Knowledge for Development


A selection of international S&T organizations.

Centre for Sustainable Development and Food Security (CSD&FS)

Our mission The Centre for Sustainable Development and Food Security (CSD&FS) seeks to accelerate sustainable global food security by facilitating and linking ground-breaking forms of research, education and societal engagement.What do we do? We initiate, connect and support innovative research, education and societal engagement in food-related challenges. We connect and strengthen networks and initiatives that work in the same vein as the centre but are presently operating in relative isolation, lacking synergy and mutual learning.By creating a space both virtual and real where people working on sustainable food security can be inspired, challenged and connected, we develop, support and share exemplary sustainable food security practices. We create an international platform for trans- interdisciplinary research on sustainable food security.Examples of projects Seas of Change - Scaling inclusive agri-food markets | A Visual Introduction to Global Food Security | Supurbfood - Towards sustainable modes of urban and peri-urban food provisioning | First International Conference on Global Food Security | EAT - Edible Academic Garden | Empowerment for Sustainability (course) | A Self-Assessment Tool for Food Security in Higher Education |


Agri-ProFocus (APF)

Agri-ProFocus (APF) is a partnership with Dutch roots that promotes farmer entrepreneurship in developing countries. The partnership was founded in 2005 with the aim of rallying together professionals, expertise and resources around a joint interest in farmer entrepreneurship. The Agri-ProFocus network members are organisations and companies that gather, train, connect and provide inputs and credit to farmer entrepreneurs and producer organisations.The network operates both at a Dutch (-based) level and at a developing country level, the latter in so-called Agri-Hubs. By promoting entrepreneurship and connecting producers with national and international markets, Agri-ProFocus members aim to both open up market potential for business in developing countries.


International network for edible aroids

The International Network for Edible Aroids (INEA) is a global consortium of scientists and growers, formed to work on Colocasia and Xanthosoma under a project entitled: ‘Adapting Clonally Propagated Crops to Climatic and Commercial Change’. A 5-year EU-assisted project, INEA will use edible aroids as a model to improve clonally propagated crops of the tropics, which are difficult to adapt to new conditions as they rarely flower and set seed. In order to overcome the constraints such as climate change, pests and diseases, market needs, etc., INEA will help countries bring together plants with varied genetic backgrounds, assist with breeding strategies, and demonstrate the use of modern biotechnologies to facilitate the work. In the process, it will develop a network of scientists and farmers exchanging information and germplasm under the auspices of international treaties.


Network for Knowledge Transfer on Sustainable Agricultural Technologies and Improved Market Linkages in South and Southeast Asia (SATNET)

The Network for Knowledge Transfer on Sustainable Agricultural Technologies and Improved Market Linkages in South and Southeast Asia (SATNET) recently launched a website to share knowledge on sustainable agricultural technologies and improve market linkages in the region. Part of a three-year project funded by the European Union and implemented by the Centre for Alleviation of Poverty through Sustainable Agriculture (CAPSA), aims to support innovation by strengthening intraregional learning on sustainable agriculture and trade to improve food security and reduce poverty of the poorest and most vulnerable people in South and Southeast Asia. More than 30 institutions involved in research, advocacy and capacity building for agriculture and food trade are participating in the project. 


The International Science, Technology and Innovation Centre for South-South Cooperation (ISTIC) creation of the International Science, Technology and Innovation Centre for South-South Cooperation under the Auspices of UNESCO (ISTIC) is a follow up of the Doha Plan of Action (2005). As reflected by its name, the Centre acts as an international platform for South-South cooperation in science, technology and innovation and makes use of the network of the G77 plus China and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. UNESCO has asked to develop and implement a programme for South-South cooperation in science and technology with the objective of facilitating the integration of a developmental approach into national science and technology and innovation policies, capacity building in science and technology through providing policy advice and exchange of experience and best practices, and creating a problem solving network of centres of excellence in developing countries as well as supporting the exchange of students, researchers, scientists and technologists among developing countries.


Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform

Food industries are the biggest purchasers of agricultural raw materials. In order to rely on a constant, increasing and safe supply of agricultural raw materials, these must be grown in a sustainable manner. In 2002 Nestlé, Unilever and Danone created the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform, a non-profit organization to facilitate sharing, at precompetitive level, of knowledge and initiatives to support the development and implementation of sustainable agriculture practices involving the different stakeholders of the food chain. The SAI Platform today counts over 30 members, which actively share the same view on sustainable agriculture seen as a 'productive, competitive and efficient way to produce agricultural products, while at the same time protecting and improving the natural environment and social/economic conditions of local communities'. Among the latest services and deliverables produced, the SAI Platform published Principles and practices for the sustainable production of arable and vegetable crops, Principles and Practices for the sustainable production of Coffee, Fruit and Dairy; a Benchmark Study of Agriculture Standards and a Short Guide to Sustainable Agriculture.


‘Too Big To Ignore’: A global partnership for small-scale fisheries Research

‘Too Big to Ignore’ is a new research network and knowledge mobilization partnership to promote and revitalize small-scale fisheries in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, and around the world. The first goal of the network is to enhance the understanding of the real contribution of small-scale fisheries to food security, nutrition, sustaining livelihoods, poverty alleviation, wealth generation and trade, as well as the impacts and implications of global change processes such as urbanization, globalization, migration, climate change, aquaculture, and communication technology on small-scale fisheries. The second goal is to create an innovative and interactive web platform, a Small-scale Fisheries Information System (SFIS), for global and local analysis of small-scale fisheries and their contributions to the broader society. Currently, the characteristics of small-scale fisheries are difficult to capture because of the lack of official statistics, even though small-scale fisheries account for about 90% of the 560 million people who depend on fisheries.


Genetic Resources Action International (GRAIN)

The section Agricultural research for whom? is about the growing disjuncture between the industrial agriculture research agenda and the movement for people-centred sustainable agricultural research. It tracks how corporate control over agriculture is advancing, focusing on key issues such as hybrid rice and GM contamination. It also provides a clearinghouse of information on and links to organizations, movements and communities pursuing people-centred agricultural research.


New website for CIRAD’s agrifood technology platform

CIRAD’s agrifood technology platform specialises in agrifood processing technologies, of pertinence to developing countries. It has three main types of activities: research, training and business partnerships. The platform's website presents the infrastructure and its resources, describing its installations and equipment. It reports on the platform's operations through news items and a work schedule. The platform is open to: researchers; training establishments; firms wishing to outsource a research topic; project leaders seeking to apply their skills or develop a product. (CIRAD, 14/5/2012)


The European Plant Science Organisation

EPSO, the European Plant Science Organisation, is an independent academic organisation currently representing 61 institutional members bringing together more than 204 research institutes, departments and universities from 29 countries in Europe and beyond. EPSO’s mission is to improve the impact and visibility of plant science in Europe. EPSO's top priorities are to facilitate the understanding of plant science, to boost funding for basic research and to coordinate research activities at the national and European levels.


International Science and Technology Practice and Policy (InSTePP)

InSTePP, an initiative hosted by the University of Minnesota, US undertakes economic research and fosters professional dialogue to inform and thereby influence strategic policy choices and actions dealing with science and technology. The centre deals with both the public and private dimensions of science and technology, and their implications for the conduct, performance and economic consequences of R&D worldwide. Public and private decisions shaping science and technology increasingly involve international dimensions. Investments in research in one locale have consequences in other locations and other areas of science. International agreements and policy initiatives and the actions of governments and (multinational) firms regarding trade, regulatory and intellectual property concerns are also impinging on and being affected by innovation processes.


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.


Center for food safety

The Center for Food Safety (CFS) is a non-profit public interest and environmental advocacy membership organization established in 1997 by its sister organization, International Center for Technology Assessment, for the purpose of challenging harmful food production technologies and promoting sustainable alternatives. CFS combines multiple tools and strategies in pursuing its goals, including litigation and legal petitions for rulemaking, legal support for various sustainable agriculture and food safety constituencies, as well as public education, grassroots organizing and media outreach.


Horticulture Cultivars Performance Database (HORTIVAR)

Hortivar is FAO's database on performances of horticulture cultivars in relation to agro-ecological conditions, cultivation practices, the occurrence of pests and diseases and timing of the production. It covers six categories of horticultural crops: fruits, vegetables, roots and tubers, ornamentals, mushrooms, herbs and condiments.


New EU project to assess and monitor the impacts of genetically modified plants on agro-ecosystems

A consortium of 22 partners located in 15 EU countries will investigate genetically modified plants (GMPs) and their eventual impacts in the natural environment. The scientific activities will consist of case studies of maize and potato, the two GM crops currently approved for cultivation in the EU, and surveys in non-GM agro-ecosystems. The final outcome will include a network of EU representative sites for pre-market risk assessment and long-term monitoring studies, a set of standardised testing methods and a geographical information system integrating relevant datasets, protocols and tools to help EU decision-makers. (via, 17/03/2011)


New CGIAR research programme to tackle global crises in water, food and the environment

The CGIAR ‘Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems’ is a ten year commitment to bring about a radical transformation in the way land, water and natural systems are managed. It is being led by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). The new research programme is the latest in a series of initiatives designed to promote more joined-up-thinking on agricultural research for development at CGIAR. Spanning over 10 years, this research initiative will investigate multidisciplinary subjects such as irrigation, rainfed agricultural systems, river basin management, resource reuse and recovery, and ICTs.(IWMI, 27/03/2012)


Access to Research for Development and Innovation (ARDI)

The Access to Research for Development and Innovation (ARDI) programme is coordinated by the World Intellectual Property Organization together with its partners in the publishing industry with the aim to increase the availability of scientific and technical information in developing countries. By improving access to scholarly literature from diverse fields of science and technology, the ARDI programme seeks to: (1) reinforce the capacity of developing countries to participate in the global knowledge economy; and (2) support researchers in developing countries in creating and developing new solutions to technical challenges faced on a local and global level. Currently, 12 publishers provide access to over 200 journals for 107 developing countries through the ARDI programme.


Standing committee on Agricultural research

The Standing Committee on Agricultural Research (SCAR) was established in 1974 by a Regulation of the Council of the EU. It is formed by representatives of Member States, and presided over by a representative of the Commission, who have a mandate to advise the Commission and the Member States on the coordination of agricultural research in Europe. The SCAR committee was given in 2005 a renewed mandate by the Council to play a major role in the coordination of agricultural research efforts across the European Research Area. The “new” SCAR is made up of the 27 EU Member States, with representatives from Candidate and Associated Countries as observers. The SCAR members currently represent 37 countries.


Innovation, Technology and Intellectual Property Programme at the ICTSD

The International Centre for Trade and Sustainable development (ICTSD) Programme on Innovation, Technology and Intellectual Property promotes the use and management of knowledge and technology conducive to sustainable development, in the context of balanced and development oriented IP regimes. Programmatic activities focus on facilitating pro-development and pro-competitive outcomes in international trade and IP related negotiations; helping to implement IP norms that balance private rights and public interests; maximizing incentives for innovation, creativity and technology transfer to developing countries; and promoting greater integration between IP, technology transfer, foreign direct investment and competition policies.


PURE: Innovative crop protection for sustainable agriculture

The overall objective of PURE is to provide practical IPM solutions to reduce dependence on pesticides in selected major farming systems in Europe, thereby contributing to a reduction of the risks to human health and the environment and facilitating the implementation of the pesticides package legislation while ensuring continued food production of sufficient quality. PURE will provide integrated pest management (IPM) solutions and a practical toolbox for their implementation in key European farming systems (annual arable and vegetable, perennial, and protected crops) in which reduction of pesticide use and better control of pests will have major effects.