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
If all of the globe’s degraded land were put together, it would constitute an area the size of South America. Major global actors are taking note. Governments around the world are signing onto the highly ambitious Sustainable Development Goals’ target 15.2: by 2020, to promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally. If the promises exemplified by this target, the Bonn Challenge, the New York Declaration, the Great Green Wall and others are realized, the result will be hundreds of millions of hectares restored to a productive state. Restoring productivity to these lands, in particular using trees, would mean greater food and water security, sequestration of billions of tons of carbon, livelihoods for millions of people, and reduced or reversed biodiversity loss.
The scale of the current commitments presents great opportunities, but successful restoration of degraded land to a productive, functional and self-sustaining state is not easily achieved. In the past, many restoration efforts have failed for a variety of reasons, including use of planting materials that are not suited to the restoration site. Often, little attention is paid to matching the characteristics of planting material – for example, the ability to tolerate drought – to the conditions at the planting sites.
Success in restoration initiatives is often reported simply as number of trees or hectares planted, but these measures do not necessarily reveal long-term success. Of course many factors influence whether restoration initiatives will successfully achieve ecological and livelihood-related goals, but starting with the right planting material – well matched to the site and diverse – is fundamental.
Genetic diversity is important for two reasons. First, unlike many agricultural crops, trees do not perform well if they are inbred. Inbreeding often results in poor growth, greater susceptibility to stress and reduced regeneration success. Second, to restore a self-sustaining forest ecosystem, the planting material must have sufficient genetic diversity so that future generations resulting from their seeds avoid inbreeding and have the capacity to adapt to changing conditions, including future climates.
In Colombia we are collaborating with FORESTPA, a private restoration company; the Alexander von Humboldt Institute; and the national university on a project funded by Ecopetrol, the largest and primary petroleum company in the country. Through this collaboration we are developing a decision-support tool that will help restoration practitioners select the most appropriate planting material that best matches both the intended use of the future forest and the environmental conditions of the planting site. In the short term this tool will be used to identify the best sources of planting material for restoration of approximately 13,000 hectares of degraded Colombian dry forest.
In addition, Bioversity International is a partner in ‘Initiative 20x20’, which is helping countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to meet their commitments to restore 20 million hectares of land by 2020.
Bioversity International’s forest research contributes to the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry: Livelihoods, Landscapes and Governance.