To increase awareness on the importance of biodiversity mainstreaming across the agriculture and allied sectors three days “Regional Consultative Meeting on Biodiversity Mainstreaming across Agricultural sectors - Asia and the Pacific” was held from 17 to 19 July 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand.
The consultative meeting was co-organized by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat, in collaboration with CBD, the Biodiversity-based Economy Development Office (BEDO), the Office of National Resources and Environment Policy and Planning (ONEP) and Government of Thailand. Altogether 150 participants joined the meeting, representing government officials, international agencies, NGOs, private sectors, academicians, research institutions and farmers’ organizations from countries across the region.
The programme was inaugurated by high-level segment participation of His Excellency Ohn Winn, Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, Myanmar highlighting on the integrated approach applied in the biodiversity mainstreaming. His Excellency Dasho Rinzin Dorji, Honorable Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests of Bhutan presented a concept for Bhutan for Life having two hundred and eighty key performance for the next fourteen years.
Similarly, His Excellency Ambassador Mohammad Hossein Emadi, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the FAO shared that “food is the driver of the whole agricultural ecosystem.” He further elaborated that strong political will and commitment in national and international sectors are utmost and therefore, there was an urgency for new ways of synchronization and harmonization for action at national and international levels for biodiversity mainstreaming.
There were thematic plenary sessions in the consultative meeting covering the topics, highlighting post-2020 global biodiversity framework, biodiversity mainstreaming in practice, conservation and mainstreaming of biodiversity in fisheries and aquaculture sectors and mainstreaming biodiversity through Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS).
Participants were divided into working groups and brainstorming on priorities, gaps and opportunities to mainstream biodiversity across crops and livestock were carried out. The group discussion identified good practices, for example, agroecological diversification, commodity cluster of specific crops, the establishment of community seed banks, and allocation of funds for various diversity block establishment by the local government.
I participated as a representative of Young Professional for Agriculture Development (YPARD) from Nepal. I actively contributed to working groups assigned in all three days especially in agriculture, crops and livestock. I, along with YPARD representatives from the other two countries, Mr Saha Bir Rai from Bhutan and Mr Ryan Zhong Li from China, was part of the meeting.
It was a wonderful opportunity to explore new ideas and plan for joint action in the future with the YPARD representatives and expand the networking among each other.
On behalf of YPARD Asia Pacific, Ryan Zhong Li, Secretary of YPARD Asia and Pacific, as well as the Country Representative of China, highlighted on youth participation in GIAHS. He presented a brief introduction to the vision and mission of YPARD and requested an interested individual to join the network. He further opined that youth play a key role in GIAHS protection using more innovative and open-minded ways which support sustainable development. He also shared successful case stories of China.
In supporting the Biodiversity Mainstreaming Platform, YPARD Asia and Pacific are undertaking a Task Force to focus on the youth participation in Biodiversity protection practices. The mission of task force is to encourage the research and innovate practices in the Asia and Pacific region; bring the attend of biodiversity protection among youth; promote the youth voices to be heard by the public; build the platform for enabled young professionals in this field to exchange knowledge and share experiences.
The three days consultative dialogues amplified my knowledge towards biodiversity mainstreaming across Asia and the Pacific Region and post 2020 global biodiversity framework. I would like to extend my sincere gratitude towards the organizers and YPARD Nepal, along with country representative Mr Abhishek Khadka, for providing me with this wonderful opportunity to participate in the meeting and share my experiences.
Photo credit: FAO