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April 6, 2009

EcoAgriculture Partners Newsletter

The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP)’s new report on “The Environmental Food Crisis” (see article below) provides the first comprehensive analysis of the impacts of climate change, biodiversity loss, water stress, invasive species, contamination and other environmental problems on international food security. The analysis, based on new models incorporating environmental factors, projects that by 2050 there is a real threat that up to 25% of the world’s food production may be lost due to environmental breakdowns. This extraordinary finding is a ‘wake-up’ call to the world’s policymakers that we can no longer expect results from pursuing narrow sectoral goals. Indeed, one of the authors’ seven main recommendations is to pursue ecoagriculture landscape strategies that integrate food security and ecosystem management.
 
Even as we are confronted by the frightening realities of our ecological limitations, visionary leadership has cropped up in sometimes unexpected places to offer a new tenor of hope. In March, many of the world’s most influential agribusiness and food industry companies met in Virginia, USA to take stock of their progress in developing ‘greener’ and more socially responsible value chains for agricultural commodities, from field to consumer (see “Agricultural Revolution” article below). Some of them have made real progress, such as the US dairy organization that has set quantitative goals and a detailed action plan for member producers to sharply reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Later this month, the Ministers of Agriculture from countries throughout Africa will meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to discuss how their governments can accelerate investment in sustainable land management practices that contribute to both mitigation and adaptation to climate change (see “NEPAD” article below). Within this context of increasing need, and corresponding innovation, national and even global multi-stakeholder summits to fully integrate the sustainable agriculture, food security and environment agendas may not be too far off.

 


Table of Contents

EcoAgriculture Partners Updates In the Scene Resources Call for Papers, Partners, and Proposals Upcoming Events

 

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EcoAgriculture Partners Updates

NGO's form Agriculture and Environment Coalition to weigh in on US's international food security policy

Ecoagriculture Partners has joined with the World Wildlife Fund and other environmental and agriculture organizations to form a coalition of groups who will present a unified set of  recommendations for US agricultural policy. This new Agriculture and Environment Coalition so far includes Heifer International, Action Against Hunger USA, Save the Children, Bread for the World, Oxfam International, NASULGC, and the Rodale Institute. Representatives visited the U.S. Department of State on 2 March to discuss strategies that integrate environmental management with agricultural development. After a very productive meeting dealing with food security issues and touching on management of forests and fisheries, participants agreed to weigh in on specific pieces of legislation in the Congress and the House and be in touch to discuss next steps.


The recommendations from the Agriculture and Environment coalition are available on our website at: http://www.ecoagriculture.org/announcements.php?id.


For more details, and if your U.S.-based organization is interested in signing on, contact Ariela Summit at asummit@ecoagriculture.org.

Ecoagriculture Partners launches newsletter on payments for ecosystem

In early April, Ecoagriculture Partners will launch an internationalnewsletter on Payments for Ecosystem Service (PES) . It will be the focus specifically on applications of PES to agricultural land management for a range of ecosystem services, including climate regulation, biodiversity conservation, and watershed protection. The electronic newsletter will be produced on a quarterly basis. Its objective is to facilitate information exchange among a global community of practitioners working to develop PES  that support ecoagriculture landscapes. It will provide timely intelligence to help recipients in their own PES initiatives and policy development, and stimulate discussion within this community around key opportunities and bottlenecks in the development of agricultural PES.  The first issue will be sent to everyone who receives this newsletter. When it arrives, you will have an opportunity to sign up permanently.

Ecoagriculture Partners extends a welcome to new Fellow, Jim Lassoie

Jim is a Professor of Policy and Management in the Department of Natural Resources and an International Professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. Originally trained as a forester (B.S. '68) and forest ecologist (Ph.D. '75) at the College of Forest Resources, University of Washington in Seattle, he now focuses on community-based conservation science and management. He is interested in agroforestry, social forestry, ecotourism, and parks and protected area management, as well as ecoagriculture, and has worked extensively in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Canada, and the United States. He holds an Adjunct Professor appointment at Beijing Normal University in support of his current focus on conservation, sustainable development, and ecoagriculture in China. Jim has over 150 scholarly research publications, has served as the major advisor for 41 Masters and 25 Ph.D. students, and presently advises eight graduate students. Jim works closely with the Ecoagriculture Working Group at Cornell University, and collaborates with Ecoagriculture Partners and UC-Berkeley in developing the AgricultureBridge project. He is also working wih EP to develop a collaborative ecoagriculture program in China.

Landscape Measures Resource Center introductory training workshops held at the World Bank Rural Week and the Inter-American Development Bank

On 4 March Louise Buck of Ecoagriculture Partners conducted a half day workshop on the ecoagriculture Landscape Measures approach and the Landscape Measures Resource Center (LMRC) at the Agriculture and Rural Development Department (ARD) of The World Bank. About half of the 30 participants were country-based staff of The World Bank, while other participants represented conservation, development and research organizations with offices in the Washington DC area.  In addition to becoming familiar with the landscape measures approach to integrating conservation, production and livelihood goals and learning to navigate the LMRC, participants explored ways of working together to advance landscape measures methods and practices to support their program planning and management activities in the field.


On March 5th Louise Buck and Sara Scherr facilitated a 2-hour seminar on Landscape Measures as part of a series of training workshops sponsored by the Environmental and Social Safeguards group at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) headquarters.  Ecoagriculture Partners and IDB are exploring strategies for further mainstreaming biodiversity and ecosystem services into agricultural development investments in Latin America.  Participants included headquarters staff from several departments, as well as  staff  based in Latin America who joined via remote web link.

Ecoagriculture panel featured at the CSD plenary session on agriculture.

The Intersessional Preparatory Meeting for the 17th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-17) discussed agriculture during the morning and rural development during the afternoon on 24 February. Chair Gerda Verburg, Minister of Agriculture for the Netherlands, invited contributions highlighting policies and measures that have worked and why, and how they might be replicated and scaled up. Panelist Norman Uphoff, Cornell University, presented an overview of agroecological  approaches that are generating superior ecological and productivity outputs. Panelist Sara Scherr, Ecoagriculture Partners, presented a green strategy for food security and proposed three key actions:  a global summit be convened to frame such a strategy; Copenhagen climate negotiations place a high priority on mitigation and adaptation action in the agriculture and land-use sectors; and a facility to help farming communities plan for agriculture, environment and climate resilience be established.


For more information see full coverage in Earth Negotiations Bulletin see http://www.iisd.ca/vol05/enb05267e.html. Sara’ powerpoint may be downloaded from the EP website.

Land Use Carbon and Poverty Reduction Roundtable highlights successes

On March 13th, The Climate Action for Poverty Reduction (CAPR) Roundtable hosted the event “Land Use Carbon and Poverty Reduction” at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C.  Co-sponsored by the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), Ecoagriculture Partners, CARE, World Vision and Conservation International, the goal of the meeting was to convene practitioners and share examples of land use carbon initiaiives that have contributed to poverty reduction. Highlighted efforts included the ‘multiple benefit’ agroforestry systems of the CARE/ICRAF Communities, Conservation and Carbon Initiative, Conservation International's Conservation Agreements, and World Vision's FarmerManaged Natural Regeneration. Sara Scherr of Ecoagriculture Partners highlighted the challenges for scaling up smallholder carbon initiatives, and discussion groups developed an agenda of actions to address those and other challenges. About 50 people participated from 29 organizations.


For more details, contact Jonathan Haskett of ICRAF (jhaskett2008@gmail.com) or Seth Shames at sshames@ecoagriculture.org. All presentations from the meeting will shortly be posted at the World Agroforestry Centre website (http://www.worldagroforestry.org/af1/index.php).

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In the Scene

UNEP releases major report on the environmental food crisis at the Global Ministerial Environment Forum in Nairobi

A new report released by United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) in February at 25th session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum in Nairobi warns that up to 25% of the world’s food production may become lost due to environmental breakdown by 2050 unless action is taken. Edited by Christian Nellemann, Monika MacDevette, Ton Manders, Bas Eickout, Birger Svihus, Anne Gerdien Prins,  Bjorn P. Kaltenborn, the report provides the first summary by the UN of how climate change, water stress, invasive pests and land degradation may impact world food security, food prices and life on the planet and how we may be able to feed the world in a more sustainable manner.  Seven suggestions for improving food security include:


Options with short term effects:
1. To decrease the risk of highly volatile prices, price regulation on commodities and larger cereal stocks should be created to buffer the tight markets of food commodities and the subsequent risks of speculation in markets
2. Encourage removal of subsidies and blending ratios of first generation biofuels, which would promote a shift to higher generation biofuels based on waste, thereby avoiding the capture of cropland by biofuels


Options with mid term effects:
3. Reduce the use of cereals and food fish in animal feed and develop alternatives to animal and fish feed.
 4. Support farmers in developing diversified and resilient ecoagriculture systems that provide critical ecosystem services (water supply and regulation, habitat for wild plants and animals, genetic diversity, pollination, pest control, climate regulation), as well as adequate food to meet local and consumer needs
5. Increase trade and improve market access by improving infrastructure and reducing trade barriers, while maintaining some price regulations and government subsidies.


Options with long term effects:
6. Limit global warming, including the promotion of climate-friendly agricultural production systems and land-use policies at a scale to help mitigate climate change.
7. Raise awareness of the pressures of increasing population growth and consumption patterns on sustainable ecosystem functioning.


For more information on the report see: http://www.grida.no/publications/rr/food-crisis/.

Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa hosts conference on improving US assistance and investments in food security and agricultural development in Sub-Saharan Africa

On 23-24 February, the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa hosted the forum "Transforming Food Security & Agricultural Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: A US-African Forum on Improving the Effectiveness of US Assistance and Investments in Challenging Economic Times." The event was held in Washington DC, and brought together a diverse set of U.S. and African public sector leaders, businesspersons, and practitioners to consider how the U.S. can work more effectively with its partners to address the shared and urgent imperative of improving food security in sub-Saharan Africa. Conference organizers plan to sift through group reports and compile an initial conference report, which will be available shortly, along with additional power point presentations.


The Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa was founded in early 2000 to mobilize public and private support in the United States for increased levels of assistance to Africa. The Partnership also seeks to create consensus among Africans and Americans about the steps needed to increase the effectiveness of aid, and bring about real progress in the fight to end hunger in Africa.


To see the annotated agenda for the conference, visit: http://www.africanhunger.org/uploads/articles/1aca332383d521f5f514bc26909b15c9.pdf.


For general information on the Partnership to Cut Poverty and Hunger in Africa, see: www.africanhunger.org.

International Federation of Agricultural Producers presents farmersí priorities for action at Commission on Sustainable Development Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting

During the Commission on Sustainable Development Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting (CSD IPM) at the United Nations Headquarters from February 23-37, a delegation of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP) farmer leaders, led by President Ajay Vashee, presented the Farmers' Priorities for Action, a five-point integrated approach towards building a new agricultural model that is people centered and knowledge based. The five point approach is, as follows:

  • Recognize agriculture as an engine for economic growth, rural development and thus poverty reduction
  • Establish policy frameworks and allocate sufficient budgetary resources to attract investments into agriculture.
  • Take an integrated approach towards rural development strategies, in particular emphasizing basic rural infrastructure and recognizing women farmers as a driving force for any strategy
  • Develop secure land tenure arrangements, especially for women farmers.
  • Combat desertification by turning dry lands into economic assets and give farmers effective risk management tools

IFAP is the world farmers’ organization representing over 600 million farm families grouped in 120 national organizations in 79 countries. It is a global network in which farmers from industrialized and developing countries exchange concerns and set common priorities.


For more information on the five points of action, see: http://www.ifap.org/en/documents/FarmersMajorGroup_FarmersPrioritiesforAction.pdf.


For more information on IFAP see: http://www.ifap.org/en/index.html.

The fourth World Conference on Conservation Agriculture, Delhi, India

The fourth World Conference on Conservation Agriculture was held from 4-7 February 2009. The conference, which drew 700 researchers, policy planners, farmers, extension-workers, corporate leaders and non-governmental organizations, focused on documenting research and development efforts in conservation agriculture, measuring the benefits of conservation agriculture, and identifying region specific opportunities of scaling up conservation agriculture. It was jointly organized by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS), and sponsored by others.


At the conference, Larry Harrington presented the paper “Incentives for the Adoption of Conservation Agriculture: Conservation Payments for Water, Carbon, and Biodiversity” by Harrington and Sara Scherr. Other topics in section 2.4, Enabling Policies, included discussion on crops, livestock, and conservation agriculture, externalities, payments for ecosystem services and conservation agriculture as well as policy options for conservation agriculture and the role of women.

Katoomba Group conference in Mato Grosso, Brazil, focuses on avoiding deforestation in the Amazon through PES markets

At this meeting, organized by the Katoomba Group in Mato Grasso, Brazil, from 1-2 April, participants discussed the latest developments in carbon, water and biodiversity markets and how they are being created and utilized to help solve some of our most critical environmental challenges. Discussion focused on:

  • The latest initiatives to control deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon.
  • Amazon governors’ presentations on the Global Climate Summit
  • Launching of Mato Grosso State Forum on Climate Change
  • A discussion on REDD options for the Xingu Park
  • The Brazilian Amazon Fund to control deforestation and the country’s official position on REDD
  • How water quality trading markets can contribute to the conservation in the Amazon
  • The emergence of biodiversity markets and how they can be applied in Brazil
  • How to bridge the gap between current challenges and future economic and environmental solutions
  • Creating an infrastructure fund for the planet that will invest in our vital natural services

The Katoomba Group is an international network of individuals working to promote, and improve capacity related to, markets and payments for ecosystem services (PES). The Group serves as a forum for the exchange of ideas and strategic information about ecosystem service transactions and markets, as well as site for collaboration between practitioners on PES projects and programs.


For more information (in Spanish) on the meeting, see: http://www.katoombameeting2009.com.br/.
For more information on the Katoomba Group see: http://www.katoombagroup.org/.

21st Century Agricultural Revolution: Sustainable Food Lab/Sustainable Agriculture Initiative/Keystone Conference

The Sustainable Food Lab, in conjunction with Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform and Field to Market: The Keystone Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, hosted "Growing a 21st Century Agricultural Revolution", a three-day conference in Lansdowne, Virginia from 18-20 March. More than 250 participants from agribusiness, the food industry, and NGOS discussed new approaches being taken by the private sector and partners to ‘green’ the food supply chain in the U.S. and internationally. The highly interactive event focused on key issues – such as water, climate, energy, biodiversity, poverty – and key strategies such as partnering in value chains, embedding performance metrics, incentives for better practices, and building institutional infrastructure in farming communities.


The Sustainable Food Lab is a global network of business, public sector and civil society leaders working together to accelerate sustainability in mainstream food and agriculture. For more information see: http://www.sustainablefoodlab.org/.


The Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Patform is an organization created by the food industry to communicate worldwide and to actively support the development of sustainable agriculture involving the different stakeholders of the food chain. For more information see: http://www.saiplatform.org/about_us/.


The Keystone Alliance brings together today’s public, private and civic sector leaders to confront society’s most challenging environmental, energy, and public health problems.
For more information see: http://www.keystone.org/index.html.


To download the brochure and agenda visit: http://www.sustainablefoodlab.org/filemanager/filedownload/phpQ6qWIu/AGfinal17LG.pdf.

The Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities Program funds projects for sustainable palm oil production

The Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities Program (BACP) has approved four projects dealing with sustainable palm oil production under the 2008 round of funding through the Global Environmental Facility. These projects further one of the BACP’s larger missions to supports private-sector led initiatives to mainstream the adoption of better management practices in the four target commodity markets of palm oil, soybean, sugarcane, and cocoa. Three of the projects are centered in Indonesia, while the fourth functions on a global level. The projects are, as follows:

  • Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Biodiversity Technical Committee and RSPO Biodiversity Coordinator submitted by Lead Partner, Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil
  • Pilot Study to undertake palm-oil cultivation according to RSPO-guidelines on fallow land, in the context of relocating palm-oil concessions threatening the last remaining high biodiversity coastal peat swamp rainforests of Aceh submitted by Lead Partner, PanEco Foundation
  • Supporting sustainable palm oil production through private-public partnerships for landscape-based High Conservation Value Forests assessment submitted by Lead Partner Fauna & Flora International
  • Increasing the effectiveness of Biodiversity-Related RSPO Principles and Criteria submitted by Lead Partner, Zoological Society of London

For more details on the projects and the BACP itself, see: www.bacp.net.

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Resources

Ecoagriculture Partners and IIED release discussion paper on new directions for integrating environment and development in East Africa

Ecoagriculture Partners is pleased to announce the release of a new discussion paper, "New Directions for Integrating Environment and Development in East Africa,” co-published with the International Institute for Environmental and Development (IIED). The paper is authored by Steve Bass, Sara Scherr, Yves Renard and Seth Shames, and is third in the Ecoagriculture Partners discussion paper series. The basis for this report is a series of consultations carried out by the authors in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda between February and April 2007 to gather perspectives from environment and development leaders in these countries on priorities for investment in sustainable development. The results of these consultations highlighted ways to link new or rapidly-growing economic sectors in East Africa (natural resource-based commodities, agricultural investments, tourism, carbon offset markets) to national agendas for food security, restoration of degraded natural resources, and poverty reduction. While major barriers to implementing these ideas exist, the leaders interviewed had pragmatic ideas for moving forward and field examples of successful models that can be scaled up.


The paper is available for download at: http://www.ecoagriculture.org/documents/files/doc_194.pdf.

Ecoagriculture Book (2003) now available in Portuguese

A Portuguese version of the book “Ecoagriculture: Strategies to Feed the World and Save Wild Biodiversity” has been produced by Senac, the National Service of Commercial Learning. The book was originally published in 2003 by Island Press, and examines the idea that agricultural landscapes can be designed more creatively to take the needs of human populations into account while also protecting, or even enhancing, biodiversity. The authors present a thorough overview of the innovative concept of "ecoagriculture" – the management of landscapes for both the production of food and the conservation of wild biodiversity.
 
To order the book in Portuguese from outside of Brazil, please see www.livrariacultura.com.br. From inside of Brazil, you may contact the São Paulo office directly through Pedro Barros at pedro.barros@sp.senac.br.

Enhanced HarvestChoice website aims to better target agricultural investments

The HarvestChoice initiative has launched a comprehensive collection of data products designed to better inform strategic policy and investment decisions aimed at improving farm productivity and profitability, and market development. The website is intended to be the “go-to” resource for analysts and decision makers seeking integrated, consistent, and spatially-referenced information, provided in an interactive portal. The data collection focuses on factors relevant to crop production and marketing in Sub-Saharan African agriculture, such as climate, soil and pest conditions and constraints, current and future cropping systems geography and performance, and access to markets.  Recognizing the site-specific nature of many interventions designed to boost productivity, especially in the rainfed systems common throughout sub Saharan Africa, HarvestChoice takes a spatial approach, using interfaces built around open-source platforms such as Google Maps.


HarvestChoice was launched in October 2006 and is jointly led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the University of Minnesota’s International Science and Technology Practice and Policy (INSTePP) program. For more information, visit: http://www.ifpri.org.


To view the HarvestChoice website and download early data offerings, visit http://www.harvestchoice.org.

International digital Global Soil Map launched

On 17 February, 2009, over 100 participants gathered from many institutions, disciplines, and continents to inaugurate GlobalSoilMap.net, a pioneering new tool that will utilize innovative technology to digitally map the Earth’s soil and its properties. To date, knowledge of the world’s soil resources has been fragmented, dated, and taken at different resolutions. The map is an initiative of the Digital Soil Mapping Working Group of the International Union of Soil Sciences, and was funded in November by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), specifically to map most parts in Sub-Sahara Africa, and make all Sub-Saharan Africa data available. From this grant there are also funds for coordinating global efforts and for the establishment of a global consortium on digital soil mapping.


All presentations from the conference, as well as other background information, are available at www.globalsoilmap.net.

ICT profiles smallholder market information systems

Issue 47 of ICT, a current awareness bulletin for ACP agriculture, focuses on market information systems for smallholder farmers. Feature articles include pieces on computerizing dairy cooperatives in Kenya, using text messaging in Zambia to receive fairer market prices, and a Malian association who used information technology to gather data from farmers to meet international export standards and made the same information avilable on their web to help supply chain partners and inform consumers.
ICTUpdate is a bimonthly printed bulletin, a web magazine, and an accompanying email newsletter. It is published by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) ACP–EU . Each issue of ICTUpdate focuses on a specific theme relevant to ICTs for agricultural and rural development in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, and features four commissioned articles.


For more information on issue 47 see: http://ictupdate.cta.int/en/(issue)/47.

Innovative ecoagriculture solutions featured in the Journal of Agricultural Sustainability

This month the Journal of Agricultural Sustainability profiled a number of articles which are relevant to ecoagriculture. Titles include:

  • Livestock development and poverty alleviation: revolution or evolution for upland livelihoods in Lao PDR? (Joanne Millar and Viengxay Photakoun)
  • A quantitative and qualitative historical analysis of the scientific discipline of agroecology (A. Wezel and V. Soldat)
  • Global multifunctional agriculture: transitional convergence between North and South or zero-sum game? (Geoff A. Wilson)
  •  A paradigm for persistence: a vital challenge for the agricultural academy (Richard J. Bawden)

To download these articles for free, and for more information on the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, see www.earthscan.co.uk/journals/ijas.

Book profiling gene flow between crops and their wild relatives

An extensive amount of information regarding gene flow of 20 important crops has been collated and published in a book called “Gene Flow Between Crops and Their Wild Relatives” authored by Meike S. Andersson and M. Carmen de Vicente and published by John Hopkins Press. The work summarizes both state-of-the-art knowledge and research gaps related to gene flow and introgression between crops and their wild relatives.


The information is based on a comprehensive review of the relevant scientific and technical literature. It emphasizes gene transfer from GM crops to wild species, rather than between different cultivars (i.e., from GM to conventional varieties) of the same crop.


For more information about the project and data on which the book was based see: http://www.bioversityinternational.org/scientific_information/themes/conservation_and_use/gene_flow_project.html.


To order the book (as of November 2009) see: http://www.allbookstores.com/book/9780801893148/Meike_S_Andersson/Gene.

Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities Program launches e-newsletter

Agricultural expansion is the leading cause of habitat loss around the world and poses one of the gravest threats to global biodiversity. Tropical export commodities have dramatically increased production in the last fifty years, resulting in the destruction of much tropical habitat. The Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities Program (BACP) seeks to reduce the threats posed by agriculture to biodiversity of global significance by transforming markets for target agricultural commodities. To transform the commodity markets, BACP supports projects that generate greater supply, demand and financing of biodiversity-friendly products. Projects must meet specific criteria and address one of the four following components: removing policy barriers; supporting better production; increasing demand for biodiversity-friendly products and encouraging financial services to support biodiversity-friendly practices.


The BACP recently started an electronic newsletter to share BACP updates, the activities of the commodity roundtables with which the BACP works and information on the transformation of the commodity markets being achieved through BACP-funded projects.


To subscribe to the newsletter send an email to: subscribebacp@chemonics.com.


For more information on the BACP, see: http://www.ifc.org/ifcext/sustainability.nsf/Content/Biodiversity_BACP.

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Call for Papers, Partners, and Proposals

Request for papers for the Journal of Plant Breeding and Crop Science

The Journal of Plant Breeding and Crop Science (JPBCS) is a multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal published monthly by Academic Journals dedicated to increasing the depth of crop science across disciplines with the ultimate aim of improving plant research. The journal is seeking submission of manuscripts that meet the general criteria of significance and scientific excellence, and will publish original articles in basic and applied research, case studies, and critical reviews, surveys, opinions, commentaries and essays. Once authors have submitted material, they will be informed of a decision about their manuscript within four weeks of submission. Following acceptance, a paper will normally be published in the next issue.


Instruction for authors and other details are available at:  http://www.academicjournals.org/JPBCS/Instruction.htm.

Ashoka global competition to improve rural communities

With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ashoka's Changemakers
has launched "Cultivating Innovation: Solutions for Rural Communities," a new collaborative competition designed to find innovative solutions that help to improve the quality of life in rural and farming communities.


The competition is open to all types of organizations (charitable organizations, private companies, or public entities) from all countries. Changemakers will consider all entries that demonstrate system-changing solutions in agriculture and in the lives of rural citizens in sub-Saharan Africa, India, and around the world. The judges are only able to evaluate programs that are beyond the conceptual stage and have demonstrated a proof of impact, even at small scale. The winners of the competition will be those entries that best demonstrate innovation, social impact, potential for replication, and sustainability.


Entries may be submitted in English, Spanish, French, or Portuguese, and will be accepted until May 13, 2009. For complete details see the Changemakers website at http://www.changemakers.net/en-us/agriculture.

Environmental Protection Agency request for proposals: partnerships for pesticide risk management

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pesticide Programs (USA) is soliciting initial proposals to advance partnerships that focus on pesticide risk management issues with a special emphasis on integrated pest management (IPM) approaches. Awards are intended to support a diverse set of project types, including, but not limited to demonstrations, transfer of innovative IPM technologies, outreach, and education. The total amount of funding available for award is expected to be $1 million, with maximum funding $250,000 per project. The due date for submission is April 15, 2009. This competition begins with a call for initial proposals from which candidates will be selected and offered an invitation to submit full applications. The project period of performance is limited to two years from the award date.


For more details see: http://www.epa.gov/pesp/PRIA2_Announcement_FY09.pdf.

Development Marketplace competition for climate adaptation

The 2009 global competition of the Development Marketplace aims to identify 20 to 25 innovative, early-stage projects addressing climate adaptation. The Development Marketplace is a competitive grant program administered by the World Bank, and funded by the Global Environmental Facility and other partners. The competition on climate adaptation focuses on three sub-themes: Resilience of Indigenous Peoples Communities to Climate Risks; Climate Risk Management with Multiple Benefit; and Climate Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management.


Special eligibility criteria apply to sub-theme one. For sub-themes two and three, non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, foundations and development agencies based in the country of implementation may apply. All proposals must be submitted online using the online form on the Development Marketplace website. The deadline for all proposals is May 18, 2009 6 p.m. EST.


For more information see: http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/OPPORTUNITIES/GRANTS/DEVMARKETPLACE/0,,contentMDK:22055086~pagePK:180691~piPK:174492~theSitePK:205098,00.html.

Farm Foundation competition for innovative agricultural solutions

The Farm Foundation has organized a competition seeking innovative and promising public policy options to address the challenges agriculture may face in providing food, feed, fiber and fuel over the next 30 years.  The competition is open to anyone with an interest in the public policy issues outlined in the Foundation's report, The 30-Year Challenge: Agriculture’s Strategic Role in Feeding and Fueling a Growing World.  The Foundation intends to award cash prizes totaling $20,000. 


The Farm Foundation has a 75 year commitment to objectivity, fostering constructive debate that is essential to sound public policy development in democracy. Farm Foundation initiated this project to spur all stakeholders to begin discussions on the 30 year challenge. To further encourage these discussions, Farm Foundation is offering a competition for the most innovative and promising public policy ideas in each of the following 6 areas:

  • Global financial markets and recession
  • Global food security
  • Global energy security
  • Climate change
  • Competition for natural resources
  • Global economic development

All entries must be received in the Farm Foundation office by Monday June 4th 2009.
For more information see: http://www.farmfoundation.org/news/articlefiles/1694-Competition%20for%20Web%203-5-09.pdf.

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Upcoming Events

The Agriculture and Lands African Ministers' Conference, 22-24 April 2009, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The Agriculture and Lands Ministers’ Conference is scheduled to run from 22-24 April 2009. It is important to note that this is the first Ministers of Agriculture Meeting that is being organized fully and directly by the African Union Commission and NEPAD (AUC-NEPAD). The main theme of the conference is “Investing in Agriculture for Economic Growth and Food Security,” while sub themes include:


  • Climate Change: Opportunities for enhanced investments and growth of African Agriculture;
  • Regional Agriculture trade and market systems: Issues and challenges for stimulating economic transformation and growth in Africa;
  • Investment Financing: Making African Agriculture a viable investment option; and
  • Stimulating participation of the ultra-poor in rural economic activities.

For more information, see: http://www.nepad.org/2005/files/home.php or contact Janet Edema at janetedeme@yahoo.com, or Martin Bwalya at bwalyam@nedpad.org for more information.

Workshop: Biodiversity and human well-being in Latin America and the Caribbean: identifying priorities for research, management and policy, 28-30 April 2009, Rio de Janeiro , Brazil

Convened by the International Council for Science (ICSU), DIVERSITAS, DiverSus and the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI), this workshop is part of a broader effort to identify biodiversity research, conservation and management priorities in Latin America and the Caribbean in light of the Millennium Ecosystems Assessment’s findings. Participants will discuss links between biodiversity and human well-being in Latin America and the Caribbean, from academia, government, civil society, and the private sector points of view, with a view to make recommendations on priorities for ecosystem services management in the region.


In the first step of this process, over 500 people in 21 countries in the region were consulted about the key issues and challenges for science, policy, and management regarding biodiversity and ecosystem services. The results will be discussed at the workshop. A detailed account of the workshops discussions, together with analysis of the on-line questionnaire’s responses, will form the bulk of a project report which will be submitted to ICSU, and later be available online. 


For more information contact Alice Range de Paiva Abreu at: alice.abreu@icsu-lac.org.

45th Annual Conference and 2009 Future Leaders Forum on the Global Food Crisis, 31 May-3 June 2009, Washington DC

Hosted by the Association of International Agriculture and Rural Development, this conference will address pertinent questions in the global food crisis, such as;

  • What are some of the policies and practices that created this food crisis?
  • What type of interventions have shown promising and which have failed?
  • Are we ignoring this crisis in light of our own financial crisis
  • Are there ways to avoid this in the future?

Over the course of the meeting, experts will review the historic and present day food crisis; highlight key interventions in international agriculture and rural development; and look ahead to consider the challenges to avoid a global food crisis.


AIARD's mission is to improve the quality of life for all people by improving and developing global capacities to respond to new challenges and opportunities in helping to eliminate poverty, improve food security, and conserve and protect the environment, in order to stimulate broad-based economic growth and sustainable development. For more information on AIARD, see http://aiard.org/about/mission.htm.


For more information about the conference and forum see: http://aiard.org/meetings/2009annual/invitation.htm.

Irish Landscape Conference, 13-16 October 2009, Tullamore Co., Offaly, Ireland

This conference will evaluate progress on the actions that emerged during the 1999 ‘Toward Policies and Priorities for the Irish Landscape” conference. The landscape framework considers cultural and natural landscape in an integrated manner using a multidisciplinary approach. The purpose of the meeting is to identify the most appropriate mechanism to secure benefits for communities in Ireland and their landscapes A range of international, European, national, regional, and local speakers are being lined up to participate in the conference.


If you are interested in attending please contact Anne Barcoe at abarcoe@heritagecouncil.ie. A final program will be circulated in the spring of 2009.

2009 Borlaug Dialogue on Food, Agriculture, and National Security in a Globalized World, 14 -16 October 2009, Des Moines, Iowa

The 2009 Borlaug Dialogue symposium will ask experts and decision-makers from around the world how their fields – in policy, industry, science and academia, and development – can ensure adequate access to food and nutrition for, and thus contribute to the security of, all people. To address that question, several hundred participants representing more than 65 countries – including leading policymakers and diplomats, CEOs and senior private-sector executives, and experts from academia, research, and the development community – will engage in a range of conversations addressing food and agriculture in the context of national and international security, poverty, hunger, and food security in global crisis area, as well as the need to harmonizing organic and sustainable agricultural practices with modern technology and genetics.


For more information see: http://www.worldfoodprize.org/symposium/2009.htm.

Second DIVERSITAS Open Science Conference on biodiversity and society, 13-16 October 2009, Cape Town, South Africa

Building on the success of the first DIVERSITAS Open Science Conference, DIVERSITAS invites scientists and policy makers interested in biodiversity science to discuss the subject “Biodiversity and society: understanding connections, adapting to change” during the Second DIVERSITAS Open Science Conference from 13-16 October 2009 in Cape Town, South Africa. DIVERSITAS Open Science Conferences aim to assemble the whole scientific and policy community working on biodiversity science. The first DIVERSITAS Open Science Conference, DIVERSITAS OSC1, with the theme "Integrating biodiversity science for human well being" took place in Oaxaca, Mexico from 9-12 November 2005.


DIVERSITAS is an International Programme of Biodiversity Science with the following missions: promote an integrative biodiversity science, linking biological, ecological and social disciplines in an effort to produce socially relevant new knowledge; provide the scientific basis for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity; and draw out the implications for policies for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.


Fore more information on the conference see: http://www.diversitas-osc.org/index.php?page=home.


For more information on DIVERSITAS see: http://www.diversitas-international.org/.

The newsletter was compiled by Ecoagriculture Partners. For more information, please contact info@ecoagriculture.org. Information about Ecoagriculture Partners and related employment opportunities can be found at www.ecoagriculture.org.