Producing enough food for a rapidly growing population, and taking care of our planet are two of the world's biggest challenges.
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Africa Harvest — founded by Kenyan scientist Florence Wambugu — supports policy development and scientific and institutional capacity building across East Africa and promotes the use of modern biotechnologies to help the region's farmers. The foundation's flagship project uses tissue culture technology to reproduce disease-free banana plants for distribution across East Africa.
It also runs a communication and advocacy programme to promote public acceptance of biotechnologies — especially genetic modification. The organisation publishes information about its tree-planting programme in Kenya and links to other African and international organisations working in biotechnology.
AMMANET promotes using genetic marker-assisted selection (MAS) technologies to accelerate African plant breeding efforts and deliver food security and economic growth. Over 100 African scientists established the network in 2003, with support from the Rockefeller Foundation.
The network brings regional and international agricultural researchers together, publishing information about its activities and providing contact information of all its members. It also links to news, scientific articles and other useful resources on MAS.
The Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS) plays an important role in reducing deforestation in the Amazon Region. FAS manages the Juma reserve, established by the Government of Amazonas in 2006, and runs the Bolsa Floresta programme that pays families and communities to contribute to sustainable forest management. The FAS website provides an introduction to the organisation, an overview of their programmes and links to relevant related documents.
ASB is a global partnership for research on tropical forest margins that operates as part of the Consultative Group for International Research in Agriculture (CGIAR). By including a broad range of stakeholders, ASB identifies and develops policies and practices that can achieve their vision of prosperous people and flourishing forests across the tropics. It publishes information on its work, policy briefs and working group reports.
The Beyond Rio Resource Centre, run by the Sussex Climate Change Network at the University of Sussex, UK, offers information about new ideas and practical solutions for sustainability. It is aimed at practitioners, policymakers, academics and students interested in sustainable development. The website publishes information on two overarching themes — the green economy and institutional frameworks — and seven critical issues, including food, water and energy. It includes open access publications supporting these themes, and a wide range of briefings, project reports, website links and films.
The BioSafe Train project is an international collaboration of scientists aiming to build capacity for dealing with the challenges associated with implementing genetically modified (GM) crops in East Africa.
It publishes information on students' research projects that cover topics such as the environmental impacts of GM maize in Kenya, biodiversity in cotton fields in Uganda and the ecological risks posed by transgenic rice in Tanzania.
BioSafe Train also publishes a regular newsletter, issues press releases, links to partner institutions and related organisations, and highlights meetings and events.
The Census of Marine Life is a catalogue of marine life set up by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Its aim is to compile information about the diversity, distribution and abundance of marine life, from microbes to whales. The website hosts the results of the project, which inform ocean research, as well as several reports including a summary written to help policymakers use the data to address issues surrounding the sustainable use of marine life. Visualisation tools and maps are available to help users make sense of the data, as well as free to use image galleries and related videos.
CABS was founded in 1998 and is a part of the US non-governmental organisation Conservation International. It brings together leading experts in science and technology, and conducts research that supports the mission of its parent organisation, namely to identify and respond to elements that threaten the earth's biological diversity. CABS recently launched its Tropical Ecology, Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) initiative, which aims to monitor long-term trends in biodiversity through a growing network of tropical field stations.
With its headquarters in Indonesia, CIFOR conducts collaborative research with partners in over 40 countries to inform policies and practices that affect forests in developing countries. The website provides a thorough introduction to CIFOR research including an overview of regions covered by the centre and access to publications including journal articles, working papers and info briefs. Activities are arranged into three programmes covering environmental services and sustainable use of forests, forest governance, and forests and livelihoods.
This programme aims to encourage better management of water for food production by increasing the resilience of social and ecological systems.
It does this by focusing on the interconnections between water, food and poverty in developing countries. The programme helps develop water-related innovations by bringing together scientists, development specialists, policymakers and communities.
The website publishes information on its research programmes and projects as well as blogs and related news, job vacancies and events.
The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research is an association of public and private members supporting a system of 16 Future Harvest centres that work in more than 100 countries to mobilise cutting-edge science to reduce hunger and poverty, improve human nutrition and health, and protect the environment. As well as taking a keen interest in agricultural biotechnology, much of CGIAR's research has direct relevance to biodiversity. CGIAR also coordinates a global network of genebanks that aims to keep the bulk of the world's plant genetic resources in the public domain.
D-Lab, run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is a programme of academic courses aimed at developing and implementing low-cost technologies to address poverty. Its approach is based on building partnerships and promoting capacity building, local innovation and indigenous knowledge.
The website contains information on its sixteen courses, and projects developed through the programme. Instructions on how to implement certain projects — such as making charcoal from agricultural waste — are also included.
The Dartmouth Flood Observatory, based in the United States, uses remote sensing data to detect, measure and map river discharge and flooding. It publishes rapid response inundation maps during a flood as well as an atlas of large floods from 1985 to present.
Data from the observatory are used by several disaster alert and relief agencies, including Sentinel Asia, Thomson Reuters AlertNet, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Europe's Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.
The Desert Research Institute is based in Nevada in the United States. Its principal research areas include atmosphere, water and land management – in the United States and in the developing world. The institute is engaged in a project to bring clean water and sanitation to communities in Ghana, Mali and Niger through the West Africa Water Initiative (WAWI). WAWI aims to do this before 2008.
Funded by the European Union, DESIRE is an international collaborative project aimed at establishing alternative strategies for using and protecting arid and semi-arid ecosystems under threat from land degradation and desertification. Field sites for testing new conservation techniques include areas in Africa, China and Latin America.
The DESIRE website publishes news and information about the project, highlights upcoming events and links to other relevant sites.
EM-DAT, run by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters at the Universite Catholique de Louvain in Belgium, provides statistics and data on disasters' impact on humans, such as the number of people killed, injured or affected as well as economic damage estimates and disaster-specific aid contributions.
Users can search the database or pull out summary information including graphs to show temporal trends as well as reference maps of disasters by type or date.
The Global Biodiversity Information Facility is an international, government-funded initiative focused on providing free and open access to biodiversity data online for scientific research, conservation and sustainable development.
The website provides an Internet-based index of primary biodiversity data, such as museum specimens and field observations of plants and animals in nature; community-developed tools for formatting and sharing data; and capacity building through training, including access to international experts and mentoring programmes. The website links to relevant reports and news, and publishes information in different languages including English, Chinese and Korean.