Protection and sustainable use of agroecosystems

The importance of agroecology and biodiversity

Degraded soils, water scarcity and a global decline in biodiversity are some of the major problems facing today's food systems. Added to this is climate change, the effects of which are already severe in many places, while future ramifications also need to be anticipated. Although agriculture is part of the problem, i.e. through overuse of natural resources and excessive use of fertiliser, it is also part of the solution. With long-term approaches such as agroecology, natural resources can be used sustainably and agroecosystems can be protected so that future generations can also farm.

Switzerland is therefore committed to the protection and sustainable use of agroecosystems in an international context. The areas of biodiversity, soil, water and climate are of particular importance.

Biodiversity Preserving biodiversity is of key importance for food systems. Thanks to the biodiversity of fauna, flora and ecosystems, we derive numerous ecosystem benefits from them such as: pollination, water and climate regulation; protection against erosion, drought, floods and forest fires; the input to and regulation of the nutrient cycle; and disease and pest regulation. Food systems have a major impact on the state of biodiversity and are both part of the problem and part of the solution. Sustainable agriculture helps to preserve biodiversity and ecosystems and their benefits, thus ensuring food and nutrition security. Switzerland is committed to the preservation and sustainable use of biodiversity for agriculture and food within the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA).
Climate The food system including agriculture are contributors to climate change. Simultaneously, they are overwhelmingly dependent on a healthy climate. To reduce the negative impact on the climate and to adapt to climate change, the entire food system needs to change to become more sustainable. Switzerland is therefore committed to this in an international context within the framework of the processes and multi-stakeholder partnerships of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) such as the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA).
Water availability and quality Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) calls for increasing water availability and quality by 2030. Agriculture accounts for approximately 70% of freshwater consumption worldwide; it also contributes to water pollution through the use of fertilisers and pesticides. At the same time, agriculture and thus the food system are highly dependent on the availability and quality of water for the production, processing and consumption of healthy food. The Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) is committed to the sustainable use of water for the benefit of a sustainable food system at international level and within the framework of the Global Framework on Water Scarcity in Agriculture (WASAG) and the Swiss Water Partnership (SWP).
Soils To ensure food security, managing soils as a limited resource must be improved worldwide. Only healthy and productive soils can ensure global food security and support the other key ecosystem benefits. Switzerland is committed to these goals in the Global Soil Partnership (GSP).

Further information

Last modification 19.12.2022

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Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG)
International Affairs and Food Systems

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Laura Sommer

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