Personal tools
You are here: Home » Topics » Agromet market place » Beyond Better Funding for Agrometeorological Research
INSAM Navigation
 

Beyond Better Funding for Agrometeorological Research

Last modified November 29, 2004 18:43

When I wrote my message "Beyond Climate Forecasting of Flood Disasters" (later on worked into a paper with Das and Murthy), I used a parallel with measures proposed in Japan in preparedness for Earth Quake disasters, taken from a newspaper clipping ("What's new, 3-01-2004").

When I wrote my message "Beyond Climate Forecasting of Flood Disasters" (later on worked into a paper with Das and Murthy), I used a parallel with  measures proposed in Japan in preparedness for Earth Quake disasters, taken from a newspaper clipping ("What's new, 3-01-2004").

This time I found a striking resemblance between what an international ministerial summit in Mexico on health care had to say on "Research Funding" and the situation in agrometeorological and -climatological research (Associated Press Release, among others published in the Jakarta Post of 24 November 2004, p. 18).

"Research is the key to reducing glaring health inequalities worldwide, but only if governments do a better job implementing long-lasting and effective policies based on its findings and communicate what works to their neighbors". Replace "health" by "agricultural production" and apply it to agricultural research and the equality is striking and certainly also applies to research in agrometeorology and agroclimatology. Research and policies are for example interdependent parts of the basic support systems to agrometeorological services to establish "Agrometeorological Action Support Systems on Mitigating Impacts of Disasters".

However, we have earlier argued, among others in the above-mentioned "Flood Paper", that this was only an important first step. It is comparable to the first issue that the Mexico health summit sought to determine as "ways to better urge public and private sector researchers to focus their efforts on the most deadly and harmful diseases". In our parallel this would be a focus on the worst disasters with agrometeorological/climatological components.

But the Mexico health care summit in addition aimed to determine "the best ways to get vaccines, prescription medications and technologies that already exist to the sick around the globe who need them most". This is the final step to national health services that would make a difference in the livelihood of marginal people. In the same way as getting existing agrometeorological information, and research results that already exist, applied by the many marginal farmers is the final step to national agrometeorological services that would make a difference in their livelihood.

In these processes INSAM wants to be a medium "to communicate what works to neighbors". This aim is at the basis of our contests on agrometeorological services. The way WHO was directed by the Mexico meeting to coordinate communication of what was learned to the international community, we at INSAM urge WMO on playing that role for meteorological and climatological disasters and CAgM to join us to do so where agricultural production is involved.

In that context it is also important to listen to the Global Forum on Health Research that was held in Mexico by government and NGO leaders in conjunction with the ministerial meeting. In its closing statement they said that "simply targeting HIV and AIDS as well as malaria for more study would not slow increased death rates from those illnesses in the developing world".

Instead, like the ministers, it called for focusing more attention to health systems and services research, saying that "questions about access to care and (about) inequalities could be answered only by countries with the understanding of the full scope of health problems they face". The parallel for agrometeorology/climatology is clear.

Simply targeting disasters like drought, floods and climate change for more mitigation research will not slow down the suffering they provoke in the developing world. Focusing more attention to research on agricultural systems and on agrometeorological services can do something on policy questions of access and inequalities also only when the full scope of disaster problems is understood.

In the released statement of the health ministers' summit in Mexico they also urged governments "to put public health decisions in the hands of better-informed officials who are able to work with leaders on a community level to more efficiently implement findings (…...)". This comes very close to our earlier made requests for training agrometeorological officers at the intermediate level as intermediaries between NMHSs and farmers, to more efficiently implement agrometeorological services.

Developing such training demands agrometeorological research funding as well. Beyond mere improvement of research funding in agrometeorology there is therefore its focusing on agrometeorological services where they are most needed. Combining science with relevant policies and sustainable local technologies and strategies.

This trend is already clearly visible in some recent international environmental funding (GEF etc.) approaches. It should now also be applied to the indeed better research funding that we need in agricultural meteorology and climatology.

Kees Stigter, INSAM and Agromet Vision

Document Actions
  • Share on Facebook
  • Print this