salazar, FAO Assistant Director- General for the Climate, Biodiversity, Land and Water Department.

The discussion, moderated by Mr Clayton Campanhola, FAO Strategic Programme Leader for Sustainable Agriculture, also benefited from the presentations of Ambassador Martha Bárcena Coqui of Mexico, Ambassador François Pythoud of Switzerland and Ambassador Ayman Tharwat Amin Abdel Aziz of Egypt. Additionally, Mr David Cooper, Deputy Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity intervened by video conference.

Ecosystem approach

The panellists indicated that there are direct benefits from biodiversity for agriculture production in the form of resources and ecosystem functional services and through the improvement of the nutritional value of food and its diversification.  Additionally, biodiversity also provides other public goods in the form of carbon sequestration and agricultural landscapes, which are valuable for sustainable agrotourism – the biodiversity theme for 2017.

“One of the highlights of the event was the close interrelationship between agriculture and biodiversity and the need to reinforce an ecosystem approach in the conservation strategies”, said Kent Nnadozie, Secretary, Ad Interim, of the International Treaty.

 “Both the International Treaty and the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture have a role to play in the development of new approaches for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity”, said Nnadozie. “For example, in the form of access to crop and forages genetic resources that are in the Multilateral System of the Treaty and through the strengthening of regional in situ conservation strategies developed by national governments in the context of the Benefit-sharing Fund of the International Treaty”, he added.

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