In 2015, at the United Nations in New York, countries agreed on the Sustainable Development Goals; in Paris at the Climate Summit, they reached an agreement on Climate Change; and at the Convention on Biological Diversity, countries focused on mainstreaming agricultural biodiversity into health, nutrition and production systems.
Agricultural biodiversity has an increasingly important role to play in creating long-term food system sustainability, with contributions to make in terms of improving nutrition, enhancing resilience of agricultural production system and increasing adaptation to climate change,.
In the report you will find examples that show the impact of Bioversity International’s work on people's lives on the ground in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Our work is organized around three initiatives: ‘Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems’; ‘Productive and Resilient Farms, Forests and Landscapes’; and ‘Effective Genetic Resources Conservation and Use’. Through these initiatives, we investigate how to safeguard agricultural and tree biodiversity for future generations and how to use it to diversify diets, production systems, seeds and planting materials.
“Agricultural biodiversity has an increasingly important role to play in creating long-term food system sustainability.”
Increasing the sustainable use of agricultural and tree biodiversity in production and consumption systems plays an important part in solving today’s challenges – reduce global malnutrition, adapt to climate change, increase productivity and reduce risk, and address shrinking food diversity.
Bioversity International’s strategic objectives are to diversify diets, production systems, seeds and planting material, and safeguard biodiversity.
To achieve these objectives, Bioversity International integrates its research portfolio into three initiatives.
Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems
Productive and resilient farms and forests
Effective Genetic Resources Conservation and Use
In 2015, Bioversity International produced 169 scientific publications on topics that include:
- banana genetic resources conservation and management systems
- biodiversity and ecosystem services
- diet diversity and nutrition
- forest genetic resources and restoration
- fruit tree and tree crops diversity
- genetic resources policies and institutions
- neglected and underutilized species
- on farm and in situ conservation.
Bioversity International works with partners around the world to identify and deliver innovative solutions to ensure agricultural biodiversity nourishes people and sustains the planet.
Our partners are national and international research systems and advanced research institutes, non-governmental organizations, foundations, private sector organizations, government ministries, UN agencies and international bodies.
Bioversity International's work would not be possible without the support of the CGIAR Fund members and a wide range of funding partners who share our vision and mission.
The continuous and fruitful collaboration with our partners is critical for Bioversity International to deliver scientific evidence, management practices and policy options to use and safeguard agricultural and tree biodiversity to attain sustainable global food and nutrition security.
Mobilizing funding is becoming more challenging as many CGIAR donors cut their aid budgets and divert resources to crisis management and achieving short-term results. To address these significant funding cuts, Bioversity International has used a combination of cost-cutting measures, strategic use of reserves, and has developed additional fundraising plans.
Funding to Bioversity International from bilateral sources is on the increase and development of several ‘big idea’ evidence-based products, which are attractive and ripe for support by development budgets, will help the Institute to recover and grow again.
Revenue in 2015 amounted to US$ 36.3 million (2014: $42.4 million) against expenditures of $36.9 million (2014: $42.2 million), resulting in an operating deficit of $0.6 million for 2015. Bioversity International’s reserves were at $10.7 million (115 days) at 31 December 2015, compared with $11.1 million (107 days) at 31 December 2014, both of which are above the target of 90 days set by the Board.
Despite the challenges posed by several unexpected cuts and a difficult bilateral resource mobilization environment, Bioversity International has implemented effective mitigating measures and continues to achieve great results in delivering scientific evidence, management practices and policy options to use and safeguard agricultural biodiversity to attain sustainable global food and nutrition security.
For more information, download our 2015 Financial Statements
Board Chair: Cristián Samper
Vice Chair: Carl Hausmann
Maria Helena Semedo
M. Ann Tutwiler
Douglas van den Aardweg
Bioversity International created a UK registered charity (no. 1131854) in October 2008 to increase awareness and support for its research agenda and activities. Bioversity International UK is governed by an independent Board of Trustees.
Board Chair: Trish Malloch-Brown
Jacqueline de Chollet
M. Ann Tutwiler
Bioversity International USA, Inc aims to engage and inspire a wide range of partners and donors to ensure that agricultural biodiversity nourishes people and sustains the planet. It is led by a committed and highly regarded Board of Trustees:
M. Ann Tutwiler
Almost one and half billion people directly depend on forests and trees, including fruit and nut tree products, for a portion of their livelihoods. As presented in The State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources published in 2014, thousands of tree species are instrumental to global diets, health, shelter, fuel and incomes of the world’s poor.
Central Asian countries Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are centres of origin for and particularly rich in temperate fruit and nut tree species with global commercial and nutritional importance. Uzbekistan alone is home to 83 traditional varieties of apricot, 43 of grape, 40 of apple and 30 of walnut.
These trees can be said to represent a ‘living genebank’ which houses genes that allow certain species or varieties to withstand climate change and can be used to breed varieties with desirable traits for humankind. Yet, this native genetic diversity of fruit tree species has greatly suffered due to deforestation, industrialization, logging and overgrazing. Losing of the valuable genes described above would mean further loss of biodiversity, degradation of natural habitats and continued delivery of ecosystem services.
In 2006, as part of the ‘In situ/on farm conservation and use of agricultural biodiversity (Horticultural Crops and Wild Fruit Species) in Central Asia’ initiative*, Bioversity International set out to improve the way fruit tree diversity is managed, used, consumed and marketed to improve farmer livelihoods and continued in situ conservation of these precious trees.
After 5 years of activity, over 50 fruit tree nurseries were set up as a result of the initiative – producing over 1.5 million seedlings of traditional varieties of apple, grape, pomegranate and other fruit and nut trees, annually. After 2013, an impact assessment study was carried out with a specific emphasis on Uzbekistan where it was discovered that, thanks to the initiative, fruit trees, including wild fruit species were allocated 5% more land than before, and that apricot was the most popular among farming households. Throughout the years of activity, 1,500 farmers were trained in soil, water and crop management practices.
The participation of a household member in project activities had a positive and significant effect on the conservation of fruit tree species diversity in Uzbekistan. This positive trend was underlined by a 61% increase in the Equitability Index (a measure of species evenness) and 39% increase in the Simpson Index of Diversity (which measures the number and abundance of species present) at the end of the project.
The assessment published in 2015 revealed that the dissemination of good practices across participant and non-participant households could be improved by having a more constant presence in project sites and by examining the way in which information circulates within and across project communities. It was also stressed that in the future more involvement of youth would be beneficial as they disseminate information among their peers and promote continuity of the practices as their parents age. Their involvement would also support establishing sharing mechanisms for project technologies, such as grafting equipment, as well as associated knowledge within project villages.
This research is part of the 'In situ/On-Farm Conservation and Use of Agricultural Biodiversity (Horticultural Crops and Wild Fruit Species) in Central Asia' research initiative funded by the CGIAR Research Programs on Water Land and Ecosystems (WLE) and on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF).
This article is adapted from Uzbek farmers get a livelihood boost from local fruit tree conservation