MIL-OSI Asia-Pacific: On International Day, High-level Officials Call for Action on Biodiversity-Food-Health Nexus

By   /  May 23, 2019  /  Comments Off on MIL-OSI Asia-Pacific: On International Day, High-level Officials Call for Action on Biodiversity-Food-Health Nexus

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Source: Small Island Developing States

22 May 2019: On the International Day for Biological Diversity, the UN Secretary-General urges governments, businesses, and civil society to take urgent action to protect and sustainably manage “the fragile and vital web of life on our one and only planet.” Focused on the link between biodiversity, food, and health, the messages of high-level representatives from governments and the UN system find their center of gravity in the importance of this nexus to achieving the SDGs and the opportunity provided by the post-2020 global biodiversity framework to safeguard it.

In celebration of the 2019 International Day for Biological Diversity themed, ‘Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health,’ the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) launched a dedicated website which, through statements, videos, podcasts, fact sheets, recent reports, media articles, and a social media kit, aims to educate about biodiversity as the foundation of human food and health. The website recommends concrete actions that can be taken by consumers to enable a healthier and more nutritious life on earth:

  • Reduce your meat consumption;
  • Eat and purchase seasonal foods;
  • Buy local foods;
  • Reduce your food waste;
  • Compost your food scraps;
  • Reduce food packaging by using reusable bags or reusing glass jars or containers;
  • Avoid single-use plastics like plastic straws, coffee cups, plastic cutlery, take out containers or plastic water bottles; and
  • Spread the news on the importance of local and indigenous biodiversity for food and nutrition.

Cross-sectoral action, steadfast commitment across all scales of governance and throughout the whole-of-the-food chain is much needed.

The website will be regularly updated with additional materials throughout the year.

In his message on the Day, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres cautions that the world’s ecosystems face unprecedented threats, citing the “alarming and authoritative” recent report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which reveals that nature is declining at rates never seen before in all of human history. One million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction and more than 90% of marine fish stocks are in decline or overfished. The current negative trends in biodiversity and ecosystems, Guterres warns, are projected to undermine progress towards 80% of the SDG targets.

In her video statement, Cristiana Pasca-Palmer, CBD Executive Secretary, underlines the need for cross-sectoral action and “steadfast commitment across all scales of governance and throughout the whole-of-the-food chain”. Her message focuses on concrete measures that need to be urgently implemented in order to preserve and restore the health of the ecosystems and food systems, and thus human health:

  • Conserving land and water resources used for food production;
  • Reducing the contamination of drinking water;
  • Safeguarding and restoring agricultural landscapes and seascapes;
  • Implementing measures that support the production and consumption of healthy foods rich in vitamins and minerals; and
  • Supporting traditional food cultures and knowledge.

In his message, Li Ganjie, Minister of Ecology and Environment of China, looks forward to the negotiations on the post-2020 biodiversity framework to secure a common future of living in harmony with nature, which, he says, is “the backbone of food, health, and well-being around the world.”

The post-2020 biodiversity framework will be adopted at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the CBD in China in 2020. [International Day for Biological Diversity Website] [UN Secretary-General’s Message] [CBD Executive Secretary’s Statement] [Remarks by Chinese Minister of the Ecology and Environment]

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