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47. In addition, the Conference considered and endorsed the following conclusions and recommendations of the Technical Committee as related to the Information Items below:

Contribution of Agricultural Research and Extension to Food Security and Poverty Alleviation (ARC/04/INF/5)

The Conference:

48. noted the lack, in particular, of long-term research funding, weak agricultural research and extension linkages and insufficient attention to farmers’ needs;

49. emphasized the constraints, opportunities and challenges of technology transfer mechanisms;

50. agreed that an Agricultural Research Extension System Support Programme which aims to reinforce achievement of the established NEPAD/CAADP goals requires, urgent implementation with the assistance of FAO, NEPAD Secretariat, FARA and other stakeholders;

51. stressed the need for an African research agenda to cover all sub-sectors, and especially underlined the necessity for the effective use of existing technologies and the opportunities provided by “intra-Africa technical cooperation”;

52. urged FAO to continue its efforts in further enhancing NARS capacity building in the areas of agricultural research, knowledge and technology transfer, and strengthening the linkage between research, extension and farmers to effectively reverse productivity decline;

53. emphasized the urgent need for a “demand-driven” agricultural research and extension agenda that aims at problem solving for intended beneficiaries;

54. endorsed in principle the recommendation to hold sub-regional conferences on agricultural research and extension, details of which would be worked out between FARA, NEPAD, FAO and other stakeholders;

55. recommended that more attention should be given to the funding of ARES in line with the financial commitments made by the Governments, regional and international funding agencies;

56. urged NEPAD, FARA and FAO to report on progress at the next FAO Africa Regional Conference.

The Bushmeat Crisis in Africa: Conciliating Food Security and Biodiversity Conservation (ARC/04/INF/7)

The Conference:

57. noted that bushmeat continues to play an important role in providing protein, medicine and in improving income for rural poor. However, population growth and commercial hunting have led many key species to a dramatic decline while others are at the brink of extinction;

58. recommended that Governments, FAO and international partners should accord particular attention to identify appropriate alternative solutions and help implement them in close collaboration with local communities;

59. recommended that FAO, in collaboration with relevant international and regional organizations, should initiate studies on sanitary risks and diseases eventually transmitted through bushmeat consumption;

60. requested FAO to work with member countries and development partners to continue sharing experiences on the subject.

HIV/AIDS and the Food Crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa (ARC/04/INF/8)

The Conference:

61. took note of FAO’s responses to the changing context of agricultural development, as a result of the HIV/AIDS impact at macro/meso level or institutional, community and the households/individual level and identified areas which require further action and follow-up;

62. agreed that two critical areas for FAO’s future strategy stand out: one, the prevention of double emergencies of HIV/AIDS and food shortages in Africa and elsewhere; and two, the assistance to be provided to member countries to develop effective agriculture and rural resource-based mitigation and rehabilitation responses to the epidemic.

63. recommended that:

a. Governments should take urgent action to review and strengthen agricultural policy and programming in order to mainstream HIV/AIDS considerations in sectoral strategies for agricultural development;

b. Development partners, especially UNAIDS, WHO, FAO and the World Bank in close cooperation with NEPAD should increase their budget allocation to strengthening the institutional capacity to combat the epidemic through increasing collaboration with governments, NGOs and civil society;

c. All parties involved should aim to reach an integrated response to cover the emergency-to-development continuum whilst maintaining a humanitarian perspective.

The International Year of Rice (ARC/04/INF/9)

The Conference:

64. noted the high potential contribution of NERICA to food security and urged member countries to promote the dissemination of the new rice variety;

65. encouraged member countries to observe the International Year of Rice.

FAO Strategic Framework for Bridging the Rural Digital Divide (ARC/04/INF/10)

The Conference:

66. noted the information contained in the document as well as the presentation in South Africa’s experience with policy management to facilitate bridging the rural digital divide.

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