International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, 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 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, GEF, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, the World Bank and WHO.

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[edit]

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 (Rome), UNEP (Nairobi), and UNESCO (Paris). The current Director is Robert T. Watson. Other members of the distributed Secretariat include staff located at the Sub-global Management Entities.

Overview and structure[edit]

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 today: pros and cons of bioenergy, potential role of biotechnology, effects of climate change, effects on health, use of natural resources, small farmers & global trade, future role for traditional farming, women in agriculture, and options for action.[1]

Final report[edit]

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.[2]

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 formulated that allow the implications of different technological options to be explored.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Facts on Agriculture & Development". GreenFacts. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  2. ^ "IAASTD press material". IAASTD. Retrieved 2013-07-31. 

External links[edit]