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European Research Area Agri-environmental research priorities Claudia Neubauer Fondation Sciences Citoyennes Co-operative Research on Environmental Problems.

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Presentation on theme: "European Research Area Agri-environmental research priorities Claudia Neubauer Fondation Sciences Citoyennes Co-operative Research on Environmental Problems."— Presentation transcript:

1 European Research Area Agri-environmental research priorities Claudia Neubauer Fondation Sciences Citoyennes Co-operative Research on Environmental Problems in Europe Brussels Meeting - June

2 Sustainable agriculture is a central concept in agricultural policy and research. It is used by different actors – policy makers, scientists, industry, NGOs and social movements. How do different actors understand the concept? analysis of discourses analysis of budgets analysis of publications

3 Semantic analysis of diverse documents IAASTD - International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development, Summary Report, 2008 Independent, multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder process, directed by a board of 30 government representatives and 30 representatives of NGOs SCAR - Standing Committee on Agricultural Research, 2nd foresight exercise, 2007 Report: New challenges for agricultural research: climate change, food security, rural development, agricultural knowledge systems - Knowledge based bio-economy (KBBE) several documents : New perspectives on KBBE, 2005, KBBE WP , KBBE WP European Technology Platform Plants for the Future A European vision for plant genomics and biotechnology IFOAM 2025 (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements) Research vision: Food, Fairness and Ecology - An organic research agenda for a sustainable future Diverse documents from NGOs (ex. NGO Sustainable Agriculture Treaty 1992, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Rainforest Alliance, Grain, Oxfam)

4 Semantic analysis biotechnology, agronomy, (agro-)ecology, sustainable IAASTD SCAR 2nd foresight KBBE pers- pectives KBBE WP Plants for the Futur SRA IFOAM Vision for 2025 biotech* agronomy ecology organic * agro- ecolog* sustainabl*

5 Semantic Analysis On sustainable agriculture Some common principles shared by NGOs Sustainable agriculture is ecologically sound, economically viable, socially just and inclusive, culturally appropriate and based on a holistic and participatory scientific approach. It minimizes the use of external inputs and excludes the use of pesticides and GMOs. It adapts farming practices to local and regional contexts (and not the other way around) in respecting the agroecosystems, provides a more efficient management and better conditions for farm workers. It promotes a holistic approach to agriculture integrating traditional agricultural knowledge with modern scientific knowledge. It redirects scientific research towards sustainability and equity, it disseminates knowledge freely. It ensures food available and suitable for all, and promotes sustainable consumption of local food. It facilitates the empowerment of small farmers, family farms and rural communities (eg access to land, income stability). It promotes fair trade with the countries of the global South. It promotes food sovereignty.

6 IFOAM, SCAR, IAASTD The issue of sustainable agricultural development is placed in a complex and plural context at the confluence of environment, society, health, economy and culture. IFOAM: long-term perspectives concerning the development of agricultural practices and sustainable food covering the following three fields: i) principles of organic farming, ii) scientific innovation and iii) integration of the knowledge of peasants IAASTD, SCAR: integration of peasants in both defining research priorities and applying scientific results, thus giving a specific meaning to sustainable agriculture KBBE, Plants for the Future Sustainable agriculture is placed in a context of profitability, competitiveness and support for the European biotech industry. If Europe wants to improve the sustainability of its agriculture and its forestry, it must inevitably use genetic tools and biotechnology. Semantic Analysis On sustainable agriculture

7 IFOAM Organic agriculture and food as a highly innovative sector. Organic sector has led European agriculture to evolve towards greater sustainability, quality and use of less risky technology. Sustainable agriculture and organic farming are heavily based on knowledge (highly knowledge-based agriculture) and on the concept of common property. SCAR, IAASTD and IFOAM Consider participatory research and the integration of peasants in the process of research and innovation (farmer-based participatory breeding, participatory or action research) as part of sustainable agriculture necessary to achieve its objectives. SCAR reminds that the involvement of peasants is critical to the innovation process in regard to the acceptance of new innovations and to research in ecology. KBBE and Plants for the Future The sector allowing for significant advances in R & D and innovation is biotechnology; regarding other partners in the innovation process, the integration of SMEs is highlighted. Semantic Analysis On innovation, appropriation and participation

8 SCAR foresight report Criticizes genomics and genetic engineering. Using the word 'biotechnology only six times, the report acknowledges that 'advanced modern biotechnology' has got an interest in breeding and to open the space of innovation. IAASTD Gives a differentiated image of biotechnologies. It distinguishes between classical biotechnologies (breeding techniques, tissue cultivation fermentation...) and modern biotechnologies, such as GM plants. Reminds the controversies about GMO. Criticizes the concentration on biotechnologies, which could lead to the loss of expertise in other fundamental sciences in agriculture. IFOAM Ecology and agronomy are the central issues: ecological intensification, challenges, methods and production, ecological footprint, social and ecological cohesion. KBBE and Plants for the Future Sustainable agriculture seems related to biotechnology and very little (if at all) to agronomy or ecology. Priority is given to the biotechnological approach over other approaches that may be systemic, agronomic, environmental. The simultaneous use of the words 'life sciences' and 'biotechnology' gives the impression that the two fields go automatically or naturally hand in hand, and that they are even interchangeable. The existence of controversies about biotechnology in agriculture is not mentioned. Semantic Analysis On biotechnology, agronomy, (agro-)ecology

9 Research Funding in EC Framework Programmes On organic farming (1/2) Budgets: financing research for organic and biotechnological agriculture Since FP3, European funding in total amount of money for organic agriculture research is constantly growing. However, since total FP budgets raised constantly as well, the relative support of the FPs to research for organic agriculture did not grow since 1994 and stays stable at a very low level under FP 4, 5 and 6.

10 Research Funding in EC Framework Programmes On organic farming (2/2) In FP6-Food, project funding on BT projects (26 projects) was almost 4 fold higher than funding on organic agriculture projects (7 projects). (stacs)

11 Publications: organic farming research in the scientific literature Indications to explain why Denmark has a strong publicaton activity in organic farming research: A high market share of organic products of the total market (with 5 to 6 %). A high share of organic agriculturual land (6% of the country's agricultural land are organic). Development of organic production as an integrated part of Danish agricultural policies since the mid 1980s. An active research policy for the sector since the mid 1990s: creation of the Danish Agricultural Research Centre for Organic Farming (DARCOF, 1996), since 2008 International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems (ICROFS). *Applied Biology: scientific discipline, where approx. 80% of the total number of articles in organic farming can be found. *Bibliographic database: Thomson Scientific's Web of Science

12 Latest news: FP7-KBBE Call from July Indicative budget: 190 million Organics AND low input : 6 million = 3.16% Transition pathways : 1.5 million = 0.79 % Agroecological approaches : ? organics10 x biotech*66 x sustainabl*88 x agro-ecology*0 x

13 Technological paradigm Genetic engineering / biotechagroecology research model « taylorized », standardised research (ex. sequencing), complexity at the gene and cell level, more short term, specialisation, restricted interdisciplinarity context-dependent research, complexity up to the ecosystem level, more long term, large interdisciplinarity implicite objective engineering plants: improvement of single elements of agroecosystems engineering systems: improve the structure of the agroecosystem, rely on ecological interactions and synergisms scientific paradigmpositivism, reductionismecology, holism ex. of subtrajectories BT insect resistant plants, herbicide tolerant plants, etc. biological control of pests, cultivar mixtures, agroforestry, habitat management techniques, etc. underlying economic assumptions growth, competitiveness, global finance, free trade, IPR systems (e.g. patents), creation of spin-offs sustainability, not linked to growth and competitiveness, fair trade, open access to knowledge other (technical) developments favoring it use of pesticides, monoculture, standardisation of agriculture, IT organic farming, small farms, IT leitmotiv modernisation, little need for knowledge from past agricultural systems improvement of current systems by valuing past systems genetic engineering and agroecology are two different technological paradigms (Vanloqueren, Baret, 2009 )

14 « Is it just too simple, not making enough use of high technology? » (Wolfe, 2000) The overall organisation of research systems, the existing agricultural system, the dominant perception of progress and innovation are broadly more in favor of genetic engineering and biotechnological agriculture than of agroecology and organic farming. => need of 'fair' forecasting exercises to explore the potential contributions of the two approaches and especially of agroecology (only very few scenarios exist on what would happen by a massive promotion of agroecological innovations by S&T policy and agricultural policies) => innovation policies must take into account the importance of niches and the true value of agroecological innovations (climate change, rising costs of energy, externalities) and should reflect on changes in the dominant technological regime => need of breaking off the lock-in situation to allow the development of agroecology => need for a shared definition of agricultural sustainability (Vanloqueren, Baret, 2009 )

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