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use these resources to benefit local communities. Agenda 21, one of three nonbinding environmental agreements signed at UNCED, emphasizes that local governments and intergovernmental organizations should respect, record and work toward incorporating indigenous knowledge systems into research and development programs to conserve biodiversity and sustain agricultural and natural resource management systems.

It is impossible to predict exactly which new modern biotechnology derived from plants or animals will be ready for the marketplace over the next decade. Some possibilities:

  • Genetically engineered plant varieties that provide improved human nutrition (e.g., soybeans enriched in omega-3 fatty acids)
  • Products designed for use in improved animal feeds, providing better nutritional balance by increasing the concentration of essential amino acids often deficient in feed components, increased nutrient density, or more efficient use of nutrients such as phosphate that could provide environmental benefits
  • Crops resistant to drought and other environmental stresses such as salinity
  • Crops resistant to pests and diseases (e.g., Fusarium-resistant wheat; chestnut-blight resistant chestnut; plumpox resistant stone fruit; various insect-resistant crops)
  • Additional crops containing a number of transgenic traits incorporated in the same plant (stacked traits)
  • Crops engineered to produce pharmaceuticals, such as vaccines and antibodies
  • Crops engineered for particular industrial uses (e.g., crops with improved processing attributes such as increased starch content, producing useful enzymes that can be extracted for industrial processes, or modified to have higher content of an energy-rich starting material such as oil for improved use as biofuel)
  • Transgenic animals for food, or for production of pharmaceuticals or industrial products (e.g., transgenic salmon engineered for increased growth rate to maturity, transgenic goats producing human serum factors in their milk, and pigs producing the enzyme phytase in their saliva for improved nutrient use and manure with reduced phosphorus content)

TNCs and MNCs have an aggressive trade interest in biotech products and GMOs (Atanassov, 2004). GMOs will lead to monocrop culture with adverse implications for bioand agrodiversity (Benbrook, 2004; Brookfield et al., 2003). But given the low level of AKST in the CWANA region, coupled with religious and other social factors, the trend for not accepting GMOs and seed crops will continue at least in the near future (Cohen et al., 1999; World Bank, 2002; Tollens et al., 2004).

Nevertheless, better science and tougher regulations are needed to police the future growing of genetically modified crops in the CWANA region. Current genetically modified foods appear safe to eat but there are doubts about future products and the environmental effect of transgenic crops. For reasons of expense, concerns for safety, and inadequate understanding of basic biology, the use of transgenics in livestock production is likely to be minimal for many years to  


come. Substantial gaps in scientific knowledge remain that must be addressed. The prospect for genetically modified and organic farming coexisting in future is full of uncertainty and poses difficulties.

3.3.2 Indirect drivers Demographics and human health

The population dynamics of the CWANA region are witnessing high rates of growth compared with other regions. These high rates coupled with problems like poor social safety nets, education, immunization, and child and mother care negatively affect human productivity and longevity. Children and women, the worst victims of the skewed demography, will continue to be marginalized in the absence of social safety nets (Ratner, 2004).

In the densely populated regions of CWANA, agriculture will remain a key source of livelihood, although over the past few years, its capacity to employ people as a dependable livelihood has declined. Migration will continue as people seek off-farm jobs not available in villages. This will lead to mounting pressure on urban satellites. The United Nations Millennium Project found strong links between rapid population growth, high fertility and ill-timed pregnancies—which add up to a demographically related poverty trap. Demographic trends affect both development prospects and security.

The interaction between health and agriculture operates in two directions—agriculture affects health, health affects agriculture. Agricultural production and its outputs can contribute to poor health, depending on the system of production and consumption. Agricultural policies clearly affect the quantity, quality and price of food, all of which play important roles in diet change in developing countries.

The greatest challenge now is the burden of nutritionally related diseases. Agricultural policy should take into consideration the whole spectrum of these diseases, to help strengthen the “one agenda” that will gradually break the cycles of both poverty and hunger in a sustainable way.

Under globalization, because of expanding tourism, cross-cultural contacts, and trade liberalization, diseases such as avian flu and HIV/AIDS are expected to rise in the region. Some countries in the region are hard hit by both of these disease problems. HIV and AIDS also have long-term implications for the nutritional health of affected communities and families, which further compound the risk of food insecurity under the business-as-usual scenario discussed earlier. This in turn adversely affects the rehabilitation of those infected with HIV (ILO, 2005; UN, 2005).

It is expected that population growth over the next several decades will be concentrated in the poorest urban communities in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and the Middle East. Populations in all parts of the world are expected to age substantially during the next century. While industrial countries will have the oldest populations, the rate of aging may be extremely fast in some developing countries in the CWANA region. Sociopolitical drivers

Sociopolitical drivers encompass the forces influencing decision making and include the amount of public participation