Science Talk: CGIAR’s journey to the 2024 UNCBD and UNCCD COPs, with partnership lenses

  • Date
  • Time
    12:00 am > 03:30 pm UTC+03:00
  • Location
    United Nations, Conference Room 9, Nairobi, Kenya

Thematic Areas: Climate Action,  Resilient Landscape, Institutional Innovations,  Capacity Sharing, Gender & Inclusion, Digital & Data

Brief Background of the Side Event

Biodiversity is an indispensable asset responsible for food, soil, water, weather and air. More than half the world’s population depends on biodiversity for their livelihoods. However, a third of the World’s soils are degraded, plant and animal species are at risk of extinction, and biodiversity loss is projected to accelerate through 2050, unless the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (KM-GBF) is effectively implemented in all countries. This loss of biodiversity includes diversity which is crucial for healthy diets and nutrition. Agriculture has been reported as the main driver of forest and biodiversity loss. It accounts for about 70% of the global freshwater withdrawals, and contributes significantly to point and non-point pollution, including eutrophication of terrestrial and water ecosystems and greenhouse gases among others. With science, we can effectively feed the future, while protecting the environment and safeguarding biodiversity and ecosystem services. The 2030 CGIAR Research and Innovation strategy clearly sets out our ambition to address these challenges.

The Environmental Health and Biodiversity Impact Platform Community of Practice (CoP), in September 2023 at the ILRI campus in Nairobi, formulated a roadmap to address the pressing environmental health and biodiversity challenges caused by agrifood systems. The CoP identified four key transition pathways to guide CGIAR’s research priorities, also aiming to shape effective research, policies, innovations, and capacities. These are: 

(i) transitioning to regenerative and circular food systems, 

(ii) protecting and restoring natural capital, 

(iii) reducing environmental pollution from food systems 

(iv) addressing root causes of environmental degradation and biodiversity loss. 

Objective of the Side Event

Science Week provides an excellent opportunity for the Environmental Health and Biodiversity Community of Practice (CoP) to share its roadmap with a broad audience, and key insights on the initial pathways identified, and to gather and incorporate feedback. This exchange, beyond the

CGIAR’s scientific community, will be useful for the preparation and synergistic approach for our participation in the upcoming conferences of the three Rio Conventions on climate, biological diversity, and desertification. It is particularly timely as CGIAR updates its research portfolio. The 16th Conference of the Parties (COP16) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has prioritized three key areas: translating the biodiversity plan into national action, mobilizing resources for implementation, and accelerating progress on access and benefit sharing. Priority topics include access and benefit sharing, digital sequence information, biodiversity and health, gender mainstreaming, indigenous knowledge, climate and nature, accelerating implementation, means for implementation, and the monitoring framework for the KM-GBF.

Similarly, the 16th COP of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) focuses on accelerating land restoration, enhancing drought preparedness, ensuring land provides climate and biodiversity solutions, increasing resilience to sand and dust storms, scaling up nature-positive food production, strengthening women’s land rights, and promoting youth engagement in land-based jobs.

The priorities of CBD and UNCCD COPs align with the transition pathways identified by the CoP to address environmental degradation and biodiversity loss. CGIAR’s involvement in these COPs, along with partners, is crucial for providing scientific evidence, forging impactful partnerships, and offering technical support for effective national action plans. This event is a pivotal moment for CGIAR and its partners to identify entry points for scientific contributions and strategies for the joint implementation of the three Rio Conventions.

Side Event Layout

  1. Welcome remarks (EMD or her authorized representative)
  2. Three keynote speeches from CGIAR, IPBES/CBD/UNCCD, and a representative of the funders of CGIAR research, each before the related panel discussion
  3. Three panel discussions involving a wide range of stakeholders (research/academia, innovation/practice/policy, and research and implementation funding)
  4. The key themes of discussion will be:
  • Science, 
  • Implementation of actions, 
  • Financing of actions
  1. Engagement with the audience after each panel discussion
  2. Concluding remarks (ST-MD & P&A representative)

Side Event outcomes

  • A strategic approach for CGIAR and close partners’ effective engagement at both UNCBD COP16 and UNCCD COP16
  • Insights to the CGIAR next portfolio, with respect to environmental health and biodiversity
  • Seed ideas of joint actions between CGIAR and close partners for backstopping the three Rio Conventions


  • Cargele Masso, CGIAR
  • Carolina Navarrete, Alliance Bioversity and CIAT
  • Gina Kennedy, Alliance Bioversity and CIAT
  • Frank Rasche, IITA
  • Nancy Rapando, WWF