10 | IAASTD Synthesis Report

Nevertheless, the resolution of natural resource challenges will demand new and creative approaches by stakeholders with diverse backgrounds, skills and priorities. Capabilities for working together at multiple scales and across different social and physical environments are not well developed. For example, there have been few opportunities for two-way learning between farmers and researchers or policy makers. Consequently farmers and civil society members have sel­dom been involved in shaping NRM policy. Community-based partnerships with the private sector, now in their early stages of development, represent a new and promising way forward.
     The following high priority NRM options for action are proposed:
•   Use existing AKST to identify and address some of the underlying causes of declining productivity embedded in natural resource mismanagement, and develop new AKST based on multidisciplinary approaches for a bet­ter understanding of the complexity in NRM. Part of this process will involve the cost-effective monitoring of trends in the utilization of natural resource capital.
•   Strengthen human resources in the support of natural capital through increased investment (research, training and education, partnerships, policy) in promoting the awareness of the societal costs of degradation and value of ecosystems services.
•   Promote research "centers of AKST-NRM excellence" to facilitate less exploitative NRM and better strategies for resource resilience, protection and renewal through innovative two-way learning processes in research and development, monitoring and policy formulation.
•   Create an enabling environment for building NRM ca­pacity and increasing understanding of NRM among stakeholders and their organizations in order to shape NRM policy in partnership with public and private sec­tors.
•   Develop networks of AKST practitioners (farmer or­ganizations, NGOs, government, private sector) to fa­cilitate long-term natural resource management to en­hance benefits from natural resources for the collective good.
•   Connect globalization and localization pathways that link locally generated NRM knowledge and innova­tions to public and private AKST.

When AKST is developed and used creatively with active participation among various stakeholders across multiple scales, the misuse of natural capital can be reversed and the judicious use and renewal of water bodies, soils, biodiver­sity, ecosystems services, fossil fuels and atmospheric quality ensured for future generations.

Trade and markets
Targeting market and trade policies to enhance the ability of agricultural and AKST systems to drive development, strengthen food security, maximize environmental sustain-ability, and help make the small-scale farm sector profitable to spearhead poverty reduction is an immediate challenge around the world.
     Agricultural trade can offer opportunities for the poor, but current arrangements have major distributional impacts


among, and within, countries that in many cases have not been favorable for small-scale farmers and rural livelihoods. These distributional impacts call for differentiation in policy frameworks and institutional arrangements if these coun­tries are to benefit from agricultural trade. There is growing concern that opening national agricultural markets to in­ternational competition before basic institutions and infra­structure are in place can undermine the agricultural sector, with long-term negative effects for poverty, food security and the environment.6
     Trade policy reform to provide a fairer global trading system can make a positive contribution to sustainability and development goals. Special and differential treatment accorded through trade negotiations can enhance the ability of developing countries to pursue food security and devel­opment goals while minimizing trade-related dislocations. Preserving  national  policy  flexibility   allows   developing countries to balance the needs of poor consumers (urban and rural landless) and rural small-scale farmers. Increasing the value captured by small-scale farmers in global, regional and local markets chains is fundamental to meeting devel­opment and sustainability goals. Supportive trade policies can also make new AKST available to the small-scale farm sector and agroenterprises.
     Developing countries would benefit from the removal of barriers for products in which they have a comparative advantage; reduction of escalating tariffs for processed com­modities in industrialized and developing countries; deeper preferential access to markets for least developed countries; increased public investment in rural infrastructure and the generation of public goods AKST; and improved access to credit, AKST resources and markets for poor producers. Compensating revenues lost as a result of tariff reductions is essential to advancing development agendas.7
     Agriculture generates large environmental externalities, many of which derive from failure of markets to value envi­ronmental and social harm and provide incentives for sus­tainability. AKST has great potential to reverse this trend. Market and trade policies to facilitate the contribution of AKST to reducing the environmental footprint of agricul­ture include removing resource use-distorting subsidies; taxing externalities; better definitions of property rights; and developing rewards and markets for agroenvironmen-tal services, including the extension of carbon financing, to provide incentives for sustainable agriculture.
     The quality and transparency of governance in the agricultural   sector,   including  increased  participation   of stakeholders  in AKST  decision making is  fundamental. Strengthening developing country trade analysis and ne­gotiation capacity, and providing better tools for assessing tradeoffs in proposed trade agreements are important to im­proving governance.

Traditional and local knowledge and community-based innovation
Once AKST is directed simultaneously toward production, profitability, ecosystem services and food systems that are site-specific and evolving, then formal, traditional and lo-
6  USA. 7 Canada and USA.