Young people in the country have joined forces to champion biodiversity as a vital solution to the climate crisis that threatens food security around the world.
They expressed their views and experiences at the World Food Forum (WFF) 2023, held in Rome, Italy between October 16 and 20 2023.
The forum, organised by the Platform for Agricultural Risk Management (PARM) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Youth Network, focused on the theme of “Harnessing Biodiversity’s Potential for Managing Climate Risks in Food Systems.”
Participants who attended both online and in person, discussed how biodiversity conservation and sustainable use can help farmers cope with agricultural and climate risks and build resilience.
Paxina Chileshe, Regional Climate and Environment Specialist at IFAD, said that biodiversity is essential for food systems and its role in transforming them.
She stressed the need to make the current food systems more biodiverse, as a crucial step to support nutritional diversity, adaptation options, and ecosystem resilience in the face of climate change, desertification and other global threats.
Francesca Nugnes, Capacity Development Expert at PARM, presented biodiversity as a holistic tool and a nature-based solution that can tackle various risks, such as health, pests and diseases, soil erosion, droughts and floods, or production and quality.
She suggested some possible actions to enhance biodiversity and combat climate risks, including strengthening biodiversity conservation, developing capacities, assessing the risks of biodiversity loss and investing to halt biodiversity loss.
Other experts who participated in the forum also highlighted the role of youth as agents of change who can influence decision makers and implement innovative approaches to support biodiversity conservation and agricultural risk management.
The event also featured an art exhibition dubbed Food Heroes, which portrayed the faces of smallholder farmers who contribute to the conservation of biodiversity through their traditional practices.
The exhibition was the result of the PARM Art Challenge launched by PARM in 2021, to celebrate the World Food Day.