NSP - Londrina Workshop

The International Technical Workshop on Biological Management of Soil Ecosystems for Sustainable Agriculture organized by EMBRAPA-SOYBEAN and FAO that was held in Londrina, Brazil during 24-27 June 2002, was organized as a contribution to the joint programme of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and FAO in accordance with FAO’s mandate on sustainable agriculture and food security and with Decision V/5 of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the CBD.

The strategy for the implementation of the International Initiative on conservation and sustainable use of soil biodiversity should adhere to the following principles:

  • Focus on food security and improvement of farmers’ livelihood;
  • Build on previous experience and knowledge, through combining the skills and wisdom of farmers with modern scientific knowledge;
  • Focus on integrated holistic solutions and technical adaptation to local contexts within a clear framework that builds on the principles for application of the Ecosystem Approach;
  • Use participatory technology development and adaptive approaches to develop agricultural systems and land resource management practices for specific situations and farmer typologies that are technically and environmentally appropriate, economically viable, and socially and culturally acceptable.
  • Develop partnerships and alliances that demonstrate multi-disciplinarity and foster synergies and ensure multi-stakeholder participation.
  • Promote cross-sectoral approaches to address different perspectives (social, political, environmental) through association and flexibility?
  • Prioritise actions on the basis of country goals and the needs of direct beneficiaries and locally validate such actions through the full participation of all actors.
  • Promote innovative and flexible solutions that are adapted to local conditions.

Two main objectives for the Soil Biodiversity Initiative were developed from this. Firstly, promoting awareness raising, knowledge and understanding of key roles, functional groups and impacts of diverse management practices in different farming systems and agro-ecological and socio-economic context. Secondly, promoting ownership and adaptation by farmers of integrated soil biological management practices as an integral part of their agricultural and sustainable livelihood strategies.

Progress could be made through focusing on increasing the recognition of the essential services provided by soil biodiversity across all production systems and its relation to land management, through:

  • Information sharing and networking;
  • Public awareness, education and capacity building.
  • Adoption of integrated approaches for the sustainable use of soil biodiversity and enhancement of agro-ecosystem functions; in particular in FAO's context focusing on three categories of outputs: Assessment and monitoring,  Adaptive management and Advocacy and training.
  • Partnerships and cooperation through Mainstreaming and Cooperative programmes and Actions.

It is intended that the suggested principles, development process, strategy and priority actions presented in the workshop report provide a preliminary basis to further stimulate exchange of information and experiences among countries and relevant institutions. This should lead to a coordinated process for the establishment and conduct of the Soil Biodiversity Initiative (SBI), as established under COP Decision V/5 (Nairobi, April 2002), as a cross-cutting initiative within the CBD programme of work on agricultural biodiversity, and through the coordination and with the technical and policy support of FAO.

The findings and recommendations in regard to the three main thematic areas considered at the Londrina workshop are presented in the form of a framework for action that outlines proposed objectives and activities. It is envisaged that this framework will provide the basis for the further development of the strategy and action plan for implementation of the International Initiative on the Conservation and Sustainable use of Soil Biodiversity, further referred to as the SBI, as an integral part of the programme of work on agricultural biodiversity. It will be a partnership effort by FAO, the CBD Secretariat and Parties, and other interested partner organizations and bodies.

Findings and recommendations from the workshop