International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development

International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development

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The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) is an international effort initiated by the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

  that evaluated the relevance, quality and effectiveness of agricultural knowledge, science, and technology (AKST), and the effectiveness of public and private sector policies and institutional arrangements.

The project developed out of a consultative process involving 900 participants and 110 countries. The IAASTD was launched as an intergovernmental process, under the co-sponsorship of the FAO
Fão
Fão is a town in Esposende Municipality in Portugal....

, GEF
Global Environment Facility
The Global Environment Facility unites 182 member governments — in partnership with international institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector — to address global environmental issues....

, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

, the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 and WHO
Who
Who may refer to:* Who , an English-language pronoun* who , a Unix command* Who?, one of the Five Ws in journalism- Art and entertainment :* Who? , a 1958 novel by Algis Budrys...

.

The IAASTD was a three-year collaborative effort (2005–2007) that assessed AKST with respect to meeting development and sustainability goals of reducing hunger and poverty, improving nutrition, health and rural livelihoods, and facilitating social and environmental sustainability

The results and conclusions of the project were reviewed and ratified during the Intergovernmental Plenary Meeting held 7–12 April 2008, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Governance and management


The geographically based multi-stakeholder Bureau is composed of 30 government representatives from different regions, 22 representatives from non-governmental organizations ); consumer groups, and producer groups, representatives from 8 institutions, and 2 co-chairs. The sponsoring agencies serve as ex-officio members of the Bureau.

The IAASTD has a distributed Secretariat providing management and oversight, with the major component in Washington DC and others in FAO
Fão
Fão is a town in Esposende Municipality in Portugal....

 (Rome), UNEP (Nairobi), and UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 (Paris). The current Director is Robert T. Watson
Robert Watson (scientist)
Robert T. Watson is a British scientist who has worked on atmospheric science issues including ozone depletion, global warming and paleoclimatology since the 1980s.- Education and awards :...

. Other members of the distributed Secretariat include staff located at the Sub-global Management Entities.

Overview and structure


The IAASTD is composed of one Global Assessment and five Sub-global Assessments, which use the same framework: the impacts of AKST on hunger, poverty, nutrition, human health, and environmental and social sustainability in the past and the future. The Global and Sub-global assessments are peer-reviewed by governments and experts, and approved by the Panel of participating governments.

The five Sub-global Assessments:

- Central and West Asia and North Africa (CWANA) - Regional Institute: ICARDA (International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas)

- East and South Asia and the Pacific (ESAP) - Regional Institute: World Fish Center

- Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) - Regional Institute: IICA (Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture)

- North America and Europe (NAE)

- Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)- Regional Institute: ACTS (African Centre for Technology Studies)

complement the Global Assessment by examining geographic area-specific aspects.

The assessments are accompanied by a synthesis report which covers challenges faced by agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 today: pros and cons of bioenergy
Bioenergy
Bioenergy is renewable energy made available from materials derived from biological sources. Biomass is any organic material which has stored sunlight in the form of chemical energy. As a fuel it may include wood, wood waste, straw, manure, sugarcane, and many other byproducts from a variety of...

, potential role of biotechnology
Biotechnology
Biotechnology is a field of applied biology that involves the use of living organisms and bioprocesses in engineering, technology, medicine and other fields requiring bioproducts. Biotechnology also utilizes these products for manufacturing purpose...

, effects of climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

, effects on health
Health
Health is the level of functional or metabolic efficiency of a living being. In humans, it is the general condition of a person's mind, body and spirit, usually meaning to be free from illness, injury or pain...

, use of natural resources
Natural Resources
Natural Resources is a soul album released by Motown girl group Martha Reeves and the Vandellas in 1970 on the Gordy label. The album is significant for the Vietnam War ballad "I Should Be Proud" and the slow jam, "Love Guess Who"...

, small farmers & global trade, future role for traditional farming, women in agriculture, and options for action.

Final report


On 15 April 2008, IAASTD report findings were released. The report incorporates a global assessment as well as five sub-global assessments in acknowledgement that the challenges in Africa are not identical to the challenges in Asia or Latin America. By taking a 'bottom-up' approach, the report aims to understand the needs of those most vulnerable to threats to the security of their food and livelihood. Prior plenary sessions in Johannesburg aimed to come to agreement on the key priorities for each region.

A series of published (printed and web-based), critical, in-depth Global and Sub-global Assessments of local and institutional knowledge and experiences was produced. The Assessment reports have been translated into the six official UN languages, presented, and discussed in multiple forums.

The reports created 'plausible scenarios', based on past events and existing trends such as population growth, rural/urban food and poverty dynamics, loss of agricultural land, water availability and climate change effects. Based around these issues, 'What if?' questions were be formulated that allow the implications of different technological options to be explored.

See also

  • Food security
    Food security
    Food security refers to the availability of food and one's access to it. A household is considered food-secure when its occupants do not live in hunger or fear of starvation. According to the World Resources Institute, global per capita food production has been increasing substantially for the past...


Professor Bob Watson, the director of IAASTD and now chief scientist for UK's Department for Environment Farming and Rural Affairs, was asked if GM could solve world hunger, and he said: "The simple answer is no."

External links