Declaration on Agrobiodiversity Conservation and Food Sovereignty

From 20-29 September 2009 a group of farmers and scientists from Ethiopia and Peru met in the Potato Park, Pisac, in the Department of Cusco, Peru to engage in cross-cultural and horizontal learning about concepts and methods on how to design, plan, implement and manage Agrobiodiversity Conservation Areas.

Discussion topics included a range of issues related to the conservation and sustainable use of native crops and agrobiodiversity. This included the Indigenous Biocultural Territory and Agrobiodiversity Conservation Areas approach, and continued with Customary Laws and governance structures for conservation of agrobiodiversity, resilience in managing climatic changes, indigenous knowledge, access to genetic resources and intellectual property.

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What Is Agrobiodiversity?

Agrobiodiversity is the result of natural selection processes and the careful selection and inventive developments of farmers, herders and fishers over millennia. Agrobiodiversity is a vital sub-set of biodiversity. Many people’s food and livelihood security depend on the sustained management of various biological resources that are important for food and agriculture. Agricultural biodiversity, also known as agrobiodiversity or the genetic resources for food and agriculture, includes:

  • 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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Agrobiodiversity in Gilgit-Baltistan on the Verge of Extinction

1. Introduction

The region spread across an area of 72,496 square kilometres bordering China, Afghanistan and India. Situated between longitude 72°-75° North and latitude 35° -37°East, the region has been administratively divided into seven districts: Gilgit, Baltistan, Diamer, Ghizar, Ganche, Astore and Hunza-Nagar. These, in turn, have been further sub-divided into 13 sub-divisions and 19 tehsils. The region’s administrative headquarter is located in Gilgit Town (see Map1).

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Agrodiversity: Lessons from the highlands of northern Thailand


The Montane Mainland of South-east Asia (MMSEA) covers about half of the total area of six countries, viz., Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam (Figure 1) and is home to many ethnic minorities (Table 1). Ethnic minorities account for about 15% of total population of the region. Food security is a major concern
of local communities as well as national governments. Shifting cultivation, the traditional land use in uplands, is being replaced by other land use systems (Table 2).


Preserving the Web of Life

Agricultural biodiversity, the vast number of locally-adapted seed varieties and animal breeds, underpins the food security of our planet. This interdependent
life-support system helps sustain local eco-systems that provide, not just food to eat, but also clean water, healthy top-soils, living landscapes, clean air, and even a sink for excess carbon dioxide.

Agricultural biodiversity is disappearing rapidly, a loss that is contributing to poverty and environmental degradation. The effects of industrialised agricultural production threaten in particular, agricultural biodiversity. Monocropping, genetic modification and increasing restrictions on access to genetic diversity diminish agricultural biodiversity.

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