he IAC 2016 will gather 900 delegates from 60 countries in New Delhi, India, from 6-9 November, 2016. This international Congress will initiate and encourage a dialogue among relevant stakeholders – including farmers – to better understand everyone’s role in agrobiodiversity management and the conservation of genetic resources.
India is one of the mega-diversity centres possessing unique crop and animal diversity and has four of the 34 global biodiversity hotspots, represented by the Himalayas, Western Ghats, North-East region and Nicobar Islands. Moreover, India is recognised as one of the eight Vavilovian Centres of origin of crop plants and a secondary centre of diversity for many crops of global importance.
The IAC is jointly organized by the Indian Society of Plant Genetic Resources and Bioversity International, a CGIAR Research Center headquartered in Rome, Italy. The Congress will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Vigyan Bhawan.
According to the organisers, the IAC will shed light on how conserving agrobiodiversity can lead to its sustainable use for food and nutritional security of the ever-increasing world population. Further, it will address the threats imposed by climate change and ways to achieve sustainable agriculture production to meet 70 percent additional demand of 9.7 billion people by 2050.
The Congress will provoke discussion and knowledge-sharing on issues for the effective and efficient management of genebanks; science-led innovations in the field of genetic resources; livelihood, food and nutrition security though crop diversification, including use of lesser known crops and the role of crop wild relatives in crop improvement; issues relating to quarantine, biosafety and biosecurity; and Intellectual Property Rights and Access and Benefit Sharing in the context of exchange of germplasm. To deliberate on the role of all the stakeholders in effective management and use of agrobiodiversity, a Public Forum has also been planned during the Congress.
Farmers play a central role in the evolution and conservation of agrobiodiversity and there is an urgent need to address issues relating to community-based on-farm conservation, in addition to on-going ex situ conservation efforts. However, farmers now need more research and policy support for value-added products and their marketing to enhance their incomes and livelihoods. The Congress will host a Farmers’ Forum to create dialogue around on-farm and in situ conservation.