THE PRESIDENT OF the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has said that unless biodiverstiy is protected, we will not eradicate hunger or achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Speaking ahead of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) World Conservation Congress which began in Marseille on 3 September, Gilbert F. Houngbo said: “Biodiversity is a cornerstone of healthy and sustainable food systems.
“From protecting pollinators, to improving soil fertility and building resilience to the effects of climate change, biodiversity is fundamental to addressing global hunger. But the clock is ticking. We need to increase our investments to protect biodiversity before it is too late. Our future depends on it.”
As part of its own increase in biodiversity investments, IFAD announced a commitment to focus 30 per cent of its climate finance to support nature-based solutions in rural small-scale agriculture by 2030. Nature-based solutions promote the proactive conservation, management and restoration of natural ecosystems and biodiversity in contributing to addressing the challenges of climate change, food and water security and human health.
“Rural communities and small-scale farmers have a vital role to play. They are dependent on biodiversity, but are also important custodians of it, growing a wider range of species and varieties than large-scale farms”, said Houngbo.
IFAD’s investments in nature-based solutions aim to promote a healthy biosphere, increasing productivity and improving food security, nutrition and resilience to climate change. Improving agricultural biodiversity on small-scale farms results in healthy, productive soils which sequester more carbon. This can make an important cumulative contribution to carbon storage.
The IUCN World Conservation Congress brings together governments, civil society, Indigenous Peoples, scientists and business to promote initiatives on the most urgent environmental and sustainability challenges, such as the biodiversity and climate crises in the context of the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Houngbo will announce IFAD’s investment commitment at the high-level roundtable on ‘Financing for Biodiversity’ where he is a keynote speaker along with the Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank.
Eight out of 10 of the world’s poorest people live in rural areas, and most depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Ironically, they are the ones most likely to go hungry. There was a dramatic increase in global hunger in 2020: it is thoght that up to 811 million people suffer from hunger.
* Source: IFAD