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CGIAR congratulates the Convention on Biological Diversity at COP13

December 4, 2016

CGIAR congratulates the Convention on Biological Diversity on the occasion of the 13th Conference of the Parties, and is committed to significantly contribute to the actions mentioned in the Cancun Declaration on Mainstreaming the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity for Well-Being together with all its partners.

Biodiversity is vitally important to agriculture, food and nutrition security as well as to the integrity of the natural resources upon which agriculture depends. Biological diversity at the genetic, species, farm, and landscape levels is essential to increasing food security, improving health and nutrition, and enhancing resilience and adaptation to climate change, as well as to sustainably manage agricultural and forest landscapes.

Examples include:

  • The sustainable use of agricultural ecosystems as reservoirs of agricultural biodiversity, enhancing diversification and fostering an integrated use of landscape.
  • The conservation and promotion of the cultivation of native varieties, as well as the preservation of their wild relatives.
  • The use of measures to enhance agricultural biodiversity, particularly for small producers;
  • The reduction of agricultural pollution, and the efficient use of agrochemicals, fertilizers and other agricultural inputs.
  • Other topics include reduction of waste and loss of food; conservation of pollinators, sustainable fisheries and sustainable aquaculture, an integrated landscape approach in forestry management schemes; the promotion of the importance of forest ecosystems as reservoirs of biodiversity and providers of environmental goods and services.

As the world’s leading global agricultural research partnership, CGIAR conducts research in sustainable agriculture, livestock, fisheries and forestry, climate adaptation, nutrition, policies, and markets as well as the sustainable management of land, water and ecosystems, with three strategic objectives: to reduce poverty; improve food and nutrition security; and improve natural resources and ecosystem services.

CGIAR research is carried out by 15 CGIAR centers with 10,000 staff in 70, mainly developing, countries in close collaboration with hundreds of partners, including national and regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia, development organizations and the private sector to enhance food and nutrition security and preserve natural resources. A true example of science with impact on the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people and the conservation of natural resources.

CGIAR research also contributes to enhancing genetic diversity of agricultural and associated landscapes; increasing conservation and use of genetic resources; enriching plant and animal biodiversity for multiple goods and services; increasing the availability of diverse nutrient-rich foods and diversifying and intensifying agricultural systems in ways that protect soils and water (through e.g., conservation agriculture, agroforestry, and precision agriculture) and wild biodiversity.

As an important part of its mandate, CGIAR is committed to the conservation and sustainable use of genetic diversity through its networks of 11 global germplasm banks, covering 34 crops. CGIAR germplasm banks manage many of the largest and most important collections of crop diversity in the world, including landraces and crop wild relatives of cereals, roots and tubers, forages and trees. CGIAR centers – both their germplasm banks and breeding programs – transfer approximately millions of packages with around 100,000 different samples annually under the auspices of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA). This represents over 90 percent of the materials that are transferred globally under the Plant Treaty system. Of those materials, over 85 percent goes to recipients in developing countries, almost entirely to public sector research and development organizations.

Other examples of the work of CGIAR Centers in support of mainstreaming biological diversity include:

  • Repatriating lost crop diversity to small holder farming communities and countries that have lost such diversity.
  • Promoting diversity in production systems by including pulses that enhance nutrition and improve soil fertility; improving livestock systems.
  • Breeding to improve the nutrition, resilience, adaptation and productivity of the world’s major food crops, and building capacity for breeding within developing countries using the wide genetic diversity.
  • Promoting equitable access to genetic resources by keeping germplasm, information about germplasm, and tools to facilitate the use of germplasm in the public domain.
  • Developing an ‘Agrobiodiversity Index’ to help decision-makers, including governments, investors and companies, ensure that their decisions enhance the sustainable use and conservation of agricultural biodiversity.

In the course of their work, the CGIAR centers and their partners in developing and developed countries will also need to collect and use plant and animal materials that fall under the Nagoya Protocol. Mainstreaming biodiversity into food and agricultural systems depends on the mutually supportive implementation of the Nagoya Protocol and the Plant Treaty. Indeed, the CGIAR is partnering with the secretariats of the CBD, the Plant Treaty and a number of national programs to identify options for such mutually supportive implementation, and looks forward to continuing its work with the Convention on Biological Diversity in support of the implementation of the Cancun Declaration.