FAO Seminar Considers Climate Change and Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization held a Special Information Seminar on” Climate Change and Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture: State of Knowledge, Risks and Opportunities,” addressing the impacts of climate change on the conservation of genetic resources in different agricultural sectors as well as opportunities for adaptation and challenges and possible responses in integrating the issue with the international climate change agenda.

Convened prior to the 13th session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA), held 18-22 July, 2011 at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, the seminar on 16 July 2011 aimed to provide CGRFA delegates with the context of the discussion on agricultural biodiversity and climate change.

Presentations covered risks and opportunities of animal, plant, aquatic, forest, microorganism and invertebrate genetic resources in the context of climate change, as well as challenges and responses in integrating GRFA concerns in climate change activities at the international, national and community levels.

Participants concluded, among other things: that there is increasing acceptance of the ecosystem approach and the concept of ecosystem services in addressing linkages with climate change; that there is a need to strengthen accessibility of genetic resources and availability of information, especially in developing countries; in situ and ex situ conservation have different but complementary roles in addressing risks and enabling responses; adaptation and mitigation in agriculture should be adddressed through an inter-sectoral approach; and recognition that climate change leads to the movement of agricultural biodiversity and creates a need for informed decisions of deliberate movements of germplasm.

Furthermore delegates recognized the need: to better embed agriculture in climate change measures; for institutions and mechanisms to supply seeds to users; and for capacity building activities for adaptation, such as evaluation and characterization. [IISD RS Coverage of the Seminar] [IISD RS Coverage of CGRFA 13 

Presentations from the seminar can be found at http://www.fao.org/nr/cgrfa/cgrfa-meetings/special-information-seminar/en/ 

SOURCE: SPC/GIZ Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Island Region

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