IFAD Warns World Faces Climate Change, Hunger Crisis if Biodiversity Loss is Not Curtail

banking - October 11, 2021

The UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), has warned that vulnerable people would not be able to adapt to climate change and sustainably produce food if the world continued to lose its biodiversity.

The IFAD, in a report, also detailed the role that rural small-scale farmers played in protecting biodiversity.
The report titled, “Biodiversity Advantage – Thriving with Nature: Biodiversity for Sustainable Livelihoods and Food Systems,” outlined the risk to rural small-scale farmers who make up the majority of the world’s poor and hungry when biodiversity is compromised.

The report stated that an estimated 80 percent of the needs of the world’s poor, including their ability to farm and earn incomes, were derived from biological resources.

The IFAD, however, noted that the loss of biodiversity is on the rise currently with one million animal and plant species threatened with extinction, and 31 species declared extinct last year alone.

“Despite standing to suffer immensely from any decline in biodiversity, agriculture is ironically the number one driver of biodiversity loss, primarily through expansion and intensification,” IFAD said.

The Associate Vice President of IFAD’s Strategy and Knowledge Department, Dr. Jyotsna Puri, said in the report that “we are at a critical juncture. If we lose biodiversity, we lose our ability to respond to hunger and climate change.”

“We know that large-scale agriculture threatens biodiversity. On the other hand, small-scale farmers protect our natural resources. When biodiversity is protected, and ecosystems are healthy and diverse, farmers are more productive and more resilient to climate change,” he explained.

The IFAD maintained that biodiversity supports food production through soil formation, land productivity, pest and disease control, replenishing groundwater and pollination services.

The UN body remarked that biological features such as mangrove forests and coral reefs are barriers that reduced the risk of natural disasters.

It, however, noted that improving agricultural biodiversity on small-scale farms would result in healthy, productive soils which sequester more carbon, and makes an important cumulative contribution to carbon storage.

The report published ahead of the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP-15) that would begin today, October 11, also outlined how investments in biodiversity contribute to gender equity, women and youth empowerment, and nutrition.

Drawing on case studies, the report showed how investments in protecting and enhancing ecosystems could increase benefits to small-scale farmers and the environment.