Building the SDGs on dodgy premises

by Luigi Guarino on May 29, 2017

A couple of things on the SDGs today for you to wade through.

First, from FAO, there’s “FAO and the SDGs — Indicators: Measuring up to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” There’s a lot of sensible stuff in there on how to measure progress towards the SDG targets, goal by goal. I’m afraid, however, it lost me with the little sidebar I reproduce here. No, I didn’t know that. Mainly because that first bit is not true.

And then there’s an IIED Briefing on SDG2 in particular — that’s the hunger one. Surely they’ll stay away from dodgy numbers. Nope.

Genetic diversity reduces risk in agricultural systems and allows farmers to adapt to a changing environment, yet an estimated 75 per cent of crop diversity was lost between 1900 and 2000 with local varieties replaced by modern ones.

The reference? FAO’s training manual on Building on Gender, Agrobiodiversity and Local Knowledge. Where there is this:

But also this:

More than 90 percent of crop varieties have disappeared from farmers’ fields; half of the breeds of many domestic animals have been lost. In fisheries, all the world’s 17 main fishing grounds are now being fished at or above their sustainable limits, with many fish populations effectively becoming extinct. Loss of forest cover, coastal wetlands, other ‘wild’ uncultivated areas, and the destruction of the aquatic environment exacerbate the genetic erosion of agrobiodiversity.

Which is a bit confusing. The reference for that box? This. From 1999.

Oh well.

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Complementarity between the informal and formal seed systems will be approached in a holistic way through this webinar. Not only do the conservation and innovation systems need to integrate the formal and informal seed systems to benefit from one another’s capacity and value added, but new policies and legal measures need to be formulated to ensure the recognition and implementation of the rights of farmers.

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Victory declared in Strawberry Wars

by Luigi Guarino on May 25, 2017

A federal jury has ruled in favor of the University of California in its lawsuit with two former UC Davis strawberry breeders and the private breeding company they created with UC-owned plants. A separate jury is expected to decide issues related to damages at a later time.

About time. It’s been quite a ride.

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Mexican PGR from the air

23 May 2017

The Atlantic had a feature last week on the Human Landscapes of Mexico showing Google Maps shots of different parts of the country. This kind of thing: I mashed them up in Google Earth with the distribution of crop wild relatives, downloaded from Genesys. This is what I got for the environs of Guadalajara. The […]

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Before you ask…

22 May 2017

Svalbard. Is. Fine. Really.

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Brainfood: CWR use, Mainstreaming, Duplicates, Phaseolus model, Cherimoya diversity, Legume mixtures, ICRISAT pearl millet, Taste breeding, Rhubarb rhubarb, Plasticity, Seed dispersal

22 May 2017

The Use of Crop Wild Relatives in Maize and Sunflower Breeding. In maize, unlike sunflower, it just hasn’t been worth it. Yet. Securing sustainable and nutritious food systems through mainstreaming agricultural biodiversity: an interdisciplinary study. What works in Brazil won’t necessarily fly in India. Duplication assessments in Brassica vegetable accessions. Half of 13 accession pairs/triplets […]

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Alright already

18 May 2017

You see a grumpy plant biologist. Ask them what stomata? #PlantDay @RoyalSocBio pic.twitter.com/hM7MRyx9my — Mr C (@mintchemistry) May 17, 2017

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Indian nutrition and crop diversity link ready to be explored

18 May 2017

Is there a relationship between levels of stunting in Indian districts… …and crop diversity in their farming systems (blue low, green high)? I have no idea. But I think we should be told.

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New CGIAR portfolio off and running

18 May 2017

CGIAR launched its new portfolio yesterday, there was a Twitter chat thing, and I wrote a blog post about the Genebanks Platform. Not many people hurt. How genetic improvement and crop intensification improve wellbeing

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