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Curriculum guide on cross-border biodiversity

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Biological diversity, usually shortened to biodiversity, refers to the abundance of plant and animal life, growing together or separately. Current thinking supports naturally occurring biodiverse systems and recognizes the diversity at three levels, namely gene, species and ecological systems (the latter is often shortened to ecosystems). It is generally believed and scientifically proven that the more diverse a system is, the greater the variety of products and services we can derive from it. It is acknowledged that current human food and medicines came from just a few plants and animal species. There are thousands of other genetic resources potentially suitable as future crops, livestock, sea food, spices, ornamentals and medicines. Considering the compelling dependence of human life on biodiversity, current natural and anthropogenic threats to the survival of certain species and ecosystems is a matter of grave concern. This was the basis for the establishment of the Convention on Biodiversity by the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity on 5th June 1992 in Rio de Janeiro. It entered into force on 29th December 1993. In 2010 during the 10th Conference of Parties (COP) in Nagoya, Japan, the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) was adopted. Based on the international agreements and protocols in place, various governments, and research and education institutions are working to recognize and analyse biodiversity resources and work out ways and means to enhance their conservation. ICRAF’s activity on farming diversification through agroforestry interventions is particularly interesting as it seeks to expand the kinds of products and services that communities could secure through farming. Studying the natural ecosystems enables scientists to better mimic them in designing crop and livestock systems. Cross-border biodiversity presents special challenges due to the social, cultural and political challenges involved in its management. The case study undertaken by ICRAF on biodiversity management along the Kenya-Somalia border has delivered interesting findings which are best utilized by incorporating them into learning systems, in addition to other dissemination pathways. This is the background to this special curriculum document.

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