Policy developments and dialogue

FAO’s common vision for sustainable food and agriculture includes five elements that aim to reduce environmental impact and help to address trade-offs and synergies between sectors and across sustainability dimensions.

FAO hosts over 70 instruments and mechanisms on the sustainability of sectoral and cross-sectoral issues, many of them referring to biodiversity.

It develops and supports countries in the implementation of normative and standard-setting instruments, such as international agreements, codes of conduct, international plans of action, technical standards and others that address biodiversity either directly or indirectly.

Examples include the voluntary Code of Conduct on Responsible Fisheries, which is based on due respect or ecosystems and biodiversity, and which, 20 years later, led to the implementation guidelines for the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries and to Aquaculture, respectively. The FAO-WHO International Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management (the Code) provides standards of conduct on sound pesticide management for both government authorities and the pesticide industry. More on policy support provided by FAO on biodiversity, genetic resources and ecosystem services.


The Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture is the only permanent intergovernmental body that specifically addresses biological diversity for food and agriculture. It aims to reach international consensus on policies for the sustainable use and conservation of genetic resources for food and agriculture and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived from their use.


The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture hosted in FAO promotes the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic diversity. It has made a fundamental contribution to helping achieve food security for all, while supporting researchers and farmers adapt their crops to climate change.


The International Plant Protection Convention was adopted to prevent and to control the introduction and spread of plant pests and weeds. The international standards, guidelines and recommendations are recognised by the World Trade Organization Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement.