Rich agricultural biodiversity is disappearing due to environmental pressures, unsuitable land management practices and to changes in consumer preferences, dietary patterns and lifestyles. We are also losing the traditional knowledge associated with the preparation, storage and cultural use of these foods, which, in the past, made up a significant proportion of local diets.
The global initiative of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) is mainstreaming biodiversity conservation and sustainable use for improved human nutrition and wellbeing into national and global policies and programs.
The research is building on growing evidence that shows that agricultural biodiversity has the potential to fulfill many of the nutritional requirements needed for a healthy and balanced diet and thus can help reverse the alarming trends in under- and over-nutrition afflicting many countries worldwide.
The evidence is being used to safeguard and promote the use of agricultural biodiversity in Brazil, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Turkey by:
Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity highlights the work of the Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition Initiative in Brazil in a guest blog for the 2015 International Day for Biological Diversity.
The GEF 'Mainstreaming biodiversity for nutrition and health' initiative is led by Brazil, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Turkey and coordinated by Bioversity International, with implementation support from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and additional support from the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health.
It was launched in April 2012 to address growing concerns over the rapid disappearance of agricultural biodiversity, particularly traditional crops and wild species with nutritional potential, in four countries: Brazil, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Turkey.