Saturday April 5, 2008

This weekend, representatives of 60 countries, and 30 civil society organizations and dozens of scientific experts convene in Johannesburg to take part in the International Assessment of Agricultural Science for Technology and Development.  The IAASTD has brought together hundreds of leading experts to take stock of global agricultural policy. 

This initiative was built on key precepts that ensured the report held to the highest standards of legitimacy and accuracy.  Experts come from cross cutting disciplines, including biology, sociology, agronomy and genetics.  They were chosen by consensus with input from industry, government and civil society.  Their report represents the entire body of the IAASTD.  The IAASTD also has reached new standards of democratic inclusion for an international meeting by granting NGOs like Greenpeace the right to fully participate in the governing Bureau.  The report is an outstanding example of cross fertilisation and strategizing for a sustainable agricultural future.

We need to protect key ideas:

Farming must become more agri-ecological, thinking of the holistic ecosystems in which our food is grown. 

We need to encourage farmers to continue their role as ecological stewards and provide compensation for the multiple ecological goods and services they produce. 

Agriculture can not be subservient to the dictates of free trade.  Communities have a right and a need to practice food sovereignty.

We must continue the fight against the dissemination and spread of genetically engineered organisms.

These will be the key struggles in the coming week.  The future of global agriculture depends on their defence.

For more up to date info on the IAASTD, see