Food Security, Conservation, Oct. 15, 2021, 5:32 p.m.

Slow Food on the UN Biodiversity Conference: Biodiversity is our future


The loss of biodiversity puts humanity at risk.

The first part of the UN Biodiversity Conference wraps up today. It will be followed by final negotiations on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework during face-to-face meetings in Kunming, China, in April 2022. This global biodiversity framework will provide a strategic vision and global roadmap for the conservation, protection, restoration and sustainable management of biodiversity and ecosystems for the next decade. Slow Food demands a roadmap that includes ambitious targets and takes into consideration the role of those people who have been protecting their local nature since time immemorial. The first draft of the global biodiversity framework recognizes that urgent policy action is required globally, regionally, and nationally in order to transform economic, social, and financial models so that trends that have exacerbated biodiversity loss may stabilize by 2030, and allow for the recovery of natural ecosystems with net improvements by 2050.


“Slow Food has participated in the consultation processes in the run-up to the UN Biodiversity Conference bringing two key messages: that global biodiversity strategy must be people-centered and must include indicators of food diversity”, comments Marta Messa, director of Slow Food Europe. These indicators range from the diversity of grazing lands to the number of seed banks and small-scale farmers working with local food biodiversity. “Indicators should also include trends in the diversity of sustainable land management practices, of sustainable fishing practices, of food processing techniques and processed products (e.g. breads, cheeses, meats). These are all crucial for our efforts to support the productivity, sustainability and resilience of biodiversity”, adds Messa. 


The UN Biodiversity Conference’s High-Level Segment has adopted the Kunming Declaration, whereby parties are committed to developing, adopting and implementing an effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework that will put biodiversity on a path to recovery by 2030 at the latest. “This is a first important step as work continues on the global biodiversity framework,” comments Messa. “Among the elements needed to reach a successful framework, the Declaration mentions the effective participation of Indigenous peoples and local communities, while some States, as well as the EU, have promised to increase the funds dedicated to biodiversity. We at Slow Food will closely follow the implementation of this Declaration, making sure that the voices of  Indigenous and local communities are heard.” 


For more than 20 years Slow Food has worked on projects to safeguard the biodiversity that underpins agriculture and food production: plant species and varieties, animal breeds, beneficial insects, microorganisms, ecosystems, as well as the diversity of traditional knowledge and cultures. “Now more than ever, if we want to ensure good, clean and fair food for all, it is necessary to start from biodiversity and invert a production model that continues to generate environmental and social disasters and which undermines the foundations of food security both for present and future generations,” comments Edie Mukiibi, vice-president of Slow Food. “For us biodiversity means soil, water, food, traditions, cultures: protecting them is the only way to tackle climate change, malnutrition, pandemics and economic crises.”

You can find out more in the Slow Food position paper If biodiversity is alive, so is the planet, which discusses the main challenges our planet faces and presents possible solutions, starting with agroecological practices.


The UN Biodiversity Conference closes on October 15, with World Food Day following the day after, and COP 26 just a few weeks ahead. These are important milestones in the discussions to tackle the multiple crises we face, and ultimately to commit to a better future for all. Slow Food will seize the momentum to celebrate World Food Day, whose theme is Our actions are our Future: there is no better slogan to stress the link between our food and our planet, and the need to preserve it, as stressed during the UN Biodiversity Conference. “As we at Slow Food have always declared, food is tied to many other aspects of life, including culture, politics, agriculture and the environment. Through our food choices we can collectively influence how food is cultivated, produced and distributed, and change the world as a result. We, Indigenous peoples, are proving it: we’re protecting the world’s biodiversity by living in harmony with Mother Nature, producing our food in our ancestral ways,” comments Dalí Nolasco Cruz, member of the Indigenous Terra Madre Advisory Board. On October 16 Slow Food Indigenous Peoples’ network is organizing an event in Quito, Ecuador, to highlight a very delicate issue: the mass migration happening in the Southern part of the country due to lack of opportunities in the rural areas. Participants will promote traditional food heritage and try to identify measures to support women and create opportunities in rural areas. “The lack of opportunities, protection and respect for our human and Indigenous peoples’ rights (including the right to land) is putting our ways of life at risk, forcing many of us to migrate,” continues Dalí.


Also on World Food Day, the Slow Food Turtle Island Association and Slow Food USA will partner with the Intertribal Agriculture Council’s American Indian Foods Program and FAO North America to co-host the webinar Co-Producers Unite! The online event will bring together Indigenous chefs from Canada, the United States and Mexico alongside Indigenous producers from the American Indian Foods Program. Chefs and producers, joined by Yon Fernández de Larrinoa, Chief of the FAO Indigenous Peoples Unit, will create dishes sharing their perspectives on the ways forward, celebrating the work of Indigenous chefs, producers, communities and leaders across North America. The event aims to bring into focus the shared priorities in advancing culturally aligned cuisine, business, production, and education to continue strengthening Indigenous Peoples’ food systems regionally and internationally.

Registration link: