Prof. Uphoff, in his synthesis report of the contemporary experiences and discussions generated by the ACP-EU Think Tank during their annual meeting at the GCARD 2 Side event in November 2012, encourages us to move beyond conventional thinking about the integrated management of water. Prof. Uphoff suggests that we adopt a softer focus and broaden our perspectives on water use efficiency and productivity gains. The key message is that water for agriculture must be governed, not just managed, to assure future agricultural production for achieving green growth in a changing climate. He asks us to expand the focus and vision given future predictions of water scarcity or surfeits and think about “grey” water as well as the economic and legal considerations. “Better smarter uses of water offers a positive-sum resource”, says Prof. Uphoff and creating water needs to be factored into the equation. Deeper scientific understanding of various plant-soil-water-nutrient-soil biota interactions, crop models within various microclimates and integrating and building on traditional practices within the framework of “modern agriculture” are encouraged and endorsed by the ACP-EU Think Tank.
Prof. Juma and his co-author, Prof. Yee-Cheong Lee, reflect on progress made since the report “Innovation: Applying Knowledge in Development” was presented by the UN Millennium Task Force on Science, Technology and Innovation in 2005. They note that the mandate was not only to raise the profile of ST&I in development but to redefine it. “Innovation for development” is now part of the international development landscape and forms part of the mandate of several agencies, the co-authors surmise. Governments in developing countries need to create advisory mechanisms as is done in industrialized nations and strengthen cooperation on STI issues. They acknowledge, that these approaches are now a core feature of the BRIC countries and Malaysia (incl. South Africa – editor’s note). However, more work remains to be done in developing countries where ST&I investments must begin to show results that contribute to alleviating hunger, poverty, illiteracy, ill health and political and social upheavals.
Several other interesting items, especially on water, are featured in this e-newsletter. The mobilization and responsiveness of scientists, governments and the private sector to addressing the water challenge, is crucial. We need the best in science, innovation and governance for ensuring the future of water for food and agriculture.
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