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U.N. Biodiversity Plan Demands Voice for Women [View All]

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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-30-10 07:27 PM
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U.N. Biodiversity Plan Demands Voice for Women
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Women are most likely to be impacted by declines in biodiversity - a term used to describe the diversity of living things that make up the Earth's life support systems that provide food, fuel, clean air and water.

NAIROBI - Women provide up to 90 percent of the rural poor's food and produce up to 80 percent of food in most developing countries, and yet they are almost completely ignored when policy decisions are made about agriculture and biodiversity. That's about to change thanks to a United Nations agreement on biodiversity that will ask countries to ensure women are involved in decisions regarding biodiversity - including agriculture.

"This is a game changer and will be a milestone for other U.N. conventions such as climate change (U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change)," said Lorena Aguilar Revelo, senior gender advisor at the International Union for Conservation of Nature in Moravia, Costa Rica.

The U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity's (CBD) Strategic Plan under final discussion here in Nairobi that sets the objectives and goals of a new international agreement on how to curb the loss of biodiversity will explicitly state that women must participate and funding will be tied to their involvement, Revelo told IPS.

The Strategic Plan will set a number of specific biodiversity targets for 2020 and will be submitted to the 195 member countries for approval at a final meeting in Nagoya, Japan this October.

"Women are the protectors of agricultural biodiversity. In Peru, they grow more than 60 varieties of manioc, in Rwanda more than 600 varieties of beans," said Revelo. "Leaving aside 50 percent of the population when we are in a biodiversity crisis has not been very smart."

Women in developing countries have an intimate knowledge of the social and natural systems, including collecting 80 percent of the wild edibles. They save up to 90 percent of the seeds that are used in smallholder agriculture, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation.

"Women play a major role in nature, are often farmers and have a close and intimate understanding of biodiversity," Ahmed Djoghlaf, executive secretary of the CBD, told IPS.

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