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Meeting the “Father of the Evergreen Revolution”

Posted by Jeffrey A Brez Thursday, May 26, 2011

Yesterday, May 25, I had the good luck and privilege to be invited to Bioversity International to attend the launch of Professor M. S. Swaminathan’s new book, “In Search of Biohappiness, Biodiversity and Food, Health and Livelihood Security.” Professor Swaminathan has been an inspiration to myself and my colleagues here at IFAD as, together with a range of partners, we developed IFAD’s first Environment and Natural Resource Management Policy. The timing could not have been better: we are launching the policy on June 1, so I took the opportunity to interview the Professor about his views on smallholders, biohappiness and scaling up sustainable agriculture while I was there.

Having been a sports reporter earlier in my career, I rushed in wanting to take as little of his time as possible, ready to “roll tape” immediately, and get out before my time was up (sports figures usually have little time for journalists). But he settled me down immediately and calmly invited me to introduce myself and talk about the topic before starting the interview (view the interview below). Unsurprisingly, he is a true gentleman and a softspoken but deeply persuasive speaker.

He could not be a stronger or more credible advocate: he calls sustainable agriculture, “the only pathway for job-led economic growth.”

In our ENRM Policy, the phrase “evergreen revolution” appears six times – including in our Results and Implementation Matrix (see the annex)! For us at IFAD, scaling up sustainable agriculture as part of an evergreen revolution with smallholders is achievable. Join us (along with our president, Kanayo Nwanze and UNEP’s Executive Director, Achim Steiner) and contribute your experience and concrete suggestions to help focus our the discussion on how to get things moving.

With Professor Swaminathan continuing his research and advocacy – and now even President Obama calling for an evergreen revolution – I think the time is ripe. Do you?