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E-consultation: Mainstreaming Biodiversity for improved Food Security and better Nutrition

May 2018: FAO’s Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSM) has launched an e-consultation on Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry for Improved Food Security and Better Nutrition. The deadline to submit comments is 27 May. More information, as well as the full announcement, is available here

This online discussion will contribute to define further the objectives and partnerships of the Biodiversity Mainstreaming Platform and to advance the development of its work programme.

In 2017, FAO Members welcomed the FAO’s initiative to act as Biodiversity Mainstreaming Platform and requested the Organization to facilitate, in collaboration with its partners, the integration of actions for the conservation, sustainable use, management and restoration of biological diversity across agricultural sectors at national, regional and international levels[1].

Being global in scope, the Platform aims to improve cross-sectoral coordination of policies and practices to mainstream biodiversity by a wide range of stakeholders. The ultimate goal of the Platform is to promote and facilitate the adoption of good practices across all agricultural sectors that will support the conservation and sustainable use and management of biodiversity and increase the productivity, stability and resilience of production systems in an integrated approach.

Biodiversity and mainstreaming

Biodiversity, or biological diversity, stands for the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part. This includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.

Biodiversity and ecosystem services are essential in supporting agriculture in multiples ways and at all levels. These interlinkages are increasingly seen as key for livelihoods, welfare, production and development. The Global Environmental Facility Scientific and Advisory Panel has defined mainstreaming biodiversity as “the process of embedding biodiversity considerations into policies, strategies and practices of key public and private actors that impact or rely on biodiversity, so that it is conserved and sustainably and equitably used both locally and globally” . The same document notes that mainstreaming is a long-term process, a social experiment in changing the value structures of institutions and individuals with vital consequences for the natural world and the humans who rely on it. Good governance and strong institutions are key determinants of success.

The first major activity of the Biodiversity Platform will be the organization, by the FAO and the Convention on Biological Diversity, of the Multi-stakeholder Dialogue on Biodiversity Mainstreaming across Agricultural Sectors (29-31 May 2018 – Rome, Italy).

In the weeks leading up to this meeting, we would like to invite you to help us identify areas of joint action in developing integrated approaches for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

Such approaches should aim at reducing the ecological footprint of agriculture, fisheries and forestry, and at the same time, they should allow for an increased production to meet the growing demand for nutritious, healthy food.

As we know, while biodiversity and ecosystem services are critical to agricultural sectors, including crop and livestock agriculture, forest, fisheries and aquaculture sectors, these are also major drivers of environmental change with significant impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. One main impact on biodiversity loss derives from the conversion of natural or semi-natural land into agricultural land uses, followed by the introduction of invasive alien species, including pests and diseases. At the same time, sustainable agriculture practices can contribute to the conservation of biodiversity, habitats and ecosystem services provision

We would therefore be grateful if you could share your insights and examples on any of the following questions. For your information, please also refer to the instruments, guidelines, tools and technical materials developed by FAO and made available in the background documents section.

1) Biodiversity is an important contributor to food security and improved nutrition. Could you share examples/activities in your work where

  • biodiversity is contributing in achieving food security and improved nutrition?
  • the overuse of biodiversity compromise food security and nutrition?

2) All agricultural sectors (crop and livestock, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture) rely on biodiversity and on the ecosystem functions and services, they underpin. At the same time, these sectors may affect biodiversity through various direct and indirect drivers. Could you share examples/activities in your work

  • where a (sustainable) production system played a key role for the conservation of the biodiversity surrounding it? Please provide detailed information you may have or know of and identify the agricultural sector.
  • where a(n) (unsustainable) production system played a key role for the degradation of the biodiversity surrounding it? Please provide detailed information you may have or know of and identify the agricultural sector.

3) Good governance, enabling frameworks, and stewardship initiatives are needed to facilitate mainstreaming of biodiversity within and across agricultural sectors.

Do you have any examples of such enabling factors and initiatives or the lack of it? Examples could include Cross-sectoral land use planning; Macro-economic policy and public investment; Elimination, phasing out and reform of perverse incentives harmful to biodiversity; Product labelling and market certification schemes; Green finance and private investment or others

Which partners need to be involved in institutional frameworks, policies and processes for biodiversity mainstreaming to strengthen them?

4) The importance of biodiversity for improved food security and better nutrition is not always evident to those engaged in agricultural sectors.

What needs to be done to increase awareness of farmers, livestock keepers, fisher folks and foresters, their organizations and the industry of the relevance of biodiversity and ecosystem services for the food and agriculture production in their sector?

How can the technical and institutional capacity needed to promote sustainable agriculture and reduce the impact on biodiversity be developed?

We thank you very much for your inputs and look forward to an engaging exchange.


Irene Hoffmann


Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture



Paulo Augusto Lourenco Dias Nunes

Natural Resources Officer

Climate, Biodiversity, Land and Water Department



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