Rome, Feb 25 (IANS/AKI) All food production entails some transformation of the environment and nations must weight the type and scale of transformation they are prepared to accept, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation chief Qu Dongyu has said.

“Biodiversity is fundamental for ecosystems, for human beings, and is the basis of food diversity,” Qu said in opening remarks to negotiators at a high-level meeting on biodiversity here on Monday.

Agriculture and food systems are “at the heart of the concept of sustainable development” and are central to deliberations regarding the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework, he said.

Qu noted the “enormous challenge” of feeding more than 9 billion people by 2050 in ways that assure healthy diets and avoid overexploitation of natural resources.

He urged the delegations present to ensure that biodiversity is an integral part of the issues discussed at the 2021 World Food Systems Summit to be hosted by the UN Secretary General.

Qu said he hoped for a “robust” outcome would be agreed at the UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming, China, in October 2020.

The framework decided at the Kunming conference will set the course for the next 10 years and beyond.

FAO has shepherded “many milestones” in the history of UN efforts to achieve biodiversity conservation, Qu said, citing the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and the 2019 State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture.

The Convention on Biological Diversity entered into force in December 1993 and currently has 196 Parties. It aims to promote the conservation of biodiversity the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.

The FAO Director-General urged the delegations present to ensure that biodiversity is an integral part of the issues discussed at the 2021 World Food Systems Summit to be hosted by the UN Secretary General.

–IANS/AKI

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