Three posters on minor millet promotion at the 1st International Agrobiodiversity Congress

Capacity, Awareness & Policy   [1] Minor millets   [2] South Asia   [3] IFAD-EU NUS   [4]

The 1st International Agrobiodiversity Congress was held in New Delhi, India from 6-9 November, 2016. The congress brought together 900 delegates from 60 countries to initiate dialogue on different stakeholders roles in agrobiodiversity management and conservation of genetic resources. Over four days, the conference programme included rich discussion and exchanges between experts on topics ranging from agrobiodiversity in food, nutrition and environmental security, conservation through use, adaptation and mitigation of climate change, and genebank management.

The conference was opened by the honorable Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi who spoke about the rich diversity of plants, species, crop varieties in India and how they are making an impact on the domestic and world stage. He emphasized that scientists must help battle hunger with biodiversity and that sustainable development and biodiversity conservation must be our guiding principles in making a clean and green Earth.

Among the many prestigious scientists participating the event, were three contributions by the IFAD-EU NUS project team. Preliminary results of research by Shambhavi Priyam on the role of minor millets and agrobiodiversity in mid-day meal schemes in India were shared, as well as a poster on efforts promoting minor millets in Madhya Pradesh by Action for Social Advancement. A poster by Dr. Oliver King (MSSRF) on “Methods and Best Practices for enhancing the use of Nutritious Small Millets in India” won the best poster prize for the theme on Conservation Strategies and Methodologies. The four days of discussions left the team with many inspiring messages to take forward in efforts promoting more sustainable use and conservation of minor millets and other underutilized species in India and beyond.

The Delhi Declaration produced by the conference calls upon nations to accord top priority to the “shared vision of agrobiodiversity conservation and sustainable use towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Aichi Targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity addressing poverty alleviation, food, nutritional and health security, gender equity and global partnership” and included a number of specific recommendations to achieve this vision. In the words of Dr M.S. Swaminathan “Agrobiodiversity is all about eating the cake and keeping it, too".

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