FAO in Geneva

On the road to COP15: highlighting the role of sustainable agriculture in safeguarding biodiversity


Geneva – The FAO Liaison Office in Geneva, in collaboration with the FAO Office of Climate Change, Biodiversity and Environment (OCB), organized a hybrid briefing on the upcoming UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15), welcoming representatives of the Permanent Missions to the United Nations Office in Geneva as well as other international organizations, governments and universities.

The briefing was organized ahead of COP15, which will take place in Montreal, Canada, from 7 to 19 December 2022, with the main objective of adopting the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). Specifically, the hybrid briefing aimed to raise awareness among the network of Permanent Missions in Geneva on the links between agrifood systems and biodiversity, FAO’s work and role on biodiversity, and the importance of agriculture in the negotiations at COP15. As many of the objectives of the Post-2020 GBF are closely linked to agriculture and food security, such as pollution reduction, productive systems and ecosystems restoration, the active engagement of the agrifood sectors will be critical to the successful adoption of the framework.

Links between agriculture and biodiversity

While agriculture can play a positive role in the conservation and restoration of biodiversity, inappropriate agricultural practices are major drivers of biodiversity loss and are contributing to the disruption of ecosystem services that are necessary for our agrifood systems. Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General, stated in her opening remarks that the Framework presents an opportunity to put the agrifood systems at the center of the solutions. Strengthening the transformation of agrifood systems and promoting favorable agricultural practices will be critical to reversing the decline in biodiversity. She highlighted the importance of biodiversity for food security and nutrition, stating that “biodiversity makes agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture systems productive, sustainable and resilient.” She added that all ecosystems, including productive ecosystems, must be conserved and protected if we want to address malnutrition and hunger.

Insights from the People’s Republic of China and Switzerland on Biodiversity

Liu Ning, the Deputy Director-General of the Department of Nature and Ecology Conservation, and the Deputy Representative of the COP15 Presidency, presented China’s efforts to ensure its leadership and coordination role in encouraging all Parties to collaborate on the GBF. Furthermore, he said that “the adoption and implementation of the Framework will significantly boost the mainstreaming of biodiversity and will encourage the countries to further strengthen the sustainable utilization of biological resources.” Sharing the Swiss perspective, Isabelle Fragnière, Senior Policy Officer from the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG), highlighted agrobiodiversity as the key component of sustainable food systems agenda in Switzerland, and agroecology as a crucial approach to addressing biodiversity loss. Switzerland is also a member of the Agroecology Coalition and the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People and supports the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture of FAO.

FAO efforts in mainstreaming biodiversity in agrifood systems

Frédéric Castell, Senior Natural Resources Officer of FAO OCB, presented FAO’s Strategy on Mainstreaming Biodiversity across Agricultural Sectors as well as FAO’s extensive work on biodiversity. More than 800 FAO projects, investing more than USD 2 billion, have biodiversity as the principal or a significant objective. With its specialized mandate and expertise, FAO can support countries at their request, to support them in the negotiations to implement and monitor the GBF, as many of the targets are directly related to agrifood systems. Castell thus underscored that the Post-2020 GBF cannot succeed without the active participation of agrifood sectors. To close the briefing, Zitouni Ould-Dada, Deputy-Director of OCB, remarked on the important role biodiversity plays in increasing the resilience of agrifood systems and the society, as well as in addressing the climate crisis.


Related links

- Frédéric Castell’s presentation: FAO’s engagement at COP 15

- FAO Biodiversity website



Delphine Pelliard, Senior Liaison Specialist

[email protected]

Eihnin Hlaing, Young Professional Officer

[email protected]