As the world prepares for transformations to its food systems in order to feed a growing planet, nutritiously and in an environmentally sustainable way, maintaining biodiversity will be a critical element in that equation, a panel of experts meeting in the Asia-Pacific region heard today.
A virtual consultative meeting was convened on the eve of International Day for Biological Diversity, considered a timely opportunity to share innovative ideas and consider new directions to reverse the loss of biodiversity in the Asia-Pacific region, as FAO would be organizing the UN Food Systems pre-summit dialogue,which would include a High-Level Political Forum, in July this year. That event will look into the Voluntary National Reviews including biodiversity-related SDGs.
A global pandemic and a loss of biodiversity – not mutually exclusive
The COVID-19 crisis is a wake-up call for everyone to find a new balance between human activities and nature – biodiversity being a core part of the equation, the meeting was told.
“Let’s be clear – we have no choice about this, we need everyone working together,” said Takayuki Hagiwara, Regional Programme Leader, at FAO’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. “At FAO we are laying the foundations but we need to work across many platforms and with many, many skilled players from farmers, to fishers to academia to private sector to scientists to innovators. That’s why we say at this meeting ‘Let’s all be part of the solution.’”
We all must hope that by the end of this year, the global community will be able to initiate a stable and sustainable path towards realizing the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity, “Living in harmony with nature” and transforming the food system that should put nature on a path to recovery by 2030 to meet the SDGs, Hagiwara, added.
FAO stands ready to support countries and partners in this transition and transformation, he said.
FAO’s new strategic framework lays the foundation for more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems towards Better Production, Better Nutrition, a Better Environment, and a Better Life – and leaving no one behind.
FAO’s focus on rural areas and on work with farmers at the local level puts it in a unique position to join hands with Member countries, sister UN agencies and partners and engage with diverse stakeholders of civil society and private sector to move the 2030 agenda forward – mainstreaming biodiversity is a key component of this endeavor, Hagiwara added.
Speakers included a video message by Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity; Shenggen Fan, Dean of the Academy of Global Food Economics and Policy (AGFEP), China Agricultural University; Evonne Yiu, International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative (IPSI) Secretariat; Theresa Mundita Lim, Executive Director, ASEAN Center for Biodiversity; and Suriyan Vichitlekarn, Executive Director, Mekong Institute.