The Value of Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity in Agriculture in the Pacific

13 December 2016, CBD COP 13, Cancun Mexico - Integrating the benefits we receive from biodiversity into agricultural production and management in the Pacific islands is at the core of a technical guide launched at the Thirteenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP13) in Cancun.

"Mainstreaming Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity into Agricultural Production and Management in the Pacific Islands" is the culmination of a partnership between the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), European Union, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and The Pacific Community. The guide is one of a series of technical documents to help identify key entry points for policy action and to foster cross-sectorial collaboration.

                    SC Launch

"It is my hope that the guidance materials will provide some concrete solutions and way forward to fully acknowledge and value the role of ecosystem services and biodiversity in agriculture, stated Mr Stuart Chape, Director of Biodiversity and Ecosystems Management Division of SPREP.

"Also to mainstream a more sustainable paradigm of agricultural production that is in line, and in support of the achievement of SPREP's vision for 'A resilient Pacific environment sustaining our livelihoods and natural heritage in harmony with our cultures'."

Samoa is appreciative of the guide which comes after a national workshop hosted by FAO, SPREP and SPC last month on "Policy dialogue on mainstreaming biodiversity in agriculture."

"This will be very useful for us in Samoa to address the existing cross-cutting challenges we are facing for agricultural production and biodiversity conservation activities in a coherent and sustainable manner across our key partners and our local community," said Ms Fuatino Matatumua-Leota, the Assistance Chief Executive Officer of the Division of Environment and Conservation, Ministry of National Resources and Environment of Samoa.

Guidde copy

The guide introduces best practices for integrating biodiversity and ecosystem services into agriculture for the Pacific region, including: diversification and integration of farming systems (cropping, agroforestry and agro-silvi-pastoral systems); strengthening resilience of production systems and landscapes to the adverse effects of climate change or pest outbreaks; soil biodiversity to enhance soil health, nutrient transformation, soil decontamination, climate regulation; and ecological management to minimise chemical use.

It also links ecotourism and agricultural zones to support environmental protection and agrobiodiversity preservation.

"To meet rising global food demands, the agriculture sectors need to produce greater quantities of more diverse and nutritious food. This progress can and must be achieved in a sustainable way, without causing more impacts on biodiversity." said Mr. Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD Executive Secretary.

"This is particularly true for the Pacific Islands which are home to diverse and unique terrestrial and marine ecosystems. These ecosystems support a range of agricultural activities which are important to the economy but which also need to be managed in a sustainable way".

Biodiversity and ecosystem services can provide many solutions for sustainable increases in agricultural productivity. Agriculture relies on biodiversity to maintain soils health, pollination services, and control pests, weeds and diseases. Mainstreaming biodiversity can help agricultural production systems to deliver better outcomes for food and nutrition security, and at the same time, protect the environment.

"The ecological footprint of agriculture can be reduced through sustainable practices," said Ms Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General.

"Agriculture and food systems are biological and social systems and they can be designed to build on and harness the forces of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Agriculture can be regenerative at farm, landscape and community levels".

The Mainstreaming Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity into Agricultural Production and Management in the Pacific Islands" Guide was launched at the Forest and Agriculture Day at the Rio Pavilion during the CBD COP13 – CBDMediaRelease/SPREP

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