In cooperation with international partners, CDI is engaged in a global Community Biodiversity Management study to assess CBM realities and practices, leading to an enhanced understanding of how best to empower while preserving biodiversity.
Conserve and manage plant genetic resources for food and agriculture
Commercialisation of food markets often leads to simplification in the range of crops cultivated in agricultural systems. This loss of genetic resources has resulted in major concerns about future food and nutrition insecurity and the vulnerability of agricultural systems towards pests and diseases.
Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
International cooperation and open exchange of genetic resources are considered essential for food security and thus achieving MDGs such as “eradicating extreme poverty and hunger” (MDG1) and “ensuring environmental sustainability” (MDG7). The fair sharing of benefits arising from the use of these resources has for the first time been practically implemented at the international level when the International Treaty (IT) on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA) was signed in 2004. A key conclusion from several studies preceding the IT was that in situ conservation can only be realised through the empowerment of farmer communities in agrobiodiversity management.
The IT also acknowledges the enormous contribution that local and indigenous farming communities have made, and continue to make, towards conserving and developing PGRFA throughout the world. Accordingly, each Contracting Party should take appropriate measures to protect and promote Farmers’ Rights, including the protection of traditional knowledge relevant to PGRFA; the right to equitably participate in sharing benefits arising from the utilization of PGRFA; and the right to participate in making decisions on matters related to the conservation and sustainable use of PGRFA.
Community Biodiversity Management
In this light Community Biodiversity Management (CBM) originated. CBM is a methodology guiding practices that contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity at the local level, with emphasis on agrobiodiversity and/or PGRFA. CBM distinguishes itself from other conservation strategies because of its focus on the process of enabling communities to secure their access to and control over genetic resources though increased decision-making power.
Despite a diverse array of specific historical, political, cultural and even biological contexts, it is possible to identify common conditions in which the CBM methodology contributes effectively to the empowerment of farming communities, leading to in situ conservation and on-farm management of genetic resources in these different locations.