Centering Agroecology in the Conservation of Biodiversity at COP15

Three photos showing a frog, a leaf vein and an overhead view of a river basin.
Photo source: UN Biodiversity Conference: COP15 in Montreal

Between December 5 and 9 of 2022, a coalition of organizations including UVM’s Agroecology & Livelihoods Collaborative (soon to be the Institute for Agroecology) headed to Montreal to participate in the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15, for short).

The COP15 convened governments from around the world to agree to a new set of goals for nature over the next decade through the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and is structured around a range of high-level negotiations and side events. The coalition’s mission at this event was to emphasize the critical importance of including agroecology within the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

Agroecology and its focus on agricultural biodiversity is critical to all three pillars of the CBD: conservation, sustainable use, and equity. These must be incorporated in Target 10 of the Global Biodiversity Framework. As substantiated by scientific evidence, agroecology represents an unparalleled opportunity to address the losses to biodiversity being driven by industrialized food systems. In addition to its contributions to biodiversity conservation, agroecology delivers multiple co-benefits: climate change adaptation, food security, ecosystems resilience, sustainable livelihoods and human rights.

With the inclusion of language that proposes concrete solutions, we can transform from damaging industrial global food systems to biodiverse agroecology. To that end, the coalition developed a policy brief that lays out how agricultural biodiversity and agroecology can be integrated into the Convention on Biological Diversity. The coalition also held a side event on Thursday, December 8th, at 1:15 EST called Missing the Mark? Biodiversity Targets Risk Failure without Agroecology.

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