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Side event on genetic resources and organic agriculture at the session of the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

On July 19, during the 13th Regular Session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (18-22 July 2011) of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) the side event on "Eco-intensification: does organic agriculture contribute to the sustainable use of genetic resources for better adaptation to climate change and for food security?" took place.

The side event was jointly organized by the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture, FiBL, the Danish International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems (ICROFS), the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) and Bioversity International.

This side event introduced the ecological principles and practices behind organic agriculture that make it an important tool for addressing climate change and food insecurity. By working with and intensifying nature's ecological processes organic agriculture has developed a comprehensive suite of resilient, affordable and highly accessible farming practices, as well as an international market, based on the sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Case studies on the synergistic benefits of inter-cropping and the use of diverse production systems that regulate pest and diseases while providing communities with enhanced nutrition, were presented. The continuous in-situ adaptation of plant genetic resources, which is critical to maintaining system resilience in organically managed agro-ecosystems, were discussed in terms of the crucial role of conservation and adaptation for agriculture and food security.



  • François Pythoud, Federal Office for Agriculture, Switzerland
  • Nadia Scialabba, Natural Resources Management and Environment Department, FAO
  • Markus Arbenz, Executive Director, IFOAM


  • Urs Niggli, Director, FiBL and IFOAM World Board member, Switzerland: The concept of eco-functional intensification for agricultural research
  • Emile Frison, Director of Bioversity International: Agricultural biodiversity for sustainable intensification of food production: three case studies
  • Anders Borgen, ICROFS: Alternative plant breeding for Organic Agriculture


  • Perspectives of delegates
  • Markus Arbenz: Conclusions and suggestions for further action

Further information

Contact at FiBL

  • Urs Niggli