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Background

Adopting decision III/11, which established the programme of work on agricultural biodiversity, the Conference of the Parties (COP) called for priority attention to be given to the components of biological diversity responsible for the maintenance of ecosystem services for the sustainability of agriculture, including soil biodiversity (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/14).

At its sixth meeting, the COP proposed an International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Soil Biodiversity as a cross-cutting initiative within the programme of work on agricultural biodiversity, taking into account case-studies which may cover the full range of ecosystem services provided by soil biodiversity and associated socio-economic factors, and inviting the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and other relevant organizations, to facilitate and coordinate this initiative (decision VI/5).

In response to this decision, FAO established the Soil Biodiversity Portal to promote the conservation and management of soil biodiversity and its role in sustainable agriculture.

In collaboration with partner organizations, and supported by the host institution — the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) — FAO organized the International Technical Workshop on Biological Management of Soil Ecosystems for Sustainable Agriculture, in Londrina, Brazil, from 24 to 27 June 2002. The workshop described the objectives of the International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Soil Biodiversity and developed a strategy and actions for its implementation as an integral part of the programme of work on agricultural biodiversity.

At its eighth meeting, the COP endorsed the framework for action (decision VIII/23, section B) as a basis for further implementation of the International Soil Biodiversity Initiative and decided to integrate it into the programme of work on agricultural biodiversity at its in-depth review at the ninth meeting of the COP. The COP invited Parties, other Governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and other interested stakeholders to support and implement the initiative, to supply further case-studies on soil biodiversity and to identify research activities to address knowledge gaps on soil biodiversity and their implications for land use practices.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme