Annual Report 2016

Agricultural biodiversity nourishes people and sustains the planet

From our Board Chair and Director General

At the end of 2016, representatives from 200 countries gathered in Mexico at the 13th meeting of the Conference to the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP13). The Conference theme was ‘Mainstreaming Biodiversity for Well-Being’, reflecting the groundswell of interest by the global community in biodiversity’s potential role to achieve sustainable development, in particular on the importance of agrobiodiversity’s role in achieving more sustainable food systems. Agrobiodiversity holds the promise to make our food systems healthy for both people and the planet to meet today’s global challenges such as malnutrition, climate change and degradation of ecosystem services.

As a result of this groundswell, we are seeing growing interest in Bioversity International’s vision and mission. In November, at the inaugural International Agrobiodiversity Congress co-organized by Bioversity International and the Indian Society of Plant Genetic Resources, 900 participants from 60 countries came together to adopt the Delhi Declaration on Agrobiodiversity Management. The Declaration calls for urgent action to mainstream agricultural biodiversity for sustainable development which Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, described as “a treasure of valuable agrobiodiversity that we have not explored scientifically yet.”


"Agrobiodiversity holds the promise to make our food systems healthy for both people and the planet to meet today’s global challenges such as malnutrition, climate change and degradation of ecosystem services."

What is agricultural biodiversity?

Agricultural biodiversity is the variety and variability of animals, plants and micro-organisms that are used directly or indirectly for food and agriculture.

Agricultural biodiversity is the backbone of sustainable agricultural intensification.
For example, agroforestry, home gardens, integrated crop–livestock systems, mosaic land uses, intercropping, cover crops, integrated pest management and crop rotations all typically benefit from using agricultural biodiversity. 

It is also a rich resource for year-round healthy, diverse diets by providing nutrient-rich species and varieties, which are often well adapted to local conditions. Increasing the number of food groups grown on farms is associated with greater diversity on the plate. 

Households which grow a diverse set of crops are less likely to be poor than households that specialize in their crop production.
Additionally, crop diversity reduces the probability that a non-poor household will fall into poverty and the probability that a poor household will remain in poverty. 

While agricultural biodiversity is by no means the only component needed in a sustainable food system, a sustainable food system cannot exist without agricultural biodiversity.

Agricultural biodiversity for the Sustainable Development Goals

2016 Highlights

Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems

Productive and Resilient Farms and Forests

Effective Genetic Resources Conservation and Use

Scientific publications

In 2016, Bioversity International produced 184 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.

Funding and research partners

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.


Financial information

Mobilizing funding has become more challenging as governments of many high-income countries that support CGIAR have cut their aid budgets, diverted resources to crisis management, and seek clear lines of sight to development results. Nonetheless, Bioversity International’s overall revenue from bilateral grants has grown by 25% since 2012 including the first legally decreed contribution from Italy in 2016 and an additional voluntary contribution. Even without the extraordinary voluntary contribution from Italy, overall bilateral revenue increased 8% over the period. Meantime, development of several ‘transformative innovations’, evidence-based products that promise large-scale results ripe for support by development budgets, will help Bioversity International to recover and grow again following the cuts in revenue in 2015 and 2016 from the CGIAR System Fund.

Revenue in 2016 amounted to US$32 million against expenditures of $30.8 million, resulting in an operating surplus of $1.2 million for 2016. Bioversity International’s reserves were at $12.2 million (154 days of expenditure) at 31 December 2016 compared with $10.7 million (115 days) at 31 December 2015, both of which are above the target of 90 days set by the Board.


For more information, download our 2016 Financial Statements


Board of Trustees

Bioversity International Board of Trustees

Board Chair
Cristián Samper (until November 2016)
Julia Marton-Lefèvre (from November 2016)

Vice Chair
Carl Hausmann

Christina Frankopan
Marion Gillou
Claudio Lenoci
Trish Malloch-Brown
Trilochan Mohapatra
Maria Helena Semedo
Brent Swallow
M. Ann Tutwiler
Douglas van den Aardweg

Bioversity International UK Trustees

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

Gillian Kettaneh
Christina Frankopan
M. Ann Tutwiler

Bioversity International USA, Inc Trustees

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:

Jessica Fanzo
Sara Scherr
Trish Malloch-Brown
M. Ann Tutwiler


Writing: Nora Capozio, Jeremy Cherfas, Samantha Collins, Marta Millere, Joshua Turyatemba

Design: Pablo Gallo

Project manager: Nora Capozio

Web Development: Vista Tecnologie