The Commission for Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is the central international coordination and negotiating body for biological diversity for food and agriculture. Established in 1983 for the coordination of plant genetic resources, the Commission has been responsible since 1995 for the genetic resources of crops, livestock, forest plants, aquatic genetic resources, microorganisms and invertebrates. Important cross-cutting issues are access to genetic resources and equitable benefit sharing, biotechnology for the conservation and use of genetic resources, monitoring and indicators, and ecosystem approaches.
In its multi-year work programme on biological diversity for food and agriculture (MYPOW), CGRFA has set goals and milestones. The BMEL participates in the implementation of the MYPOW with various projects.
The 178 CGRFA member states meet every two years in plenary session to coordinate global activities for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and genetic resources for food and agriculture. At the same time, CGRFA advises other FAO bodies on these issues and coordinates with other international bodies for biodiversity, such as the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The Commission has set up 4 Intergovernmental technical working groups (ITWG)
• on plant genetic resources (ITWG-PGR)
• animal genetic resources (ITWG-AnGR)
• Forest Genetic Resources (ITWG-FGR)
• aquatic genetic resources (ITWG-AqGR)
• Expert Group on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing (Ad hoc Technical Expert group on Access and Benefit Sharing ABS)
which meet alternately to the plenary every 2 years.
The State of the World‘s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture
The first Report of the State of the World‘s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture is a milestone within FAO activities on biodiversity. For the first time, the agricultural sector worldwide is acknowledging its responsibility to conserve biodiversity.
The report is the result of a global, participatory process and was published on 22 February 2019 at the 17th session of the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
In addition to the state of the world reports of plant, animal, forest and aquatic genetic resources, it also describes for the first time the diversity of agricultural production systems. It identifies important drivers for positive and negative trends in the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. Changes in land use, intensification of production methods and changes in water consumption were identified as the main factors influencing the decline in biological diversity in agriculture and food.
A need for more sustainable, more resilient food systems
Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture is the basis of our food. This five-year global and participatory assessment involved over 175 authors and reviewers who base their analysis on 91 country reports. More than 1,300 participants worldwide were involved in the entire process.