International Network of Food Data Systems (INFOODS)

Nutrition and Biodiversity


Nutrition and biodiversity converge to a common path leading to food security and sustainable development. They feature directly the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger; and ensure environmental sustainability. In combination, nutrition and biodiversity provides the very foundation for achieving these MDGs.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with Bioversity International (formerly IPGRI) and other organizations, is leading a new international "Cross-cutting initiative on biodiversity for food and nutrition", under the umbrella of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD). The overall aim is to promote the sustainable use of biodiversity in programmes contributing to food security and human nutrition, and to thereby raise awareness of the importance of this link for sustainable development.

FAO publications and advocacy materials

Nutrition indicators for Biodiversity

Biodiversity and Nutrition

Policy Advice

International treaties and instruments

Sustainable diets

Guidelines on biodiversity

1. Designing nutrition-sensitive agriculture investments. Checklist and guidance for programme formulation.

2. Voluntary guidelines for mainstreaming biodiversity into policies, programmes and national and regional plans of action on nutrition [brochure]. The Guidelines aim to support countries in the development of nutrition-sensitive agriculture practices that consider the nutrient composition of biodiversity for food and agriculture to address malnutrition in all its forms – which are now under policy advice

3. Guidelines on Assessing Biodiverse Foods in Dietary Surveys
These guidelines are the output of a FAO Technical Meeting in 2013. They will guide researchers and other nutritionists on how to modify food consumption instruments to better capture the consumption of biodiverse foods. These data can be linked to food composition data (e.g. see data in the FAO/INFOODS Food Composition Database for Biodiversity at or in national or regional food composition tables and databases), so that in the future we will be in a better position to value the contribution of biodiversity to nutrient intakes. This might then be the basis of better targeted programmes and policies in nutrition and agriculture.

4. “LET’S GO LOCAL” Guidelines Promoting Pacific Island Foods. Prepared by Dr. Lois Englberger (FAO, 2011)


The FAO/INFOODS Food composition Database for Biodiversity  - version 4.0(BioFoodComp 4.0) (PDF) (Excel: .xlsx) is a collection of analytical data on biodiversity from the published and unpublished literature. We are thankful to all those who contributed data (see list of contributors in the worksheet copyright) and hope that this database will grow in the future with more data from around the world.

E-learning course with a module on biodiversity

The FAO/INFOODS e-Learning Course on Food Composition Data includes an entire unit on biodiversity. It gives an overview on biodiversity and its link to nutrition and agriculture. It sensitizes learners on the fact that the composition of nutrients can be as different among species as among different varieties of the same species. These differences are nutritionally significant and can make the difference between nutritional adequacy and inadequacy. It is therefore important that agriculture takes nutrient composition into account in policy and programmes on breeding and large-scale production. This module is very useful as advocacy material for biodiversity. It also includes case studies relevant for agriculture and nutrition.

You can download the e-learning course, access it on-line or order a CD through the FAO e-learning website.


Last update: 20-10-2022 05:26