Biovision is involved in over 30 projects in Africa, bringing concrete improvements to the lives of severely disadvantaged people. This work goes hand in hand with our commitment to higher-level advocacy. By being present at the negotiating table, Biovision can show policy makers how theory and practice can be combined. It allows us to introduce concrete proposals and so help create a development frame-work that is both sustainable and fair. At the negotiations in New York we could draw on practical experience in the field and so put forward a clear wording for the Sustainable Development Goals. Such background work also helped the global debates associated with our programme “Changing Course in Global Agriculture” achieve greater adherence with the reality of problems on the ground.
Back in 2008, Biovision helped raise the profile of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD). This report was the most comprehensive, scientific inventory ever produced on the global development of food production. The IAASTD Report concluded that “business as usual is not an option”. At the time, representatives from agribusiness overwhelmingly rejected its conclusions and the recommendations of the expert committee – which was co-chaired by Dr Hans Rudolf Herren and Professor Judi Wakhungu. Now, our tenacity and that of like-minded organisations and leading personalities from research, politics and industry appear to have paid off. In his opening speech at Expo Milano on global food security, Johann Schneider-Ammann, Federal Councillor and the Swiss Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Education reiterated that very same warning, i.e. “business as usual is not an option”. At the same event, Biovision President Hans Rudolf Herren outlined the approaches to be developed further in order to change course in global agriculture.