ROME, ITALY — Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, and Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, signed an agreement that will see the E.U. provide an additional €9 million to support the UN agency’s work in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

The funding will boost efforts of countries working to achieve sustainable changes in agricultural policies and practices to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and natural resources.

“Our support for more biodiversity and better quality food is decisive for reaching the Sustainable Development Goals. Agriculture and biodiversity are strongly intertwined,” Dongyu said. “The agricultural sector depends heavily on biodiversity, yet it is also a contributor to biodiversity loss. This new program will help overcome the socio-economic and political barriers that prevent countries and farmers from adopting ecosystem-based agricultural practices and approaches to biodiversity and chemical management.”

The agreement is part of a broader E.U. support program promoting environmental sustainability in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries via stronger environmental governance and the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements like the Convention on Biological Diversity.

“Nature is under threat — the world needs more sustainable agricultural practices that boost food security, poverty reduction and economic growth, while preserving the planet’s precious natural resources,” Mimica said. “I am very glad to be announcing this additional funding just two days before World Food Day. It is a further example of the E.U.’s firm commitment to work with its ACP partner countries on these very aims.”

The program also will address agriculture practices it deems unsustainable such as the use of pesticides and scale up ecosystem-based practices and approaches that favor natural pest control and protect pollinators and other beneficial organisms

“I welcome this new project, which is of great importance for ACP countries,” said Patrick I. Gomes, Secretary General of the ACP Group of States. “Conserving biodiversity and reducing the pressure on natural resources and ecosystems, while also tackling climate change, has never been more important for our diets, our health, our planet and our survival.”