International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development
GDP Logo 1 International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development

  About IAASTD
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1.0 Overview and Structure

The IAASTD is composed of one Global Assessment and five Sub-global Assessments, which will use the same basic framework as the Global Assessment, i.e., the impacts of AKST on hunger, poverty, nutrition, human health, and environmental and social sustainability in relation to both the past and the future. The Global and Sub-global assessments will be peer-reviewed by governments and experts, and approved by the Panel of participating governments. The five Sub-global Assessments:

- Central and West Asia and North Africa (CWANA) - Regional Institute: ICARDA (International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas)
- East and South Asia and the Pacific (ESAP) - Regional Institute: World Fish Center
- Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) - Regional Institute: IICA (Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture)
- North America and Europe (NAE)
- Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)- Regional Institute: ACTS (African Centre for Technology Studies)

will be undertaken at the regional, national or local scales and will complement the Global Assessment by examining its context-specific aspects.

To read the definition of an Assessment click here

Unique Attributes

Intergovernmental process with multi-stakeholder Bureau comprised of 30 representatives from government and 30 from civil society;

Multiple international agency cosponsorship (FAO, GEF, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, World Bank, and WHO);

Well-defined user needs grounded in an international consultative process;

Inclusion of hundreds of experts from all relevant stakeholder groups;

Multi-thematic focus embracing nutritional security, livelihoods, human health and environmental sustainability;

Multi-spatial: global and sub-global assessments with an intellectually consistent framework;

Multi-temporal: historical-to-long term (till 2050) perspectives employing use of plausible scenarios;

Integration of local and institutional knowledge;

Assessment of policies and institutional arrangements, as well as KST.

Multiple Stakeholders

The process brought together governments; Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs); the private sector; producers; consumers; the scientific community; Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEAs) as well as multiple international agencies involved in the agricultural and rural development sectors to share views and gain common understanding and vision for the future.

Expected Outputs

A series of published (printed and web-based), critical, in-depth Global and Sub-global Assessments of local and institutional knowledge and experiences will be produced. The Assessment reports will be translated into the six official UN languages, presented, and discussed at international, national and sub-national user forums, workshops and symposia involving the range of stakeholders.

The IAASTD does not aim to predict the future; however, what it will do is create 'plausible scenarios', based on knowledge from past events and existing trends such as population growth, rural/urban food and poverty dynamics, loss of agricultural land, water availability and climate change effects. Based around these issues, 'What if?' questions can be formulated that allow the implications of different technological options to be explored and understood.

The Assessment will not dictate what countries or stakeholders should do, rather it aims to inform processes of future planning and thinking as to what may happen as the world continues to develop from current patterns over the next 30-50 years and therefore what different AKST options, scenarios and policies may bring us if we go down different pathways to address these challenges.

2.0 History of the IAASTD

The Assessment process was initiated by the World Bank in open partnership with a multistakeholder group of organizations, including FAO, GEF, UNDP, UNEP, WHO and UNESCO and representatives of governments, civil society, private sector and scientific institutions from around the world. It uses a strongly consultative 'bottom-up' process that recognizes the different needs of different regions and communities.

In August 2002, FAO and the World Bank announced at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg a global consultative process on a proposed international assessment of the role of agricultural science and technology. Representatives from all relevant stakeholder groups attended the first meeting in Dublin, Ireland, in November 2002. Participants endorsed transparency and inclusiveness as guiding principles for the regional consultations. Ten Regional Consultations were subsequently held in:

Cairo, Egypt
Paris, France
Lima, Peru
Washington, USA
Cork, Ireland
Dublin, Ireland
San Jose, Costa Rica
New Delhi, India
Suva, Fiji
Bogor, Indonesia
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Beijing, China

The 55-member Steering Committee met in Cork, Ireland (12-13 June 2003) and Budapest, Hungary (31 July - 2 August 2003) to finalize recommendations to the President of the World Bank and the Heads of FAO, IFAD, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO and WHO. In December 2003, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, wrote the President of the World Bank, Jim Wolfensohn, expressing full support and cooperation for the initiative.

Click here to view the final report of the Steering Committee in the six official UN languages.

The Panel of participating governments, taking into account the views of other stakeholders at the IAASTD Intergovernmental Plenary held in Nairobi from 30 August to 3 September 2004, agreed on the objectives, goals, scope, key questions, design, preparation and peer-review processes, outputs, timetable, budget and governance structure.

3.0 Governance and Management of the IAASTD

The IAASTD has an intergovernmental governance structure, which resembles that of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), but contains a Bureau similar to the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) Board of Directors.

The geographically based multi-stakeholder Bureau, is comprised of 30 government representatives [Sub-Saharan Africa (6); Latin America and the Caribbean (5); Central and West Asia and North Africa (4); North America and Europe (9); and East and South Asia and the Pacific (6)], 22 representatives from civil society [the private sector (6); non-governmental organizations (6); consumer groups (4); and producer groups (6)], representatives from 8 institutions, and 2 co-chairs. The cosponsoring agencies serve as ex-officio members of the Bureau.

The Plenary (i.e. the Panel of participating governments) elected the government representatives of the Bureau, with each region selecting its own members, taking into account areas of expertise and gender balance. Decisions are taken by the panel of participating governments and the Bureau, where appropriate. The Plenary is comprised of representatives from the member states of the 7 cosponsoring agencies. At the first Plenary, the governments approved the scope, goals, structure (global and sub-global assessments), governance and management structures, budget and timetable for the IAASTD. At the conclusion of the IAASTD process, the Panel will be responsible for accepting the Full Report and for subjecting the Global and Sub-Global Summaries for Decision Makers to a final line-by-line approval in a session of the Plenary.

The IAASTD has a distributed Secretariat with the major component being in Washington DC and other components in FAO (Rome), UNEP (Nairobi), and UNESCO (Paris). The Secretariat provides management and oversight of the project, as well as liaising with governments, civil society organizations and the Bureau to ensure project implementation. Other members of the distributed Secretariat include staff located at the Sub-global Management Entities.

The intergovernmental process ensures ownership by governments, while the integrated Bureau allows the full range of stakeholders to meet as a single body creating opportunities for constructive exchanges and building consensus.

For more information on the IAASTD Bureau, click here.

For more information on the IAASTD Secretariat, click here.

4.0 Principles & Procedures

The Panel of participating governments approved the principles and procedures governing the IAASTD at the Intergovernmental Plenary held in Nairobi, Kenya from 30 August to 3 September, 2004. The principles and procedures were revised and approved at the Second IAASTD Bureau meeting in Montpellier, France from May 25 to 27, 2005. These principles describe the general procedures, role, organisation and purpose of the IAASTD, decision making process as well as procedures for the preparation, review, acceptance, approval, adoption and publication of the IAASTD Report.

The full text of the Principles and Procedures Governing the IAASTD including Annexes I and II are provided below.

Principles and Procedures Governing the IAASTD

Annex I: Responsibilities for Lead Authors, Coordinating Lead Authors, Contributing Authors, Expert Reviewers, Review Editors and Focal Points

Review Editors Role

Annex II: Procedures for using non-published/non-peer-reviewed sources in the Assessment Report