Interviews with Incoming and Outgoing Director Generals Outline Future of Bioversity International

Bioversity InternationalAugust 2013: In parallel interviews presented in an edition of International Innovations, Emile Frison, the outgoing Director General of Bioversity International, and Ann Tutwiler, incoming Director General, describe their visions for conserving agricultural biodiversity.

In his interview, Frison relays the importance of understanding the incentives that drive farmer interest in agricultural biodiversity conservation, as well as developing programmes such as payments for environmental services, that encourage support for these systems. He laments the decline in agricultural diversity over the past century, but highlights the successes of Bioversity International in combating this trend, including through partnerships with Indigenous Peoples groups, which have provided insight into the role of biodiversity in cultural traditions.

In her piece, Tutwiler reiterates the relevance of Bioversity International in global discussions on food security, especially given the organization's holistic approach to the issues of food security, resiliency and climate change at a variety of scales, from genetics through to ecosystem diversity. She notes the importance of biodiversity in adaptation to climate change, as well as in providing ecosystem services through risk reduction. Tutwiler also stresses the central role of smallholder farmers, as well as the Seeds for Needs program, which reaches out to specific vulnerable populations. She also underscores the relevance of Bioversity International's recent work on the contribution of forests to sustainable diets.

Bioversity International is a member of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). [Publication: International Innovations: North America August 2013]