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  • FAO to partner CBD on biodiversity

[HYDERABAD] The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) will work together on programmes that address climate change, food security  and biodiversity loss.

Two memoranda of understanding (MoU) signed last week (11 Oct) on the sidelines of the 11th Conference of Parties (COP 11) of the CBD in Hyderabad, India, aim to promote partnerships covering research, practice and policy between the two UN institutions.

The first MoU was signed by the CBD, International Centre for Forestry Research, Bogor, Indonesia, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Nairobi, and Biodiversity International, Rome. The second MoU was signed between CBD and ICRAF.

"We need better scientific and technical support towards implementation of the Convention (on Biological Diversity)," said Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD executive secretary, at the signing event.

Dias said that the 20 global 'Aichi Targets' on biodiversity, set in Nagoya, Japan, in 2010, require sustainable patterns in agriculture systems, fisheries, forestry, and restoration of degraded land. They also call for mainstreaming biodiversity into national development processes.

"Agriculture cannot survive without knowledge of biodiversity," Pablo Eyzaguirre, senior scientist at Biodiversity International, told SciDev.Net.

Changing weather patterns due to global warming, such as higher temperatures and reduced rainfall, are affecting both farming and biodiversity, Eyzaguirre said.

"We need to find ways to shift agriculture patterns, and biodiversity provides resilience to climate change. We need to use biodiversity to combat climate change," he said.

A major emerging common interest for the biodiversity and forestry sectors is REDD+ (Reduction of Deforestation and Degradation), a UN mechanism to use market and financial incentives to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases due to deforestation.

At another side-event, panellists described how and why FAO's programmes in fisheries share common concerns and interests with CBD. 

FAO and CBD do not yet have a formal agreement on research cooperation in fisheries, but have joint projects.

Fisheries affect biodiversity at all scales, Jake Rice, senior national advisor, ecosystem sciences,  department of fisheries and oceans, Canada, said. There is "failure or absence" of management practices for the sustainable use of fish and ensure that important breeds are not depleted.

"Despite progress on addressing some biodiversity impacts related to fisheries, we are still very far from achieving full implementation of the guidance by FAO," Rice said.

There is a need for enhanced technical capacity, inter-agency collaboration, participation of a wide range of biodiversity experts and relevant stakeholders in fishery management processes and regional cooperation, he said.

Jessica Sanders, fishery officer at FAO's fisheries and agriculture policy and economics division, observed that there were overlaps between FAO's work in fisheries and CBD's agenda.

Example sinclude FAO's deep-sea project to identify vulnerable marine ecosystems, which addresses CBD’s programme on ecologically and biologically significant areas; FAO guidelines on protected marine resources; and its 'Fishfinder' tool to identify fish species and provide a global and coherent system of scientific and common names.

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