Securing Sustainability through the conservation and use of agricultural biodiversity


Current agricultural practices are regarded as one of the most significant drivers of biodiversity loss. At the same time, the goal achieving global food security remains a long way off; indeed, the number of malnourished has recently risen to over 1 billion people. The world desperately needs an agricultural production system that is both sustainable and contributes to achieving food security. Agricultural biodiversity will play a central role in achieving these twin objectives. By conserving and harnessing agricultural biodiversity, food and agriculture production can contribute to sustaining healthy biodiverse ecosystems. By recognizing and value of agricultural biodiversity, agriculture can deliver more benefits to the communties that manage this biodiversity. In addition, as the world copes with the challenge of adapting to climate change, agricultural biodiversity becomes an especially critical resource. For these reasons UNEP and GEF consider agricultural biodiversity to be a transformative force. This booklet describes the different agricultural biodiversity projects UNEP has undertaken as the GEF implementing agency, summarizes their achievements, considers some of the most important lessons that have been learned and offers insights into possible avenues for future activities.

 Securing Sustainability Through The Conservation and use of Biodiversity Click Here to Download PDF Format

 Investing in line with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

Over the past ten years, UNEP and GEF have worked together on eleven innovative agricultural biodiversity projects. Together these projects have demonstrated agricultural biodiversity’s potential to contribute to overall biodiversity maintenance and ecosystem function, as well as to better nutrition, increased food security and improved well-being in rural communities.

GEF is the financing mechanism for the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) and activities carried out in the eleven projects reflect the four elements of the CBD’s work programme on agricultural biodiversity:

  • global assessments, which provide an overview of the status and trends of the world’s agricultural biodiversity, their underlying causes, and knowledge of management practices;
  • the identification of adaptive management practices, technologies and policies that promote biodiversity-friendly agriculture, improve productivity and build the capacity of farming communities to sustain livelihoods;
  • strengthening the capacities of farmers, indigenous and local communities, and their organizations and other stakeholders to benefit from the sustainable management of agricultural biodiversity; and
  • mainstreaming the conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity into national development plans, programmes and strategies in a range of different sectors, including agriculture, the environment, rural development and health and nutrition.

The UNEP implemented GEF projects have contributed to three global cross-cutting initiatives included within the CBD’s work programme on agricultural biodiversity: • The International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Pollinators,

  • The International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Soil Biodiversity and
  • The International Initiative on Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition. The total budget invested in partner countries through these projects is USD 122 million. GEF contributions have accounted for USD 50 million of this amount, with the other USD 72 million coming from co-financing arrangements.
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