Dr. Emile Frison highlights the document’s recommendations to empower rural women as “critical agents for enhancing agricultural and rural development and food security and nutrition.”
By Dr Emile Frison, Director General of Bioversity International
Throughout Rio+20, I have been sharing a message: Our current approach to agriculture has to change.
My plea – and the request of many others around the world – was validated this week through the final text of the “Future We Want” Rio+20 document.
The document reiterates facts we already know: More than 1 billion people on Earth live in extreme poverty, and one in seven people is undernourished. At the same time, the world’s population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050 – within our lifetime.
Yesterday, at a Rio+20 side event organized by the four Rome-based food and agriculture organizations, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon launched the Zero Hunger Challenge, an important step to achieving food and nutrition security by leveraging partnerships.
“I am not proposing a new goal, but I am sharing a vision for the future,” said the Secretary General, “a future where everybody enjoys their right to food.” This challenge represents an ambitious objective to eradicate hunger in our world, and Bioversity International is behind this effort all of the way. Together with UN agencies FAO, IFAD and WFP, and with the other CGIAR Centers, Bioversity is looking at new ways to provide food and nutrition security.
“Why should we all be concerned about the Treaty? It’s fairly simple. We all eat food that farmers produce” Emile Frison, Bioversity International.
The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture has been a key accomplishment in world sustainability in the past 20 years. It provides a vital policy framework for food security. Every country can contribute, every country can benefit. But there is still progress to be made and I’m pleased to report some progress today.
Yesterday, on the opening day of Rio+20, I met with colleagues from around the world representing the public and private sectors to discuss what is needed to achieve the goals of the Treaty. The Treaty is not only about conserving and utilizing materials; it’s also about sustainability and alleviation of poverty and hunger. Access to the diversity of plant genetic resources is one of the greatest benefits derived from the Treaty.
Since the beginning of the negotiation of the Treaty, CGIAR has been involved and this was mentioned more than once at yesterday’s meeting. The importance of the CGIAR collections that distribute by far the largest number of varieties under the treaty was recognized. Furthermore, the fact that CGIAR made a deliberate choice to put all of its breeding program material into the multilateral system was appreciated. This ensured that the benefit sharing provisions of the Treaty would apply. Bioversity International scientist Michael Halewood was recently interviewed in advance of Rio+20 to raise awareness of the importance of the Treaty for the CGIAR and vice versa.
Why should we all be concerned about the Treaty? It’s fairly simple. We all eat food that farmers produce. Every time a farmer makes a decision on what to plant, and on what not to plant, he or she is making a genetic resources decision. The Treaty is a key tool Brazil and other countries can use for threats known and unknown.
By Emile Frison, Director General of Bioversity International
Yesterday, I had the privilege of being an invited speaker at the Indigenous Peoples’ International Conference on Sustainable Development and Self-Determination, as part of Rio+20. This was a real honor to learn first hand from indigenous peoples around the world of their concerns and hopes for our sustainable future.
Culture is an important part of sustainability, and maintaining food and agricultural traditions is important to indigenous peoples. Indigenous peoples are custodians of biodiversity, maintaining and conserving it every day and passing this knowledge from generation to generation. The concept of bien vivir – living well with the land and everything around you – is one they embrace.
Bioversity International has strong connections to indigenous peoples in Africa, Asia and the Americas. We build these connections by involving them as equal partners to approach situations including climate change, hunger, malnutrition and loss of crops to pests and diseases. Involving stakeholders is the only way our research can be effective, and these connections provide insights into important aspects of projects including culture and tradition.
Posted in Bioversity International, Conservation, forests and trees, Livelihoods, Rio+20, sustainable development
Tagged agricultural traditions, biodiversity, custodian farmers, indigenous peoples, International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources, Rio+20, rioplus20, sustainability
By Cristián Samper, Member of Board of Trustees of Bioversity International
Where there is a crisis, there is opportunity. We are reaching a tipping point in terms of our ability to support a growing world population in a sustainable way, and the world conference on sustainable development, Rio+20, is an opportunity to reverse the crises we are experiencing.
One of the areas being examined closely is climate change. As a scientist, I know that climate change has shaped our world over millions of years. Life forms and humans have been adapting to our climate since the beginning of time. But as an environmentalist, I’m concerned about the capacity of our communities – especially the poorest peoples of the world – to respond to climate change today and in the future.
By Dr Emile Frison, Director General of Bioversity International
Rio+20 is well under way and food security is in focus. From Agriculture and Rural Development Day (ARDD) to the CGIAR science for a food secure future event, to the Nordic Council of Ministers seminar, there were several common themes I took note of at all three events on Monday. I would like to thank the ARDD organizers and the Nordic Council of Ministers for inviting me as a panelist.
In no particular order, here are some of the important themes from yesterday’s side events:
Posted in agricultural biodiversity, Bioversity International, food security, Rio+20
Tagged ARDD, CGIAR, emile frison, food security, International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources, Nordic food, Rio+20, rio4ag, sdnordic
Stefano Padulosi, Bioversity Research theme leader, Marketing Diversity, highlights the potential of neglected and underutilized species for food security, in this timely and personal account about eating quinoa cake in Bolivia. 2013 has been declared as the International Year of Quinoa by the United Nations.
I am lucky enough that I often travel to beautiful places as part of my job, and one such place that I get to visit regularly is Bolivia. But as I am based at Bioversity International HQ in Rome, it is quite a long haul. By the time I arrive in La Paz, the mixture of jet lag and altitude means I am ready for my ‘wake-up’ ritual. This entails a visit to Alexander coffee – a sort of Bolivian version of Starbucks – for coffee and a huge slice of delicious quinoa cake which makes all well with the world again.