29th International Khwarizmi Award
Statement by Mr Serge Nakouzi
FAO Representative to the Islamic Republic of Iran
and to the Economic Cooperation Organization
Tehran, 7 March 2016
It is a great pleasure for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to be present and address the 29th International Award organized by the Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology (IROST) affiliated to the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology of Iran. The significance of this award which is bestowed every year in memory of Abu Jafar Mohammad Ibn Mousa Khwarizmi, the great Iranian Mathematician and Astronomer (770-840 C.E) should not be under-estimated particularly in raising awareness of the outstanding achievements being attained by Iran and Iranians in the field of Science and Technology.
During the past 50 years, ideas about how to achieve “sustainable development” have matured from concepts to reality. Today, in the field of agriculture and rural development we have at our disposal advanced methodologies and technologies, that aims to secure intensive as well as highly productive and efficient agriculture, in practice and on real farms whilst concurrently enhance ecosystem services without “tradeoffs” or unavoidable damages”.
The application of these approaches unfolds opportunities for farmers to receive payments not only for their produce, but also for rendering ecosystem services, which safeguard natural resources and could comprise for example, the sequestration of carbon in the soils or the provision of clean water, or the use of healthy and biologically active soils as a medium for strengthening ecosystem functions.
At present the production of bioenergy and its usage has demonstrated impact on the local environment as well as human health and quality of life. The current patterns of biomass use prevailing in many households in the world are the cause of human drudgery in the process of collection of wood, and of a large incidence of lung illnesses due to the smoke, especially in children and women. Therefore the "upgrading" of the forms of production and use of these resources is an urgent matter. Fuel saving stoves, biogas digesters and other decentralized systems offer excellent opportunities in this respect.
At the global level, the production of biomass-derived energy has the potential to have both positive and negative effects on all of the three major environmental issues being faced today, namely, land degradation, climate change and loss of biodiversity. The extensive and increasing areas of degraded lands provide an opportunity for woody biomass species to be used economically for their rehabilitation. Whilst some of this land may have initially been degraded through the mining of indigenous wood resources often to supply urban charcoal markets, the establishment of multi-purpose bioenergy plantations can be a sustainable means of returning this land to productive use. Management strategies and policies required to provide the incentives for rehabilitation require resources to ensure future modes of land use are sustainable.
It is now the eighth consequent year that the Khwarizmi Award receives support and endorsement from FAO. This esteemed cooperation will continue since the concept of bringing together the wills and passions of individual research workers from the world and the sharing of science and innovation conforms FAO’s principal mandates of information and knowledge sharing in the quest of bridging gaps and embedding sustainable development.
Whilst extending our congratulations to the winners of the Award, on behalf of FAO and on my own behalf, I would like to also take this opportunity to thank the Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology (IROST), and the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology for their endeavours to organize this event, and raise awareness of the significant accomplishments being attained by the Islamic Republic of Iran and by individual Iranians in the field of Science and Technology.