Selling_palm_oil This is the editorial which I wrote for the November issue of Tropical Diseases Bulletin (vol 104 (11), 2007) in support of an international publishing event on Poverty and Human Development.

Last month, 234 journals worldwide agreed to publish simultaneously editorials and articles on the theme of Poverty and Human Development, to raise awareness and stimulate research. Two of the Millennium Development Goals were halving poverty & the creation of a global partnership for development. These goals were set in 2000, for achievement by 2015, but there is a long way to go and time is flying by.

The Council of Science Editors organised this event and as editor of Tropical Diseases Bulletin (TDB) I should like to add my sup­port to this worthwhile cause and bring to your attention the work of CABI. CABI has been publishing health information within TDB since 1912 AND solving agricultural and environmental problems which impact the poorest people in the world for just as long. We focus on three key areas: commodities, knowledge for development and invasive species, and provide scientific publishing, research and communication for development. Our activities contribute directly to achieving the Development Goals, particularly poverty reduction, partnership for development and environmental sustainability.

To give some recent project examples, CABI scientists are currently working to control armyworms which are threatening crops across sub-Saharan Africa. They also developed a fungal agent to control locusts (Green Muscle®) and helped Ethiopian coffee farmers achieve 30% higher prices by improving the quality of their coffee. CABI’s compendia, which are interactive databases, provide detailed easy-to-search information & images on subjects like crop protection and animal health. We work across the globe: in Bangladesh with rice farmers, in Albania in fruit orchards, in Pakistan on dairy and meat production, in China as part of the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation Programme (ESPA).

CABI publishes many books relevant to poverty and development, covering agriculture, rural economics and nutrition such as the forthcoming book “School Health, Nutrition and Education for All” (see CABI bookshop section). We participate in AGORA and HINARI which give developing countries access to agricultural and health research journals and databases respectively.

Apart from project & consultancy work and our information products (databases, compendium & books), CABI also built and now manages the portal Research for Development (R4D) for the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) to give access to research which is focussed on the poorest peoples.

Through TDB and the database Global Health, CABI aims to provide access for researchers and policymakers to relevant health information: it should be self-evident that this impacts poverty. If you are ill or disabled you can’t work as effectively, your crops go unharvested, your family’s income declines. Equally if you can’t grow enough food or a cash crop, it’s not only your nutrition that suffers (with the added bonus of increased susceptibility to infection) but also your education opportunities. There’s no money to buy the education to raise you out of poverty or else you are so malnourished you can’t learn effectively.

CABI, I am proud to say, is at the forefront of the fight to alleviate poverty and promote development.

Wendie Norris PhD (Editor, Tropical Diseases Bulletin)


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