The 13th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Convention on Biological Diversity is meeting this eek and next in Cancun, Mexico. Already prior to the event, The High Level Segment (attended by Ministers and senior government officials from around the world) has been held to issue a declaration – the Cancun Declaration on the main theme of COP – mainstreaming biodiversity.
Our question is: To what extent does the declaration recognize the importance of mainstreaming Agrobiodiversity?
Mainstreaming aims to “embed biodiversity considerations into policies, strategies and practices of key public and private actors that impact or rely on biodiversity”. An important aspect of the High Level Segment’s discussions on mainstreaming and agriculture was the explicit references by a number of delegates to agrobiodiversity issues. Thus Switzerland highlighted the need for facilitated access to genetic resources; FAO urged support to farmers, especially women, who are biodiversity custodians and knowledge holders; and Ethiopia stressed the role of subsistence agriculture, community-based gene banks and the role of women.
These are several positive developments and the Annex of the Declaration on Agriculture makes some valuable points about the importance and contribution of agricultural biodiversity. Hopefully this is a welcome beginning of recognition and mainstreaming agricultural biodiversity in production landscapes, and the communities who maintain and use this diversity into the wider biodiversity endeavor.