Setting objectives, strategic approaches and defining pathways for future change in agriculture are all fine, but they are nothing without collective action, as I learned during the Third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD3) in Johannesburg recently.
One of the themes of the conference was “Ensuring better rural futures”, and it focused on the practical use of foresight activities to plan future agricultural development in agri food systems. The core idea of the session was to work together so capture different aspects and perspectives for sustainable future development at national, regional and global levels. We were divided into two groups (farmer organizations and regional fora) and charged with setting out a clear plan, including objectives, milestones, identifying partners and the required resources.
I was a part of the regional fora group which included the Central Asia and Caucasus region (CACAARI), Near East and North Africa (AARINENA), Africa (FARA), YPARD-Uzbekistan and Philippines, international organizations (ICRISAT) and others.
Together we developed the following strategic agenda to Re-appropriate rural futures by local people:
- Goal: To create a foresight alliance for collective actions at various scales to reappropriate rural futures by all concerned stakeholders
- Individual scenarios for desirable and achievable futures designed by local communities, regional fora and other stakeholders;
- Holding consultative meetings on a regional level: discussing initiatives, scenarios;
- Develop national and regional partnerships and establish governance mechanism
- Capacity building.
- Stakeholders actively engaged in policy making processes based on foresight experience/capacity
- Partners: National and regional partners of Central Asia and Caucasus, Near East and North Africa, Asia-Pacific
- Resources: Financial inputs by contribution partners; fundraising (strategy + advocacy + communication). Human resources – personnel partners; networking (knowledge sharing + other data). These resources are needed to carry out foresight studies and develop long term strategies . Additionally, all regional fora are required to integrate scenarios in a global and common foresight deliverable and develop capacities in mainstreaming foresight.
The group agreed that using foresight capacities to “take back” rural futures is indeed worth working on and discussed the need to continue to build foresight alliances and further develop this work. Building a common future based on individual scenarios was seen as highly important.
These discussions were seen as the first step in beginning joint work on foresight and integrating it within our regions.
For more information, watch this video in which Dr. Alisher Tashmatov, CACAARI Executive Secretary, Dr. Mohamed Aziz Darghouth, president of AARINENA, and Dr. Mohammed Ajlouni AARINENA Executive Secretary, share their impressions of the group work and of how they can collaborate together on foresight activities at a regional level:
Blogpost and video by Rustam Alimjanovich Ibragimov, #GCARD3 Social Reporter – r.a.ibrakhimov(at)gmail.com
Illustration courtesy Aidan Jones
This post is part of the live coverage during the #GCARD3 Global Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, 5-8 April 2016. This post is written by one of our social reporters, and represents the author’s views only.