Bioversity International, IUCN and IFAD Stress Agricultural Biodiversity for Global Health

ifad-iucn14 June 2013: The heads of Biodiversity International, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) have published an editorial article describing the functions of agricultural biodiversity for human and ecosystem health, as well as threats to this natural resource base.

Emile Frison of Bioversity International, Julia Marton-Lefèvre of the IUCN and Kanayo Nwanze of IFAD noted the work of these organizations in raising the profile of and markets for grains such as quinoa and finger millets, which have high nutritional value. They cited the organizations' activities to research these grain varieties, reintroduce lost species, and preserve genetic diversity in seedbanks. The heads described the work of the IUCN in helping communities apply local rules to land-use decision making and market new wild-harvested products. They also underscored the benefits of bringing farmers, scientists and policy-makers together on traditional land management.

The editorial presents a common vision of a global agricultural system that transforms food systems while increasing resilience to climate change, calling for cross-sectoral partnerships and recognition of the importance of biodiversity to tackle global challenges. [Editorial: EXECUTIVE PERSPECTIVE: Linking agriculture and biodiversity can help feed the planet]