Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture’s work critical for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework

26/09/2021

In a video statement presented at the Special Event on “Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture and the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework“, held in advance of the 18th Regular Session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the Convention of Biological Diversity, noted that “the [forthcoming Commission session] will address many issues that are at the core of the work of the CBD and that will be critical for the adoption of a robust and ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework. This represents a major opportunity to scale up the efforts to strengthen and develop our institutional, legislative and regulatory frameworks to support enhanced maintenance, restoration and use of biodiversity for food and agriculture.”

The Special Event, held virtually on 21 September, provided an opportunity to explore synergies between FAO’s work on biodiversity mainstreaming, including the Commission’s policies on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity for food and agriculture, and the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

Mutually supportive polices and cooperation to halt biodiversity loss

Speaking at the Special Event, the Chair of the Commission, François Pythoud, emphasized that the Commission’s Global Plans of Action constitute important cornerstones for national policies on the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources for food and agriculture. He stressed that the Commission’s policy response to the report on The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture would be “a further step to reinforce an integrated and inclusive approach in the implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework in the food and agricultural sector.”

Delegates will discuss the draft policy response at the upcoming session of the Commission “with the motivation” to have it adopted as a Global Plan of Action.

An inclusive global biodiversity landscape fostering stakeholder actions towards common goals

Speakers at the Special Event included representatives of key stakeholder groups including governments, civil society, youth, scientists, farmers and indigenous peoples. Participants highlighted the importance of galvanizing efforts at all levels to bend the curve of biodiversity loss, establishing specific post-2020 biodiversity framework targets and policy instruments for mainstreaming biodiversity across the agrifood sector, and building partnerships for implementation.

Joji Cariño, Senior Advisor at Forest Peoples Programme, stressed the need to put indigenous peoples and local communities, women and youth at the centre of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. “Biodiversity is an intrinsic part of Indigenous peoples’ cultures, lands and waters and resource management systems,” she said.

Harry Jonas, Co-chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas Task Force on Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs), noted that the OECM concept is critical in that it “helps us to recognize conservation outcomes occurring outside protected areas and across landscapes and seascapes,” including contributions made by the agrifood sector, indigenous peoples and local communities.

In her closing remarks, Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director General of FAO, stressed that “FAO stands ready to support the implementation of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework,” noting that “biodiversity and agriculture are natural allies”. She emphasized that the upcoming COP 15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity and 18th Regular Session of the Commission would both be pivotal in terms of setting the stage for the next decade of action on biodiversity for food and agriculture.