Tree Diversity at the Conference of the Parties


World Agroforestry Centre and partners will host two events at the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 11) in Hyderabad, India: A full-day ‘Tree Diversity Day’, on 11 October 2012, and a 90-minute event titled ‘What’s Cooking on Farms? Tree diversity for health, fuel and nutrition’ on 17 October.

Tree Diversity Day, to be held at the Rio Conventions Pavilion at 1030-1800 hrs, focuses on the contribution of tree diversity to human well being and environmental health, through delivering numerous life-supporting services and products.

M. S. Swaminathan, Indian crop geneticist, visionary, and champion in the fight against global hunger and poverty, will deliver the event’s keynote speech. Professor Swaminathan is widely credited as being the "Father of the Green Revolution in India," work for which he received the World Food Prize in 1987.

As part of the Day, a high-level panel will discuss the topic "Tree diversity: its role in CBD programmes for agriculture and forest biodiversity, and synergies with other global conventions." Panelists will include the CBD Executive Secretary, the UNCCD Executive Secretary, representatives of UNFCCC, UNEP, UNDP, NBA India, the Government of India, and donor countries.

The Day will explore the importance of tree biodiversity at the nexus of the three UN conventions dealing with biodiversity, climate change, and desertification, namely the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Trees are a prominent part of all iconic and symbolic representations of the interface of environment and development, and they ought to be considered, in the global discourse, along with the full spectrum of services and products they offer, ranging from providing food to protecting watersheds to mitigating climate change. Thematic sessions will explore and illustrate the multi-functionality of trees on farmed and forested landscapes, and its relation to seven of the Aichi Nagoya Targets (3, 5, 7, 13, 14, 15 and 18) that have direct relevance to tree diversity in landscapes.

Another highlight of Tree Diversity Day will be the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the CBD and the CGIAR Consortium Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, under whose auspices the Day is organized.

The 90-minute symposium on 17 October at 1815-1945 hrs, titled ‘What’s Cooking on Farms? Tree diversity for health, fuel and nutrition,’ will highlight the contribution of tree diversity to human well being through providing food and fodder; wood fuels for food preparation; and medicines to treat disease and promote health.

Ms. S. Jaleja, former Secretary of the Department of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy), India is this event’s keynote speaker. The AYUSH department deals with education, quality control and standardization of drugs, improving the availability of medicinal plant material, research and development, and raising awareness.

Other speakers, including Roger Leakey, Tony Cunningham, Prabhjot Sodhi and Kamal Bawa, will discuss how tree biodiversity on farms can contribute to alleviating malnutrition and ill health, particularly for the rural poor in the tropics.Tree foods such as fruits and vegetables provide important nutrients, generally recording superior biochemical profiles than most staple crops. Trees also provide fodder for animals, boosting dairy and meat production, as well as fuel wood and charcoal. Furthermore, many traditional and internationally traded medicines are derived from trees.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recently estimated that about 13 million hectares of the world’s forests are lost due to deforestation each year. With increasing global land pressure, a changing climate, and a 7-billion-plus human population, concerted efforts to halt the destruction and unsustainable exploitation of forests must go hand in hand with deliberate actions to promote afforestation, as well as diverse agroforestry systems on managed farmlands. 

Further information on the two events at the CBD COP 11 is at:

Tree Diversity Day

What's cooking on farms? Trees for health, fuel and nutrition


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Related links

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)