A selection of international S&T organizations.
DesertWatch is an European Space Agency (ESA) project aiming at developing a user-oriented Information System based on EO technology to support national and local authorities in responding to the reporting obligations of the UNCCD and in monitoring land degradation trends over time.
Regional climate downscaling (RCD) techniques, including both dynamical and statistical methods, are increasingly being utilized to produce regional climate information for impact and adaptation studies. It is thus critical that the potentials and limitations of RCD-based information, along with the related uncertainties, are well understood by the modelling and user communities. Recognizing this need, the World Climate Research Program (WCRP) recently formed a task Force on Regional Climate Downscaling (TFRCD). IRIN News has recentreports on CORDEX.
Meridian Institute, a non-profit NGO internationally recognized for convening and facilitating neutral and independent dialogues and assessments, has been working since 2010 at the nexus of agriculture and climate change, with focus on informing the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process.Meridian has assembled expert authors to develop independent, objective analysis of key issues on agriculture and climate change. Consultations with UNFCCC negotiators, experts, and civil society organizations guided the development of a policy brief (Nov. 2011) and a scoping report (June 2011). Going into 2012 Meridian Institute will continue to host a series of focused dialogues and to coordinate independent research and analysis on these topics.
This project is being conducted by INRA, CIRAD, Agro campus Ouest and Montpellier SupAgro. The project reflects the need to promote sustainable horticulture and, more generally, manage biodiversity, which should be accompanied by intelligent management of plants in order to provide food in sufficient quantity and of sufficient quality for populations in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Numerous European initiatives for ACP countries have been created, such as the PIP (Pesticides Initiative Programme). These initiatives must encourage stakeholders to adopt better practices in terms of food safety, human health and protection of the environment. The ultimate goal of ECOHORT is to devise ecological horticultural systems, based on biological, socio-economic and methodological knowledge. The systems to be studied will be representative of the current situation and will include major production sectors, such as market gardening and fruit crops, which are subject to pest problems.
Landscapes for People, Food and Nature is a three-year collaborative initiative of cross-sectoral knowledge sharing, dialogue and action to support ‘ecoagriculture’ – the integrated management of rural landscapes for food production, ecosystem conservation, and sustainable livelihoods. The Initiative will advance new pathways for sustainable development of rural landscapes.http://landscapes.ecoagriculture.org/http://agrobiodiversityplatform.org/par/2011/11/02/the-platform-for-agrobiodiversity-research-joins-partners-in-launching-new-landscapes-for-people-food-and-nature-an-international-initiative-for-dialogue-learning-and-action/
The Program for Biosafety Systems (PBS), which is facilitated by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), launched a new website. The website is a one-stop-shop for information on the responsible development and use of biotechnology in the developing world. It provides information on PBS’ two regions of focus – Africa and Asia – and provides tools and resources – including easy-to-download copies of its publications – for policymakers throughout the world.
The ‘Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services’ or IPBES is an interface between the scientific community and policy makers that aims to build capacity for and strengthen the use of science in policy making. Although there are many organizations and initiatives that contribute to the science policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services, there is no ongoing global mechanism recognized by both the scientific and policy communities that brings information together and synthesizes and analyses it for decision making in a range of policy fora such as the global environmental conventions and development policy dialogues. IPBES will be the mechanism that addresses the gaps in the science policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services.
The Crops for the Future website provides a range of information on publications, courses, projects and news relating to underutilised indigenous crops.The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus is to co-host the Crops for the Future Research Centre (CFFRC) in partnership with the Government of Malaysia. The centre is specifically designed to evaluate underutilised crops from around the world. It is at the heart of an international effort to seek out which crops have the potential to be grown for human sustenance or on a commercial basis for food, pharmaceuticals or biomaterials in the climates of the future. With 18,000 indigenous species in its region and funding of nearly $40m from the Malaysian Government, CFFRC has been given the mandate to carry out research on a whole range of underutilised crops. Whilst the research centre may be completed over the next 18 months, CFFRC activities will start almost immediately using facilities already available at The University of Nottingham campuses in Malaysia and the UK. (via AlphaGalileo)
The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) is an alliance driven by the vision of a world without malnutrition. Created in 2002 at a Special Session of the UN General Assembly on Children, GAIN supports public-private partnerships to increase access to the missing nutrients in diets necessary for people, communities and economies to be stronger and healthier. In less than a decade, GAIN has been able to scale its operations by investing in and working alongside more than 600 companies across 36 large-scale collaborations in more than 25 countries, reaching close to 400 million people with nutritionally enhanced food products. Half of the beneficiaries are women and children. GAIN’s goal is to reach more than one billion people with fortified foods that have sustainable nutritional impact.
The Global Plant Council is a coalition of plant science societies of the world that brings plant scientists together to work synergistically toward solving the pressing problems facing humankind and that speaks with a strong voice from a plant science perspective to inform the global debate on those problems. The mission of the Council is to define and engage in coordinated strategies that impact the most critical issues and to increase awareness of the central importance of plant science in addressing these issues. The shared vision and effort will enable more effective use of knowledge and resources, accelerating progress in solving the challenges of world hunger, energy, climate change, health and well-being, sustainability and environmental protection. The Council proposed that membership in GPC is for not-for-profit professional plant science societies/organizations, the key component being that the organization represents plant scientists.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) is a non-profit research organization, established in 1988 and located in India. The Foundation is carrying out research and development in six major thematic areas : Coastal Systems Research (restoration of mangrove forests, alternative livelihood for fishing community), Biotechnology (developing salt and drought tolerant transgenic rice varieties, testing availability of oil content in plants), Biodiversity (medicinal plants register, ex-situ community based gene bank, in-situ on-farm conservation), Ecotechnology (bio-villages), Food Security (urban and rural food insecurity atlases) and Information, Education and Communication.
The Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases was launched in December 2009 in the margins of the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark and now has more than 30 member countries. The Alliance is founded on the voluntary, collaborative efforts of countries and provides a framework for voluntary action. It is designed to increase international cooperation and investment in research activities to help reduce the emissions intensity of agricultural production systems and increase their potential for soil carbon sequestration. The Alliance aims to do this in a way that will help improve the efficiency, productivity, resilience and adaptive capacity of agricultural systems, thereby contributing in a sustainable way to overall mitigation efforts, while still helping meet food security objectives. Members of the Alliance aim to deepen and broaden existing mitigation research efforts across the agricultural sub-sectors of paddy rice, cropping and livestock, and the cross-cutting themes of soil carbon and nitrogen cycling and inventories and measurement issues, including by conducting an annual stock take of research activities to guide the development of their research activities. The Alliance promotes an active exchange of data, people and research to help improve the ways that agricultural greenhouse gas research is conducted and to enhance participating countries’ scientific capability.
http://www.harvestplus.org/HarvestPlus seeks to reduce ‘hidden hunger’ (micronutrient malnutrition) and provide micronutrients to billions of people directly through the staple foods that they eat. It uses a novel process called biofortification to breed higher levels of micronutrients directly into key staple foods. HarvestPlus focuses on three critical micronutrients that are recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as most limiting in diets: iron, zinc, and vitamin A. HarvestPlus envisions that in fifteen years, millions of people suffering from micronutrient malnutrition will be eating new biofortified crop varieties.The harvest plus initiative is one of the three ‘challenge’ programme of the CGIAR. It was officially launched in 2004. It is a good source of information on developments and projects related to micronutrient security and biofortification around the world.
http://www.bettercotton.org/The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is an international membership association made up of cotton retailers, producers, and non-profit groups, working in Pakistan, India, Brazil, and West & Central Africa (Benin, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso) to promote sustainable cotton cultivation that is less damaging to the health of farmers and the environment. BCI aims to promote measurable improvements in the key environmental and social impacts of cotton cultivation worldwide to make it more economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable. Since 2005, the BCI has been working with organisations from across the cotton supply chain and interested stakeholders to facilitate a sustainable solution for the mainstream cotton sector. The BCI's philosophy is to develop a market for a new mainstream commodity (ie., similar to a brand name): ‘Better Cotton’. The ‘brand’ aims to become the sustainable alternative to common cotton and bring long-term benefits for the environment, farmers and other people dependent on cotton for their livelihood.
The Global Phosphorus Research Initiative (GPRI) is a collaboration between independent research institutes in Europe, Australia and North America. The main objective of the GPRI is to facilitate quality interdisciplinary research on global phosphorus security for future food production. In addition to research, the GPRI also facilitates networking, dialogue and awareness raising among policy makers, industry, scientists and the community on the implications of global phosphorus scarcity and possible solutions. The GPRI was co-founded in early 2008 by researchers at the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), and the Department of Water and Environmental Studies at Linköping University, Sweden. Today, GPRI members also include the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) in Sweden, the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada and Wageningen University in The Netherlands.
This online tool is an easy to use database of Biotech/GM crop approvals for various biotechnology stakeholders. It features the Biotech/GM crop events and traits that have been approved for commercialization and planting and/or for import for food and feed use with a short description of the crop and the trait.
The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) is an alliance driven by the vision of a world without malnutrition. Created in 2002 at a Special Session of the UN General Assembly on Children, GAIN supports public-private partnerships to increase access to the missing nutrients in diets necessary for people, communities and economies to be stronger and healthier. The three pillars of GAIN are: Building partnerships that deliver results: The projects GAIN funds and advises are implemented in partnership with government, business and civil society organizations to ensure that public health objectives are reached. Enabling innovation: GAIN provides technical assistance on the design, implementation and evaluation of nutrition programs in general and food fortification in particular. Improving nutrition: GAIN pays particular attention to vulnerable groups such as infants, young children, mothers and women.
EDES is an ACP-EU programme funded by the 9th European Development Fund. It involves nine partners from France, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Denmark, and is working within a global framework of support of poverty alleviation through economic development. CIRAD is coordinating the programme's training component."Starting in 2011, we will be training 6000 people in the concept of food safety, in more than 35 countries " says Didier Montet, coordinator of the team of twelve CIRAD researchers working on the project. "We will be beginning in April with a course for ACP training staff. Some 20% of the work will be done in the private sector ".The aim is to improve the food safety of ACP foodstuffs exported to Europe. Such goods must comply with regulation 882/2004, which means bringing all these food products into line with European regulatory systems. The aim is to alleviate poverty in ACP countries by maintaining their access to the European, and also the local and regional, market.Specific modules have been developed for the following training sessions : food safety governance official controls good practice in international trade launch and monitoring of official control laboratories risk analysis and management communication on risks. Visit: http://www.coleacp.org/edes/index-en.htmlRead CIRAD's report: http://goo.gl/9iRPR
“Plantwise” is a collaborative project, led by the Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI, UK), that will combine self-sustaining networks of free, community-based ‘plant clinics’ with a central Plantwise Knowledge Bank, creating a global vigilance system that will help prepare farmers to fight the pests and diseases that can ravage their crops.The project received funding from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) to support the training of plant doctors and establishing hundreds of clinics in 40 countries over the next five years: the programme is to deliver a wide range of agricultural advice and services, and strengthen local and regional plant health networks. The plant clinics will follow the model already established by CABI in fifteen countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The clinics advise farmers on all aspects of plant health in the way a doctor does for humans. They are run by local technical people, known as plant doctors, who set up the clinics in rural marketplaces or other places where farmers congregate. Farmers drop by with samples of their plants to get the problem identified and to learn what to do about it. Studies of clinics in Bangladesh and Bolivia have shown that, as a result of the clinics, farmers have increased crop yields and spent less money on inappropriate or excessive use of pesticides, increasing their average household income and improving livelihoods. The plant clinics will operate in conjunction with the Plantwise Knowledge Bank, a prototype of which is due to launch in mid- 2011. (Source: CABI, April 2011)
EARS satellite data for water and food issues Meteosat based Maize, Sorghum & Millet yield forecasts for Southern Africa during the next three months. This is the start of an innovative, but fully operational service covering Europe and Africa. Similar issues for West Africa, East Africa and Europe will follow later this year. Via their website subscription can be obtained to this rich and early information source. Their forecasts at the national level are free of costs and may be copied and published freely. Their forecasts at more detailed administrative levels have a low subscription fee.