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Collective Action News: Updates from agricultural research in Africa
Issue No 20
May 2010

Acknowledgements: FANRPAN acknowledges The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) as the source of this document


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2010 International Day of Biodiversity celebrations


In collaboration with national and international partners, Bioversity International launched a campaign ‘Diversity for Life’ on 22 May 2008 (the International Day of Biodiversity) leading to and culminating in the International Year of Biodiversity, 2010. The campaign is raising awareness of the role that agricultural biodiversity plays in the lives of people.

To focus the world’s attention on the importance biodiversity plays in sustaining life, the United Nations proclaimed 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB). In Africa, where food insecurity threatens the lives of many people in the midst of a large diversity of agricultural biodiversity resources, the year 2010 presents a unique opportunity to highlight the need for the conservation and use of these resources to feed Africa’s populations. The official celebrations marking the International Day of Biodiversity (IDB),(22nd May,- celebrated worldwide every year) were officiated by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Secretariat of Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), National Museums of Kenya (NMK), Bioversity International, Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Agriculture of Kenya. National and international delegates to the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological ADVICE (SBSTTA 14) meeting in Nairobi, researchers, students and the general public attended the event.

As part of the celebrations of the IYB 2010 special events were held at the NMK. These included the Guardians of biodiversity exhibition, a tented exhibition and a lecture. The "Guardians of Biodiversity" comprises photographs and captions on the work of farmers, communities and researchers who are role models in the conservation of agricultural biodiversity resources. It is jointly organised by the CGIAR and Bioversity International and will run for three months at the Museums hall. A similar exhibition is also on display in Italy. The ‘Guardians’ are people who are dedicated to safeguarding and using agricultural biodiversity to improve their lives and those of others. Their passion for agricultural diversity is helping to create a healthier, more food secure world

Outside the main hall tented exhibits from several agricultural and environmental research institutions and community-based organizations attracted visitors as a Public Discussion entitled “Multifunctionality: The Unexplored Positive Side of Agriculture ensued inside the museum’s lecture hall. The key note speaker during the Discussion was Dr Hans R Herren, the 1995 World Food Prize Laureate and President of the Millennium Institute. Dr Herren presented the case for alternative views of agriculture and explored the multifunctional nature of agriculture and how it can mitigate its “transgressions” into nature. Other panelists included Prof. Stephen Gichuki Njuguna, Dean, School of Environmental Studies at Kenyatta University, Patrick Maundu (Bioversity/NMK) and Dr Balakrishna Pisupati of the Division of Environmental Law and Conventions, UNEP. Dr Toby Hodgkins from Bioversity moderated the discussion.

The day’s event ended with the planting of trees outside the museum and a visit to Karura Forest for the Karura Forest Biodiversity Action Day where there was a guided tour of ecosystem services, and more planting of trees by Green Wave.

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