From Rome to Kunming and beyond

15/10/2021

Today saw the conclusion of the first segment of the virtual 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity held in Kunming, China. During the week, the Kunming Declaration was adopted by over 150 countries to “mainstream” biodiversity protection in decision-making and recognise the importance of conservation in protecting human health.

The end of the first segment comes exactly two weeks after the closure of the 18th Regular Session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Two key decisions taken then by the Commission were particularly welcomed by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Biodiversity as critical contributions from the food and agriculture sectors to the successful implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework to be adopted in the second part of the 15th COP. One is the adoption of a Global Plan of Action for Aquatic Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which will guide countries in their efforts to conserve and sustainably use the genetic resources that make aquaculture production possible. The other is the adoption of a Framework for Action on Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture. The latter, developed and negotiated over the course of five years, aims to guide the conservation and sustainable use of all biodiversity of relevance to food and agriculture, at genetic, species and ecosystem levels, in synergy with the existing sectoral global plans of action for genetic resources for food and agriculture and other international agreements.

World Food Day reminds us that our agri-food systems are broken, and there has never been a more urgent need to transform the way the world produces and consumes food. The bold decisions taken at the 18th Session of the Commission by its 178 Member countries will play a pivotal role in accelerating this much needed transformation.