FAO's Global Action on Pollination Services for Sustainable Agriculture

Building Capacity in the Science-Policy Interface of Pollination Services


The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (lPBES) is an international platform that acts as an interface between the scientific community, knowledge-holders and policymakers. It aims at building capacity for and strengthens the use of science in policymaking.

Although there is growing recognition of the need to use science effectively in decision-making, the knowledge base is uneven, with significant differences across countries and regions. There is also significant variation in the capacity to use data, information and knowledge in policy development and decision making. It is therefore widely recognised that capacity building will have to be further addressed under IPBES.  A key focal area for IPBES is likely to be in the ecosystem services that sustain agricultural productivity, and are under perceived threats, such as pollination.

Objective 3 of the IPBES Work Programme 2014-2018 is to strengthen the science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services with regard to thematic and methodological issues. Under this Objective, Deliverable 3(a) is the Thematic Assessment of Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production.

The Project

The aim of this project is to build capacity in the science-knowledge-policy interface of pollination services.

Through the GEF/UNEP/FAO Global Pollination Project, FAO developed a protocol to identify and assess pollination deficits in crops, in collaboration with the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, in Avignon, France, and Universidade Federal do Ceará, Fortaleza, Brazil. The seven countries participating in the project (Brazil, Ghana, India, Kenya, Nepal, Pakistan and South Africa) applied this protocol to a range of pollinator-dependent crops. Since crop pollination deficits, and consequent crop deficits are a concern at the intersection of agriculture, farmer livelihood and biodiversity conservation, they can be considered a topic that is highly relevant to the work of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. In this context, the Norwegian Environment Agency asked FAO’s Global Action on Pollination Services to design a pilot project that tests approaches to assessing pollination as an ecosystem service, building capacity in assessment methodologies, exploring science-knowledge policy interfaces, and identifying some lessons learned for possible input into the IPBES Work Programme.

The funding of the Norwegian Environment Agency was used to train partners in six additional countries (seven additional locations) and facilitate them to apply the protocol to target crops.

  • Argentina: Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)
  • Colombia: National University of Colombia/Humboldt Institute
  • Zimbabwe: The University of Harare
  • China: Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences
  • Indonesia: Bogor Agricultural University
  • Norway: Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
  • India: Keystone Foundation

In July 2013, all project partners came together in a workshop to jointly analyse data and apply a meta-analysis to the investigations to identify global patterns of pollination deficits. An additional project partner - a network of local communities and indigenous people focused on issues of agrobiodiversity – was involved through reviews of local indigenous knowledge frameworks that can contribute to the assessment of pollinator deficits and status of pollinators, and through the establishment of indigenous pollinator networks in Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, Northeast India, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Results of the meta-analysis show that, with pollination services, there can indeed be an increase in production in smaller, diversified farms (as opposed to large-scale, commercial farms).

Building upon the deficit work and the meta-analysis workshop to understand what types of questions the meta-analysis can help answer, project partners came together in September 2013 to develop a conceptual framework and structure for identifying policy goals to address pollination deficits and management.