On World Food Day, CBD’s Executive Secretary Addresses the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), 15 October 2008: In his message on the occasion of World Food Day, celebrated on 16 October 2008, Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), stressed that “biodiversity, the foundation of all crops and domesticated livestock and the variety within them, is the basis for providing stability to agriculture.”

Acknowledging that agriculture is a major driver of climate change, he noted increased challenges as production systems shift to bioenergy. Recognizing that production and use of liquid biofuels can contribute to a net reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, he warned that unsustainable agricultural methods and inappropriate planning may have adverse impacts, including loss of habitat, pollution and over-use of water, and increased net GHG emissions from wetland conversion and deforestation. He added that the redeployment of land from food production – particularly of grain – into fuel production could contribute to commodity shortages, higher food prices and increased pressure on land elsewhere. He highlighted that indigenous communities are the custodians of unique knowledge and skills regarding the genetic and biological diversity in plant and animal that may be vital in adapting to climate change. Noting the role of biodiversity and new varieties in facing changing conditions, Djoghlaf stressed the need for “a healthy ecosystem that will sustain agriculture and allow us to adapt to climate change whilst ensuring food security and continuing to reduce

poverty.” [The Statement]