World Agroforestry Centre and Convention on Biological Diversity enter sustainable land use pact


Ravi Prabhu and Braulio Ferreria de Souza Dias October 2012

Ravi Prabhu of World Agroforestry Centre (L) with CBD Executive Secretary Braulio Ferreria de Souza Dias at MOU signing on 11 October 2012. Photo by Kara Brown

The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have signed an agreement that signals a renewed commitment to the sustainable use of land resources and indigenous biodiversity, as well as ‘climate smart’ agriculture.

“Agriculture should no longer be seen as the enemy of biodiversity,” said Ravi Prabhu, Deputy Director-General for Research at the World Agroforestry Centre, during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding at the 11th Conference of the Parties (COP11) in Hyderabad, India.

The goal of the new agreement is to “improve smallholders’ livelihoods through sustaining and/or enhancing ecosystem services through the development and application of knowledge on the use of trees to diversify farming systems.” This contributes directly to the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity (2011-2020) and the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets for protecting the world’s biodiversity. So far, 197 countries have signed on to the Targets.

CBD Executive Secretary Braulio Ferreria de Souza Dias said the MOU will serve to harness the practical knowledge resident within ICRAF, the CGIAR and partners in meeting the Aichi Targets.

In particular, seven of the Aichi Nagoya Targets (3, 5, 7, 13, 14, 15 and 18) have direct relevance to tree diversity in agricultural landscapes:

  • Promoting the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity (Target 3)
  • Halving of the rate of loss of all habitats, including forests (Target 5)
  • Sustainable management of agriculture, aquaculture and forestry systems as part of efforts to significantly reduce degradation and fragmentation (Target 7)
  • Maintaining the genetic diversity of on-farm plants and animals (Target 13)
  • Restoring and safeguarding ecosystems that provide essential services taking into consideration the situation of women, indigenous and local communities, the poor and vulnerable (Target 14)
  • Enhancing ecosystem resilience (Target 15)
  • Integration of traditional knowledge and participation of indigenous and local communities (Target 18).

Both signatories said they looked forward to seeing tangible outcomes from the new agreement, whose strategic objective is “the development of science-based methodologies for improvement of agricultural productivity and sustainability, by applying principles of sound land-use and sustainable use of indigenous biodiversity to also reinforce ‘climate smart’ agriculture.”

Prabhu said the new MOU is in perfect agreement with the Centre’s mission of achieving poverty reduction and environmental health through the science-led use of a diversity of trees on farms. “Agroforestry systems, where trees and crops co-exist, are part of the solution to halting deforestation and conserving biodiversity.”

“Nature is holistic, and policies need to reflect this,” said Sergio Zelaya, Policy Advocacy and Global Issues coordinator of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, in a COP 11 high level panel discussion shortly before the signing of the MOU. Santiago Carrizosa of UNDP said tree diversity is already mainstreamed into the UNDP Biodiversity and Ecosystems Global Framework for the period 2012-2020.

At the same event, the CBD Secretariat signed another MoU with the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, of which ICRAF is a partner.


The MOU signing was part of Tree Diversity Day, 11 October 2012, an event organised under the auspices of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry

Related stories:

Research program joins forces with the United Nations to help world meet 2020 deforestation goals

In Hyderabad, a Focus on the World’s Shrinking Biodiversity story in the New York Times India Blog

See photos at:

Watch video of signing ceremony at:

Related links

CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity (2011-2020)  and Aichi Targets

UNDP Biodiversity and Ecosystems Global Framework for the period 2012-2020'

Daisy Ouya

Daisy Ouya is a science writer and communications specialist with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). Over the past 15 years she has been packaging and disseminating scientific knowledge in the fields of entomology, agriculture, health, HIV/AIDS research, and marine science. Daisy is a Board-certified Editor in the Life Sciences ( and has a Masters’ degree in chemistry from the University of Connecticut, USA. Her BSc is from the University of Nairobi in her native Kenya. She has worked as a journal editor, science writer, publisher, and communications strategist with various organizations. She joined ICRAF in July 2012. Twitter: @daisyouya

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