Brussels, 03 Sep 2002
The World Bank has launched a consultative process to assess the risks and opportunities of using agricultural science to reduce hunger and improve rural livelihoods.
The project will encourage an exchange of ideas between scientists, consumers, farmers, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), governments and the private sector. It will be modelled on similar assessments of climate change and ozone that have sought to provide guidance to policy makers on contemporary issues.
The World Bank claims that the assessment aims to 'produce an international assessment on agricultural science that would give decision makers the tools and information they need to answer the tough questions surrounding the issue.'
The consultative process is seen by some as an attempt to resolve recent disagreements regarding the use of genetically modified crops in developing countries. Zambia recently refused US food aid on the grounds that it contained genetically modified varieties of maize.
Robert Watson, chief scientist at the bank and one of the five co-chairs of consultative process has said however that the assessment will cover a range of techniques of which farming is likely to comprise in the future, including organic farming, traditional farming and farming using different types of biotechnology.
For further information, please consult the following web address: http://www.agassessment.org