Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences IPS, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland

Landscape concept Switzerland – sustainable use of rural spaces

Since time immemorial biodiversity has formed the basis of agricultural production and thus ensured food supplies for the population. As a rule, however, management plans for these resources are not sufficiently far-reaching to ensure the genetic diversity of food crops. In order to maintain these important resources major efforts have been made over the past few years, which led to the signing of the Biodiversity Convention in 1992. The signatories to the general Convention have undertaken to implement the following principles:<br><br>- to maintain biodiversity<br>- to use the various elements of biodiversity in a sustainable fashion<br>- to share the advantages arising from the use of genetic resources in a well balanced and fair manner.<br><br>While the Biodiversity Convention covers biodiversity in general, the FAO is concerned specifically with animal and plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. It was therefore logical for the FAO to take over responsibility for implementing the Biodiversity Convention in the field of agriculture.<br><br>What remains to be done? Switzerland has implemented the main requirements of the international agreement through agrarian policy reforms (anchoring the principle of sustainability in the Constitution, new agricultural law, 7th report on agriculture). Swiss agrarian policy has taken up the challenge and the demands of the Biodiversity Convention have been integrated into sectorial policy. On a national scale it is mainly a question of maintaining the level already reached. From an international point of view, the implementation of the Biodiversity Convention by the FAO remains the principle task to be carried out.

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