Home News FAO: Asia-Pacific’s biodiversity loss threatens food security, habitats

FAO: Asia-Pacific’s biodiversity loss threatens food security, habitats

The Asia-Pacific region is facing a decline in biodiversity, posing a significant threat to food security and the habitats of future generations. 

Jong-Jin Kim, Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), emphasized that this ongoing erosion of biodiversity is an issue that demands immediate attention.

Recent reports from the FAO highlight an increase in food insecurity and the emergence of ‘hunger hotspots’ across Asia and the Pacific. 

While conflicts and climate crises are contributing factors, the diminishing biodiversity in natural forests is equally concerning. 

The FAO’s latest Forest Sector outlook reveals that biodiversity and ecosystem resilience are declining, undermining forests’ ability to provide services such as water and soil protection, climate regulation, and the supply of wood, food, and medicines.

“The slow but steady erosion of our region’s biodiversity is an equal or even greater threat to our future food security,” said Kim. “Reversing this trend must be a priority for all countries in the region now and in the next decade to ensure our survival, especially in the face of dangerous climate change.”

The Asia-Pacific region is home to half of the world’s undernourished population, with nearly 45 percent of people unable to afford a sustainable and healthy diet. 

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The region’s food system, heavily reliant on a narrow genetic base of 10-15 crops, exacerbates this nutritional crisis. Historically, diets in the region were more diverse, and restoring this dietary diversity is crucial for ending malnutrition.

“Biodiversity for food and agriculture (BFA) contributes to food security and nutrition in many ways,” Kim noted. “This includes enabling food to be produced in a wide range of environments, helping to maintain the stability of food supplies throughout the year, and resilience to shocks such as droughts and pest outbreaks, supplying a wide variety of nutritionally diverse foods.”

Wild biodiversity is particularly crucial, serving as a food source for many, especially in poorer areas, and providing raw materials for crop breeding programs. It also contributes to the supply of many ecosystem services that support food production.

“Halting deforestation and forest degradation, alongside forest and landscape restoration, is critical to addressing biodiversity loss and climate change,” Kim said. 

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