【CEL Seminar No. 5】Transformation of Agrifood Systems and Biodiversity Conservation

  • 24 May 2022  |  News

On the eve of International Biodiversity Day, the United Nations Environment Programme-International Ecosystem Management Partnership (UNEP-IEMP) held its fifth Climate-Ecosystems-Livelihoods seminar titled " Transformation of Agrifood Systems and Biodiversity Conservation" online on 20 May 2022. The seminar was given by Dr. Shenggen Fan, Dean of Academy of Global Food Economics and Policy and Professor of China Agricultural University, and facilitated by Linxiu Zhang, Director of UNEP-IEMP. Nearly 300 researchers, students, and others interested on the theme attended the seminar. 

Prof. Fan first introduced the concept of global agrifood system and pointed out the system is being impacted by a thicket of overlapping challenges, including deteriorating hunger and malnutrition around the world, increasing impacts of climate change, squeezed boundary of the Earth’s resources and environment, COVID-19, Russia-Ukraine conflict. Prof. Fan then elaborated the relationship between agrifood systems and biodiversity loss and described the economic costs of biodiversity loss, emphasizing that agricultural biodiversity was one of the keys to combating climate change and land degradation, as well as the fact that many crops were currently neglected and underutilized. Finally, Prof. Fan proposed to transform the agrifood systems to achieve win-win of food safety and health and biodiversity conservation through following three levers: improving dietary structure, reserving land for biodiversity, and changing farming practices. 

Figure 1 Prof. Shenggen Fan delivering a lecture online

Prof. Fan’s seminar aroused a wide response from the audiences. They had in-depth exchanges with Prof. Fan on the improvement of dietary structure, nutritional security of vulnerable groups, development of organic food, effective utilization of local crops, and the role of women in the conservation and sustainable utilization of agrobiodiversity. 

Figure 2 Online academic lecture

Transforming agrifood systems is a key to biodiversity conservation. It is also a core issue of UNEP-IEMP's Flagship Programme on Climate, Ecosystems, and Livelihoods (CEL) to adopt integrated approaches to achieve win-win of ecosystem protection and livelihood improvement. The seminar increased the understanding of global agrifood systems and its relationship with biodiversity conservation among participants, provided the opportunities of academic discussion and cooperation in relevant fields, and strengthened the communication between UNEP-IEMP and the institutions and universities in China.

For more information, please contact: Dr. Yunli Bai,

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