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
Vihiga County, is a biodiverse-rich area in Western Kenya with high malnutrition rates – 28.3% of the children are stunted and 18% of the caregivers are overweight or obese, while 8% are underweight.
It is widely recognized that diversifying diets that include high-quality, safe, nutritious foods can reduce micronutrient deficiencies by providing a rich source of nutrients all year round. But diets in Vihiga County are often monotonous, based on a few staple crops such as maize, as is the case in many poor rural areas in low-income countries.
Bioversity International, working with partners in Vihiga County, mapped the rich diversity of all local food sources – on the farm, in the wild and at the market. We found more than 100 edible plant and animal species available in the community for consumption.
We also collected information on the actual dietary diversity and nutrient intakes of women of reproductive age and young children aged 12-23 months. This was done using a quantitative 24-hour recall method which tracks everything someone eats during one day. This was carried out twice: once in the season of plenty, and once during the lean season when food is scarcer. We found that less than 5% of the available food species are exploited for food by more than half of the population.
Then, over a period of two months, almost 200 community members took part in a series of nutrition workshops, held in five locations. Participants included female caregivers of young children, farmers, teachers, women’s group leaders, spiritual leaders and village elders. Sessions were facilitated by community health workers, with additional support from local nutrition and agricultural experts. We shared the results on nutrition and diet diversity that we had gathered, as well as on the seasonal availability of agricultural biodiversity.
We then set everybody to work to design their own community action plans to use biodiversity for improved nutrition. Most of the groups decided to grow vegetables and legumes, and also to start poultry keeping on a communal basis to increase the availability and access to nutritious foods. Budget and fundraising strategies were also part of their action plans.
Complementary training sessions on kitchen gardening, especially for growing vegetables and legumes, as well as poultry-keeping, were held, as well as cooking classes to try out recipes for improved infant feeding. In addition, nutrition education sessions were carried out in the home, through the cooperation of the local Ministry of Health.
Towards the end of the year, the communities proudly shared what they had learned in a series of events including a diversity day, where everyone brought along their diverse local dishes to show to the wider community members who had not attended the workshops, who were also invited to become participants in the project in the future. They also created displays of food that were divided according to nutritional food groups. Foods included many different kinds of vegetables, fruits, chickens, and even termites – a local dish that is high in protein.
The research is ongoing, with a final community survey planned for October to monitor progress towards reaching adequate diets for the community through biodiversity-rich diets.
“Through the workshops I learnt many new things. Before I did not know that a diverse diet is important for health,” said Beverlyne Malesi, a participant in the community nutrition workshop.
This research is part of the CGIAR Research Program on Integrated Systems for the Humidtropics.