The Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research (PAR) was formally set up through a stakeholder meeting held in Rome in 2006.
Many international discussions and meetings have stressed, in the last decade, the gaps in knowledge that limit capacity to enhance and use Agrobiodiversity optimally.
In particular, this was highlighted at the International Technical Workshop on Sustaining Agricultural Biodiversity and Agro-Ecosystem Functions (organized by FAO, CBD Secretariat and Government of the Netherlands, Rome, 2–4 December 1998) and at the International Symposium on Managing Biodiversity in Agricultural Ecosystems (CBD Secretariat, United Nations University [UNU] and Bioversity International [formerly known as IPGRI], Montreal, 8–10 November 2001).
In 2001 the Fifth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) highlighted the lack of understanding of the magnitude, causes and consequence of loss of agrobiodiversity (Decision V/5). It also stressed the gaps in knowledge regarding the benefits of high levels of agrobiodiversity and management practices that can help increase agricultural sustainability and productivity.
The International Workshop on Managing Agricultural Biodiversity for Sustainable Development, Nairobi, 23–25 October 2003 (System-wide Genetic Resources Programme [SGRP] of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research [CGIAR] and Bioversity International) noted the value-added benefits of developing and maintaining collaboration on strengthening research on agricultural biodiversity and suggested that there was a timely opportunity and need to create a framework that would link existing initiatives and organizations. This view has been endorsed by many individual researchers.
It was suggested that this collaborative mechanism might be supported by a ‘facilitation unit’ for research on agricultural biodiversity or secretariat, an idea subsequently welcomed by COP 7 in its Decision VII/3. Bioversity International indicated that it would be pleased to host such a unit.
A framework for collaboration in the form of the Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research (PAR) supported by a small secretariat was the ideal. In May 2006, The idea of establishing a Platform was welcomed by the Seventh Conference of the Parties to the CBD in 2004. The Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research (PAR) was formally set up through a stakeholder meeting held in Rome in 2006.
A group of stakeholders from a wide range of organizations, including international agencies and institutes, networks, national research centres, universities, civil society organizations and representatives of the private sector working on different aspects of the conservation and use of agrobiodiversity), met to discuss the establishment of the Platform, its aims and objectives, the form it should take, the way it should work and the activities it should undertake.
The Platform aims to support the development of knowledge needed to maintain and use agrobiodiversity optimally.