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Delhi Declaration on Agrobiodiversity Management adopted

Delhi Declaration on Agrobiodiversity Management adopted

The delegates from 60 countries who participated in the first International Agrobiodiversity Congress held in New Delhi from November 6-9, 2016 adopted the Delhi Declaration on Agrobiodiversity Management.

The Congress during its four-day course discussed various aspects of access, conservation and use of agrobiodiversity. Based on these deliberations, the delegates unanimously adopted the Preamble at the concluding session on November 9, 2016.

Main points of Delhi Declaration

  • It called upon nations to accord top priority to the agrobiodiversity conservation and their sustainable use towards achieving targets of SDGs relating to poverty alleviation, food and nutritional security, good health, gender equity and partnership.
  • Recognising the importance of traditional knowledge on agrobiodiversity of farm men and women, pastoralists and other tribal and rural communities, the Declaration called upon countries to develop the necessary funding, legal and institutional mechanism to ensure and facilitate their continued active participation.
  • To combat food and nutrition insecurity as well as adverse effects of climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss, the Delhi Declaration urged policy makers to initiate, strengthen, and promote complementary conservation strategies to conserve and use agrobiodiversity.
  • The leaders called researchers to employ modern technologies for characterization, evaluation and trait discovery using genetic resources. The aim is to achieve efficiency, equality, economy and environmental security in agricultural production systems and landscapes.
  • The Declaration reemphasized the necessity of global exchange of plant, animal, aquatic microbial and insect genetic resources for food and agriculture to meet the ever-growing food and nutritional needs of each country.
  • It also called upon nations to harmonise their multiple legal systems and prioritize the improvement of their phytosanitary capacities to facilitate safe transfer of genetic resources using latest technologies and trans-boundary partnerships.
  • It strongly recommended for greater emphasis on public awareness and capacity enhancement programs on agrobiodiversity conservation and use by the governments.
  • It strongly suggested developing and implementing an agrobiodiversity index to help monitor conservation and use of agrobiodiversity.
  • The Declaration urged public and private sector partnerships to actively invest in and incentivize the utilization of agrobiodiversity to address malnutrition, increase the resilience and productivity of farms, and enhance ecosystem services.
  • The Declaration also urged the UN to consider declaring soon a ‘Year of Agrobiodiversity’ to draw worldwide attention and to catalyze urgent action.
  • The delegates unanimously recommended to hold Agrobiodiversity Congress every 3-5 years in order to maintain emphasis on this important area that we have realized in Delhi, for which a continuing committee be formed.

What is Agrobiodiversity?

Agrobiodoversity, also called Agricultural biodiversity or the genetic resources for food and agriculture, is a sub-set of biodiversity. It focuses on sustained management of various biological resources important for food and agriculture with an aim to secure people’s food and livelihood security.

The components of Agrobiodiversity include:

  • Harvested crop varieties, livestock breeds, fish species and non-domesticated (wild) resources within field, forest, rangeland including tree products, wild animals hunted for food and in aquatic ecosystems (e.g. wild fish);
  • Non-harvested species in production ecosystems that support food provision, including soil micro-biota, pollinators and other insects such as bees, butterflies, earthworms, greenflies; and
  • Non-harvested species in the wider environment that support food production ecosystems (agricultural, pastoral, forest and aquatic ecosystems).
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