INFORUM May 97 Update (fwd)

This may be of interest.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 31 May 1997 12:07:52 -0400 (EDT)
From: Bob Hart <bhart@nywork2.undp.org>
To: sard-news@nygate.undp.org
Subject: INFORUM May 97 Update

**     ___  _  _   __   _    __   _  _  _  _       May, 1997        **
**      |   |\ |  |__  / \  |__)  |  |  |\/|        Monthly         **
**     _|_  | \|  |    \_/  |  \  |__|  |  |        Update          **
 TEL: USA 610-683-1408      FAX: 610-683-8548     EMAIL:bhart@undp.org

In January, 1997 INFORUM was contracted by the International Livestock 
Research Institute (ILRI), the International Development Research 
Centre (IDRC), and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization 
(FAO) to set up and manage this electronic conference on "balancing 
livestock, the environment, and human needs." The actual conference 
began in March and now 12 weeks later, closing ceremonies were "held" on
May 30. This E-conference was by far the largest electronic event that 
INFORUM has organized. The conference used four types of electronic 
services: (1) six Email lists on FAO's computer: one list (LxE-L) was 
used for the general "plenary" discussion, 4 lists were used for 
"breakout" discussions on more narrow topics, and one list was used by 
the conference management team, (2) an Archive on FAO's computer from 
which conferees could automatically retrieve files by sending in Email 
messages, (3) a "mirror" of the LxE-L list on a Web Server, and 
(4) IDRC's Home Page with information on conference keynote papers, 
etc.). Key conference statistics include:

- 1,045 people subscribed to LXE-L List from 86 countries
- 764 people from 83 countries sent in personal introductions
- a total of 147 people participated in the exchange by either 
  sending in case studies or commenting during the discussion
- 85 people participated in the "plenary" session discussions 
- 33 people participated in the grazing system discussion 
- 29 people participated in the mixed system discussion 
- 7 people participated in the industrial system discussion 
- 7 people participated in the cross systems discussion 
- 78 case studies were submitted from 40 countries (2-3 pg average)
- 17 reports on interviews and/or roundtable discussions from 20 
  countries were sent in to shared electronically with LxE Conferees.
Closing remarks by the conference organizers suggest that the 
conference successfully accomplished its objectives. Don Peden and 
Carlos Sere from IDRC noted: "We are proud to have been a part of 
this truly global exchange that managed to actively engage 
approximately 1000 people from over 80 countries, many of which are 
in the developing world. We are also encouraged by the range of 
participants from the South... much has been learnt, previous 
knowledge has been confirmed, and promising options for future 
direction and cooperation sketched... this indicates clearly that 
such events will increase in importance in the coming years..."

Hugo Li Pun from ILIR said: "ILRI staff from our different eco-
regional sites in the semi-arid, sub-humid and highlands zones have 
been reading carefully the messages sent by participants. We appreciate 
very much their contributions, as well as the opportunities for our 
staff to express their opinions and share their experiences. In 
particular, we acknowledge the need to take a more holistic view of 
the biophysical and socio-economic interactions in livestock-based 
systems, and their environmental effects under conditions of 
restricted resources in developing countries...New paradigms will have 
to be developed. This conference was an attempt to get the views of 
other stakeholders, and we believe that we have made some progress 
through the mechanisms we utilized. Much remains to be done..."

T. Fujita and Henning Steinfeld from FAO concluded: "This electronic 
conference has been a most important and successful event. Together 
with the face-to-face consultations and the case studies volunteered 
by so many different contributors, it provided a wealth of information 
and a comprehensive exchange on the much debated topic of livestock, 
environment and human needs.  We, in FAO, will take our time to care-
fully analyze the contributions and consult with you on more specific 
technical and strategic issues... One main conclusion can already be 
drawn: there was almost universal acceptance of the necessity to apply 
a holistic approach to the theme livestock, environment and human needs"

Cees de Haan from the World Bank, who is also Chair of the multi-donor
Livestock Environment Initiative, wrote: "I feel that this Conference 
has clearly fulfilled its objectives of sharing the views resulting 
from the multi-donor Livestock-Environment study with a much wider 
audience ... It has certainly furthered the discussion on the role of
livestock in sustainable natural resource use... Much remains to be 
done, however. We need to ensure that more information on the current 
state of livestock-environment interactions, that the appropriate 
technologies and that the policy framework to induce these technologies 
is available. Only then will we be able to identify the appropriate 
interventions to mitigate the malign and enhance the benign effects 
of livestock production and so balance livestock and environment."

If you have access to the World Wide Web, you can read the information
exchanged during the plenary sessions by looking at:


You can find the keynote paper and other information at:


The results of this E-conference will be presented at a meeting in the
Netherlands June 16-20. Among the many issues to be discussed at that
meeting will be options for continuing exchange and cooperation among
the institutions interested in these issues. The options to be 
discussed include: setting up an electronic forum with different 
electronic services (E-newsletters, E-conferences, E-library, etc.), 
setting up a Network of collaborating institutions supported by and 
an E-forum, and setting up a virtual livestock and environment 
research center.
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