On World Biodiversity Day (May 22), Slow Food calls on the international community to step up its efforts to save this vital resource for the future of humanity. Governments will meet in June to refine the global biodiversity framework and agree on the language to be used at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Kunming, China, later this year.
Biodiversity underpins our food, from plant varieties to animal breeds, beneficial insects, microorganisms and ecosystems, as does the diversity of human knowledge and cultures. Acknowledging the importance of biodiversity is critical for our food security, for sustainable development and for the supply of vital ecosystem services.
The CBD is often referred to as the biodiversity equivalent of the climate talks, with the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework being nicknamed “the Paris Agreement for Biodiversity”. It will be followed by negotiations in the third quarter of 2022 in Kunming, China. The adoption of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework should provide a strategic vision and a global roadmap for the conservation, restoration and sustainable management of biodiversity over the next decade.
“We will not have an effective Global Biodiversity Framework if international institutions and national governments do not include the recognition and promotion of agroecological food systems to prevent the collapse of biodiversity and mitigate the climate crisis,” says Edie Mukiibi, vice president of Slow Food. “Agroecological farmers must be granted institutional and political recognition, and farmers must be supported in the transition towards agroecology. This can happen in a number of ways, from improving advisory services, training opportunities and exchanges between farmers, and by giving financial assistance wherever possible. The CBD should also acknowledge indigenous peoples’ key role as guardians of 80% of the world’s biodiversity.”
Slow Food advocates for public money for public goods: only agroecological farming systems contributing to the socio-cultural, economic and environmental sustainability of their local areas should receive financial support from governments. Moreover, the Global Biodiversity Framework must address the drivers of biodiversity loss: ever-increasing economic growth and inequality, industrialized food systems, excessive consumption levels, corporate capture, and a naive belief that technology will be able fix any and all problems. Voluntary commitments and self-regulatory initiatives should only be seen as complementary drivers and never replace binding regulations.
“We need policies which enable food environments to face the interlinked health and environmental crises, ensuring equitable regulatory frameworks to enable citizens to support biodiversity through their consumption choices,” says Marta Messa, director of Slow Food Europe. “As reported by UNEP, states and international organizations are obliged to address biodiversity loss under both international environmental law and international human rights law; they have a responsibility to prevent negative impacts on human rights resulting from its loss, and to ensure that actions to address biodiversity loss are equitable and sustainable.”