"Agricultural biodiversity and sustainable livelihoods: the case of dryland ecosystems"

This workshop was one of three carried out within the Global Biodiversity Forum (GBF 15) which immediately preceded COP V. Below is the workshop proposal, followed by the detailed programme.

For a report on the outcome of the workshop, click here

Details of the workshop are available at http://www.gbf.ch/sessions/gbf15/15_c/index.html

Full details of all the GBF workshops are at www.gbf.ch


Delegates to COP V will be coming to a region where the food security of a majority of the people, and the livelihoods of millions, are based on the activities of small scale producers who help to shape, manage and develop the region's agricultural biodiversity.

Their interest is in how to survive and prosper through managing biodiversity to its maximum benefit. Nowhere is this more true than in dryland areas where both the land and the livelihoods derived from it are marginal.

While agricultural biodiversity is addressed in a separate programme at COP V, the issues surrounding its use for sustainable livelihoods cut across most areas of the CBD's work. They integrate genetics, species and ecosystem management with concerns for Farmers' Rights, access, benefit sharing and biosafety.

What meaning will the COP discussions have for the farmers and pastoralists in drylands areas? And how can farmers and pastoralists' perspectives on biodiversity influence the understanding of delegates to the international meeting?

This workshop will bring farmers and pastoralists from drylands ecosystems into the international policy dialogue, examining how they sustain livelihoods through the management of diversity, and the implications of their experience for aspects of the COP V agenda, for the implementation of the work programme on agricultural biodiversity and for Parties' national plans.

All relevant abstracts and papers will be made available at the workshops, but please note: this will be a dynamic and participative workshop, not a paper-based one.

Purpose of the workshop

To bring the direct experience and perspectives of those who use and manage agricultural biodiversity to bear on international policy discussions affecting its in situ conservation.

Aims of the workshop

1. To demonstrate the practices, technologies and strategies used by farmers and pastoralists in drylands areas, in order to illustrate the meaning to them of 'sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity'.

2. To bridge the 'policy gap' between the immediate stakeholders in agricultural biodiversity at the grassroots level, and those who take forward policy at international levels, by putting the direct experience of stakeholders at the centre of policy discussions.

3. To produce a statement of principles on the position of immediate stakeholders in the formulation and adoption of international policies affecting the management of agricultural biodiversity.

4. To inform and influence the COP V discussions on the adoption and implementation of the work programme on agricultural biodiversity and related issues, via the report from the GBF, as well as through other subsequent activities such as side meetings.

Workshop content

This workshop which will put direct experience and the grassroots perspective on managing agricultural biodiversity at the centre of discussions. It will use a 'sustainable livelihoods framework' which is capable of examining three types of capital available to small farmers and pastoralists:

  • 'natural capital', the biodiversity they manage;
  • 'economic capital', as the economic value of that biodiversity; and
  • the 'social capital' which, if appropriately strengthened, could enable people to achieve sustainable livelihoods from agricultural biodiversity.

The workshop will:

  • bring representatives from dryland farming and pastoralist communities into policy discussions at the international level;
  • assist in analysing the relevance of their experience to the policy discussions under COP V
  • reflect upon the 'policy gap' between grassroots and international levels

Both farmers/pastoralists and policy makers will be asked to examine the natural capital and the economic capital involved in in situ conservation. These sessions will lead to an in-depth discussion of the social capital issues, particularly those involved in strengthening farmers' (and others') capacity both to manage positively their agricultural biodiversity, and to interact with national and international plans which may affect it.

Finally we will arrive at a statement of principles led by the grassroots perspective to inform the deliberations of the Parties on all agenda items having an effect upon agricultural biodiversity.

Workshop structure

For a report on the outcome of the workshop, click here

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