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Developing agrobiodiversity. Strategies for action and impetus for sustainable livestock and plant breeding

The dramatic decrease in biodiversity in the field of agrogenetic resources (agrobiodiversity) poses a creeping global environmental problem which is currently not accorded corresponding significance on the political agenda.

The change in production structures which was driven mainly by the need for food security is leading to a sharp decrease in agrobiodiversity and a narrowing of the gene pool. But this is precisely where there are long-term risks to food security and thus for the long-term future prospects of part of the world’s population.

The development of suitable political strategies must first take into account that the preservation of agrobiodiversity is a global problem but also a problem which is strongly linked to the respective regional context. Solution strategies are dependent on the respective form of agriculture: the preservation and promotion of agrobiodiversity is dependent on the diversity of agricultural use in the respective regional contexts.

Against the background of these tensions, the aim of the research project was to develop options for action for a variety of protagonists and their interaction in the sense of “sustainability governance”. With a broad understanding of social (self-)control, it attempted first to strengthen the ability to act of those protagonists who are already addressing the problem of the preservation of agrobiodiversity and second to integrate those protagonists who are currently outside observers.

The methodical approach of the project was geared to identifying the inhibiting and supporting factors in establishing biodiversity with the aid of integrated economic, legal and political science as well as plant and livestock breeding analyses to create systems, target and transformation knowledge. In the course of analyses of debate, protagonists, gender and networks, problem perceptions and readiness to act were identified. Work was subsequently undertaken with practical protagonists on specific implementation steps at different levels (politics, companies, breeders etc.). The framework for this was set by the series of events entitled “Agrobiodiversity Round Tables” at which several transdisciplinary problem areas were processed in parallel with scientific support.

The results of the project were published as case studies, brochures and reports.

IÖW Project Team