106 | Central and West Asia and North Africa (CWANA) Report

These institutions and international networks contribute to development, diffusion and adoption of AKST. They should be enabled by financial funds, strong networking capabilities, continuous learning and assessment, explicit incorporation and voice of producers in the AKST process, business management and planning approaches, and clear and transparent priority-setting mechanisms to achieve significant success in realizing the development and sustainability goals.

Regional cooperation. Regional and subregional cooperation includes the regional development banks, NGOs, and regional economic and technical cooperation organizations. Within their respective agreed mandates, these organizations can contribute to AKST development and adoption by

  • Promoting regional and subregional capacity building
  • Promoting the integration of economical, social and environmental concerns in regional and subregional development policies
  • Promoting regional and subregional cooperation, where appropriate, regarding issues related to sustainable development

In particular regional organizations for technology generation, evaluation, diffusion and study will need to be developed. It is likely that new AKST will flow toward the region from all around the globe, promoting R&D in this field. This will be further enhanced by the increased pressure on natural resources associated with increased population. Countries of the region may be encouraged to share resources (water, energy, gas), which would help stabilize the price of such goods. Nevertheless, a basic assumption for stronger regional cooperation is the high level of commitment for institutional development and reform from various countries, especially from industrial countries and donors.

Such cooperation is more effective if an outward liberalization policy is adopted. If an inward-looking and protective approach in dealing with development issues is adopted, it is not likely to enhance the development and application of AKST to achieve development goals and reduce poverty in CWANA.

In the latter case, increased prices and the monopoly of some associations will prevent poorer—or nonoil-producing— countries from developing and applying AKST. Under this scenario, countries will continue to have inward-looking policies that will hinder any potential cooperation across borders. In addition, links with R&D institutions will be weak and thus access to new technology and innovation will be limited. This will likely have long-term implications on reducing poverty and achieving development goals.

Given these expected negative results, CWANA countries will more likely take a proactive role in going through a transitional phase to enter global markets. Such a phase will be enhanced through developing the regional trading blocs that are already emerging, making it easier to develop and apply AKST at national, regional and international levels. Regional cooperation will be enhanced in the fields of research and AKST. It will mainly target product processing, storage and marketing—ultimately providing food security and protecting human health and the environment. This will contribute strongly to poverty alleviation and will improve the quality of life in the region. As a result, investment in


science and technology in general and in agricultural R&D in particular will be enhanced on national and regional levels— thus contributing to achieving the development goals.

National cooperation. Of equal importance to CWANA countries are what arrangements national institutions will make and the effects they will have on developing and applying AKST in their efforts to achieve the development goals.

It is assumed that CWANA will adopt knowledgedriven economic development in which AKST is the key factor. CWANA countries will enjoy needs-based decision making integrated within countries of the region and across regions, leading toward achieving the development goals and improving livelihoods.

While CWANA countries struggle for integration within the global market through regional trade areas, they need to face major challenges including developing AKST infrastructure at different levels such as academia and research as well as developing and planning for transformation and change management under globalization. Overall, the process of change should feed into enhanced well-being of nations and improved health, education, and use of natural
resources and infrastructure.

Policy and institutional reform in various sectors will be a major feature of this storyline. National policies, plans and legislation will be improved to support integration into the global market and to meet all the required criteria and conditions for promoting investment and facilitating trade. In parallel, public institutions will need to be developed to accommodate the changes. Local producers will strive to meet the conditions for entering the global market. The role of the private sector and other national stakeholders will be enhanced through better cooperation, and strengthened public–private partnership will be witnessed with more emphasis on gender equality and empowerment of local communities. CWANA countries will live in an era flourishing for development institutions, especially those working on AKST and other relevant issues including natural resources and property rights. Farmers’ organizations will emerge as a major player to support research and technology transfer and application and protection of farmers’ rights. Civil society organizations promoting the conservation of natural resources will advocate land conservation and rehabilitation. Education and capacity building for various players will be integrated into various activities. Sustainability will become a culture and way of living for the people of CWANA, leading the countries and the region toward more accomplishments on the scale of development goals.

As stated earlier, inward policies would contribute to increased prices. Also, the monopoly of some associations would prevent poorer—or nonoil-producing—countries from development and application of AKST. CWANA countries would suffer from focusing on food security from the local perspective, and not in the global context. Research and development would focus on adaptive research, but investment in basic and applied research might not get priority. As a result, the capacity to innovate would be limited. The media would continue to be under central control, sifting the information, and thus agricultural informatics and the flow of scientific information would be blocked to a greater extent.