Knowledge for Development

S&T Organisations / Web resources

Learn Grow: a database on 24 000 edible plants

Tasmanian agricultural scientist, Bruce French, has spent 30 years on a voluntary mission to document information on the food plants of the world, including Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. French has established a plain English database approaching 25 000 edible plants. The database contains descriptions, countries and climatic zones of the plants’ origins, photos and drawings of entire plants and edible parts, and cooking methods. The database includes nutritional information on each plant. The information in the food plants database can be reproduced in a number of formats including CD, DVD, books and PowerPoint presentations.


agINFRA: Creating a data infrastructure to support agricultural communities

agINFRA is a European innovative Integrated Infrastructure Initiative (I3) project -- launched November 2011 -- that will introduce agricultural scientific communities to the vision of open and participatory data-intensive science. To achieve this aim, agINFRA will design and develop a scientific data infrastructure for agricultural sciences that will facilitate the development of policies and services that promote the sharing of data among agricultural scientists in a manner that develops trust within and amongst their communities. The project’s website is currently under construction, to be ready for a January 2012 launch. (AIMS Blog via GSDI newsletter, 15/11/2011)


Global plant database set to promote biodiversity research and Earth-system sciences

The world's largest database on plants' functional properties, or traits, has been published. Scientists compiled three million traits for 69,000 out of the world's +/- 300,000 plant species. The achievement rests on a worldwide collaboration of scientists from 106 research institutions. The initiative, known as TRY, is hosted at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany and promises to become an essential tool for biodiversity research and Earth-system sciences. Plant traits – their morphological and physiological properties – determine how plants compete for resources, e.g. light, water, soil nutrients, and where and how fast they can grow. Ultimately they determine how plants influence ecosystem properties such as rates of nutrient cycling, water use and carbon dioxide uptake. A major bottleneck to modelling the effects of climate change at ecosystem and whole-earth scales has been a lack of trait data for sufficiently large numbers of species. The first release of the TRY database was published this week in the journal Global Change Biology. The availability of plant trait data in the unified global database promises to support a paradigm shift in Earth system sciences. Indeed, analyses of the TRY database demonstrate for the first time on a global scale that most of the observed trait variation is represented by differences among plant species. (Eurekalert, 1/07/2011)


MAPFORGEN: An online atlas for the conservation of forest genetic resources

MAPFORGEN (Mapping Forest Genetic Resources) is a project to evaluate the conservation status of 100 socio-economically important woody species (trees, palms, shrubs and bamboos) from different eco-regions of Latin America and the Caribbean. The final product with all the gathered information will be a publicly available on-line Atlas with GIS-based threat, distribution and in situ conservation analyses. Additionally, with the help of experts the main risks faced by the prioritized species will be described and threatened populations and distribution of high-vulnerability areas identified. The information in this Atlas will not only increase the visibility of the conservation status of forest genetic resources native to Latin America and the Caribbean but will be a useful resource to support national and international forest and conservation programmes. It will also be the basis for further studies on the intra-specific level. MAPFORGEN is a joint initiative of Bioversity International and the Centro de Investigación Forestal of the Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria (CIFOR-INIA, Spain) in close collaboration with the Latin American Forest Genetic Resources Network (LAFORGEN).



If agricultural development is to be successful and biodiversity is to be conserved, then accurate knowledge of the identity, geographic distribution and uses of plants is essential. Unfortunately, such basic information is often only partially available for professional stakeholders, teachers, scientists and citizens, and often incomplete for ecosystems that possess the highest plant diversity, i.e. Mediterranean and tropical regions.Pl@ntNet will contribute to filling this void by: Developing cutting-edge transdisciplinary research at the frontier between integrative botany and computational sciences, based on the use of large datasets, knowledge of and expertise in plant morphology, anatomy, agronomy, genetics, taxonomy, ecology, biogeography and practical uses. Providing free, web-based and easy-access software tools and methods for plant identification and the aggregation, management, sharing and utilization of potentially all kinds of plant-related data. Promoting citizen science as a powerful means to enrich databases with new information on plants and to meet the need for capacity building in agronomy, botany and ecology.


IST Africa

Supported by the European Commission under FP6 and FP7, IST-Africa (Regional Impact of Information Society Technologies in Africa) is a multi-stakeholder initiative focused on: supporting JEG8 Activities and Implementation of 8th Africa-EU Strategic Partnership; Skills Transfer to Support Research Capacity Building and STI Development in Africa; community building to support EU-African Research Cooperation. The goals of the IST-Africa Conference Series are community building to facilitate EU-African research cooperation and successful exploitation of research results, to stimulate take-up of RTD results by industry and the public sector, to promote knowledge sharing between commercial, government and research organisations, to exchange experiences about the current state of eAdoption at a sectoral, national or regional level. IST-AFRICA 2010, the fifth in the series took place 19 - 21 May 2010 in Durban, South Africa and focused on the Role of ICT for Africa's Development.



ict@innovation is a capacity building programme which supports small and medium ICT enterprises (IT-SME) to create a business model with Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and aims to encourage the growth of African ICT industries through three main actions: 1) spreading FOSS business models for enterprises 2) fostering FOSS certification and 3) supporting innovative local FOSS applications for social and economic development. ict@innovation is a partnership between FOSSFA (Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa) and InWEnt - Capacity Building International (Germany). The ict@innovation portal provides: News on programme activities as well as other FOSS initiatives across Africa, Access to training materials and more products andContact to people working with FOSS across Africa.


EuroAfrica-ICT is a EU/FP7 project spanning over 24 months (2010-2011) with the aim of supporting policy dialogues and strengthening cooperation on ICT research between Europe and (sub-Saharan) Africa. The EuroAfrica-ICT initiative – which has been developing since 2006 through two projects (the FP6/IST START 2006-2008 and the FP7/ICT EuroAfriCa-ICT 2008-2009) and which is supported by a high number of key stakeholders in Europe and in Africa – has established close synergies with most national and international programmes and initiatives; has already started to identify policy and research priorities to support the development of policy dialogues and has provided the European and African research communities with continuous and reliable support and guidance. A lot of interesting resources can be found in the Repository.


The Research ICT Africa Network

The Research ICT Africa Network conducts research on ICT policy and regulation that facilitates evidence-based and informed policy making for improved access, use and application of ICT for social development and economic growth. RIA will conduct public-interest research on ICT policy and regulation that responds to national, regional and continental needs. It provides African researchers, governments, regulators, operators, multilateral institutions, development agencies, community organizations and trade unions with the information and analysis required to develop innovative and appropriate policies, effective implementation and successful network operations that can contribute to sustainable development. The network will contribute to the gathering of up to date ICT data and establish repository of information for furthering research and policy formulation. The programme will promote interaction between researchers and their peers at national, regional and international levels to harmonize methodologies, tools and standards for conducting public-interest ICT policy research.


iConnect Africa

iConnect Africa is a quarterly web, paper and email service that aims to raise awareness in the wider African development community regarding the possibilities offered by ICTs in development. It is produced by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD). It reports on activities forming part of the Africa Information Society Initiative (AISI) and Building Communication Opportunities (BCO) initiative. iConnect Africa draws content from its partners, links resources and expertise and encourages collaboration.


A listserv group on Information Technology and Africa. It is gatewayed to It has 11000 users. It provides moderated discussion of electronic networking and information technology in Africa.


African Virtual University

The AVU is introducing a series of eLearning courses, programs and workshops designed to provide knowledge and skills about eLearning and Technology in Information and Communication. The main objective of such offers is to unlock the potential of ICTs in Education in Africa. They target a) faculty members and school teachers, b) Information Technology officers, c) university and school administrators, d) decision makers in education as well as officials of governments, international organizations and the private sector.



I-Network is not for profit organisation working in the development sector with a special focus on facilitating, supporting and advising on the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in development. I-Network was established in 2002 with the aim of providing a platform for development stakeholders to share information, stories and lessons learned in the implementation of projects using ICT tools in Uganda. I-Network envisions a society that is able to equitably tap the socio- economic benefits of the information age through the use of Information and Communication Technologies. Provide a platform for sharing knowledge and information on applying ICT for equitable national development as well as influencing and supporting ICT policy development and implementation in Uganda.


African Economic Outlook 2009 – Innovation in ICT in Africa

Abstracts from an OECD conference on Innovation in ICT in Africa are present. Innovation in ICT is a vital component of an economy’s dynamism and competitiveness. While Africa lags behind in terms of fixed-line telephony, new technologies and business models are circumventing market inefficiencies and institutional bottlenecks. The number of applications is rising exponentially, with e-banking setting the pace and other services such as e-health, e-education, and e-government following closely. It is therefore only natural that the African Economic Outlook, after focusing in previous editions on energy supply, transport infrastructure and water and sanitation, should select ‘innovation in ICT’ as the thematic focus of its 9th edition, thereby completing its series on infrastructure.


Pacific Islands Chapter of the Internet Society

The Pacific Islands Chapter of the Internet Society serves the Society’s purposes by serving the interests of the global Internet community through its presence in the Pacific Islands. It focuses on local issues and developments, and as an impartial advisor to governments and the public on matters of significant interest to Pacific Island people. Issues such as societal, telehealth, regulation, policies, security, digital divide, are covered. PICISOC has been at the forefront of a number of important initiatives in the Pacific region. These include raising awareness in the following areas: the Internet for the region's journalists the move to IPv6; DNS (Domain Name Servers) FOSS (Free and Open Software); Routing; cyber security leading the establishment of PacificCERT It also makes some recommendations on ICT equipment and best practices to benefit the Pacific Islands Countries and Territories.


Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology for Development

The development of telecommunications and ICT infrastructure is a major challenge for many countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Whilst many APT member countries are making huge efforts to bring telecommunications and ICT facilities to their people at an affordable price, there are many key issues in the areas of policy, technology, applications, resource mobilization, etc., that needed to be addressed for effective deployment. As a region, there is significant strength and expertise of ICT that could be tapped and coordinated to the best interest of the region. APT has been active in these areas but there needs to be a special forum that would facilitate a comprehensive, focused and result oriented dialogue to address the development needs and issues for the Asia Pacific region. For this purpose, APT organizes an Asia Pacific Telecommunication and ICT Development Forum (ADF) for the policy makers, regulators, and other stakeholders of telecommunication development in the region.


ICT Profile – Pacific Islands (UNDP)

The United Nations Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme presents an overview of statistical information relating specifically to telephone and internet connections in countries of the region.


The Caribbean ICT Virtual Community (CIVIC)

The Caribbean ICT Virtual Community (CIVIC) is a permanent virtual forum of Caribbean ICT stakeholders. It is a venue for sharing information, holding discussions, networking and linking ideas, actors, projects or initiatives o¬n ICTs and development in the Caribbean. It also aims to contribute in the building of a common vision/perspective o¬n ICTs, and to promote a Caribbean strategy and/or regional Caribbean-wide actions.



ICT-AGRI is the acronym for the ERA-NET which has the full title “Coordination of European Research within ICT and Robotics in Agriculture and Related Environmental Issues”. The overall goal of ICT-AGRI is to strengthen the European Research Area and develop a common European research agenda concerning ICT and robotics in agriculture.



The Information Management Resource Kit (IMARK) is a partnership-based e-learning initiative to train individuals and support institutions and networks world-wide in the effective management of agricultural information. IMARK consists of a suite of distance learning resources, tools and communities on information management. IMARK covers several major subject areas in agricultural information management in order to respond to the needs of information professionals. IMARK seeks to provide an interactive self-paced learning environment addressing each area in which information professionals can learn new concepts, approaches and attitudes for effective information management. Learners can create a tailored course by designing their own Personal Learning Path. IMARK is being spearheaded by FAO in collaboration with over 30 partner and contributing organizations.