International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science, and Technology for Development

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The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science, and Technology for Development (IAASTD) is a report that was sponsored by the World Bank and several agencies of the United Nations, written by over 400 scientists from 2005-2007, adopted by nearly 60 nations in 2008, and published in 2009.[1] The report examined the past 50 years in agricultural history and laid out a set of options for nations, focusing on how to best use knowledge, science, and technology to reduce hunger, prepare for and mitigate the climate crisis, provide rural livelihoods, and protect the environment.

The IAASTD is composed of one Global Assessment and five Sub-global Assessments, which each cover the impacts of agricultural knowledge, science and technology [AKST] on "hunger, poverty, nutrition, human health, and environmental and social sustainability in relation to both the past and the future." The five Sub-global Assessments are:[2]

  • Central and West Asia and North Africa (CWANA)
  • East and South Asia and the Pacific (ESAP)
  • Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)
  • North America and Europe (NAE)
  • Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)

For information on the findings of the IAASTD report, see the article on Findings of the IAASTD Report. For a list of authors, please see the article on Authors of the IAASTD Report.


The initial idea for the report was announced by the FAO and the World Bank at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg in August 2002. Representatives from all relevant stakeholder groups then attended the first meeting in Dublin, Ireland, in November 2002. A 55 member Steering Committee finalized the recommendations to the President of the World Bank and the Heads of FAO, IFAD, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO and WHO to move ahead with the assessment in the summer of 2003. In December of 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."

The next step was a meeting by the IAASTD Intergovernmental Plenary held in Nairobi from 30 August to 3 September 2004, which "agreed on the objectives, goals, scope, key questions, design, preparation and peer-review processes, outputs, timetable, budget and governance structure."[3]

Following the assessment and writing of the report from 2005 to 2007, an IAASTD Intergovernmental Plenary in Johannesburg, South Africa from April 7-11, 2008. At that time, 58 countries approved the report. Three countries did not (the U.S., Canada, and Australia).


"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."[4]


"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 was 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."[5]


The Bureau was 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)], and 22 representatives from civil society as follows:[6]


"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."[7]

The co-chairs were "responsible for the intellectual leadership of the project."[8]

The Secretariat was "the technical arm of the Assessment and provides day-to-day management and oversight of the project." Its duties included:

  • "Organizing sessions of the Plenary, Bureau and the global assessment;
  • "Providing oversight and technical input for the Global and Sub-global Assessments;
  • "Proposing the annual budget and managing the Trust Funds;
  • "Monitoring the progress of IAASTD activities;
  • "Ensuring coordination among Global and Sub-global Assessments;
  • "Liaising with member governments, IAASTD Bureau, civil society organizations and all other relevant stakeholder organizations on IAASTD matters;
  • "Publicizing and disseminating the IAASTD Report to all relevant stakeholder groups; and
  • "Overseeing and coordinating all public information and outreach activities."[9]

Approval by Governments

The following governments accepted the Global Report:[10] Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Botswana, Brazil, Cameroon, China (People’s Republic of), Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Ghana, Honduras, India, Iran, Ireland, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Maldives, Republic of Moldova, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Repub- lic of Palau, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Solomon Islands, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, United Republic of Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom of Great Britain, Uruguay, Viet Nam, Zambia (58 countries)

The following governments did NOT fully approve the Global Report: Australia, Canada, and United States of America (3 countries)


Cosponsoring Institutions:[11]

The above cosponsoring institutions "committed financial resources to the IAASTD, both cash and in-kind secretariat support." Additionally, the following governments committed funds to a Multi-donor Trust Fund: Australia, Canada, European Commission, France, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, U.S.A.[12]

"In addition, Finland provided financial resources to competitively hire a Finnish National to work with the IAASTD. The IAASTD Secretariat and Australia provided financial resources for the plausible futures component of the IAASTD."

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science, and Technology for Development, Accessed March 11, 2011.
  2. Overview, Accessed April 5, 2012.
  3. History, Accessed April 5, 2012.
  4. Governance, Accessed April 5, 2012.
  5. Governance, Accessed April 5, 2012.
  6. IAASTD Bureau, Accessed April 5, 2012.
  7. Secretariat, Accessed April 5, 2012.
  8. Secretariat, Accessed April 5, 2012.
  9. Secretariat, Accessed April 5, 2012.
  10. IAASTD Global Report, p. vii]
  11. Cosponsors, Accessed April 5, 2012.
  12. Donors, Accessed April 5, 2012.

External resources


External articles