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Statement of the International Fund For Agricultural Development at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP14

Lugar: Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) invests in the rural poor and supports smallholder farmers and fishers to improve food and nutrition security. The Fund recognises the importance of biodiversity for improved nutrition and dietary diversity, building resilience to climate change and ensuring a productive agricultural landscape.

IFAD is pleased to be able to contribute to the 14th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity through side events and participation in the high-level segment. IFAD welcomes the opportunity to openly discuss and identify ways of collaboration to achieve the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Aichi targets, and full compliance with the Environmental Multilateral Agreements.

IFAD contributes to the Aichi strategic goals and targets through its programme of loans and grants supporting smallholder farmers, focusing on awareness raising, investments and capacity building to smallholders and their institutions in support of sustainable use and management of natural resources including land, water, and biodiversity. Support is provided through participatory and community-based interventions to sustain ecosystem services at the farm and landscape levels.

IFAD investments in agricultural production aim at ensuring food and nutrition security and increasing incomes with emphasis on diversification of farming systems, managing risks and enhancing resilience to external shocks. Crop and livestock diversity within the farming systems results in multiple benefits of enhancing soil health, reducing vulnerability to pests and diseases and to market price fluctuation and promotes the availability of diversified food for improved nutrition and healthier rural populations.

Recognizing the critical role of biodiversity in coping with future challenges including the impact of climate change, IFAD supports smallholders and indigenous peoples in the conservation and use of indigenous species that are adapted to local conditions with high tolerance to abiotic and biotic stresses and climate change.

IFAD is committed to mainstreaming gender in all its investments and thus appreciates the role of women as custodians of biodiversity given their responsibility for food and nutrition security in their households and communities.

IFAD is advocating for a more integrated focus on resource-efficient farming and food systems where smallholders and rural communities are empowered to realise more benefits from managing their internal farm resources and their productive landscapes on which their livelihoods predominantly depend.

IFAD's Social, Environment and Climate Assessment Procedures (SECAP) is a safeguard mechanism to ensure that all its investments are socially and environmentally sound, including through the incorporation of the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Increasingly, ecosystems-based adaptation and agro-ecological production system are being supported within the SECAP framework.

Beyond its loan programme, IFAD invests in grants  which promote inter alia natural resource management, conservation and use of agrobiodiversity and  underutilized crops, participatory and evolutionary plant breeding, and functional informal seed systems in support of high and stable yields, reduced external farm inputs, enhanced ecosystem services, especially in low-input production systems and better nutritional food quality.

In its operations, IFAD highlights the need, and therefore calls for more documentation of results to promote evidence-based policy support and its related regulations for the sustainable use of biodiversity including agro-biodiversity to improve the livelihoods of rural poor. IFAD recognises that the development of biodiversity-favourable policies, incentives and subsidies would require access to relevant data in a transparent way. Besides farmers and the rural populations, IFAD also recognizes the importance of providing incentives  to breeders and scientists from the public and private sector to expand the scope of their activities to a wider range of crops, livestock and genetic resources, utilizing more the available material in gene banks.

IFAD calls for the promotion of supportive policies that clearly recognise and take into consideration the holistic nature and cross-cutting dimension of biodiversity, ecosystem services, soil, water and land management and their governance, land tenure, climate change, and food and nutrition security. This is to be achieved through improved communication, coordination, dialogue and partnerships among policy and decision-makers, and relevant stakeholders including farmers, consumers and the private sector.