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Editorial (May 2010)

The natural wealth on which we all depend for our food, fibre, and fuel is under threat (WRENmedia/FRICH)
The natural wealth on which we all depend for our food, fibre, and fuel is under threat
WRENmedia/FRICH

Whether a government has delivered on its commitments usually comes under closest scrutiny at election time, as has been happening in the UK in the run up to the general election. But all governments have committed to protect biodiversity and now a report from Science confirms that governments worldwide have failed to meet internationally agreed targets for curbing losses of species by 2010.

"The role of governments is paramount," said Jean-Christophe Vie, deputy head of the Species Programme at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in a BBC report, "but the magnitude and rate of loss of biodiversity means that everyone, from individuals to businesses, must act now to save all life on Earth before we reach breaking point."

Water resources could be already at breaking point. The impact of human activity on freshwater reserves and the call for individuals and governments to take responsibility are highlighted in Heart of Dryness, our lead book review, which draws a stark picture of the future as we rapidly deplete finite water resources around the globe, from China and India to Australia, Canada and the US.

The availability of water, or lack of it, will undoubtedly shape agriculture, making the task of feeding more people and conserving biodiversity in a changing climate an increasing challenge. The world looks to science for the answers but research solutions take time to have an impact. Delegates at the recent Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development were keen to discuss whether the entire agricultural research system is in need of transformation. You can read some of their opinions in Points of view.

A key characteristic of developing new research systems will be the need to work in partnership, to build bridges between those that generate knowledge and those that use it, and to share risks as well as resources. In this edition, we focus on some of the public-private partnerships in different regions of the world that prove what can be achieved when partnerships function effectively.

Busani Bafana won the prestigious Award for Excellence in Agricultural Science Journalism (WRENmedia)
Busani Bafana won the prestigious Award for Excellence in Agricultural Science Journalism
WRENmedia

As we report in News, the CGIAR has recently been celebrating research success at its annual awards. And we are delighted to report that Busani Bafana, an African correspondent for New Agriculturist, won the prestigious Award for Excellence in Agricultural Science Journalism. In this edition, we feature several articles from our network of developing country science correspondents, including work to add value to saffron in Kashmir, an innovative livestock market in Kenya and educating the younger generation on the value of trees in Ghana.

We are always looking to build more partnerships for the future; if you would like to contribute ideas or articles for future editions, then we would be very happy to hear from you. Please get in touch through our contact page.

Date published: May 2010

 

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