Biodiversity and the livestock sector. Mitigating harms and maximizing benefits

On 22 June at 15:00 CEST, the FAO’s Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance (FAO LEAP) Partnership will be hosting the webinar Biodiversity and the livestock sector. Mitigating harms and maximizing benefits, on the occasion of the launch of new guidelines on biodiversity.

How to assess the link between livestock and biodiversity? How to develop and adopt biodiversity-friendly practices in diverse production system? This virtual event will introduce the new FAO LEAP publication for the assessment of the effects of livestock production on wild biodiversity. Participants will also hear from various stakeholders, what they do to integrate livestock as a solution to biodiversity loss, and how they contribute to sustainable livestock production in different contexts.

The event will kick off with the opening remarks by special guests. The LEAP Biodiversity Technical Advisory Group (TAG) leader, Tim McAllister, will present the guidelines. Following a panel discussion with representatives from governments, the private sector, and civil society, participants will have the opportunity to comment and ask questions.

The 90-minute webinar welcomes all livestock stakeholders interested in environmental assessment, including representatives from governments private sector, non-governmental organizations, civil society, investment organizations, standardization bodies, academia, research and foundations.

Watch the video recording


15:00 - 15:05 | Welcome address

15:05 - 15:25 | Opening remarks 

  • Ms. Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General, FAO
  • H.E. Federico Zamora Cordero, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to FAO
  • H.E. Johannes Petrus Hoogeveen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to FAO
  • Neville Ash, Director, UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre

15:25 - 15:45 | Keynote presentation

Biodiversity and the livestock sector. Guidelines for quantitative assessment

  • Mr Tim McAllister, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, FAO LEAP Biodiversity Technical Advisory Group (TAG) leader

15:45 - 16:05 | Panel discussion

Application of the FAO LEAP biodiversity guidelines

  • Ms. Fabiana Villa Alves, Resercher, Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (Embrapa), Brazil
  • Ms. Caroline Emond, Director General, International Dairy Federation (IDF)
  • Mr. Ian McConnel, Global Commodity Leader – Beef, World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

16:05 - 16:25 | Q&A

16:25 - 16:30 | Closing remark 

  • Mr. Henning Steinfeld, Chief, Livestock Information, Sector Analysis and Policy Branch, FAO

Moderator: Mr. Timothy Robinson, Senior Livestock Policy Officer, Livestock Information, Sector Analysis and Policy Branch, FAO


Livestock is a sector with one of the highest impacts on biodiversity losses and, at the same time, one of the few sectors with not only negative but also positive impacts on ecosystems. To support livelihoods and to produce nutritious food for the growing population, livestock systems use large amounts of natural resources and generate negative environmental externalities such as pollution. This causes habitat changes, gives rise to climate change, and results in biodiversity losses.

However, when sustainably managed, livestock can contribute to maintaining open habitats and to the health and functionality of grassland ecosystems. With impacts on ecosystems that range from negative to positive, livestock can pull two levers to improve its biodiversity performance: mitigate harm and maximize benefits.

The FAO LEAP Partnership has tackled the challenge and is now publishing guidelines for the quantitative assessment of livestock impacts on biodiversity. The guidelines will allow for a widespread inclusion of biodiversity in environmental assessments and the consideration of key specificities of livestock such as their globalized supply chains with impacts ranging from harms to benefits. Taking a closer look at biodiversity will reveal synergies and trade-offs between Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while several indicators in the guidelines are also of relevance for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.