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Initiative for Biodiversity Impact Indicators for Commodity Production

Background and Objectives

Agriculture accounts for 70 percent of the projected loss of terrestrial biodiversity. Addressing trends in food systems is therefore crucial in determining whether the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 will succeed. Solutions for achieving sustainable farming and food systems include sustainable productivity increases by restoring ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes, reducing waste and losses in supply chains, and addressing shifts in consumption patterns. For more information please see Global Biodiversity Outlook 4

In order to start addressing these issues, the Initiative for Biodiversity Impact Indicators for Commodity Production was launched. The purpose of this initiative is to compile the major cross-cutting impacts on biodiversity caused by agricultural commodity production and to develop a set of impact indicators. The initiative will look at elements already existing within international voluntary standards and other programs, identify gaps and cross-cutting impacts across commodities and regions, and ultimately develop an ‘umbrella’ set of impact indicators. Defining commonalities in impacts of different commodities is a unique approach and allows for the integration and mainstreaming of biodiversity into agricultural commodity production on a wide scale.

The initiative will then focus on formulating guidance that is clear and consistent for producers across various agricultural commodities and applicable to different regions. The guidance will be basic and universal such that it can be applied easily by those commodity producers that are not already committed to sustainable actions. The guidance shall serve as a first step or entry point for sustainable business actions. It should help companies to identify their impacts and create practices to make them more sustainable. It can serve as a minimum biodiversity performance that would be required by commodity producers.

The ultimate output of the initiative will be disseminated to various audiences, including Governments, standard and certification bodies for agricultural commodity production, associations and federations of commodity producers, and international forum to encourage them to better integrate the conservation of biological diversity in their criteria and policies.

For more background information please see Concept Note

Mandate

The business engagement decision adopted at COP-12 (XII/10) in Pyeongchang, Rebulic of Korea, significantly strengthens the mandate on business engagement, particularly with regard to promoting ‘cooperation and synergies with other forums regarding issues that are relevant for biodiversity and business engagement with respect to, inter alia, commodity indicators’ (XII/10/3e). This Initiative will help to fulfill the business engagement strategy through the development of a mechanism that will help businesses to adopt solutions for assessing impacts on biodiversity and implementing better practices to reduce these impacts.

Structure

This Initiative is convened by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. It consists of a multi-stakeholder informal advisory committee - which will include the SCBD as well as representatives from partner organisations such as WWF, UNEP-WCMC, IUCN, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and others. The committee supports the initiative with expert guidance. A wider group of interested stakeholders will be involved in the process in order to validate outcomes and to ensure broad support.

The process of developing a global set of commodity impact indicators for biodiversity will be done in cooperation with various stakeholders in order to ensure broad based consent. In order to achieve this goal a multi-step process was put in place (pease see Progress).

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme