World Forest Week

World Forest Week

The Committee on Forestry of the FAO brings together heads of forest services and other senior government officials to identify emerging policy and technical issues, to seek solutions and to advise FAO and others on appropriate action. Right now, the COFO is being held in conjunction with World Forest Week – a series of meetings and events sponsored by FAO and its partner organisations and institutions. The World Forest Week is an opportunity for sharing knowledge and best practices. Find out more about the agenda here.

Watch COFO 22 live by webcast each day in six languages, starting from 10:00 CET here.

Medicine in the Mountains: Health and Development in High Asia


If you happen to be in Berlin this week, join the Tibet Colloquim highlighting ‘Medicine in the Mountains’ and issues around health and development in High Asia on 25 June 2014. Drs. Sienna Craig and Kenneth Bauer will discuss their forthcoming monograph, Medicine in the Drawing from decades of field experience in the Himalayas and Tibet. Both will highlight case studies on health care in high altitude but also emphasise the role of local cultural histories and ideals – an issue which the Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative is addressing globally. Find out more about the event here.

Fostering synergies between biodiversity & human health




Three of the Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative’s partners the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD), Bioversity International and UNEP jointly with other partners such as the World Health Organization (WHO) are conducting a side event on biodiversity, ecosystems and the life-supporting services. On Wednesday 25th of June multiple key stakeholders working on issues at the nexus of biodiversity, human health and livelihoods are gathering to discuss pathways to foster these linkages to impact sustainable development and wellbeing at large. The side event takes place within the framework of the open-ended intergovernmental scientific advisory body known as the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) in Montreal.

Learn more about the linkages here.

Learn more about the SBSTTA’s role in shaping policy for sustainable development here.

70% of us rely on traditional, largely herbal medicine


The Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative promotes the sustainable management of biological resources, namely medicinal plants to create sources of sustainable livelihoods and impact health needs at the local level. A recent article in the Times of India highlights how the absence of specific laws leads to diminishing resources and knowledge. Read the article here


Simple ways of boosting your wellbeing through nature

The Guardian recently kicked off a campaign called ‘Live Better’ where multiple individuals highlight approaches to improve wellbeing and health. The Live Better Challenge will continue over the next months and aims to mobilse is to live … well … better! One approach that has been covered is ecotherapy and its impact on improving health and wellbeing at large. Learn more about the positive effects of green parks and being in the wilderness here

Traditional knowledge, medicinal plants and culture


UNU Our World’s most recent issue covers an insightful article on ethnobiological drug discovery in Latin America and how discussions around traditional knowledge and medicinal plants emerged. Learn more about the essential role traditional knowledge on the use of medicinal plants plays and why there is a need to preserve these precious sources for our wellbeing here

Empowering women through sustainable livelihoods


The Association of Women of the Highlands (Asociaciõn de Mujeres del Altiplano, AMA) is an inspiring example for a federation driven by women supporting other women to create sustainable livelihoods. What makes AMA so special is that their work is deeply rooted in the local cultural and natural setting and is based on existing knowledge. AMA encourages works with 13 Mayan communities on identifying sustainable livelihoods that impact individual and community wellbeing at large in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala’s second largest city. Learn more about AMA’s inspiring work in the recent “Our World web magazine” initiated and driven by the United Nations University (UNU) here.

Follow the most recent Our World updates here


Towards food security through crop wild relatives


Crop wild relatives are a key components of healthy ecosystems and a critical resource for sustaining future food security. Their conservation is vital to ensure sustainability and needs global action. Bioversity International, one of the Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative’s partners created a global portal within the framework of the UNEP-GEF supported project “In situ conservation of crop wild relatives through enhanced information management and field application”. Check out the online one-stop-shop and learn more about Crop Wild Relatives here


Get inspired by local sustainability innovations


Out of 1,234 nominations from 121 countries, the Equator Initiative, an outstanding partner of the Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative acknowledged 35 local innovations around the globe. All winners do have something in common: they all demonstrate community-based actions towards sustainability addressing environment, poverty and climate change challenges! Follow the link and get inspired!


Amongst the winners’ is a project supported by TRAFFIC – another key BaCH Initiative partner. Read more here


A powerful story from a Nepalese village on the effects of climate change


Madan Poudel – a young agriculture activist and student from Nepal – won the CCAFS open blog competition for South Asia for making a difference to food and farming in his country by getting an education. Read Madan’s story on how climate change is affecting his community, and how farmers are trying to adapt to an increasingly variable climate here

Find out more about the the Agricultural Youth in Nepal network which is gathering youths to jointly develop agriculture in Nepal here.