FAO Liaison Office with the Russian Federation

Russia and Global Transition to Sustainable Future

Photo: © FAO


Eduardo Mansur, Director of the Office of Climate Change at the Biodiversity and Environment (OCB), Officer in Charge of Land and Water Division (NSL) at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), addressed the final round of the plenary session ‘’Economics and Finance of Biodiversity’’ within the framework of the First Ecumene 2021 Congress on sustainable development in the financial sector.

Mr. Mansour spoke about the recently held UN Food Systems Summit, one of the key topics of which was the issue of biodiversity as the main factor in ensuring food security in the world. He also answered a question from the moderator Alexander Shestakov, former Director of Science, Society and Sustainable Futures Division, UNCBD, about FAO's perspective on biodiversity economics in the context of agriculture and food security.

‘‘We know agriculture is the sector that contributes the most to biodiversity, but how can we use it? Discussing solutions from a financial point of view is a great opportunity to find, exactly, effective ways to use them. We are grateful to the Russian Federation for the initiative to organize a discussion of the issues of financing biodiversity and sustainable development,’’ the expert noted.

Presenting the driving forces behind agricultural biodiversity issues, Eduardo Mansour highlighted several key factors to consider: changes in land and water management, overuse of agricultural land, deforestation, and changes in the consumption habits of the population.

Mr. Mansour also noted the link between the Sustainable Development Goals and the main factors influencing the understanding and use of biodiversity and agriculture in general.

Before sharing with the audience the particulars of the UN Food Systems Summit, Mr. Mansour touched upon the role and activities of FAO. ‘‘We know biodiversity is very important for food security, but we also need to remember to support the well-being of people. In our approaches, we try to systematically and comprehensively approach the achievement of SDG-2, not forgetting the importance of other elements of the general well-being of the population”, explained Eduardo Mansour.

‘‘Last year (2019), we developed a strategy to ensure biodiversity in all sectors of agriculture, from grain production to fish food production. A relevant report on the provision of agricultural biodiversity was drawn up, which highlighted the opportunities, potential, and threats to protect biodiversity in agriculture. This strategy is designed to mitigate risks, ensure sustainable agricultural practices in all subsectors that we talked about today, and contribute to ecosystem restoration, which is a very important element for our organization (FAO),” Mr. Mansour explained.

The expert also noted the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the increase in the total scale of hunger on the planet affecting about 800 million people. ”It’s a shame because we see such devastating numbers of the total number of starving people on the planet, where food is produced in quantities which over 7 (8) billion people require,” Eduardo Mansour underlined.

Describing the UN Summit on Food Systems, Mr. Mansour noted the importance of the issue of financing as a necessary tool to ensure the commitment of the parties to the transformation. ”'We need to think about how to direct investments towards sustainable development and agricultural production,”, the expert noted. “Moreover, we talked about the need for an investment of $ 350 billion to transform food systems. We need investment, and we need the conditions that will allow these investments to be directed towards the creation of sustainable food production systems.”.

Summing up, Eduardo Mansour once again emphasized the importance of an integrated approach to transformation issues, highlighting the need to develop infrastructures and services to create sustainable food production systems, including energy, logistics, reducing the cost of energy resources; as well as the need to involve the private sector of an innovative nature through state-incentive mechanisms; and the need to accelerate the level of digitalization. 

Link for the full plenary session of the ESG Congress: https://esgcongress.com