442 | IAASTD Global Report

Key Messages

1. Policy approaches to improve natural resource management and the provision of environmental services can benefit from security of, access to and tenure to resources and land and the explicit recognition of the multiple functions of agriculture. Options include increased investment in sustainable surface water delivery to stop aquifer water-mining; establishment and strengthening of agencies administrating large water systems that cross traditional administrative boundaries; systems for monitoring forest conditions and forest dwellers' welfare; more resource efficient use, more transparent allocations of use and better enforcement of regulations over forests and lands; and recognition of communal rights of local and indigenous communities.2. Mechanisms to better inform and democratize
AKST policy making are fundamental to achieving development
and sustainability goals.

2. Mechanisms to better inform and democratize AKST policy making are fundamental to achieving development and sustainability goals. The complexities of the globalizing world require vast amounts of knowledge for informed policy development on emerging technologies, trade, environmental and other issues to support the objectives of the IAASTD. Options include increased comparative technology assessment, strategic impact assessment, and increased trade capacity development for developing countries. Strongly improved governance is needed to respond to discontinuities arising from global environmental change and conflict. Options include adoption of enhanced governance mechanisms at all levels (i.e., to institutionalize transparency, access to information, participation, representation and accountability) will help assure that social and environmental concerns, including those of the small farm sector, are better represented in local, national and international policy making.

3. Market mechanisms to internalize environmental externalities of agricultural production and reward the provision of agroenvironmental services are effective to stimulate the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices and improve natural resources management. Market mechanisms that include payment/reward for environmental services (PES) are one approach that recognizes the multifunctionality of agriculture, and creates mechanisms to value and pay for the benefits of ecosystem services provided by sustainable agricultural practices such as low-input/low-emission production, conservation tillage, watershed management, agroforestry practices and carbon sequestration. Other approaches include taxes on carbon and pesticide use to provide incentives to reach internationally or nationally agreed use-reduction targets, support for low-input/low-emission, incentives for multiple function use of agricultural land to broaden revenue options for land managers, and carbon-footprint labeling of food. Incentive and regulatory systems structured to generate stable revenue flows that contribute to long-term sustainability of service-providing landscapes will benefit small-scale farmers and local communities.

4. Decisions around small-scale farm sustainability pose difficult policy choices.Special and differential


treatment is an acknowledged principle in Doha agricultural negotiations and may be warranted for small farm sectors without a history of government support. New payment mechanisms for environmental services by public and private utilities such as catchment protection and mitigation of climate change effects are of increasing importance and open new opportunities for the small-scale farm sector.

5. Opening national agricultural markets to international competition before basic national institutions and infrastructure are in place can undermine the agricultural sector, with potential long-term negative effects for poverty alleviation, food security and the environment. Some developing countries with large export sectors have achieved aggregate gains in GDP, although their small-scale farm sectors have not necessarily benefited and in many cases have lost out. The poorest developing countries are net losers under most trade liberalization scenarios. These distributional impacts call for differentiation in policy frameworks as embraced by the Doha work plan (special and differential treatment and non-reciprocal access). Trade policy reform aimed at providing a fairer global trading platform can make a positive contribution to the alleviation of poverty and hunger. Developing countries could benefit from reduced barriers and elimination of escalating tariffs for processed commodities in developed countries; deeper preferential access to developed country markets for commodities important for rural livelihoods; increased public investment in local value addition; improved access for small-scale farmers to credit; and strengthened regional markets.

6. Intensive export oriented agriculture has increased under open markets, but has been accompanied in many cases by adverse consequences such as exportation of soil nutrients, unsustainable soil or water management, or exploitative labor conditions. AKST innovations that address sustainability and development goals would be more effective with fundamental changes in price signals, for example, internalization of environmental externalities and payment/reward for environmental services.

7. Better integration of sanitary and phytosanitary standards (SPS) and policy and regulation related to food safety, plant and animal health needs to be better integrated internationally to more effectively utilize the limited national resources that are available for issues. Strong international food safety standards are important but present major regulatory costs for developing countries; lack of resources means that these countries are often only able to implement SPS standards for the purpose of trade facilitation with little benefit to domestic consumers who are affected by a wide array of food-borne illnesses. Confining Codex, OIE and IPPC to work within their constitutional mandates may be of less relevance today given the globalization of agriculture and trade. The efficacy of working within the traditional international mandates is challenged by the emergence of alternative regulatory mechanisms that integrate food safety, animal and plant health related standards and production practices in on-farm HACCP plans.