PAR Newsletter n. 15, October 2014


Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research

Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research

October 2014

The Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity met in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea from 6-17 October. As usual a wide range of topics were discussed but it was perhaps particularly noteworthy in including the first full discussion by signatory parties of the Nagoya protocol on access and benefit sharing. The meeting also provided a moment of sober reflection in its review of progress on the Aichi Targets. We are now halfway through the time to achieve the Aichi Targets and progress in a number of areas seems to be a cause for concern. The work that PAR has been involved in on biodiversity and human health was also discussed at a side event (see below) as well as by COP itself. A number of further actions were identified by COP. A report of the COP can be obtained from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin ( PAR Coordinator is taking part in Terra Madre and the Salone di Gusto in Torino, Italy and will chair a discussion on the Commons. There are likely to be a number of other events of interest to PAR members including discussions on nutrition and on seed supply.

As always we welcome your news, comments and suggestions on the newsletter and the items you see on the web site and we look forward to any materials that you would like to share with website users.

  • Strengthening Support for Smallholder Farmer-led Seed systems
    A multitude of institutions from a range of African countries met up to find synergies and ways to strengthen support for small farmer-led seed systems. The overarching aim of the seminar was to explore the interface between informal and formal systems of seed management, knowledge, research and innovation, from local systems at grassroots level to the more formalised systems that exist in universities, research institutions and the private sector.
  • Local foods pave the way… Updates on the B4FN Project
    Malnutrition continues to be a persistent challenge and solutions such as fortification and biofortification are widely promoted as cost effective solutions to global undernutrition problems. Partners of the Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition Project (B4FN Project), however, continue reminding us that nature provides an abundance of wild and cultivated food species that can be used as an equally valid alternative for the promotion of good nutrition and health.
  • “No seeds, no future” a short Biowatch/Oxfam film
    For many generations subsistence farmers have successfully grown their own fruits and vegetables, and reared their own livestock. KwaHhohho in Mtubatuba, KwaZulu-Natal, has a rich history of these traditional farming practices. But these are under threat, and this small farming community is fighting to save their natural seeds and traditional farming culture. “No seeds, no future” is the story of how a community market garden, developed using agroecological methods, has helped these farmers secure their food sovereignty.
  • Course – Contemporary approaches to genetic resources conservation and use
    Modern production and marketing of agricultural crops depend on a limited number of genetically uniform varieties that deliver uniform food products. With this approach becoming global, genetic diversity is endangered. Worldwide, strategies are developed to conserve genetic resources. This course provides state-of-the-art insight into various plant genetic resources management strategies and relevant policies.
  • 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP-12)
    The 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP-12) took place in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea from the 6 to the 17 October 2014. Expectations of the meeting where to conduct, among other issues, a mid-term review of the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi targets. Follow the links to the agenda and useful documents for the meeting and to a media coverage of the meeting and its side-events. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) provided a detailed report (see the link provided in the editorial of this newslewtter).
  • Indigenous Biocultural Diversity in Times of Neoliberalism and Climate Change
    For the last 26 years in the Peruvian Andes, twenty Nuclei of Andean-Amazonian Cultural Affirmation (NACA), associated with the Andean Project for Peasant Technologies (PRATEC), have advocated for respectful dialogue between different knowledge systems and “saberes”. NACAPRATEC’s proposal takes up the challenge of regenerating the Andean biocultural landscape by focusing on Andean community-based mechanisms, traditional knowledge and cultural practices that contribute to the conservation of biodiversity and food sufficiency, the nurturance of “Kawsay” (life as a whole) as the foundation and engine for Andean-Amazonian cultural affirmation.
  • Framing Biodiversity and Health in the context of the Post-2015 Development Agenda
    In the context of the Twelfth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 12), the Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research (PAR), represented by Dr Pablo Eyzaguirre, participated into a side-event jointly organized by the CBD Secretariat, the World Health Organization (WHO), Bioversity International and others to discuss thematic issues included in the advanced draft of the soon-to-be launched State of Knowledge Review on Biodiversity and Human Health
  • Terra Madre and Salone del Gusto 2014
    The Terra Madre and Salone del Gusto, organised by Slow Foods and partners, will take place from 23 to 27 October 2014 in Turin, Italy. 2014 will mark the 10th Salone del Gusto or “Hall of Taste”, the world’s largest food and wine fair, and Terra Madre, the world conference of food communities. This year’s events will bring together more than 1,000 exhibitors from 130 countries, including over 300 Slow Food Presidia, chefs, farmers, fishers, eaters, authors, advocates, academics, artisans, international representatives from wine and gastronomy, and Slow Food’s network of small-scale producers and food communities on six continents.
  • PAR methods: theory key to gain wider acceptance
    What must we do to gain wider acceptance of participatory agricultural research (PAR) methods within the mainstream of the CGIAR system and beyond? This was one of the topics of discussion at the PARADE workshop. Professor Paul Sillitoe (Department of Anthropology, Durham University) believes the answer to the question will in no small part depend on addressing some of the deep-seated contradictions within development discourse. Pr. Sillitoe outlined the deeply entrenched incongruities that PAR practitioners must resolve, or at least acknowledge. The list is long (17 points in all), which underscores how deeply conflicted our discourse is.
  • IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 is upcoming!
    The IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 will take place from 12 to 19 November 2014 in Sydney, Australia. The Congress, a landmark global forum on protected areas will share knowledge and innovation, setting the agenda for protected areas conservation for the decade to come. Building on the theme “Parks, people, planet: inspiring solutions”, it will present, discuss and create original approaches for conservation and development, helping to address the gap in the conservation and sustainable development agenda.
  • Forests as Food Producing Habitats
    Read this exploratory study carried out by Living Farms to uncover the issues around collection and consumption of uncultivated foods and the extent of dependence of Adivasi / Indigenous communities on such food, for their food and nutrition security. A negelcted potential held by forests that can support livelihoods of the indian Adivasi indigenous communities, and beyond.

Farming in South Africa / Photo credit: Biowatch South Africa
Farming in South Africa / Photo credit: Biowatch South Africa

PAR’s goal: Is to enhance the sustainable management and use of agrobiodiversity by improving knowledge of all its different aspects. It seeks to promote research and integrate, mobilize and share research findings on the sustainable management of agrobiodiversity.The PAR Newsletter is published by the Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research and distributed to members and other subscribers. The Secretariat welcomes news, letters and other items of interest from individuals and organizations.

Address correspondences and information to:

Dr. Toby Hodgkin (Project Coordinator)
c/o Bioversity International
Via dei Tre Denari 472/a 00057
Maccarese, Rome, Italy



The Platform is hosted and supported byBioversity International


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