fbpx

Publication

IDS working papers;313

Global engagements with global assessments : the case of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD)

Published on 1 January 2008

The IAASTD – the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science
and Technology for Development – which ran between 2003 and 2008, involving
over 400 scientists worldwide, was an ambitious attempt to encourage local and
global debate on the future of agricultural science and technology. Responding to
critiques of top-down, northern-dominated expert assessments of the past, the
IAASTD aimed to be more inclusive and participatory in both design and process.
But how far did it meet these objectives? Did it genuinely allow alternative voices
to be heard? Did it create a new mode of engagement in global arenas? And what
were the power relations involved, creating what processes of inclusion and
exclusion? These questions are probed in an examination of the IAASTD process
over five years, involving a combination of interviews with key participants and
review of available documents. The paper focuses in particular on two areas of
controversy – the use of quantitative scenario modelling and the role of
genetically-modified crops in developing country agriculture. These highlight some
of the knowledge contests involved in the assessment and, in turn, illuminate four
questions at the heart of contemporary democratic theory and practice: how do
processes of knowledge framing occur; how do different practices and
methodologies get deployed in cross-cultural, global processes; how is
‘representation’ constructed and legitimised; and how, as a result, do collective
understandings of global issues emerge? The paper concludes that, in
assessments of this sort, the politics of knowledge needs to be made more
explicit, and negotiations around politics and values, framings and perspectives
needs to be put centre-stage in assessment design.
Keywords: agriculture; policy; science; innovation; participation; deliberation.

Cite this publication

Scoones, I. (2008) Global engagements with global assessments : the case of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD). Working paper series, 313. Brighton: IDS.

Citation copied

Publication details

published by
IDS
authors
Scoones, Ian
language
English

Share

Related content