11 July 2018
SBSTTA Side-event Discusses Measuring Agrobiodiversity
UN Photo/Gill Fickling
story highlights

On the sidelines of SBSTTA 22, participants reflected on progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and heard presentations on a tool to better measure and manage agricultural biodiversity.

The Agrobiodiversity Index aims to measure agrobiodiversity in diets, food production and genetic resources, with the broader aim of measuring progress towards global biodiversity targets.

3 July 2018: Participants discussed the application of the Agrobiodiversity Index to accelerate progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets during a side event at the 22nd meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 22). The Agrobiodiversity Index is a tool to measure and manage agricultural biodiversity (agrobiodiversity) in sustainable food systems.

Bioversity International, Birdlife International and UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP, or UN Environment) World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) organized the event, titled ‘Learning from the past to inform the 2050 Vision: Improving target setting, assessing progress and applying the Agrobiodiversity Index.’

Bioversity International Ecosystem Service Specialist, Sarah Jones, introduced the Agrobiodiversity Index at the event. She explained that sustainable food systems cannot exist without biodiversity, which boosts agricultural production and enhances nutrition in diets; at the same time, 38% of the world’s land is agricultural, making it increasingly important for wild biodiversity conservation. Despite the interdependencies between wild and agricultural biodiversity, Jones emphasized there is no agreed, standard way of measuring agrobiodiversity in diets, food production or genetic resources to effectively mainstream agrobiodiversity.

The Agrobiodiversity Index aims to address this limitation by measuring how much agrobiodiversity is in a given food system and assessing the delivery of commitments. The Index uses three sources of data: agrobiodiversity in markets and consumption; agrobiodiversity in production systems; and agrobiodiversity in genetic resources. This information is then organized by country, company and project, producing an overall score and rank related to commitments, action or status. The Index is currently undergoing testing for countries and companies.

Participants also discussed progress on the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, with several expressing concern about the lack of progress on the Targets and gaps in knowledge and information to support follow-up and review. One participant recommended assessing which characteristics of the Aichi Targets are associated with achieving success compared to those associated with failure, in order to apply lessons learned to revised or future targets in the post-2020 biodiversity framework. A representative from UNEP-WCMC presented a review of progress achieved under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) using counterfactual analysis, which suggests that, in the absence of the CBD, biodiversity levels would be adversely affected.

Since the Agrobiodiversity Index was launched at the thirteenth Conference of the Parties to the CBD (COP 13), the Index has moved from an idea to a working prototype. A more developed version is expected to be shared at CBD COP14 in 2018.

The European Commission (EC) has provided financial support for the Agrobiodiversity Index, with additional support from CGIAR and the Italian Development Corporation. [Agrobiodiversity Index] [SDG Knowledge Hub Guest Article on Agrobiodiversity Index] [SDG Knowledge Hub Sources] [IISD RS Coverage of SBSTTA 22]

related events

related posts