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INSAM homepage until March 2006

Last modified March 15, 2006 09:31

INSAM homepage until March 2006

We have added a lot of new information to many topics on our site recently and so there is a lot to read in the early months of the new year, which we hope will be good to you. Enough reasons to become INSAM member (if you not yet are one) and/or to encourage your colleagues to do so! We need new members to get more contributions to our web site contents!

Congratulations to Dr. Roger E. Rivero Vega from Cuba and Dr. Jorge Maia from Portugal for winning first respectively second prize in the first INSAM contest on “Best examples of agrometeorological services”. The announcement is under “News and Highlights” and the contributions they wrote, on an early drought warning system and on advising on the efficient management of irrigation water through an interactive web based programme, respectively, may be found under “Accounts of operational agrometeorology”.

I urge the members and others interested to become members of INSAM (welcome, welcome) to look at the way these two contributions made use of the protocol that we designed. You will see that it is really not complicated and we need such information to make it possible for others to completely understand and take up these examples of agrometeorological services. We want to organize now a new contest for 2006. Whatever categories of examples we earlier distinguished, they can all be sent simultaneously from now onwards and in the whole year to come. So, get yourself and your colleagues together and send us your best examples of operational agrometeorological services the way our winners did over the past year. All other conditions of the contest remain the same as they were. Don’t let us down!

The political fuss in the most recent meeting on global warming, in Canada, would make us almost forget that for us as scientists it is about Kyoto targets as well as about applied science and technology to reduce greenhouse gasses emissions and increase their absorption; and not about only one of these two issues. The argument, that the fact that big developing countries like China and India fall outside the Kyoto agreements makes the latter a wrong instrument, is a false argument. The presently already long-time industrialized countries developed without restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions and forest depletions. Now that we understand the essentially harmful issues, it are the latter countries that should by all means carry the burden of reducing these ugly factors, also jointly in the big developing countries. Harm to our developed economies is again not a valid argument. Globalization of problems demands adaptations everywhere in the world, but more so where they can be born best, while developing countries should be supported in managing and reducing the damaging factors. Can we contribute as agrometeorologists somewhere here? We have also some contributions touching on these issues and a discussion on our "Market Place" would not be overdone.

In all modesty I feel that compared to most western scientists working in or with Universities and Institutes in less industrialized countries, the groups I co-ordinated in Africa are among those that, after many failures, have most rigorously been able to apply - in my case as an agrometeorologist - what may be considered high level science in the agricultural environment of the livelihood of farmers, while serving their immediate interests.

My African colleagues, my African (and some Dutch) students and myself have learned that in the present stages of development, “bottom up” is the only direction that matters in the livelihood of people in such countries. Tackling urgent priority problems (with scientific components), as identified and articulated by farmers/urban settlers, in a participatory approach, comes first.

Once that has been well done, the relief measures have to be jointly determined by those local people, government policy and decision makers and, where necessary and possible, scientists. Only then should scientists be able to determine the scientific components of those relief measures and see what kind of interdisciplinary science in which ways can contribute to these proposed solutions, including the feasibility of these solutions and the policies behind them.

The reality is almost always the other way around. Scientists have methods and clever scientific knowledge of basic features (in our case of the environment and agricultural production). They look around for conditions under which these methods and that knowledge can be applied, independent of any urgency shown by socio-economic analysis. What is needed is to develop scientific contributions to what should most urgently be solved in the view of local people. Can I have your opinion on these issues as well on our “Market Place”?

I want to end this new home page by wishing all of you a good and pleasant remainder of the month of December and all the best for the New Year to come. INSAM politely asks for some of your attention in this new year and we promise to make the best of it. Tell your colleagues what they can find on our web site!!

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