Strategic Framework for International Agricultural Research within Australia's Aid Program

Chubb, Ian, Robson, Alan, Drysdale, Peter, and Sayer, Jeff (2011) Strategic Framework for International Agricultural Research within Australia's Aid Program. Report. UNSPECIFIED, Canberra, Australia.

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Australia produces sufficient food to contribute to the diets of at least 60 million people per year. But when the outcomes of Australian investments in agricultural science, technology and training are taken into account, Australia contributes towards the diets of an order of magnitude more people—possibly as many as 400 million per year1. The numbers of poor people benefiting from Australian scientific expertise could be increased through well-targeted investments in agricultural research in priority countries and regions, including Africa.

Investing in agricultural research for development fits the high moral purposes of the Australian aid program, as reflected in its five strategic goals and 10 development objectives, which are set out in the government strategy 'An effective aid program for Australia: making a real difference—delivering real results'.2 It relates particularly to three of the development objectives: improving food security by investing in agricultural productivity; improving incomes, employment and enterprise opportunities for poor people; and reducing the negative impacts of climate change and other environmental factors on poor people.

The strategic framework for international agricultural research within Australia's aid program as developed in this report in relation to Why? Where? What? and How? gives emphasis towards forming longer term partnerships of up to 15 years. These partnerships would have some of the following characteristics:

• The priority themes would be determined according to the priorities of the developing countries and matched with Australia's capacity to contribute. • There would be a commitment from the partner developing country or regional entity to ensure an enduring development. • Partnerships would include research in the social sciences and humanities as well as the natural sciences; including economic research on the links between increasing scientific research for sustainable productivity growth and reducing poverty. • Each partnership would require a training component—from TAFE-level certificate to PhD—with most of the training done in country.

It is understood that shorter term, project-based work of around 3 years duration may be important in some instances, such as in timely response to natural disasters, but should not be dominant. A 'Team Australia' approach should be taken to avoid parallel pathways and lead to a more cohesive Australian effort in support of international agricultural research.

It is understood that much of Australian aid will be focused in our near neighbourhood of Asia and the Pacific. Nevertheless, emerging issues—such as those facing Africa—should continue to be included in Australian aid, as part of our being a responsible global citizen.

The panel's findings imply that there are some steps that can be taken to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Australian aid delivery in relation to international agricultural research. We draw attention to the following opportunities, as examples emerging from the panel’s report. They are cross-referenced to the sections and pages of the panel report where their strategic rationale is described in more detail. The panel commends these steps as examples to the responsible parties for their further consideration and appropriate action.

Item ID: 21261
Item Type: Report (Report)
ISBN: 978 1 921962 17 2
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2013 06:22
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1606 Political Science > 160601 Australian Government and Politics @ 100%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9403 International Relations > 940302 International Aid and Development @ 100%
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