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Can Science Feed the Poor?

‘Budapest Declaration’ on Agricultural Science, Knowledge, and Technology endorsed by coalition of stakeholders
WASHINGTON, August 7, 2003—Following seven months of regional and global consultations hosted by the World Bank, a coalition of representatives from governments of developed and developing countries, NGOs, international organizations, research institutions, consumer and producer organizations, and private sector groups agreed in Budapest this week on the launch of global study on food security.

The Budapest Declaration , as the agreement was entitled, paves the way for a two year study, which will look into how Agricultural Science, Knowledge and Technology can improve the livelihoods of the rural poor and reduce poverty in developing countries.

“This is a first and unique chance for a global bottom-up check on what is really needed and what is not, to ensure food sovereignty for all, and the survival of the planet,” said Benedikt Haerlin, Greenpeace International , at the end of a three day meeting held in the Hungarian capital.

The study will be a broad one, looking into the economic, environmental, health, and social implications of current and potential future technologies. It aims to anticipate the challenges the world will face in 20 to 50 years by looking into plausible future scenarios.

“We must look to agricultural science and technology to help developing countries feed their people, improve nutrition, and raise living standards,” said Rodney Brown, Deputy Under Secretary of the U.S Department of Agriculture. With regards to the study, he underlined that “it could enhance the role and understanding of science and technology in increasing sustainable agricultural productivity.”

Bob Watson, the World Bank chief scientist who chaired the review and who helped prepare the groundwork for the Kyoto climate protocol, said the assessment would be unique in bringing together farmers' local knowledge and the work of university, government and private sector laboratories.

“The proposed process would be conducted using an open, transparent, representative, and legitimate process, involving a representative set of experts from all relevant stakeholder groups. It will develop a consensus on what is known and unknown, explain different points of view, and identify the uncertainties.” says Robert Watson, Chief Scientist of the World Bank and one of the Co-Chairs of the Consultative process.

The study, which is estimated to cost US$15 million, is expected to be co-sponsored by a combination of UN agencies and the World Bank.

For more information, please see the website: www.agassessment.org

 

 

 

 

 


Robert Watson, Chief Scientist of the World Bank and one of the Co-Chairs of the Consultative process.





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