Democratising Food and Agriculture Research – West Asia Region

Date:
February 2008بهمن 1386
March 2010اسفند 1388

Location: West Asia (Iran), West Africa, South Asia, South East Asia and Latin America

See also: http://www.excludedvoices.org

Specific objectives:

  • identify and mainstream processes that can help correct the existing democratic deficit in the design of policies, food regulations, science, technologies and institutions that shape food systems and their impacts on biodiversity, livelihoods and the wider environment
  • develop and critically assess democratic models of innovation and decision-making that may emerge through a power-equalising action research based on deliberative and inclusive processes that generate safe spaces for communication and social change
  • fully involve formal research institutions and scientists as part of a comprehensive process that:
    • support capacity building and experiential learning to spread knowledge and skills on deliberative methods and approaches on a wider scale.
    • Deliberative processes (e.g. citizens’ panels, future search conferences…) will be designed as part of a longer term dynamic of participatory learning and action by relevant social actors.
    • Discovery learning based on principles of adult education will thus be developed to help partners carry forward the project on a wider scale and sustain it over time
  • support the emergence of transnational communities of inquiry, national coalitions for change and the interlinking of citizen spaces to help democratise the governance of food systems and biodiversity.

Results:

  • Contribute to the development and implementation of new models of citizen involvement in decisions on food and agricultural research, as well as risk assessments in at least 3 regions. E.g. the setting up of ‘citizens’ commissions for science and technology futures’ that guide and connect research, training and policy institutions at local, national and global scale
  • Complement the recommendations made by the forthcoming International Assessment of Agriculture Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), – by opening up safe spaces within which, and from which, small scale farmers and other citizens can gain the confidence to use their voice, analyze, deliberate, frame alternatives and action, mobilize, build alliances and act.
  • Development of more effective, interdisciplinary, user oriented and participatory research based on mutual respect, – with clear shifts in power relations in setting upstream strategic research priorities and in framing policies for food and agricultural science and technology. By focusing on the entire research process,- from upstream agenda setting to generating and validating new knowledge -, more inclusive and democratic innovation systems will link natural and technical science with social science and indigenous knowledge to address needs and problems in specific local settings that are typically marked by complex and dynamic change.
  • New funding mechanisms and oversight to support genuine cross cultural dialogue, interdisciplinary openness and the production of relevant social and ecological knowledge for food, farming and sustainable land use
  • Contribute to the establishment of pro-poor innovation systems that are supported by democratic governance arrangements and appropriate development aid spending.

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