12 | IAASTD Global Report

lucrative option to reduce GHG emissions from fossil fuels; however, controversy is increasing on the economic, social and ecological cost/benefit ratio of this option. On-farm bioenergy production utilizing farm residues has potential. However, studies have revealed that bioenergy demand is sensitive not only to biomass supply, but also to total energy demand and competitiveness of alternative energy supply options (Berndes et al., 2003). Additionally, the environmental consequences and social sustainability aspects of the processing of crops and feedstocks as biofuels have not yet been thoroughly assessed.

      Biotechnology has for millennia contributed to mankind's well-being through the provision of value-added foods and medicines. It has deep roots in local and traditional knowledge and farmer selection and breeding of crops and animals, which continues to the present day. Micropropagation of plants by tissue culture is now a common technique used to produce disease-free plants for both the agricultural and ornamental industries. Recent advances in the area of genomics, including the ability to insert genes across species, have distinguished "modern biotechnology" from traditional methods. Resulting transgenic crops, forestry products, livestock and fish have potentially favorable qualities such as pest and disease resistance, however with possible risks to biodiversity and human health. Other apprehensions relate to the privatization of the plant breeding system and the concentration of market power in input companies. Such issues have underpinned widespread public concern regarding transgenic crops. Less contentious biotechnological applications relate to bioremediation of soils and the preparation of genetically engineered insulin. Commercial transgenic agricultural crops are typically temperate varieties such as corn, soya and canola, which have been engineered to be herbicide resistant or to contain the biological agent Bt (bacillus thuringiensis), traits that are not yet widely available for tropical crops important to developing countries. Transgenic crops have spread globally since 1996, more in industrialized than in developing countries, covering about 4% of the global cropland area in 2004 (CGIAR Science Council, 2005).

     Current trends indicate that transgenic crop production is increasing in developing countries at a faster rate than in industrialized nations (Brookes and Barfoot, 2006). This is occurring against a background of escalating concerns in the world's poorest and most vulnerable regions regarding environmental shocks that result from droughts, floods, marginal soils, and depleting nutrient bases, leading to low productivity. Plant breeding is fundamental to developing crops better adapted to these conditions. The effectiveness of biotechnologies will be augmented, however, by integrating local and tacit knowledge and by taking into account the wider infrastructural and social equity context. Taking advantage of provisions under the international protocol on biosafety (Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety) as well as establishing national and regional regulatory regimes are essential elements for using AKST in this domain.

1.2 Conceptual Framework of the IAASTD

1.2.1 Framework for analysis-centrality of knowledge Conceptual framework of the AKST assessment (Figure


1-7). There is huge diversity and dynamics in agricultural production systems, which depend on agroecosystems and are embedded in diverse political, economic, social and cultural contexts. Knowledge about these systems is complex. The AKST assessment considers that knowledge is coproduced by researchers, agriculturalists (farmers, forest users, fishers, herders and pastoralists), civil society organizations and public administration. The kind of relationship within and between these key actors of the AKST system defines to what degree certain actors benefit from, are affected by or excluded from access to, control over and distribution of knowledge, technologies, and financial and other resources required for agricultural production and livelihoods. This puts policies relating to science, research, higher education, extension and vocational training, innovation, technology, intellectual property rights (IPR), credits and environmental impacts at the forefront of shaping AKST systems.

     Knowledge, innovation and learning play a key role in the inner dynamics of AKST. But it is important to note that these inner dynamics depend on how the actors involved respect, reject or re-create the values, rules and norms implied in the networks through which they interrelate. The IAASTD considers that its own dynamics strongly depend on related development goals and expected outputs and services, as well as on indirect and direct drivers mainly at the macro level, e.g., patterns of consumption or policies.

     The AKST model emphasizes the centrality of knowledge. It is therefore useful to clarify the differences between "information" and "knowledge". Knowledge-in whatever field-empowers those who create and possess it with the capacity for intellectual or physical action (ICSU, 2003). Knowledge is fundamentally a matter of cognitive capability, skills, training and learning. Information, on the other hand, takes the shape of structures and formatted data that remain passive and inert until used by those with the knowledge needed to interpret and process them (ICSU, 2003). Information only takes on value when it is communicated and there is a deep and shared understanding of what that information means-thus becoming knowledge-both to the sender and the recipient.

     Such an approach has direct implications for the understanding of science and technology. The conventional distinction between science and technology is that science is concerned with searching for and validating knowledge, while technology concerns the application of such knowledge in economic production (defined broadly to include social welfare goals). In most countries institutional and organizational arrangements are founded on this distinction.

     However, this distinction is now widely criticized in contemporary science and development literature, both from a conceptual point of view and in terms of practical impacts. Gibbons and colleagues are a good example of this critical debate: they distinguish between "mode 1" and "mode 2" styles of knowledge development (Gibbons et al., 1994; Nowotny et al., 2003). In very simple terms, the distinction is that "mode 1" approaches (the traditional view) argue for a complete organizational separation between scientific research on the one hand and its practical applications for economic and social welfare on the other. Conversely "mode 2" approaches argue for institutional arrangements that build science policy concerns directly into the conduct