Planet Diversity World Congress on the Future of Food and Agriculture

A new paradigm for agriculture?

The UN International Agricultural Assessment, IAASTD  - key findings and results and their best use

Organiser: Glen Tyler, Greenpeace International

Hans Herren, co-chair of the IAASTD
Benedikt Haerlin, member of IAASTD Bureau
Janice Jiggins, IAASTD author
Angelika Hilbeck, IAASTD author
Rajeswari Sarala Raina, IAASTD author
Tirso Gonzales, IAASTD author
Cathy Rutivi, member of IAASTD Bureau
Jan van Aken, Greenpeace International Ag-Campaigner
Shoaib Aziz, member of IAASTD Bureau

Facilitator: Jan Van Aken, Greenpeace International         

 “How can we reduce hunger and poverty, improve rural livelihoods, and facilitate equitable, environmentally, socially and economically sustainable development through the generation, access to, and use of agricultural knowledge, science and technology?”
In April this year a 5 year intergovernmental multi-stakeholder process to answer this question was concluded.
The IAASTD produced a consensus list of key findings, a 2000 page international assessment and five subregional assessments, which were adopted by 50 governments and endorsed by the World Bank and five UN agencies. This product of 400 lead authors and thousands of contributions by experts of all disciplines provides a set of helpful key messages regarding the future development of  agricultural knowledge, science and technology.
This workshop will present the key findings, provide examples on major topics such as agroecology, food sovereignty, focus on small farmer enablement and participatory research and development, new and old technologies, trade issues and public private partnerships. Scientists, NGO representatives, a co-chair and members of the Bureau will report on the process and reflect the “paradigm shift in agriculture” this assessment marks at the UN level.
A hands-on presentation and overview of the assessment will provide participants with options of making practical use of this document.
Participants will be discussing the significance of the assessment and options of its use at local, national and international level.

Session 1: Introducing the IAASTD

Hans Herren, co-chair of the IAASTD, What is IAASTD? Global context and recent trends What’s the problem? Options for action
Angelika Hilbeck & Jack Heinemann, IAASTD author, Biotech Dispute in Synth Report, Role of biotech in IAASTD, what is new and how it has been treated.
Benedikt Haerlin, member of IAASTD Bureau, How the IAASTD came about, brief timeline, major actors, how the process worked, etc.
Janice Jiggins, IAASTD author, The social side of the IAASTD.  Multifunctionality, participatory breeding...

Session 2: How can we use the IAASTD to achieve our goals?
Rajeswari Raina, IAASTD author, Looking ahead - using the IAASTD findings and processes, How can we use the IAASTD on a local, regional, national and international level.

Rajeswari Raina - East and South Asia and Pacific,
Tirso Gonzales - Latin America and Caribbean,
Cathy Rutivi - Sub-Saharan Africa, How can we use the IAASTD?
Jan van Aken - North America and Europe, The World Agriculture Report 2008: Results and Recommendations, Briefing from Greenpeace
Shoaib Aziz - Central And West Asia and North Africa: Using IAASTD in your region: Introduction to the IAASTD in the 5 specific regions. How the IAASTD regional report has turned out, and what this means for CSOs working in the region. Begin and facilitate discussion aiming to answer the three questions on the right.

Looking at 3 questions:
1. For CSOs, how can you use IAASTD with your funders and partners and in your programmes?
2. What does it mean for national/government policies, what are our key messages to them, what should they change?
3. What will the impact be on our dealings with international agencies, from the IMF and WB through to the UNEP and the FAO to the Rockefellers and Gates.

Discussion in small groups:  Ways to use IAASTD, Discussions around using IAASTD in specific regions, coming up with examples or opportunities brough forward by regional groups
Read the synthesis of all discussions.

Outcome of the IAASTD workshop
How Civil Society Organisations can use the IAASTD reports to support their work.

On Tuesday the 13th of May, a workshop on the IAASTD (International Agricultural Assessment of Science and Technology for Development) took place at Planet Diversity in Bonn. The aim of the workshop was to discuss ways in which Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working in the field of sustainable agriculture could use the IAASTD reports to support their work.

The workshop was broken into two halves, the first providing an introduction to the IAASTD, and the second looking at ways for CSOs to use the reports of the IAASTD. Four speakers, all actors in the IAASTD process, spoke on the process, content and specific themes within the content of the reports.
During the second half, participants split into regional groups where an author of the report discussed with them ways that the report could be used to support their work. These opportunities were later shared with the whole workshop and strategies for issues that arose were discussed.
It is these strategies that are outlined below as possible ways to take the report forward.

Raising awareness
This was seen as the most crucial way to use the report. Participants felt that there are many regional governmental blocs, governments, organisations and individuals who would benefit greatly from being able to use the reports to lend strength to their lobbying and arguments. Regional meetings and radio are seen as the best way to get the report to organisations and individuals, while universities and churches are two examples of organisations that could help in awareness raising.

Summarising and Simplifying
Making the reports more accessible to people was also seen as crucial. This would need to involve summarising parts of the report and in doing so, simplifying the language. While the reports are already translated into some languages, these also need to be summarised.

The IAASTD report should be compared to other reports to highlight the different development paths they are outlining, but also showing how the reports were written, who is supporting them and their respective funders. The IAASTD reports also show an alternative to the “Second Green Revolution” and should be used for this.

The reports can also be used to address funding organisation and their policies. When applying for funding, organisations should be able to reference the reports, showing how their work seeks to achieve the goals of the report. Aid and funding should also be monitored according to the reports, and organisations questioned on their policies where they differ from those of the report.

Approaching the Stakeholder group
The stakeholder group in the IAASTD, i.e. those that identified the problems that the reports addressed, should be approached for their view on the way the reports should be used.

The UN
All UN bodies need to be aware of the report. We need to lobby them in order for them to implement the reports recommendations in their work.

Highlight Collaboration
The fact that the report was a result of a collaboration between different groups needs to be emphasised in all of our strategies, and any work with the report.

Challenging the Dominant Paradigm
The report is also an opportunity to begin a conversation to challenge the dominant paradigm. It should be used as a tool to enable voices that are ignored to be heard.

Your contribution on this subject

» Go to the forum of this workshop

Last Contributions

Background Papers and further reading

Read the International Synthesis Report.

More documents available on the Internet here:

A new paradigm of agriculture? The IAASTD experienceUn nouveau paradigme pour l'agriculture? L'expérience de l'IAASTDEin neues Denkmuster für die Landwirtschaft?¿Un nuevo paradigma para la agricultura?

Local Organising Committee