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2014 was declared the International Year of Family Farming by the UN. In her first blog post of the year, Director General M. Ann Tutwiler highlighted the vital role that smallholder farmers play in food security, poverty eradication, natural resource management and sustainable development, and how agricultural biodiversity is key to making family farms more resilient and productive.

2014 marked Bioversity International’s 40 years of agricultural biodiversity research. Professor M.S. Swaminathan, the renowned plant geneticist who first conceived and laid the groundwork for Bioversity International, helped us celebrate with a special video message, highlighting the role of agricultural biodiversity as we face major challenges such as malnutrition and climate change. We are specially honoured by his kind words: “[...] I am sure that Bioversity International will be the flagship of the human quest for the conservation of genetic resources.”
The Resilience Conference held in May in France drew attention to how ecosystem services contribute to agricultural productivity and what agricultural practices can improve the delivery of ecosystem services, illustrated in an infographic we developed for the event. It also highlighted the key role of traditional farming communities as stewards of resilience.

Bolivia also officially recognized custodian farmers as a strategic asset to help use and safeguard the country's valuable and rich crop diversity for nutrition and income security.

In June, The State of the World's Forest Genetic Resources report was released representing a major step towards better conservation and sustainable management of the planet's precious forest genetic resources. Bioversity International worked closely with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and partners from other CGIAR centres in the preparation of the report.

We also highlighted the importance of protecting cacao diversity at The World Cocoa Conference. Also in June, we co-organized theEnhanced genepool utilization - Capturing wild relative and landrace diversity for crop improvement conference to raise awareness of why crop wild relatives are important for food security and adaptation to climate change. We also launched a new infographic and a video.

In July, in an article for Rural 21, M. Ann Tutwiler introduced Bioversity International's refreshed 10-year research strategy and the important role that agricultural biodiversity plays in enhancing the adaptability and resilience of family farms.

Bioversity International scientist Evert Thomas, promoted forest restoration in Nature’s 'Correspondence' section. He discussed affordable, socially-inclusive and ecologically-sound forest restoration projects in Colombia, which could become a model for re-establishing forests and their biodiversity on millions of hectares of degraded lands.

In August, we  received a recognition award from the Department of Agriculture - Bureau of Agricultural Research, a key national partner in the Philippines. The award recognized our contribution to strengthened partnerships and introduce technologies that benefit and improve the lives of banana farmers.

Also in August, more than 3,000 delegates - including many of our scientists -  gathered in Brisbane, Australia, for the International Horticultural Congress. Through ProMusa, we co-organized a symposium devoted to banana research.

September started with the Ecosystem Services Partnership Conference in Costa Rica, followed by the CGIAR Development Dialogues in New York, which organized ‘Talking Science’, a blog competition. Our scientist Carlo Fadda received the highest vote from the jury for his blog  'How local is local? Working with Ethiopian farmers to adapt to climate change'.

As part of our 40th anniversary celebrations, we opened the doors at our Rome Headquarters on the 20th September 2014, bringing together the local community to Run for Biodiversity.

In October, we participated in the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) 12th Conference of the Parties, showcasing how agricultural and tree biodiversity is contributing to meeting multiple Aichi targets. Through FAO and the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice to the CBD, Bioversity International researchers influenced CBD’s decision to urge parties “to give due attention to both native species and genetic diversity in conservation and restoration activities, while avoiding the introduction and preventing the spread of invasive alien species”.

We also celebrated 20 years of the European Forest Genetic Resources Programme (EUFORGEN) with a short film.

In November, Ann Tutwiler and the Crop Trust Executive Director Marie Haga shared their perspectives in a co-written op-ed on Thomson Reuters website about how the Middle East can help feed the world.

Bioversity International scientists and a group of experts also launched the Ecosystem Services and Resilience Framework, which guides all activities of the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems.

On 24 November, Bioversity International and Embrapa - the Brazilian Corporation of Agricultural Research, signed a 5-year agreement to work closely together to expand the knowledge base on how to use agricultural biodiversity to develop sustainable food systems.

And finally, in December, Bioversity International scientists highlighted the importance of forest restoration in climate adaptation and resilience at the Global Landscapes Forum in Lima, Peru.

2014 - An overview

Our Vision and Mission

Our vision is that agricultural biodiversity nourishes people and sustains the planet.

Our mission is 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.