Tuesday 4th August 2020
Tuesday, 4th of August 2020
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Why ecosystem services should be mainstreamed into agriculture

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have launched a technical guidance document which aims to promote mainstreaming of biodiversity and ecosystem services into agriculture through national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs), and thereby contribute towards achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity

Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity

The technical guidance document, titled: “Mainstreaming ecosystem services and biodiversity into agricultural production and management in East Africa”, was launched in May to coincide with the second session of the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi and in celebration of the International Day for Biological Diversity (22 May).

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“With climate change bringing more frequent and more extreme weather events, we need to build more
resilient agricultural landscapes and food systems,” said Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD Executive
Secretary. “A key strategy to achieve this goal is through sustainable ecological intensification of
agriculture, including a reduced reliance on agrochemicals for increasing and improving yields, while
minimizing negative impacts on the environment by integrating the ecosystem services delivered by
biodiversity into agricultural production systems.”

The report points out that agriculture must achieve the twin goals of food security and environment
conservation, while simultaneously increasing production to meet global food demands. In this context,
biodiversity and ecosystem services lie at the heart of many solutions for sustainable increases in
agricultural productivity that not only deliver better outcomes for food security and nutrition, but also
reduce the negative externalities of current agricultural systems.

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The environment-agriculture discussion is presently shifting from a polarised debate of trade-offs to a
discussion of mutually supporting agendas. To that end, FAO is collaborating with the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP) and the CBD, through a European Union funded project supporting
African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries. The goal is to strengthen regional and national
institutional capacity for the synergistic implementation of target multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) related to chemicals and biodiversity, for example providing alternative options to unsustainable agricultural practices, including the overuse of inputs such as agrochemicals. The document was prepared for the East Africa region to help build institutional capacity for synergistic implementation of MEAs, including the CBD and other biodiversity and chemicals related conventions, and to provide information on how ecosystem services and biodiversity can be mainstreamed into agriculture. Specifically, it provides practical guidance for implementation of ecosystem based solutions that benefit production, and policy measures for mainstreaming ecosystem services in agriculture to support the integration of agricultural concerns at the national level, through the development and implementation of their NBSAPs.

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