How ICT can accelerate the achievement of MDG - MDG goal 1: e-services for food security
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations was invited by the Observatory for Cultural and Audiovisual Communication (OCCAM) to speak at the X Infopoverty World Conference it organized from 18-19 March 2010 in New York. For more information about the Conference, please visit the
X Infopoverty World Conference
How ICT can accelerate the achievement of MDG
Session on MDG goal 1: e-services for food security,
18 March 2010, 11-12.30 a.m.
Lila H. Ratsifandrihamanana, Director, FAO Liaison Office with the United Nations New York
I am pleased to join you in this important discussion on information and communication technologies (ICT), and to share with you views from the perspective of FAO.
FAO considers ICT critical for development work in the field, as a tool for information management, and as an important technology to support Agriculture and Rural development.
At the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) FAO accepted the responsibility for facilitating follow-up related to Action Line C.7 ICT Applications: e-agriculture.
E-agriculture is an emerging field involving innovative ways to use information and communication technologies in the rural domain, with a primary focus on agriculture.
In 2007 FAO and its partners launched the e-Agriculture Community of Practice which has now grown to over 6,000 members from more than 150 countries. Members from both the private sector and civil society participate in e-Agriculture Community activities such as online forum discussions involving experts from Microsoft, Nokia, the Grameen Foundation, IICD, One World South Asia, Swiss contact and others. The e-Agriculture Community has three broad components: a web- space for knowledge sharing and collaboration- (www.e-agriculture.org); face-to-face events; and in-country interventions.
FAO itself has experienced successful implementation of the Bridging the Rural Digital Divide Programme and has been able to use ICT to coordinate and facilitate the development, content creation/packaging, and management of critical food security information. We are now looking at new social media (Web2.0) tools to improve the extension of the e-Agriculture Community to a wide ranging group of stakeholders.
Some of the most successful on-line and face-to-face discussions include the Panel on the role of Mobile Telephony in rural areas, the Conference on Opening access to information and knowledge in the agricultural sciences and technology in Africa, and the special session in Latin America titled access to ICTs for the improvement of livelihoods in Poor remote areas.
Additionally, FAO and partners formed a global initiative known as Coherence in Information for Agricultural Research for Development (CIARD) aimed at improving information systems, empowering the institutions and people using them, and opening access to the content resources available.
Other ICT initiatives that help with food security are:
- The Access to Global Online Research on Agriculture program (AGORA), initiated by FAO with a number of publishing partners providing access to scientific information on food, agriculture, environmental science and related social sciences at little or no cost.
- The Information Management Resource Kit (IMARK) e-learning initiative which offers a wide range of curricula covering aspects of ICT use by individuals and institutions working for sustainable development and food security.
- The “EC/FAO Programme on Linking Information and Decision Making to Improve Food Security”
FAO and partners are also working to develop frameworks that will guide planning and implementing development investments that exploit ICT, as well as monitoring and evaluating their impacts on rural livelihoods and improved food security.
FAO’s contribution to the Action Line on e-Agriculture, and to the Community’s facilitation and platform are supported by both core and project funding, and multilateral and bilateral sources to finance the development of the Community’s activities. I seize this opportunity to reiterate our appeal to donor countries and partners to support of these initiatives. Indeed, Contributions from multilateral and bilateral sources are essential in this stage of expanding development of the e-Agriculture Community.
I thank you.