Future challenges are just around the corner

At GCARD2 today, leaders discussed “Where do we go from here?” Photo: Peter Casier (CCAFS).

October 30th 2012 was the hottest day in Uruguay, the hottest day if we consider that it was the day when the F.2.2. Foresight at Global Level session discussed….where we should go from here.

The GCARD2 F2 session on “Foresight Guiding Research and Innovation” had two sessions running in parallel. Session F2.1. was dedicated to the regional and sub-regional levels. while Session F2.2. which I attended was focusing on foresight at the global level. Session F.2.2 was aimed at providing information that is relevant for discussions on how to affect future challenges based on the analysis of the global foresight works mentioned in the GFAR inventory.

After providing background information on what’s been done around the world through several show cases by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, UK Foresight Group, FAO or Agreenium, it came the time for GFAR and the CGIAR Consortium to give their input on the shape and dimension of foresight and its impact on global public policies.

Through the voice of Robin Bourgeois, GFAR stated the key points which foresight should address:

  • Future evolution of global food availability in 2050 is not so much a production problem but a local food access problem, which turns food security attention to the needs of the poor, urban and rural, and particularly of poor farmers;
  • Understanding the situation of poor rural people, particularly farmers and their perspectives for the future remains a huge challenge;
  • Ecosystem degradation and climate change impacts will put more pressure on poor farmers;
  • A range of scientific approaches, paradigms, concepts and methodologies must be maintained in order to develop research on more and more complex issues.

When presenting the three overarching themes of the CGIAR Consortium, namely gender, capacity strengthening and partnerships/stakeholder engagement, its CEO, Frank Rijsberman was questioned from across the world through the Social Reporting team about the role of young professionals in both foresight and within the CGIAR.

His response was not hesitant:

 “Youth fits everywhere: the critical challenge of a food secure future badly needs young people to engage!!”

Splitting up in working groups in order to envisage the future of both foresight and of the role of agricultural research for development in responding to future challenges that might be closer that we think, groups of donors, research leaders and scientists have worked together in answering the critical issue of “where do we go from here?”

The answer is that we should move forward in engaging all stakeholders in our projects and platforms while trying to develop the solutions for future challenges. The solutions for ending hunger, poverty alleviation or climate change cannot be found by researchers, policy makers, corporations or governments a single stakeholder group. Joint actions must be undertaken RIGHT NOW in order to ensure our sustainability.

As Monty Jones, the GFAR Chair said in the GCARD2  opening speech “The time for action is NOW”.

Blogpost by Codrin Paveliuc Olariu, one of the GCARD2 social reporters.

Foresight graphic: http://forera.jrc.ec.europa.eu/images/triangle.gif


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