The agreement seeks to curb land degradation and desertification, and strengthen food security and resilience to climate change
October 14, 2019, Rome The European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, and the Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Qu Dongyu, today signed a new agreement in under which the European Union (EU) will contribute an additional 9 million euros to support the work of the UN agency in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (the ACP group of countries).
In particular, the financing will boost the efforts of the countries of the chosen regions to achieve changes towards sustainable agricultural policies and practices, in order to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and natural resources.
“Our support for greater biodiversity and for improving food quality is decisive for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Agriculture and biodiversity are closely linked,” said Qu.
“The agricultural sector,” he added, “relies heavily on biodiversity, but also contributes to its loss. This new program will help overcome socio-economic and political barriers that prevent countries and farmers from adopting ecosystem-based farming practices and approaches. of biodiversity and chemical products management “.
“Nature is threatened: the world needs more sustainable agricultural practices that boost food security, poverty reduction and economic growth, while preserving the precious natural resources of the planet,” Mimica said. He also said that: “I am very happy to announce this additional financing only two days before World Food Day. It is another example of the firm commitment of the EU to work with its ACP partner countries on these same goals.”
Patrick I. Gomes, Secretary General of the ACP Group of States, said: “I applaud this new project, of great importance for ACP countries. Conserve biodiversity and reduce pressure on natural resources and ecosystems, while that climate change is addressed, it has never been as important as now for our food, our health, our planet and our survival. “
The agreement signed today is part of a broader EU support program that promotes environmental sustainability in the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific through greater environmental governance and the implementation of multilateral agreements in this area, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
The initiative will also address some of the most unsustainable practices in agriculture, such as the use of very dangerous pesticides, and will expand ecosystem-based practices and approaches that favor natural control of pests and protect pollinators and other beneficial organisms. Examples include approaches based on agroecosystems, organic agriculture, land restoration and landscape management, agroforestry, integrated pest management, pesticide risk reduction and the conservation of local crop diversity .
Partnerships with the private sector and civil society will act as drivers of more sustainable agricultural systems. In addition, regional and national institutions will be able to do more to design and implement agricultural policies that improve biodiversity, while maintaining production and profitability.
The gradual loss of vegetation cover due to bad land management practices has caused a drastic degradation of land and water resources and, in the most extreme cases, desertification. Intensive farming patterns put additional pressure on natural resources, and global trends such as climate change, urbanization and population growth add to the problem. Every year 12 million hectares of land lose their productive capacity due to drought and desertification.
This training program for the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP) is the result of a partnership between the European Commission, the ACP countries, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the FAO.
The initiative takes advantage of the previous achievements of cooperation between the EU and the ACP countries. It has reached more than 3,200 beneficiaries from 35 ACP countries, including government officials, civil society, the private sector and rural communities.
The first two phases of the program integrated environmental management issues into the institutions and national development plans of a large number of ACP countries. For example, the program has supported the elimination of tons of obsolete pesticides and reinforced pesticide risk assessment procedures in several countries. It has positively influenced the global debate on the need for good governance and policy coherence to protect biodiversity.
As a result, the agricultural sector has been able to more effectively implement the relevant conventions on biological diversity and management of chemicals and wastes. At the same time, compelling reasons have emerged about the need for a more joint approach to address the environmental impact of agriculture. Therefore, this program will produce important results in the preservation of biodiversity, contributing significantly to the global effort before the next Conference of the Parties of the CBD (COP 15) in 2020, and creating a solid basis for an ambitious framework of biodiversity conservation as of 2020.
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations