10 March 2022, Dhaka, Bangladesh - Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Minister of Agriculture of Sri Lanka. Special Event on Innovation, Science and Digitalization: Transforming Agrifood Systems in the Asia and Pacific Region. FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific, 36th Session (APRC 36).
A wide range of approaches, technologies and practices exist to tackle agrifood systems challenges. Science and innovation - including indigenous and local knowledge - underpin them all and are an essential part of assessing risks, identifying trade-offs and finding solutions to complex problems. The landscape of science and innovation is changing rapidly with amplification of biotechnologies, digital tools, nanotechnology, big data, and artificial intelligence. Public-private partnerships are on the rise. The importance of the participation of a range of actors in agricultural innovation systems is increasingly recognized to co-create knowledge and strengthen capacities. The FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31 recognizes that innovation across agrifood systems is key to achieve the SDGs and the Organization's first Science and Innovation Strategy is being formulated. The special event on 'Innovation, Science and Digitalization: Accelerators for Transformative Change in Asia and the Pacific region' will delve into the topics that the Strategy will have to tackle. It will discuss, among others, on trengthening the lab-to-land link and technology transfer; reinforcing the science-policy
interface to ensure the development of evidence-based strategies; governance and regulatory issues; inter- and trans-disciplinary research; and contentious scientific issues, including prevailing power asymmetries and socioeconomic inequalities that affect science and innovation. FAO is uniquely placed to support its Members in strengthening national policy frameworks for enhanced science and innovation and identifying research priorities and communicating them to the major research institutions.