Bioversity International: research for development in agricultural and tree biodiversity

Bioversity International and Universiti Putra Malaysia renew unique bond

10 Aug 2016

A Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony between Bioversity International and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This MoU celebrates the research partners’ 15-year relationship and shared commitment to protect Malaysia’s rich agricultural biodiversity.

Shrinking biodiversity is reducing future options for health and well-being around the world. These reduced options include controlling crop pests and diseases, adapting to climate change and improving the health and sustainability of food systems and diets. Loss of forest cover and diversity represent lost livelihood opportunities and worsen the impacts of adverse weather. Rising levels of obesity and non-communicable diseases that result from deteriorating dietary diversity and quality are worrying and will incur very high health costs in the future, if they are not addressed now. Using and safeguarding agricultural and tree biodiversity offers solutions to these major challenges, as well as opportunities for boosting peoples’ livelihoods and incomes in both rural and urban areas.

Countries around the world are increasing their investment in the use of agricultural biodiversity to reap its benefits. In recent years, Bioversity International has strengthened its collaboration in research and joint fundraising with partners in mega-diverse countries, including Brazil, China and India. Through this renewed collaboration with UPM, Malaysia is part of this forward-looking group of countries that aims to protect agricultural biodiversity in the region.

Bioversity International and this prestigious Malaysian university have a long and successful history. In 2001, UPM became the first public education institution in Malaysia to partner with Bioversity International to carry out joint research projects. In the first few years that Bioversity International opened its doors in the South-east Asian country, it collaborated with UPM to publish a field genebank management guide that is still the go-to document for field genebank managers worldwide. Since last year, the two organizations have been collaborating to develop approaches and practices for restoring the productivity and resilience of degraded forests.

Malaysia is extremely well placed to spearhead the sustainable use of agrobiodiversity among ASEAN countries and elsewhere in the region. Bioversity International looks forward to collaborating with UPM in deepening and sharing the knowledge of the region’s vast agrobiodiversity, as well as strengthening human and institutional capacities in its sustainable use. The joint signing of the MoU marks the continuation of years of fruitful collaboration between the two organizations to promote agricultural biodiversity in Malaysia and negate the adverse effects of biodiversity loss.

Learn more about Bioversity International’s work in Malaysia

Photo 1: Seeds galore. Credit: Bioversity International/H. F. Chin
Photo 2: Utusan Malaysia newspaper clipping announcing the MoU between UPM and Bioversity International