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Biodiversity for food and nutrition


Bioversity International is coordinating 'Mainstreaming Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use for Improved Human Nutrition and Well-being', a Global Environment Facility (GEF) project launched in 2012. The GEF Implementing Agencies for this project are the United Nations Environment Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN.


The initiative, led by Brazil, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Turkey, addresses growing concerns over the rapid disappearance of agricultural biodiversity, particularly traditional crops and wild species with nutritional value. Also of concern is the loss of traditional knowledge associated with their use. Local plants and animals, which can be more nutritious than their introduced  counterparts, are increasingly being recognized as playing an important role in supplying the diversity of nutrients needed in human diets for healthy growth and living.


Partnerships are key in this initiative. For example, Kenya and Brazil are exploring collaboration through the Agricultural Innovation MKTPlace to develop value chains for underutilized indigenous fruit trees, while Sri Lanka has teamed up with the Global Master’s in Development Practice Program to document and raise awareness on agricultural biodiversity losses in the study sites.


Additional technical and financial support is being provided by the countries and by international partners such as the World Food Programme, AVRDC - The World Vegetable Center, Crops for the Future, the Earth Institute at Columbia University, the World Agroforestry Centre and the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health. This global partnership will ensure the upscaling of methods and tools for measuring biodiversity for food and nutrition as well as increased awareness and information sharing among partners, scientists and policymakers.



Photo: Market seller in Sri Lanka - Credit: Bioversity International/S. Landersz