April 3, 2009

IAASDT Report: we need a PR machine in people acting

harvesting soy

Jill Richardson at La Vida Locavore posts about "the biggest report you've never heard about. I didn't know much about it. It was the Intergovernmental Plenary Session in Johannesburg, South Africa in April, 2008. Who is burying this important information?

"Over 400 scientists and 30 governments came together as the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) to write a report on the global food system. The director of IAASTD, Robert Watson, won a Nobel prize. Why hasn't anyone heard of this? Well... my guess is two-fold: 1) the report employed scientists not PR strategists and marketers and 2) the companies that have the big money to put into PR and marketing didn't like the results".

Farmers, scientists, NGOs, government, global bodies, came to conclusions that many of us have been saying for a long time.

"Multifunctionality of agriculture and the productivity and effectiveness of small household farms and gardens to provide food security was recognized.

The old ‘one size fits all’ approach of industrial agriculture was not sufficient to abolish poverty and hunger and caused irreversible damage to the environment everywhere it was introduced.

For poverty and hunger alleviation the paradigm shift will have to include solution packages that are tailored to the given situation and will include initially low-tech and certainly cost-free strategies"

from: The IAASTD report and some of its fallout – a personal note By Dr. Angelika Hilbeck, ETH Zurich, Institute of Integrative Biology, Zurich, Switzerland

Biotech food giants could not come up with the science they trumpet. Take this claim as an example: "‘biotechnology is key to reducing poverty and hunger…’. They can't claim that.

They could not work with a huge majority in consensus about several matters: that context counts, that industrialized farming has some untenable human and ecological costs and that small, local and sustainable is productive.

Biotech can provide the PR and industry "science" to argue against those things, but not the facts. They picked up their marbles and left. Now this work is "discredited for not being "scientific". But they've changed the definition of that to mean convincing, haven't they? It is very much like, and perhaps related, to the shadow banking comic tragedy unfolding. They both involve pyramids with a very few on top and by god, lots of global suckers. They have massive numbers of indepted parties, control industry and governments profit and seek new toxic assets to keep the wheels going. But the masses of us want change.

We obviously need an accounting and a strict regulation of the life science, industrial farming industry and a reclamation of our governments to steer agriculture to a more sustainable central, just and bountiful place.

See Tom Philpots great article in the Grist, for example.

The photo is from a 04/08 BBC story, Global food system 'must change', about the IAASTD report.

The Report can be found on the IAASTD website

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