GCHERA Conference 2019 Keynote Speakers’ Abstracts


The Sustainable Development Goals and Learning for Transformation.
Arjen Wals, Wageningen University and Research (WUR), The Netherlands 

In order to meet the challenge of sustainable development we need nothing short of a radical re-orientation of higher education in general and of agricultural and life science education in particular.  Rather than adding new emerging topics and content to existing curricula and study programs, what is needed, are new pedagogical arrangements and so-called ‘learning ecologies’ that can help develop what we might call sustainability-related competences. Such   competences include; boundary crossing, systems thinking, integrative design, anticipatory thinking, perspective changing, considering ethics, and dealing with complexity, ambiguity and uncertainty. The SDGs can act as a catalyst for this re-orientation. In this   contribution I will show how, using Living Labs and other innovative forms of collaborative co-creative learning, as emerging examples.


Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security
John Porter, CIHEAM-IAMM – SupAgro - MUSE Univ Montpellier, Montpellier, France

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) mention food, land and climate more than any other themes in the SDGs. At the same time warming of the atmosphere will affect humanity's efforts to feed itself and its larger population long before large changes in sea-level occur. Food security is the most important and acute issue for climate change. Agriculture is also seen as a carbon bank that can, to a certain degree, absorb C and reduce the emissions of other greenhouse gases. In my talk I want to touch on many of these issues and hope to present some new thinking and analysis on them. I will show some recent work that has shown how agricultural production has become decoupled from emissions, how agriculture has been treated in the IPCC reports, how food security is not just about production, how climate change can be incorporated in university curricula and what can be done about resource use efficiencies (light, water, nutrients) and their interactions with each other. The key point is that raising production efficiencies is insufficient to limit emissions - an equivalent focus on efficiency must be put onto food demand and use for absolute emissions to fall.


Between the Bioeconomy and Extractivism: Feminist Perspectives from the Global South
Charmaine Pereira   Independent scholar, based in Abuja, Nigeria 

Central to the concept of ‘the bioeconomy’ is the vision of a future in which present day social problems and conflicts can be overcome through techno-scientific innovation and manipulation of biological resources. This elides the recognition that matters of scientific policy are simultaneously political, social and ethical questions. Critics point to the sense in which the bioeconomy is a political project, one that responds to the acute challenges facing the present neoliberal-capitalist accumulation regime by seeking to protect and expand the regime. In this, the capitalist logic underpinning the bioeconomy is no different from the predatory logic of extractivism. This refers both to the process of extraction of raw materials from the earth, such as minerals, oil and gas as well as water, fish and forestry products, and industrial agriculture, as well as the highly unequal conditions of extraction and the interests that are served through exploitation of the natural resources of the global South for export to the affluent economies of the global North. Enormous social and environmental costs are evident in the destruction of livelihoods and of the environment. Increasing conflict and the use of the military by extractive industries, with the support of the state, unleashes violence against workers, men and women, and women in the community. Feminists have highlighted the combined force of patriarchy and capitalism in entrenching the subordination of women workers, particularly in the mining sector. Feminist analyses have highlighted the gendered impacts of extractivism on women’s rights through their effects on land, livelihoods and food sovereignty; on women’s bodies, sexualities, health and safety; on women’s unpaid care work; and on shifting gendered power relations in ways that reduce women’s autonomy. Women in their organisations, and sometimes in alliance with other social groups, have challenged extractivist forces – principally, corporations but also their governments. Finally, feminists have worked on conceptual and practical alternatives to the extractivist system, including an alternative vision of the economy.


IBP University: inspiring innovation towards agro-maritime 4.0
Arif Satria. IBP University, Indonesia.

Today’s fourth industrial revolution has drastically changed all aspects of live in society including in higher education system. Universities also expected to contribute more actively in addressing nation’s problems that require a new approach. Sustaining our national development requires knowledge that is adaptive to the issues, particularly for IPB University mandate (Tridharma: teaching, research, and public services) activities, such as sustainability issues on agriculture, renewable energy and other land and marine based sector development. Gaps in the implementation are identified due to non-comprehensive approaches leading to the failure of the target achievement. In order to tackle those obstacles and enhance Tridharma quality and its impacts, IPB University has formulated the IPB Future Vision with aim to enhance and support the nation’s dignity. The vision of IPB University towards 2045 can be stated as “To be a leading university in strengthening the nation’s dignity through globally-excellent higher education on tropical agriculture, marine and biosciences”. As a leading university in agriculture, marine, and biosciences in Indonesia, IPB University develops new approach that creates a broad range of innovations in agro-maritime, namely Agro-Maritime 4.0. These innovations integrated land and marine management that involves complex social, economic and ecological systems. This requires trans-disciplinary, integrated and participative use of technology 4.0. IPB and Ministry of Communication and Informatics of the Republic of Indonesia have collaborated in implementing farmer’s empowerment program in 17 districts, 8 provinces, and 45 community groups, by providing high quality seed, and extension services as well as connecting products and market. IPB Agro-Maritime 4.0 develops a production which powered by artificial intelligent, machine learning, robotics and automation. This system, then will be combined with agro complex system, using Internet of Things (IoT) platform, data storage (cloud technology), processing, analysis, and gateways (sensors). Those will eventually produce big data. Agro-maritime 4.0 is also important to promote the diversity of actions contribute to SDGs in policy advocacy, leadership and management, curriculum reform, research, outreach, campus greening, student initiatives, etc