EFFORTS TO SAFEGUARD BIODIVERSITY RECEIVE WELCOME BOOST
Efforts to safeguard biodiversity receive welcome boost. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has welcomed the launch of the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund during the Seventh Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Assembly in Vancouver, Canada.
The newly established fund will facilitate financing for developing countries — which are often the most biodiverse — to enhance their ability to protect, restore and ensure the sustainable use of natural resources, as established through The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework adopted by 196 Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity at COP15 in December 2022.
“The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework places agrifood systems at the forefront of an enormous challenge that will require important financial resources, coordination, and commitment to implement win-win solutions for people and the planet. The new Fund is also an essential part of climate action, and a critical step towards making these solutions a reality ,’’ said FAO Deputy Director-General, Maria Helena Semedo.
The Fund, uniquely dedicated to supporting the Framework and its action towards halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030 and putting nature on a recovery path by 2050, provides an opportunity to receive funding from all sources. Two countries have announced initial contributions to start its capitalization: Canada pledged 200 million Canadian dollars and the United Kingdom 10 million pounds.
Biodiversity and agrifood systems
Biodiversity is the variety of life at genetic, species and ecosystem levels. It is essential for food and agriculture and indispensable to food security and sustainable development. It includes the domesticated plants and animals that are part of crop, livestock, forest or aquaculture systems, harvested forest and aquatic species, the wild relatives of domesticated species, and other wild species harvested for food and other products.
Over half of the targets of the Kunming-Montreal Biodiversity Framework are directly related to agrifood sectors, and FAO is the custodian of four of the Framework’s headline indicators: ecosystem restoration, fish stocks, areas under productive and sustainable agriculture, and sustainable forest management.
The transformation of agrifood systems to make them more sustainable can unlock solutions that generate multiple benefits, including safeguarding biodiversity which can help address the challenges posed by diverse and changing environmental conditions and socio-economic circumstances.
Actions such as diversifying production systems, for example by using multiple species, breeds or varieties, integrating the use of crop, livestock, forest and aquatic biodiversity, or promoting habitat diversity in the local landscape or seascape, increase resilience, tackle the climate crisis, improve livelihoods and support food security and nutrition.
FAO is a member of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert group on Global Biodiversity Framework Indicators and is also co-leading, with the UN Environment Program (UNEP), the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration which actively contributes to the monitoring and reporting of Target 2 of the Kunming-Montreal GBF related to restoring degraded areas.