4 | IAASTD Synthesis Report

changes have the most significant effects on the poorest and most vulnerable, who historically have had limited entitle­ments and opportunities for growth.
     The pace of formal technology generation and adoption has been highly uneven. Actors within North America and Europe (NAE) and emerging economies who have captured significant economies of scale through formal AKST will con­tinue to dominate agricultural exports and extended value chains. There is an urgent need to diversify and strengthen AKST, recognizing differences in agroecologies and social and cultural conditions. The need to retool AKST, to reduce poverty and provide improved livelihoods options for the rural poor, especially landless and peasant communities, ur­ban, informal and migrant workers, is a major challenge.
     There is an overarching concern in all regions regarding poverty alleviation and the livelihoods options available to poor people who are faced with intra- and inter-regional inequalities. There is recognition that the mounting crisis in food security is of a different complexity and potentially different magnitude than the one of the 1960s. The ability and willingness of different actors, including those in the state, civil society and private sector, to address fundamen­tal questions of relationships among production, social and environmental systems is affected by contentious political and economic stances.
     The acknowledgment of current challenges and the ac­ceptance of options available for action require a long-term commitment from decision makers that is responsive to the specific needs of a wide range of stakeholders. A recogni­tion that knowledge systems and human ingenuity in sci­ence, technology, practice and policy is needed to meet the challenges, opportunities and uncertainties ahead. This rec­ognition will require a shift to nonhierarchical development models.
     The main challenge of AKST is to increase the produc­tivity of agriculture in a sustainable manner. AKST must address the needs of small-scale farms in diverse ecosystems and create realistic  opportunities  for their  development where the potential for improved area productivity is low and where climate change may have its most adverse conse­quences. The main challenges for AKST posed by multifunc­tional agricultural systems include:
•   How to improve social welfare and personal livelihoods in the rural sector and enhance multiplier effects of agriculture?
•   How to empower marginalized stakeholders to sustain the diversity of agriculture and food systems, including their cultural dimensions?
•   How to provide safe water, maintain biodiversity, sus­tain the natural resource base and minimize the adverse impacts of agricultural activities on people and the environment?
•   How to maintain and enhance environmental and cul­tural services while increasing sustainable productivity and diversity of food, fiber and biofuel production?
•   How to manage effectively the collaborative generation of knowledge among increasingly heterogeneous con­tributors and the flow of information among diverse public and private AKST organizational arrangements?
•   How to link the outputs from marginalized, rain fed lands into local, national and global markets?


The term multifunctionality has sometimes been interpreted as having implications for trade and protectionism. This is not the definition used here. In IAASTD, multifunctionality is used solely to express the inescapable interconnectedness of agriculture's different roles and functions. The concept of multifunctionality recognizes agriculture as a multi-output activity producing not only commodities (food, feed, fibers, agrofuels, medicinal products and ornamentals), but also non-commodity outputs such as environmental services, land­scape amenities and cultural heritages.
     The working definition proposed by OECD, which is used by the IAASTD, associates multifunctionality with the particu­lar characteristics of the agricultural production process and its outputs; (1) multiple commodity and non-commodity out­puts are jointly produced by agriculture; and (2) some of the non-commodity outputs may exhibit the characteristics of ex­ternalities or public goods, such that markets for these goods function poorly or are nonexistent.
     The use of the term has been controversial and contested in global trade negotiations, and it has centered on whether "trade-distorting" agricultural subsidies are needed for agri­culture to perform its many functions. Proponents argue that current patterns of agricultural subsidies, international trade and related policy frameworks do not stimulate transitions toward equitable agricultural and food trade relation or sus­tainable food and farming systems and have given rise to per­verse impacts on natural resources and agroecologies as well as on human health and nutrition. Opponents argue that at­tempts to remedy these outcomes by means of trade-related instruments will weaken the efficiency of agricultural trade and lead to further undesirable market distortion; their preferred approach is to address the externalized costs and negative impacts on poverty, the environment, human health and nutri­tion by other means.


Options for Action
Successfully meeting development and sustainability goals and responding to new priorities and changing circumstances would require a fundamental shift in AKST, including sci­ence, technology, policies, institutions, capacity development and investment. Such a shift would recognize and give in­creased importance to the multifunctionality of agriculture, accounting for the complexity of agricultural systems within diverse social and ecological contexts. It would require new institutional and organizational arrangements to promote an integrated approach to the development and deployment of AKST. It would also recognize farming communities, farm households, and farmers as producers and managers of ecosystems. This shift may call for changing the incentive systems for all actors along the value chain to internalize as many externalities as possible. In terms of development and sustainability goals, these policies and institutional changes should be directed primarily at those who have been served