http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/250511

Biodiversity Essential for Human Livelihoods, Survival

Posted Feb 18, 2008 by Bob Ewing
FAO Deputy Director-General James G. Butler addressed the opening session of the thirteenth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Deputy Director-General James G. Butler, in his address to the opening session of the thirteenth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice of the Convention on Biological Diversity said. “Biodiversity is vital for human survival and livelihoods; we need to conserve it for future generations. At the same time, the unacceptable scale of hunger and rural poverty in our small planet calls for urgent remedial action,”
The meeting involves FAO, the Convention on Biological Diversity and their partners – is aimed at meeting the challenges of sustainable agricultural production to ensure food security for all peoples, “especially the rural poor – often the managers and custodians of our biodiversity,” as Mr. Butler put it.
The meeting is currently taking place in Rome and will focus on the implementation of the programmes of work on agricultural biodiversity and forest biodiversity; the application of sustainable use principles and guidelines to agricultural biodiversity; the linkages between agricultural biodiversity and climate change; marine, coastal and inland water ecosystems biodiversity; invasive alien species; and other scientific and technical issues.
“Mainstreaming biodiversity into the food and agriculture, livestock fisheries and forestry sectors will be critical to provide humankind with opportunities for increasing food availability and stability while maintaining a healthy natural capital for future generations,” Butler said.
The FAO press release says that in excess of 40 percent of the land's surface is used for agriculture, placing a large responsibility on farmers to protect biodiversity. “Well managed production systems will supply a better balance of ecosystem services from agriculture; meeting society’s demands for improving livelihoods as well as the environment,” according to FAO’s Deputy Director-General.
Butler added, “understanding the positive linkages – often forgotten or underestimated – between the production sectors and biodiversity is essential towards achieving universal right to food and sustainable development.”
“The conservation and sustainable management of our natural capital are critical elements towards the attainment of international development and environmental objectives such as Target 2010 and the Millennium Development Goals,” he added.