Business.2010 newsletter: Agribusiness

Volume 3, Issue 2 - February 2008: Agribusiness

In context: Agricultural biodiversity

The Programme of Work
The programme of work on agricultural biodiversity was endorsed in 2000 (decision V/5, annex 5) as a contribution to the implementation of decision III/11 on the conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity.

“Agricultural biodiversity” is a broad term that includes all components of biological diversity of relevance to food and agriculture. It also includes all components of biological diversity that support the ecosystems of which agriculture is a part (agro-ecosystems): the variety and variability of animals, plants and micro-organisms, at the genetic, species and ecosystem levels, which are necessary to sustain key functions of the agro-ecosystem, its structure and processes. Agricultural biodiversity provides not only food and income but also raw materials for clothing, shelter, medicines, breeding new varieties, and performs other services such as maintenance of soil fertility and biota, soil and water conservation, and pollination, all of which are essential to human survival.

The objectives of the Programme of Work are to promote the positive effects and mitigate the negative impacts of agricultural practices on biological diversity, the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out the use of genetic resources. The Programme of Work comprises four mutually reinforcing elements: (1) Assessments; (2) Adaptive management; (3) Capacity-building; (4) Mainstreaming.

For more information, see http://www.cbd.int/agro/background.shtml and http://www.cbd.int/agro/pow.shtml

The Conference of the Parties has decided to establish, within the programme of work on agricultural biodiversity, three cross-cutting initiatives: (i) for the conservation and sustainable use of pollinators (decision V/5, section II) and its action plan (decision VI/5, annex II); (ii) for the conservation and sustainable use of soil biodiversity (decision VI/5, paragraph 13) and its framework for action (decision VIII/23 B); and (iii) on biodiversity for food and nutrition (decision VII/32, paragraph 7, and decision VIII/23 A, annex).

Genetic Use Restriction Technologies (GURTs) constitutes a fourth crosscutting initiative.

For more information, see http://www.cbd.int/agro/cross-cutting.shtml

In depth review
In the annex to decision VII/31 and in decision VIII/23 D, the Conference of the Parties requested the Executive Secretary, in partnership with FAO and in consultation with other relevant international organizations, to prepare the in-depth review of the implementation of the programme of work on agricultural biodiversity for consideration at its ninth meeting, by taking into account the guidelines for the review of the programmes of work of the Convention (decision VIII/15, annex III).

To this effect, a note has been prepared for SBSTTA-13. The note summarizes the findings of the in-depth review of the implementation of the programme of work on agricultural biodiversity, including its four programme elements and the three international initiatives. The note includes suggested recommendations.

For more information, see document UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/13/2, as well as information documents 1, 2, 3, 4 and 17, available at http://www.cbd.int/doc/?meeting=SBSTTA-13.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme