First International Agrobiodiversity Congress Adopts Delhi Declaration
UN Photo/Gill Fickling
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The first International Agrobiodiversity Congress (IAC) was held in Delhi, India, to discuss the conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity.

Participants adopted the 'Delhi Declaration on Agrobiodiversity Management,' which calls for new and strengthened partnerships for the conservation and use of agricultural biodiversity as a contribution towards achieving several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

12 November 2016: The first International Agrobiodiversity Congress (IAC) concluded with the adoption of the ‘Delhi Declaration on Agrobiodiversity Management.’ The Congress supported dialogue on the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources, given the challenges of increasing agricultural productivity and assuring food and nutrition security in a changing climate.

The Congress addressed seven themes: agrobiodiversity for food and nutrition; agrobiodiversity for adaptation to climate change; intellectual property rights (IPRs) and access and benefit-sharing (ABS) and farmers’ rights; quarantine, biosafety and biosecurity issues; conservation strategies and methodologies; science-led innovation for agrobiodiversity management and sustainable use; and capacity-building and strengthening partnerships.

The Delhi Declaration calls on nations to give priority to agrobiodiversity conservation and sustainable use as contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It focuses on SDG 1 (End poverty in all its forms everywhere); SDG 2 (End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture; SDG 3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages; and SDG 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls). The Declaration also calls on countries to support the continued active participation of farmers, pastoralists and other tribal and rural communities through adequate financing and institutional mechanisms.

In order to improve conservation and international exchange of and research on agricultural biodiversity, the Declaration proposes: strengthening complementary conservation strategies to ensure a continuum of in situ, ex situ and on farm conservation; using modern technologies such as genomic, space, computational and nano-technologies for characterization, evaluation and trait discovery; and harmonizing legal systems and partnerships.

It further recommends developing an agrobiodiversity index to monitor the conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity. It also urges: public and private sector partnerships to invest in the utilization of agrobiodiversity; and the UN to consider declaring a ‘Year of Agrobiodiversity’ to catalyze global action. Regarding future global conferences, the Declaration recommends holding an IAC every three to five years.

Co-organized by the Indian Society of Plant Genetic Resources (ISPGR), Bioversity International and other partners, the first IAC was held 6-9 November 2016, in Delhi, India. Bioversity International is a member of the CGIAR Consortium. [Bioversity International Press Release: Delhi Declaration] [Bioversity International Press Release Announcing IAC] [Bioversity International IAC Website] [Official IAC Website]

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