TWENTY-SIXTH FAO REGIONAL CONFERENCE
Kathmandu, Nepal, 13 – 17 May 2002
AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH FOR DEVELOPMENT :
1 - 4
AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH IN THE ASIA-PACIFIC REGION
5 - 22
23 – 48
CURRENT FAO-CGAIR LINKAGES AND COLLABORATIONS
49 – 59
REQUIREMENTS FOR FUTURE FAO-CGIAR LINKAGES AND ACTIONS
60 – 70
71 - 74
1. The 1996 Rome Declaration on World Food Security expressed deep concern over the persistence of hunger and its corresponding threat to national societies and to the stability of the international community. It urged governments to cooperate actively with each other and with United Nations organizations, financial institutions, and inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations in programmes to achieve universal food security. The Summit recognized the need to adopt policies conducive to investment in human resource development, research and extension that feature participatory mechanisms and the establishment of infra-structure aimed at achieving food security.
2. In a world scenario where links between institutions, societies and economies are increasing, the World Food Summit Plan of Action emphasized the importance of regional and international cooperation, coordinated efforts and shared responsibilities to seek solutions to various food-security issues. Recognizing the necessity for substantial increases in global food production to strengthen food security and address inter-regional disparities, the Summit proposed decisive action to strengthen and broaden research and scientific cooperation in agriculture, fisheries and forestry. It proposed multi-dimensional and inter-disciplinary actions on supportive policies on international, regional, national and local actions to increase production potential and maintain natural resource bases - all directed to eradicate undernutrition and poverty.
3. It is therefore pertinent that the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), comprising 16 legally independent International Agricultural Research Centres (IARC), is the largest and most effective global producer of agricultural-research public goods that address the issues of food security, poverty and sustainability. In 1971, it was established and co-sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank. In 2001, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) became the fourth co-sponsor. The issues addressed by the CGIAR are the core issues of FAO. It is thus natural to forge and sustain effective links between the two organizations.
4. This paper describes the current state of agricultural research and cooperation in Asia and the Pacific and reviews FAO-CGIAR links in the context of agricultural research and technology development for food security and poverty alleviation. Its final section identifies gaps and constraints in these links and suggests ways and means of fostering existing ones, besides establishing new co-operative efforts.
II. AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH IN THE ASIA PACIFIC REGION
Past and current situation
5. In the mid 1960s, the science- and technology-led synergism among enhanced genetic potential (improved seeds), irrigation, and fertilizers, together with political will and policy support, created the green revolution in Asia and the Pacific. This revolution more than doubled cereal production, halved the real price of major food grains, increased by about 30 percent the per caput food consumption, helped to more-than-double per caput GDP and halved the proportions of hungry and poor people.
6. Nonetheless, Asia and the Pacific remained the home to nearly 500 million undernourished - including 160 million children, and 800 million poor people - two-thirds of the world’s hungry and poor. Household security and access to food thus continue as major challenges; as do access to education and to primary health care. With a "business-as-usual" approach, the target of halving by 2015 the number of hungry and poor, as resolved by the World Food and Millennium summits will, in all probability, not be achieved.
7. The tragic events of September 11 in the United States and their aftermath exacerbated the then-ongoing global economic slowdown, with consequential adverse impact on the recovery of the Asian economies that were afflicted by economic crises during 1997-98. Recent World Bank and IMF forecasts revealed that the unfavourable effects will persist in the form of shrinking economic growth in poor countries thus causing an additional 10 million people, when compared to pre September 11 figures, to fall into poverty with the majority from the Asia Pacific. Moreover, as evidenced in Afghanistan and East Timor, civil strife can rapidly destroy livelihoods and their research and technology systems.
8. The green-revolution intensification process was accompanied by degradations of land, water, biodiversity, and other environmental features. There is consequent requirement and expectation that the green revolution shall be transformed into an "evergreen revolution" by generating and disseminating environment and employment-friendly eco-technologies. Moreover, the green revolution technologies generally bypassed vast rainfed and other marginal areas where hunger, poverty, instability (of production) and resource fragility are concentrated. In Asia and the Pacific, home to three-fourths of the world’s farmers, the per caput availability of land (less than one-fifth of that in the rest of the world) and of water is lower than in any other region, and is still declining.
9. Despite substantial yield gains during the green revolution, average yields of most commodities in most developing countries are low, and there are serious yield gaps. Moreover, total factor productivity (TFP) growth rates for major commodities have decelerated and in some production systems they may even have shrunk. There is thus general and considerable scope for improving overall productivity and input-use efficiency within an evergreen revolution.
10. Investment in agriculture and agricultural research and technology development is low and declining, despite its very high rate of return in Asia and the Pacific, being as high as 48 percent between 1958 and 1998. Moreover, between 1988 and 1998, there was a substantial decline in international assistance to all components of developing world’s agriculture. In South Asia, specifically, this decline in international support was compounded by a rate of national-government expenditure per agricultural worker that is extremely low (below Sub-Saharan Africa) and decreasing. Correspondingly, the technology achievement index (TAI) of most Asia-Pacific developing countries is low to modest. Thus the technological and digital divides between them and the developed countries remain wide.
11. Relatedly, there are aspects of international investments in poverty alleviation that cause concern within Asia and the Pacific. Notably, as featured in U.K. Government Policy Paper on Eliminating World Poverty (2001), the 1998 flow of development aid per person amounted to US$ 950 for the Middle East and North Africa, US$ 30 for East Asia and only US$ 10 for South Asia.
12. By 2030, notwithstanding the slow down in recent years, the population in South and East Asia together would have increased by nearly one billion to 4.2 billion (then constituting 52 percent of the world population). Together with increase in incomes, this surge will require 80 percent increase in total agricultural production, including an additional production of 380 million tons of cereals or an increase of 53 percent. Because there is negligible scope for expansion of cultivated area, 83 percent of the increase in grain production must accrue through yield increase, and 12 percent through increased cropping intensity. This intensification implies one ton additional grain per ha - analogous to the gains achieved during the green revolution era. But, this will have to be attained from lesser land and water resources. Also, pre- and post-harvest losses in the region need to be reduced: they range from 15 to 30 percent, with losses particularly high in livestock, fish, fruits, vegetables and other perishables.
13. Increasing income and urbanization (by 2030, 53 percent of Asia and the Pacific’s population would be urban, against the current level of 34 percent) have triggered greater demand for meat, milk and dairy products, eggs, vegetable oil, fruits, vegetables, processed food and other high-value products. To meet the demand, the region has intensified livestock and aquaculture production, and is witnessing a revolution in these sub-sectors - though often at high environmental cost. High growth rates during 2002-2015 (3 to 4 percent) in fruit, vegetables and livestock production would be more than double that of the cereals. Peri-urban agriculture would expand. Fodder and feed demands will intensify, especially in East Asia, where 45 percent of the total cereal (mostly maize) consumption will be for animal feed. Demand for cereals and livestock will outstrip production, thus necessitating escalation of net imports of these products particularly in East Asia.
14. Globalisation is characterized by complex economic linkages, by intensified liberalisation of agricultural trade, and by an accelerating pace of integration. Globalisation has created benefits for many regions, countries, groups and individuals. Conversely, it has intensified social exclusion and marginalization for some poor (mainly rural) people, with corresponding impact on livelihood of rural communities. In the agricultural and rural sectors, better-off farmers are more likely to have benefited, while small-holders to have suffered, from trade liberalisation. The new opportunities presented by liberalisation and globalisation are accompanied by new risks.
15. The rural poor and the small-holder farmers shall thus require priority attention if the Year-2015 targets for poverty reduction and food security are to be met. This struggle against poverty and deprivation shall nowhere be more intense and strategic than in the Asia and the Pacific Region. It shall correspondingly dictate FAO’s regional agenda and priorities.
Thrusts for agricultural research
16. Science and technology development should address six interdependent aspects of agriculture to attain the desired productivity and sustainability in order to break the depressing alliance of hunger, poverty and environmental degradation.
17. Protecting the yield gains, bridging yield gaps, and enhancing yield and productivity, including quality upgrading, value addition and prevention of post-harvest losses: These targets must be attained within the bounds of technological, social, economic, biological, cultural and environmental (soil, water, other inputs) constraints and potentials. Sustaining TFP growth and raising competitiveness should be primary goals. The dominant farming systems in South Asia are rice-wheat, rainfed mixed, rice, and highland mixed, and in East Asia lowland rice, upland-rice intensive mixed, temperate mixed, and tree-crops mixed. Those with the highest potential for poverty reduction are rice-wheat in South Asia, and tree-crop mixed in East Asia. Livestock and horticulture are integral components of these systems. The yield gaps and potentials of each need to be clearly identified and suitable technology packages designed to bridge them.
18. Biotechnology: harnessing the gene revolution: Biotechnology interventions are already in use, and have the potential to enhance yield levels, increase input-use efficiency, reduce risk, increase resistance/tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses, lessen pesticide use, lower production costs and food prices, and improve nutrition. And, they can be positively pro-poor. However, there are genuine and perceived food biosafety, environmental, socio-economic and ethical risks of biotechnology and they must therefore be scientifically and transparently assessed, minimized and managed.
19. Benefiting from information and communication technology revolution and promoting knowledge-based development: Current networking and knowledge-sharing opportunities must be captured to empower people (including farmers and fishermen) to harness technology to expand the choices in their daily lives. Knowledge must substitute monetary inputs, and help improve efficiency and competitiveness - a major and urgent necessity in today’s liberalized world.
20. Managing natural resources - land, water and biodiversity: Science and technology must be harnessed to map and to match the potential of natural and other resources with production goals and to ensure conservation and sustained, efficient and equitable use of those resources through an integrated and participatory approach. Science and technology must provide necessary tools and direction for implementation of various global treaties on land, water and biodiversity - such as the FAO Global Plan of Action under the International Treaty on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
21. Addressing environmental and climate-change concerns and minimizing adverse impacts of natural disasters: Based on decision-support systems, technology packages such as integrated pest management (IPM), integrated plant nutrient management (IPNM), and integrated soil-water management should be developed and widely adopted through participatory approaches, such as farmer field schools (FFS). Using the driving force-pressure-state-impact-response (DPSIR), the environmental monitoring and technology response should be streamlined. Anticipatory multidisciplinary research for mitigating adverse effects of climate change and natural disasters should be strengthened. Capacities in Geographic Information System (GIS) and weather forecasting and links to regional and global weather data and forecast are crucial for adequate preparedness.
22. Intensifying pro-poor agricultural research and technology transfer agenda: A recent CGIAR study entitled ‘Agricultural Research and Poverty Reduction’ emphasises that agricultural research should explicitly address the needs of the poor and identified six key priorities: (i) increasing production of staple foods in countries where food price effects are still important and /or that have a comparative advantage in growing these crops; (ii) promoting eco-technology, and increasing agricultural productivity in many less-favoured lands, especially heavily populated low-potential areas; (iii) helping smallholder farms across the board diversify into higher value products, including livestock and aquaculture products and local level value addition especially in countries with rapidly growing domestic markets for such products and/or access to suitable export markets; (iv) improving access to land, water and other production and distribution resources and increasing employment and income-earning opportunities for landless and near-landless workers in labour surplus regions; (v) developing more nutritious and safer foods to enhance the diets of poor people; and (vi) undertaking agricultural research in ways that are more empowering to the poor. Linking markets with rural communities and strengthening farm - agribusiness links, promoting small and medium enterprises and strengthening agricultural co-operatives at the grassroots will be highly pertinent. These strategies must be internalised in overall national agricultural research strategies with the least trade-off in national agricultural growth and development.
III. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
Developments within FAO
23. During 1999-2001, FAO defined and published its Global Strategic Framework for the Periods 2000-2015-2030, and its supportive Medium Term Plan for 2002-2007. In consonance with the former, FAO regional offices, including the one of the Asia-Pacific region (comprising 39 countries), have defined and refined their specific strategies and plans. In this context it is pertinent to emphasize that the FAO Bangkok office is a regional office, as distinct from an office in the region.
24. FAO’s corporate strategies include two elements that are particularly pertinent to FAO-CGIAR linkages. These elements are: addressing the needs of member countries, and addressing cross-organizational issues. In addressing the needs of member countries, FAO gives prominence to eradicating food insecurity and rural poverty - particularly in Sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia; to promoting, developing, and reinforcing policy and regulatory frameworks; to creating sustainable increases in the supply of food and other agricultural products; to conserving, using sustainably, and improving natural resources; and to providing information and assessments to facilitate decision making. [For FAO and CGIAR purposes, "agriculture" subsumes crops, livestock, fisheries, forestry and products.] FAO’s concerns for cross-organizational issues are directly relevant to FAO-CGIAR linkages: they feature partnerships and alliances; ensuring excellence; and enhancing inter-disciplinarity.
25. FAO’s Medium Term Plan provides the mechanism wherewith the corporate strategies shall be implemented. Pivotal to that Plan are its sixteen Priority Areas for Inter-disciplinary Action (PAIA), whereby FAO and partners will ensure that appropriate combinations and concentrations of human and physical resources shall be directed to major agricultural issues and constraints that confront member countries and the poor and hungry sectors of their populations. Among those sixteen Areas, several are already addressed within the programmes of various IARCs. In the context of FAO-IARC linkage, the following (from the sixteen) are identified: integrated production systems; integrated ecosystem management; agricultural-biodiversity management; decision-support tools: information quality; biotechnology applications; biosecurity; organic agriculture; climate change; and institution building to address sustainable-livelihoods issues.
26. The Medium Term Plan correspondingly includes major specialist programmes addressing: production and support systems (natural resources including genetic resources, crops, livestock); policy and development (including food security and human nutrition, monitoring and information, and trade policy); fisheries - resources, utilization, and policy; forestry - resources, policy, and products; sustainable rural development - food security, technology transfer, and gender aspects; and legal and policy assistance.
27. Implementation both for the inter-disciplinary and specialist programmes is through FAO’s field programmes. These programmes have a long and successful history; their importance is correspondingly re-emphasized in the current Medium Term Plan. Recent developments pertinent to collaboration with the CGIAR and IARCs - and to targeting the hungry - include a strengthening of the FAO-facilitated Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS), which were initiated in the mid-1990s.
28. The SPFS concept is to provide assistance to low-income food-deficit countries to improve food security through increased production, decreased year-to-year production variability, improved food access, increased farm income and rural employment and social equity and gender sensitivity; each with economic and environmental sustainability. The four components of the SPFS are: Identification of constraints to the enhancement of production and income; Diversification of farming-system enterprises; Intensification of production systems; and Strengthening of water-management systems. The mechanism of supporting SPFS through a PAIA may provide a new and strong opportunity for FAO-CGIAR collaboration.
29. Region-wide - and consistent with FAO’s emphasis to field programmes - FAO’s Asia-Pacific field programme comprises no fewer than 200 technical assistance projects distributed among 28 countries. Their combined expenditure totals US$ 40 million per year, of which UNDP contributes US$ 12 million, bi- and uni-lateral donors US$ 20 million and FAO’s Technical-Cooperation Programme US$ 6 - 8 million.
Developments within the CGIAR
30. CGIAR has been and continues to remain dynamic and responsive. During Year 2000, and recognizing emerging challenges for the twenty-first century, it initiated a new strategy and management structure. Key elements are: (i) to strengthen and improve the System’s relevance and impact; (ii) to sharpen internal efficiency; and (iii) to stabilize long-term financing. The defining features comprise:
Vision: A food-secure world for all.
Goal: To reduce poverty, hunger, and malnutrition by sustainably increasing the productivity of resources in agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
Mission: To achieve sustainable food security and to reduce poverty in developing countries through scientific research-related activities in the fields of agriculture, forestry, fisheries, policy and environment.
31. Seven "planks" support this new CGIAR vision: (1) focusing on activities that reduce poverty, hunger, and malnutrition in developing countries; (2) bringing modern science to bear on productivity and institutional problems that have previously proved intractable; (3) according highest priority to the research needs of South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa - where poverty is concentrated and increasing; (4) adopting a regional approach to research planning that accommodates the heterogeneity of poverty; (5) diversifying and integrating partnerships; (6) adopting (where appropriate) task-force approaches to the delivery of CGIAR products and services; and (7) serving as a catalyst, organizer, coordinator and integrator of global efforts on key opportunities and constraints in agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
32. It is thus pertinent and encouraging that as the CGIAR’s third "plank" accords highest priority to South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa - as also do the strategies and programmes of FAO. Agricultural research is CGIAR’s special niche within which all stakeholders must work with a broad range of partners to ensure that sustainable agriculture fulfils its potential as an instrument of development.
33. The four pillars of the new-century CGIAR comprise:
34. Challenge Programmes, reflecting quality "work in progress", shall provide opportunities to focus on global and regional priority themes and to broaden CGIAR’s partnerships. Thorough consultation with stakeholders has specified the Challenge-Programme guidelines and within those guidelines ten pilot proposals are being developed. The ten comprise: Agriculture and Combating Desertification; Animal Diseases, Market Access, Food Safety and Poverty Reduction; Climate Change; Development of Sustainable Agricultural Production Systems in Central Asia and the Caucasus; Global Genetic Resources: Conservation, Management and Improvement for Food and Nutritional Security, Agro-Biodiversity and Sustainable Livelihoods; Global Initiative on HIV/AIDS, Agriculture and Food Security; Global Mountain Programme; Harnessing Agricultural Technology to Improve the Health of the Poor: Biofortified Crops to Combat Micro-nutrient Deficiency; The African Challenge Programme; and Water and Agriculture.
35. Initiation of these Challenge Programmes constitutes a major strategic shift in the functioning of the CGIAR and has attendant funding, partnership and stewardship implications. The themes of these Challenge Programmes feature prominently also in FAO’s Programme of Work and Budget - and notably among the sixteen PAIAs, which may duly be noted by CGIAR. Post-harvest loss reduction and value addition, especially to enhance competitiveness of the developing countries in the globalized world, should become a Challenge Programme.
36. Previously, TAC had determined that two features should strongly impact CGIAR priorities and strategies, namely, emerging trends in science and regional and sub-regional specificities. For the new trends in science, biological-sciences priority should be genetic enhancement and associated sciences - particularly molecular biology, biotechnology, genomics and proteomics; physical-science priorities comprise integrated natural resource management (INRM) for improved productivity, GIS and Information and Communications Technology (ICT); priorities for the social sciences are behavioural studies, issues of empowerment, policy and environment, regulatory measures (particularly intellectual property rights), globalization and economic growth and quantitative techniques for socio-economic impacts assessment and monitoring. These topics have similarly high priority for FAO. There is thus opportunity and necessity for programme-level FAO-CGIAR linkage.
37. The fourth "plank" specifies a regional approach to priority-setting, planning and implementation of collaborative pro-poor research with national and regional partners. Priority-setting for Asia and the Pacific has thus involved regional consultations with representations from the IARCs, the National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS), the Global Forum for Agricultural Research (GFAR), regional organizations, including the Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI) and FAO. The resultant regional priorities shall necessarily reflect and influence the setting of global priorities. Stakeholders have indeed shown enthusiasm in pursuing regional approaches and they justifiably seek increased participation of farmers, the rural sector and investment and development agencies.
38. The new vision and strategy of CGIAR recognizes that various features in the external environment are likely to influence its future priorities and strategies and should consequently be addressed in one or more Challenge Programmes. These features include: poverty-related studies, poverty mapping, integrated natural-resources management, water management, social research capacity in the IARCs, food safety, biosafety and bioethics, climate change, international public goods, stress genomics, and information and communication technology - each of them a priority for FAO. In some of these areas, such as poverty mapping (FAO’s Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping System – FIVIMS), water management, food safety, etc., some collaboration exists and there is scope for strengthening it. Recognising the high complementarity of efforts of FAO and CGIAR in these areas, concrete actions, as suggested in paragraphs 63 to 71, should be taken.
Regional and global associations and organizations
The Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI)
39. APAARI, established in the late 1980s, is a vigorous forum that fosters close links among apex agricultural-research-management organizations. It has eighteen NARI/NARS members from West, South, Southeast and East Asia and the Pacific. Regionally-operative IARCs are associate members. They comprise: International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), International Water Management Institute (IWMI), International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI), International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maiz y Trigo (CIMMYT) and International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Other regionally-operative international institutions, namely, Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI), Asia and Pacific Seed Association (APSA), Asian Vegetable Research and Development Centre (AVRDC), Asian Institute of Technolgy (AIT), International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) are also associate members.
40. The mission of APAARI is to develop within Asia and the Pacific national agricultural research systems through inter-regional, inter-institutional and international cooperation. Its Vision 2025 is to see that "agricultural research for development (ARD) in the Asia-Pacific region is effectively promoted and facilitated through novel partnerships among NARSs and other related organizations so that it contributes to sustainable improvements in the productivity of agricultural systems and to the quality of the natural resource base that underpins agriculture, thereby enhancing food and nutrition security, enomomic and social wellbeing of communities and the integrity of the environment and services it provides."
41. APAARI strives to fulfil its vision by facilitating the contribution of NARS to sustainable agricultural development and by strengthening regional cooperation. The main activities include scientific and technological information exchange, cooperative research, human resource development and policy advocacy. APAARI is an excellent base for forging linkages between NARS, IARC, FAO and other concerned national and international organizations.
42. The November-2001 APAARI Expert Consultation specified agricultural research and development priorities for South, West, East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific. It identified seven regional priorities: (i) natural-resource management; (ii) genetic resources; (iii) commodity-chain development; (iv) meeting the protein demand; (v) tree and forest management; (vi) information and communication management; and (vii) capacity development.
Forestry Research Support Programme for Asia and the Pacific (FORSPA) and the Asia Pacific Association of Forestry Research Institutions (APAFRI)
43. FORSPA is an FAO regional programme that supports capacity building in forestry research and helps enhance the technical capabilities of communities, farmers and forest-resource managers to respond effectively to changing social, economic and environmental conditions. APAFRI is an independent, non-profit organization that promotes forest research and conservation and management of forest resources through regional institutional cooperation. Both FORSPA and APAFRI collaborate with the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) and International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI) to foster regional collaboration, networking, training and prioritization of issues. APAARI and APAFRI have been working closely with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and provide additional forums for further strengthening FAO-CGIAR linkage for improving and sustaining livelihood of mountain people and resources.
Other regional organizations
44. There are six other FAO-supported commissions in Asia and the Pacific, namely, Asia and Pacific Plant Protection Commission (APPPC), Regional Animal Production and Health Commission for Asia and the Pacific (APHCA), Asia and Pacific Commission on Agricultural Statistics (APCAS) and Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFC). FAO also supports APAARI, APAFRI and two other associations, namely, Association of Food and Agricultural Marketing Agencies in Asia and the Pacific (AFMA) and the Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (APRACA). Thirty-one regional networks facilitated by FAO address various issues. Four are in natural resources and farming system, fourteen in crops, four in livestock, four in rural development and cooperatives, four in forestry and one in food and nutrition. Although not expressly directed at research and technology development, these regional bodies and networks provide valuable institutional and policy support to the generation, transfer and adoption of technology. They feature particularly in partnership building and thereby contribute to effectively strengthen FAO-CGIAR links.
The Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR)
45. GFAR, founded in 1996, seeks to create and enhance a widely-based global partnership in agricultural research. It embodies a unique mechanism for establishing new and fostering existing links among diverse stakeholders, such as developing-country NARS, regional and sub-regional organizations, advanced research institutions (ARI), IARC/CGIAR, private-sector entities, FAO, IFAD and other sponsors of agricultural research and development. FAO Rome hosts the NARS-SC Secretariat of GFAR.
46. The global vision 2025 of GFAR is to help orient and facilitate international agricultural research towards the objectives of poverty eradication, increased food security and conservation and management of natural resources. Its goals are as follows:
47. GFAR is concentrating on five high-priority areas: (i) information and communication technologies; (ii) regional forums and NARS sub-regional groupings; (iii) genetic resource management, biotechnology and intellectual property rights; (iv) natural resource management and agro-ecology; and (v) international cooperation for agricultural research on commodities outwith the CGIAR mandate. It functions on the principles of full partnership, common interest and cooperation for mutual benefit.
48. Developing-country NARSs and their regional and subregional forums, are the cornerstones of the global agricultural research system that GFAR seeks to create and through which there shall evolve a global action plan to combat hunger, poverty and non-sustainable farming. Like CGIAR, it complements FAO goals and together with APAARI and APAFRI, provides an additional and valuable link between FAO and CGIAR.
IV. CURRENT FAO-CGIAR LINKAGES AND COLLABORATIONS
49. The current links cover governance, strategic planning, cooperation (including applied research and extension) and information exchange.
50. In governance, FAO is a co-sponsor of the CGIAR and has a permanent seat in the newly created Executive Council. It hosts and services (at its Rome headquarters) the CGIAR’s interim Science Council Secretriat. FAO provides members to the Boards of Trustees at some CGIAR International Agricultural Research Centres (IARCs). Correspondingly, staff of some IARCs attend FAO statutory bodies, advisory committees and expert panels. FAO-RAP encourages formalized reciprocal presence at meetings of RAP and of IARCs.
51. Within Asia and the Pacific, FAO has strong governance and programme links with five IARCs: IRRI, CIMMYT, ICRISAT, IWMI and CIFOR. It has less-strong links with three other IARCs, namely, ICRAF, International Centre for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM) and Centro Internacional de la Papa (CIP). It has more-distant links with four IARCs that are located outwith the Asia-Pacific Region: ICARDA, IPGRI, ILRI, ISNAR and IFPRI. Very recently, FAO and ILRI have jointly identified livestock R and D priorities and programmes for Asia and the Pacific.
52. In Strategic planning there are many operative FAO-CGIAR links. Thus FAO is active in IARC-led strategic planning for particular commodities, sectors and cross-sectors, including forest genetic resources, regional forestry strategies, livestock (including EMPRES - the Emergency Prevention System for Trans-boundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases), integrated pest management and crops important to the poor. FAO links with IARCs on aspects of farmers’ rights, genetic resources, intellectual property rights, bio-safety and bio-security, urban/peri-urban agriculture, alternatives to slash and burn and climate change. FAO is mandated and obligated to undertake strategic planning for medium- and long-term time horizons (Years 2015 and 2030), with the specific requirement that its long-term planning must encompass the triumvirate of hunger, poverty and environmental concerns. In Asia and the Pacific, FAO is undertaking specific strategic planning for Asia’s rice-based livelihood-support systems.
53. In cooperation, there is joint FAO-IARC preparation of global assessments for plant, animal and forest genetic resources, joint forecasting of trends in undernutrition and collaborative mapping of poverty and food insecurity (as with the Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping System - FIVIMS); and cooperative identification of agriculture development strategies for the alleviation of poverty, food insecurity and undernutrition. FAO and IARCs collaborate in relation to policies and regulatory frameworks with special reference to biotechnology and biosafety, public health and food security and deployment of transgenics. Collaboration exists also in research planning and in rural-area dissemination of research findings and utilization of local-knowledge systems and in field-testing of gender-responsive indicators for natural-resource management and for sustainable use of genetic resources. For fisheries research, FAO facilitates IARC’s and other-agencies’ interaction for concrete decision making. It hosts the Support Unit for International Fisheries and Aquatic Research (SIFAR) on whose Steering Committee ICLARM is represented. The Advisory Committee on Fisheries Research is also based at FAO and comprises independent specialists, including ICLARM’s representation.
54. Some of the Challenge Programmes of CGIAR are highly pertinent to FAO, both globally and in Asia and the Pacific especially, since they coincide with RAP’s five priority thrusts: rice-based livelihood systems; livestock intensification; biotechnology, biosecurity and bio-diversity; marketing, trade and WTO aspects; and disaster preparedness, disaster relief and global-climate concerns. Similarly, both FAO and the CGIAR have concern, responsibility and programmes to strengthen national-system research management and planning, help assess research capacity and help develop research agendas and encourage and facilitate institutional reforms.
55. The FAO, through its Inter-governmental Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (until 1995, the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources) has for many years been the main international forum for governments to develop policy on all aspects of genetic resources for food and agriculture, including the conservation and sustainable use, and access and benefit-sharing. The Commission, after having reviewed the legal status of ex situ collections of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture held by the IARCs, concluded that this legal status was unclear. Accordingly, in 1994, the twelve IARCs holding ex situ collections signed agreements with FAO, bringing them into the International Network of Plant Genetic Resources under the Auspices of FAO. They recognized the policy guidance of the Commission, and undertook to hold these materials in trust for the international community, not to seek Intellectual Property Rights over them, and to pass this obligation along to recipients. This was a transitional agreement, pending the conclusion of the negotiations for the revision of the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources, following the entry into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
56. On 3 November 2001, these negotiations were completed, when the FAO Conference adopted the binding international Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which will enter into force on ratification by 40 states. The International Treaty is in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity. It provides an international framework for the conservation and sustainable utilization of these resources, and for access and benefit-sharing, and for the realization by governments of Farmers' Rights. The Treaty, for the first time in a binding international instrument, recognizes the importance of the ex situ collections held in trust for the international community by the IARCs and other relevant international institutions. It foresees that they will sign agreements with the Treaty's Governing Body. This provides a new international framework in support of international agricultural research, and a final settlement of the legal question regarding the IARCs' ex situ collections, and resolves the outstanding issue within the Convention on Biological Diversity of the ex situ collections formed before the entry into force of the Convention. This will simplify the situation so that the CG system may devote itself to its prime function, agricultural research.
57. In information sharing, there are CGIAR/IARC contributions to the International Information System for the Agricultural Sciences and Technology (AGRIS), the Current Agricultural Research Information System (CARIS), the Agricultural Libraries Network (AGLINET) and to joint development with the World Agricultural Information Centre (WAICENT) of a CGIAR Information Finder and to the programme of APAARI for an Asia-Pacific Agricultural-Research Information System (APARIS). APAARI, FAO-RAP and FAO -Research, Extension and Training Division (SDR) have together compiled recently a comprehensive directory of the national agricultural research systems.
58. As regards effectiveness of the links, informal reports and surveys indicate that FAO and the CGIAR have had and continue to have operative partnerships in aspects of governance, strategic planning, technical cooperation and information exchange. The partnerships rightly draw strength from the complementarities between strategic/applied research (CGIAR) and adaptive research and rural-development assistance (FAO). However, most of the collaboration is discrete. It addresses specific objectives and does not derive from a synthesized plan. Most interaction is at senior level and headquarters-based, with little in the field/laboratory and/or in the regions.
59. In governance and liaison, the operations of the (previous) Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) are well-regarded; however, TAC’s transformation to a Science Council may require some formal adjustment by FAO. FAO representations on IARC Boards of Trustees and IARC memberships of FAO statutory bodies, advisory committees and expert panels, are judged to be effective, although highly selective. Strategic planning for particular commodities or sectors, notably plant genetic resources and livestock, is successful and justifies increase in scope. As the CGIAR embraces a more-programmatic research approach, as seen in its Challenge Programmes and commitment to provide technical support to conventions adopted by the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), FAO expertise may be both pertinent and welcome. FAO/CGIAR technical cooperation is substantial and diverse, although less prominent in the region and at less-senior level of personnel, except for the successful IARC/NARS/FAO IPM and FFS programmes. Correspondingly, FAO needs to increase awareness of its own programmes, expertise and mandate and strengthen its capacities to undertake and prioritize cross-sectoral collaboration with the CGIAR as a system and with CGIAR’s component IARCs. There have been effective outputs in information exchange and the collaborations forged therein might be usefully applied to farmer/extensionist-oriented activities.
V. REQUIREMENTS FOR FUTURE FAO-CGIAR LINKAGES AND ACTIONS
60. Future priorities for FAO-RAP programmes are likely to include Rice-based livelihoods (especially rice-wheat and intensive lowland rice farming systems), rainfed-maize-based systems, livestock intensification, natural-resource support systems, Bio-technology, bio-security and bio-diversity; marketing, trade and WTO aspects; and disaster preparedness, disaster relief and global-climate concerns. FAO-CGIAR collaboration may expect to be justifiably and profitably directed to activities that target those priorities. Collaborations might similarly be directed to regional aspects of those global priorities that were identified and endorsed within the Millennium Summit (2000), IFPRI 2020, the World Conference on Sustainable Food Security for All (2001) and Agenda 21 of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (1992), where FAO and CGAIR have substantial commitments. These conferences, among other things, highlighted the role of cutting-edge technologies such as biotechnology and information and communication technology, the conservation and equitable sharing of genetic resources and the creation of basic infrastructures and institutions to fight hunger and poverty. They should therefore feature prominently in collaborative FAO-CGIAR programmes.
61. Correspondingly, the follow-up to the World Food Summit and other summits with explicit declarations/resolutions on poverty reduction, hunger alleviation and environmental protection must be multidimensional and contain national and international actions. Recent FAO developments pertinent to collaboration with CGIAR and to targeting the hungry, relate to FAO SPFS, Telefood, FIVIMS, EMPRES and South-South Cooperation within the framework of technical cooperation among developing countries (TCDC).
62. The planning for FAO-CGIAR linkages can be guided by the existing analyses of the effectiveness of and lessons learned from, previous FAO-CGIAR-IARC cooperation. Additionally, it shall be pertinent to determine what additional mechanisms are needed to strengthen RAP-specific cooperation, including those that publicize, adapt and adopt results from successful CGIAR research.
63. Operationally, concentrating on RAP-specific aspects, it shall be appropriate to initiate mechanisms that strengthen regional FAO-CGIAR-IARC interactions at various seniority strata within the respective agencies. It is thus pertinent and helpful that the present structure of the two organizations, each comprising a Council, a Programme Committee and a Finance Committee, facilitate such interactions.
64. Procedurally, governance-level contacts would be fostered and re-invigorated if meetings of IARC Directors and Board Chairs were held in proximity to FAO’s Regional Offices and in the case of Asia and the Pacific, by the installation of a RAP-CGIAR "hot-line" and a formalized reciprocal presence at RAP and IARC planning forums and meetings. FAO-RAP, appropriate IARCs and the CGIAR Science Council must initiate various levels of joint planning within their organizations to define a holistic collaborative programme and furnish it with the requisite resources. To facilitate field- and laboratory-level FAO-IARC partnerships, FAO needs to prepare and present "awareness seminars" that describe its mandate, role, activities and interaction mechanisms to pertinent IARCs and their personnel. Similarly, a regular sharing of schedules for events of mutual interest should be initiated.
65. The FAO pilot-scale implementation of multi-disciplinary support to certain activities within its Special Programme for Food Security provides a venue and mechanism whereby appropriate IARCs can provide quality support to pro-poor programmes - particularly in areas of South Asia where national and international agricultural investments and expenditures are disproportionately small. Similarly, ways should be explored in which IARC personnel can extend specialist assistance within FAO country-based technical cooperation projects. Correspondingly, FAO should seek to strengthen its linkage and support to the CGIAR-programmes in priority regions and sub-regions.
66. A major opportunity exists for FAO and IARCs to pool resources in rehabilitation/development programmes that are currently of highest priority for Afghanistan and DPR Korea. For Afghanistan, a notable joint opportunity has already been seized where a Consortium of IARCs, FAO, NGOs, universities and aid agencies has been constituted and funded to implement a five-year post-war rehabilitation programme. Three IARCs are providing technical assistance, FAO, besides being a member of the Consortium, is the international organizations’ focal point for agricultural and rural sector rehabilitation in Afghanistan.
67. Access to resources required in various FAO-IARC activities should be facilitated by sharing / linking costly resources and by formulating joint programme proposals to development banks, UNDP and other prospective donors. NGOs should be encouraged to link up with the many existing formal and informal ties between FAO-RAP and IARCs. Similarly, joint policy advocacy should be attempted by FAO, IARCs, APAARI and NGOs.
68. Specific short and medium-term collaboration should define and implememt mechanisms wherewith IARCs based in the region could provide expertise to the RAP-based Japanese-sponsored regional biotechnology and plant-genetic-resources networks. Similarly, in anticipation of problems in realizing the recently-formalized Farmers’ Rights, a regional FAO-RAP/CGIAR problem/solution-oriented network should be established to provide technical and institutional support to concerned countries. Generally, FAO and IARCs could increase, where justified, their provision of resource persons to each others’ technical workshops and expert consultations, and the existing procedures of FAO/IARC joint planning and conduct of workshops and seminars should be utilized to the maximum appropriate extent.
69. The complementary strengths of IARCs and FAO at headquarters in co-publication, electronic translation and distance learning should be harnessed to facilitate extensive dissemination of "best-practices" and "success-stories" of farming and extension, including farmer-participatory education and training. The latter is of particular applicability for support to forestry research through training in aspects of reduced-impact logging and water-shed management and also to aquaculture systems and more generally in the context of research-extension-farmer-market linkage. The CGIAR’s gender and diversity programme objectives as well as that of individual centre’s complement the gender mainstreaming goals of FAO. Thus, in the Asia-Pacific region possibilities exist for collaboration along the CGIAR centres and FAO for developing gender integration competencies among agriculture professionals and gender responsive agricultural research and extension.
70. Where appropriate, IARCs and FAO should provide joint and synchronous support to the NARS endeavour to implement FIVIMS. Thematically, specific medium-term cooperation should be planned and initiated for urban/peri-urban agriculture linkage, policies and legislation for water and land management, rice-based livelihoods/poverty-alleviation initiatives and sustaining and fostering the livestock revolution in the region.
VI. CONCLUDING COMMENTS
71. The green revolution made substantial and crucial impact in lessening rural and urban hunger and poverty throughout Asia and the Pacific. That revolution was initiated and supported by well-directed and adequately-sponsored science and technology, both bio-physical and socio-economic, able to address complex and interacting processes and issues.
72. In this new century also and notwithstanding a helpful slackening in human-population increase, there shall be need for sustained growth, although at lesser rates than heretofore in agricultural production and services. Moreover, the lessening of rural poverty shall require the "evergreen revolution" to sustain employment- and income-generating and environment-friendly rural production/service systems.
73. There shall be requirement, additionally, that institutional and technical supports to such production/service systems must be directed to areas having substantial vulnerability and poverty, while ensuring that high productivity and production are sustained in the more-favourable and more-productive ecozones. For all ecozones, regions and agricultural sectors, there shall be crucial need to reverse both nationally and internationally the unwise and unjustifiable decline in agricultural research investment and expenditure.
74. For Asia and the Pacific especially, CGIAR and FAO, in partnership with each other and with other international bodies, governments, NGOs, civil-society and private-sector agencies, possess the opportunity, mandate, structure, programmes and resources wherewith to guide and support the research and development that shall be needed to facilitate an "evergreen revolution" and to achieve substantive progress towards the internationally-resolved targets for alleviation and eradication of poverty and hunger.