Forests play a key role in countering impacts from climate change, poverty and food insecurity. Recognizing the importance of forest biodiversity in agricultural production, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to strengthen support for implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and the Aichi Targets was extended last month on the sidelines of the Thirteenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP13) held in Cancun, Mexico.
Previously signed in 2012, the MoU was extended for another four years by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and various CGIAR research centers and programs, including the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the World Agroforestry Centre and Bioversity International, partners in the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.
The MoU aims to facilitate CGIAR research and activities concerning the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and focuses on several themes, including: supporting increased smallholder production, rights and market access; conserving high value tree species; landscape-level management of forest ecosystem services; the role of forests in climate change mitigation and adaptation; and managing the impacts of trade and investment in forests and people.
Research activities and knowledge-sharing carried out in past years under the existing MoU have contributed to sustainable agroforestry systems and the development of multi-functional landscape policies, which are vital for food security and the preservation of biodiversity.
“I am very thankful that CGIAR centers are helping us to promote a number of activities on forests, agroforestry and related issues that contribute to several of the Aichi Targets, and to see that this partnership is providing more technical support for the implementation of several commitments,” said Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD Executive Secretary, during the signing ceremony.
Terry Sunderland, CIFOR’s principal scientist and Team Leader of the Sustainable Landscapes and Food Systems Program signed the MoU extension on CIFOR’s behalf, and presented the highlights and main outputs of the collaboration.
“The main thrust of this event was to bring together the three major CGIAR centers that comprise FTA and share what each of us has achieved with regard to the integration of biodiversity-related issues in the context of our research and under the umbrella of the CBD agreement. The recognition that biodiversity is inimical to achieve the goals of FTA and research generated by the CGIAR can contribute significantly is extremely welcome and shows an understanding of the importance of taking a much more integrated approach to land management, climate change and food production,” he said at the signing.
CGIAR is a strategic partnership of countries, international organizations and private foundations supporting the work of 15 international centers in the fields of agriculture, forestry, fisheries, policy, and environment. Among them, CIFOR leads FTA in collaboration with Bioversity International, the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE), the Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), INBAR, Tropenbos International and the World Agroforestry Centre.