THE STATE OF THE WORLD’s BIODIVERSITY FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE

I am posting this United Nations report on the state of the world’s food system in hopes that Americans will read the report to educate themselves on how climate change is affecting the world’s food supply. Below is the Forward of the report. Click on this link for the full report Food and Agri Organ UN Report 2019

Forward

Our food and agricultural systems depend in countless ways on the plants, animals and micro-organisms that comprise and surround them. Biodiversity, at every level from genetic, through species to ecosystem, underpins the capacity of farmers, livestock keepers, forest dwellers, fishers and fish farmers to produce food and a range of other goods and services in a vast variety of different biophysical and socio-economic environments. It increases resilience to shocks and
stresses, provides opportunities to adapt production systems to emerging challenges and is a key resource in efforts to increase output in a sustainable way. It is vital to efforts to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda.

Over the last two decades, FAO has prepared country-driven global assessments of the genetic resources of crop plants, livestock and forest trees. An assessment covering aquatic genetic resources will shortly be published. What has been missing to date has been an assessment of how biodiversity as a whole contributes to food and agriculture, including “associated biodiversity”, the myriad components of biodiversity that support food and agricultural production by providing services such as pollination, pest control, soil formation and maintenance, carbon sequestration, purification and regulation of water supplies, reduction of disasters threats, and the provision of habitat for other
beneficial species. The urgency of closing knowledge gaps in this field is underlined by the mounting evidence that the world’s biodiversity is under severe threat and by the ever-growing challenges facing food and agriculture, including particularly those related to the impacts of climate change. The publication of The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture is therefore a significant and timely milestone.

Like all the global assessments prepared under the auspices of FAO’s Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, a key characteristic of this report is its country-driven nature. Ninety-one countries prepared and submitted reports on the state of their biodiversity for food and agriculture and its management, focusing particularly on associated biodiversity and its role in the supply of supporting and regulating ecosystem services and on wild species that are sources of food. The reporting process provided an opportunity for countries to identify needs and priorities in terms of promoting the sustainable use and conservation of these resources, both at national level and internationally.

Parts of the global report make sombre reading. It is deeply concerning that in so many production systems in so many countries biodiversity for food and agriculture and the ecosystem services it provides are reported to be in decline. The foundations of our food systems are being undermined, often, at least in part, because of the impact of management practices and land-use changes associated with food and agriculture. It is also abundantly clear that the state of knowledge of many components of biodiversity, including in particular invertebrates and micro-organisms, is very inadequate and that this contributes to their neglect. The good news is that many management practices and approaches that rely on the maintenance of abundant and diverse biological communities, or that can otherwise be considered biodiversity friendly, are attracting growing interest and in many cases are becoming more widely adopted.

The importance of biodiversity and its roles in the food and agriculture sector is increasingly being acknowledged in international policy agendas. This recognition needs to be translated into action. Key tasks include addressing the drivers of biodiversity loss within the food and agriculture sector and beyond, strengthening in situ and ex situ conservation measures, and increasing the uptake of management practices that promote the contributions of biodiversity to sustainable production.
Coordinated and collaborative action on the part of the international community is essential. This report will make a valuable contribution to these efforts and to raising awareness of the vital importance of biodiversity to food and agriculture.

José Graziano da Silva
FAO Director-General

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