Scientists: socially challenged coffee-addicts in ivory towers. You don’t agree? Neither do we. Citizen science now! We invited Anna Lawrence (University of the Highlands and the Islands, UK) and Daniel Dörler and Florian Heigl (Institute of Zoology) to discuss with us.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) just celebrated their first birthday. As states who adopted the agenda, we committed ourselves to striving after these - quite ambitious - goals. What remained one year after the initial enthusiasm of having reached an agreement that holds us all to account, developed and developing countries? Have the SDGs even started to arrive in society, politics, science and education?
We discussed with Karolina Begusch-Pfefferkorn (Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy), Hubert Dürrstein (FT, representing the rectorate), Norbert Feldhofer (Federal Chancellery), Andreas Melcher (IHG) and Helga Pülzl (InFER) how BOKU can contribute through its research and higher education, the role of science and what is being done in Austria.
Living conditions in rural areas are often precarious, especially for the 500 million smallholder farmers who produce the vast majority of food worldwide. Depending on scarce natural resources and fragile ecosystems, their livelihoods are further threatened by different shocks, e.g. natural disasters, land-use conflicts, political unrest. In this workshop, we addressed how farmers can strengthen their adaptive capacities and increase their resilience to shocks. We explored which inherent mechanisms of food systems lead to fragility and how farmers can manage the transition from vulnerability to resilience. Follow the links below to access a summary and the speakers' presentations.
One third of the earth’ surface is affected by desertification. Climate change exacerbates the effects of drought, threatening food production. With 17 “desert days” (temperatures above 35°C) in 2015, the consequences of global changes are evident in Austria, too.
How can we halt the conversion of arable land into desert that is lost for agriculture? Can we reverse desertification processes in spite of climate change? How can we use and manage drylands more sustainably? These were some of the questions addressed at the conference.
Follow the links below to access a summary and the speakers' presentations.
What can we do to render the use and management of forests more sustainable, ecologically sound and fair? How can education and training support this transition? These were the questions that CIFOR principal scientists Anne Larson, based in Peru, and Esther Mwangi, leader of the Nairobi hub, discussed with Georg Gratzer, head of BOKU's Mountain Forestry Programme, and a mixed audience.
This evening's topic was land degradation. After an introduction by Franz Breitwieser from the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Michael Hauser (CDR) led through the discussion with Waltraud Rabitsch (Austrian Development Agency - ADA) and Mark Schauer (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit - GIZ).
Ann Waters-Bayer, Prolinnova/KIT, Netherlands and Lemlem Sissay Fetene, international consultant, Vienna discussed on the podium. Birgit Habermann from BOKU-CDR, led through the evening on the potential of grassroot innovations.
The CDR meets partners, members and interested people to characterise major socio-ecological transitions in the Lake Tana catchment, Ethiopia.
The workshop aimed at highlighting transition drivers and likely consequences for people, natural resources and livelihoods. We identified linkages between management choices, natural resources, policies and larger economic developments. Our goal was to enrich the Lake Tana research agenda and shape BOKU's contribution to it.
By following the links below, you can access information presented at the workshop.
After an introduction by Aurelia Calabró (Unit Chief of Agro-Industires and Technology, UNIDO), the Ethiopian Minister of Industry, H.E. Mebrahtu Meles, illustrated the recent economic boom of his country. Ethiopia wants to become a middle-income country by 2025. Therefore, the Ethiopian government channels impressive investments into agriculture, industries, and education. In turn, agriculture is expected to fuel economic growth. The implications for farming and the rural economy were discussed with the audience.
African soils diminish rapidly, yet local and global food demands are growing fast. Business as usual is not an option, but how can we safeguard the "thin skin" of our planet? Gradual adaptation or radical transformation of governance? Along these lines, professors Method Kilasara (Sokoine University, Tanzania), Sophie Zechmeister-Boltenstern and Axel Mentler (both from BOKU's Institute of Soil Research) discussed with Michael Hauser (CDR-BOKU).
The conference “GROWING TOGETHER – family farming and agricultural sciences transforming world food systems” was organised by the Centre for Development Research. Please find more information in the programme.
Visit the website of AGRINATURA- the European Alliance on Agricultural Knowledge for Development.
The Centre for Development Research was invited to co-organise a parallel session at the Alpbach Political Symposium in August 2013. The overarching topic of that year's forum was “Experiences and Values”.
The CDR-organised session was devoted to “Hunger – Values – Politics“, and took place the second day of the forum. The main purpose was to discuss underlying value systems in political, economic and social domains.
Given mixed experiences of the past, the participants explored what change in values is needed to achieve sustainable and equitable food systems in the future and how to balance interests in the light of global inequalities.