World Bank Appoints Two Leading Kenya-based Scientists to Head New Global Agricultural Assessment Organization


Two leading scientists based in Kenya, Prof Judi Wakhungu and Dr Hans R. Herren, were recently appointed as co-chairs of the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD).

Thirty governments and 30 civil society organizations nominated the appointees.

Prof Wakhungu is the executive director, African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS), while Dr Herren is the outgoing director-general of the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) and President elect of the Millennium Institute based in Washington DC.

IAASTD is an initiative of the World Bank in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNESCO and other organizations.

Its aim is to bring an objective view of the long-term challenges facing world agriculture and to assess how the development and appropriate use of agricultural knowledge, science and technologies (KST), past experiences and current knowledge can be brought to bear on reducing hunger and poverty, improving livelihoods and health, increasing incomes and facilitating equitable, environmentally, socially and economically sustainable development.

The other objective, as decided upon by the panel of participating governments at the first plenary meeting in Nairobi in September last year, was to provide robust information for decision makers on how to ensure that policies, practices and institutional arrangements enable KST to contribute to reducing hunger and poverty, improving rural livelihoods and health, increasing incomes, facilitating equitable, environmentally, socially and economically sustainable development.

IAASTD also aims to bring together the range of stakeholders (consumers, governments, NGOs, private sector, producers, scientific community, international agencies) involved in the agricultural sector, including forestry and fisheries, and rural development to share views, gain understanding and vision for the future.

The two scientists will chair plenary and bureau sessions of the IAASTD with the director of the secretariat, Dr. Robert Watson, and provide intellectual leadership for the assessment process, which will use a strongly consultative 'bottom up process that recognizes the different needs of different regions and communities.

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