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Integrating environmental and sustainable development themes into agricultural education and extension programmes

Expert Consultation






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    Mainstreaming biodiversity in forestry 2022
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    Forests harbour a large proportion of the Earth’s terrestrial biodiversity, which continues to be lost at an alarming rate. Deforestation is the single most important driver of forest biodiversity loss with 10 million ha of forest converted every year to other land uses, primarily for agriculture. Up to 30 percent of tree species are now threatened with extinction. As a consequence of overexploitation, wildlife populations have also been depleted across vast areas of forest, threatening the survival of many species. Protected areas, which are considered the cornerstone of biodiversity conservation, cover 18 percent of the world’s forests while a much larger 30 percent are designated primarily for the production of timber and non-wood forest products. These and other forests managed for various productive benefits play a critical role in biodiversity conservation and also provide essential ecosystem services, such as securing water supplies, providing recreational space, underpinning human well-being, ameliorating local climate and mitigating climate change. Therefore, the sustainable management of all forests is crucial for biodiversity conservation, and nations have committed to biodiversity mainstreaming under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Mainstreaming biodiversity in forestry requires prioritizing forest policies, plans, programmes, projects and investments that have a positive impact on biodiversity at the ecosystem, species and genetic levels. In practical terms, this involves the integration of biodiversity concerns into everyday forest management practice, as well as in long-term forest management plans, at various scales. It is a search for optimal outcomes across social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. This study is a collaboration between FAO and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), lead centre of the CGIAR research programme on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). Illustrated by eight country case-studies, the report reviews progress and outlines the technical and policy tools available for countries and stakeholders, as well as the steps needed, to effectively mainstream biodiversity in forestry.
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    Transforming public agricultural extension and advisory service systems in smallholder farming
    Status quo, gaps, way forward
    2022
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    Worldwide, extension and advisory service (EAS) systems have undergone reforms since the 1990s. However, the reforms of the last two decades in many countries have largely failed, as there has not been significant increase in accountability, efficiency, empowerment or impact. To fill this gap, this document, based on a systematic and extended literature review, delves into public EAS systems in developing countries, with a special focus on smallholder farming and institutional reforms. To begin with, it reviewed the status quo of global EAS systems in terms of institutional change and typologies and regional characteristics of EAS systems based on the analysis of 80 countries. This is followed by discussions on issues related to human resources, mandates, financial resources, infrastructure, and policy environment. The discussions are illustrated with six country case studies. Then, the document analyses the major challenges faced by institutional reforms in developing countries regarding accessibility, accountability, affordability, adaptability, sustainability, and coordination. Next, the document summarises the experience and lessons-learnt from EAS reforms across the developing countries. Finally, based on the previous discussions, it gives recommendations on strengthening and reforming public EAS systems.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Comprehensive assessment of national agricultural research and extension systems with a special focus on agricultural research for development in Egypt
    Analysis and guidelines - Egypt case study
    2022
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    This case study was conducted to provide a good understanding of the challenges and opportunities related to Egypt’s agricultural research and organizational development to draw lessons and develop supporting guidelines. This study aimed to enhance efforts exerted by Egypt’s NARS in the field of developmental research by formulating an integrated and coherent approach for research and dissemination of proven technologies and practices. Such approaches are expected to address key bottlenecks and provide the needed direction and means for sustainable improved implementation of AR4D. This can ultimately lead to enhancing and empowering the capacity of Egypt’s NARS to better inform and influence policies and facilitate institutional changes required in the agricultural sector. As part of the efforts of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to support and strengthen NARS’ research impact and their links to extension service systems, the present assessment was carried out to establish a deeper insight into challenges and opportunities that are facing NARS in Egypt.

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