Impact Area:
Environmental health & biodiversity

Increasing productivity in food systems while staying within environmental boundaries and maintaining biodiversity.


Photo credit: R. Ziade/ICARDA.

Agriculture is the biggest driver of forest and biodiversity loss, including of diversity crucial to healthy diets and nutrition.

Photo by ICARDA.

A third of the world’s soils are degraded, and agriculture accounts for about 70% of global freshwater withdrawals.

Photo credit: ICARDA.

A healthy natural environment and biodiversity are critical for the long-term sustainability of food systems, and human health.

Cargele Masso

Impact Platform Director

Cargele Masso is IITA’s COMPRO-II Project Leader since July 2012. Before his current assignment with IITA, Cargele worked as a regulatory officer in Canada.

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Through research and innovation, CGIAR aims to address these challenges and contribute to collective global targets for Environmental Health and Biodiversity:

  1. Stay within planetary and regional environmental boundaries: consumptive water use in food production of less than 2500 km3 per year (with a focus on the most stressed basins), zero net deforestation, nitrogen application of 90 Tg per year (with a redistribution towards low-input farming systems) and increased use efficiency, and phosphorus application of 10 Tg per year.
  2. Maintain the genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants, and farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species, including through soundly managed genebanks at the national, regional, and international levels.


To contribute to these collective global targets, CGIAR Initiatives will:

  • Use modern digital tools to bring together state of the art Earth system observation and big data analysis to inform co-design of global solutions and national policies for staying within planetary boundaries on water use, nutrient use, land use change, and biodiversity.
  • Cost-effectively improve management of water, soil, nutrients, and biodiversity in crop, livestock, and fisheries systems, coupled with higher-order landscape considerations as well as circular economy and agroecological approaches.
  • Focus on the biodiversity function of genebanks and breeding to reduce environmental footprint, e.g. less water or pesticides, to help stay within planetary boundaries and to reduce local water stress, pollution, biodiversity loss, and undesirable land use change.

All CGIAR Initiatives will contribute to Environmental Health and Biodiversity. Below, browse a selection of Initiatives that primarily contribute to this Impact Area.



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