Rome, Italy: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a three-year USD 10 million grant to Conservation International for the creation of the Africa Monitoring System (AMS). This tracking and diagnostic system aims at increasing food security and decreasing environmental degradation.
AMS will be co-led by Conservation International, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa and the Earth Institute (EI), Columbia University. The system focuses on agricultural productivity as a means to assure food security, and to meet the growing global need for food.
Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said, “Investments in agriculture are the best weapons against hunger and poverty, and they have made life better for billions of people. The international agriculture community needs to be more innovative, coordinated and focused to really be effective in helping poor farmers grow more. If we can do that, we can dramatically reduce suffering, and build self-sufficiency.”
The AMS will provide tools to ensure that agricultural development does not degrade natural systems and the services they provide, especially for smallholder farmers. It will also fill a critical unmet need for integrating measurements of agriculture, ecosystem services and human well-being by pooling near real-time and multi-scale data into an open-access online dashboard that policy makers will be able to freely use and customize to inform smart decision making. The raw data will be fully accessible and synthesized into six simple holistic indicators that communicate diagnostic information about complex agro-ecosystems, such as: availability of clean water, the resilience of crop production to climate variability or the resilience of ecosystem services and livelihoods to changes in the agricultural system.
The integrated monitoring system will be deployed in Tanzania, Ghana, Ethiopia, and two countries yet to be announced. Africa is the first of a three-phase process over the next 10-15 years to create an Integrated Global Monitoring System for Agriculture, Ecosystem Services and Human Well-Being.
Source: Conservation International