Protecting biodiversity and ensuring food security: the path forward is agroecology

A message from Slow Food on the International Day for Biological Diversity

“Biodiversity for food and agriculture is indispensable to food security, sustainable development and the supply of many vital ecosystem services.” This is the key message of Edward Mukiibi, Slow Food president, on the International Day for Biological Diversity, celebrated on May 22. Building upon the theme From Agreement to Action: Build Back Biodiversity, chosen by the Convention on Biological Diversity which follows the conclusions of the UNCBD COP15, Mukiibi continues: “We cannot waste any time in building it back. Biodiversity is what enables agricultural systems to resist and overcome environmental shocks, pandemics and the climate crisis. It allows us to produce food with a lower impact on non-renewable resources and fewer external inputs, and is essential for our survival.”

Slow Food believes we can change the current food system and make it more sustainable through agroecological practices, guaranteeing food security all around the world. “As stated in The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2022 Report from FAO, we are actually moving backwards in our efforts to end hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.” The number of people affected by hunger globally, in fact, rose to as many as 828 million in 2021, an increase of about 46 million compared to 2020, and the projections are that nearly 670 million people (8% of the world population) will still be facing hunger in 2030.

Slow Food on biodiversity

For more than 30 years Slow Food has been working to defend the biodiversity that underpins agriculture and food production: plant species and varieties, animal breeds, beneficial insects, microorganisms, ecosystems, knowledge and culture. It was one of the first organizations to focus attention on domestic biodiversity (i.e. of cultivated varieties and farmed species) and was the first to consider processing techniques and processed products (such as breads and cheeses) as an integral part of our biodiversity heritage. “If we want to ensure good, clean and fair food for all, we must start from biodiversity and invert a production model that is continuing to generate environmental and social disasters and undermine food security both for the present generations and those of the future,” continues Mukiibi.

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