If we lose biodiversity, we will not fight climate change or hunger, the IFAD report warns of the UN biodiversity conference

If we continue to lose biodiversity, the world’s most vulnerable people will not be able to adapt to climate change or produce food sustainably, according to a published today by the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Report. The report also describes the role that rural smallholders play in protecting biodiversity.

Biodiversity Advantage – Thriving with Nature: Biodiversity for Sustainable Livelihoods and Food Systems outlines the risk to rural smallholders – who make up the majority of the world’s poor and hungry – if biodiversity is compromised.

An estimated 80 percent of the needs of the world’s poor, including their ability to farm and generate income, come from biological resources. However, the loss of biological diversity is currently increasing: 1 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction and in the past year alone 31 species were declared extinct.

Ironically, although agriculture is suffering immensely from biodiversity decline, it is the primary cause of biodiversity loss, primarily through expansion and intensification.

“We are at a critical point. When we lose biodiversity, we lose our ability to respond to hunger and climate change, ”said Dr. Jyotsna Puri, Deputy Vice President of Strategy and Knowledge at IFAD, who prepared the report. “We know that large-scale agriculture threatens biodiversity. On the other hand, smallholders conserve our natural resources. When biodiversity is protected and ecosystems are healthy and diverse, farmers are more productive and more resilient to climate change. “

Biodiversity supports food production through soil formation, land productivity, pest and disease control, groundwater replenishment, and pollination services. Biological features such as mangrove forests and coral reefs are barriers that reduce the risk of natural disasters. Improving agricultural biodiversity on smallholder farms leads to healthy, productive soils that store more carbon and makes an important cumulative contribution to carbon storage.

The report, published ahead of the UN Conference on Biodiversity (COP-15) starting October 11, also outlines how investing in biodiversity contributes to gender equality, empowering women and youth, and nutrition. Using case studies, the report shows how investing in protecting and improving ecosystems can increase benefits for smallholders and the environment.

In Kenya, for example, the restoration of degraded forests has improved rain absorption, improved water supply and quality, and increased farmers’ productivity.

In Burkina Faso, various agroecological techniques and tree planting have improved yields and climate resilience and contributed to the storage of over 1.7 million tons of carbon dioxide.

“If development investments don’t take nature into account, our money will be wasted,” said Puri.

As part of its own increase in investments in biodiversity, IFAD announced last month that 30 percent of its climate funding by 2030 would be focused on nature-based solutions in smallholder agriculture. Nature-based solutions promote the proactive conservation, management and restoration of natural ecosystems and biodiversity to help address the challenges of climate change, food and water security and human health.

/ Public release. This material is from the original organization (s) and may be of a sporadic nature that has been edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author (s). See here in full.
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