At the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil in June 2012. Then UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon at an event belonging to the campaign “The Future We Want”.
Photo: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

25.06.2018

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The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) may well be the most controversial agriculture and food system assessment so far. It was the controversy around it that gave it the attention that some of its key initiators, governments, multilateral development partners and the private sector tried to drown. The IAASTD has strongly influenced the Sustainable Development Goals thanks to the unrelenting efforts by civil society groups, NGOs and a few of the report’s sponsoring UN Agencies. Where are we heading for today, ten years after the report was published?

The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) series of reports (one global and five regional) were given the title of “Agriculture at a Crossroads”. This title describes in a very clear language the lead finding that business as usual is not an option when it comes to agriculture, food and nutrition security in the medium and long term. Its 400 authors, vetted by the Report’s Bureau of 30 governments and 30 civil society organisations, development partners and private sector representatives worked over a period of four years to produce this report, regarded by many as the International Panel on Climate Change report on agriculture. The reports, global and regional, provided options for action (several country and private sector representatives objected to the term “recommendations”) for the radical transformation of the present chemical-based industrial and conventional food and agricultural production systems towards agroecology, institutions, practices and policies with a strong justification based on the assessment of the present food system and its impact in the three sustainable development dimensions (environment, society and economy – see Figure).

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