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Living Labs to mark World Water Day 2007
In time for World Water Day on 22 March, TVE Asia Pacific has released the broadcast and public version of a global TV series on freshwater issues.
Called Living Labs, the new series looks at worldwide efforts by researchers and farmers to grow more food with less water -– one of the biggest challenges in agriculture and freshwater management.
This resonates with 'Coping with Water Scarcity', the theme for World Water Day 2007 (see box).
The Living Labs series is also dedicated to the United Nations International Decade on Water for Life, 2005 – 2015.
Between 70 and 90 per cent of all freshwater drawn in the developing world is used for growing crops. But has to change fast, says Living Labs: with water scarcity emerging as a global concern, agriculture cannot afford to remain so hooked on water.
Today’s crowded world needs to produce more food using both less water and land. This calls for smarter, thriftier methods of increasing water’s productivity in agriculture. And it must be achieved without damaging the environment, or threatening people’s food security, health and jobs.
This is just what the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF), a global research initiative, has set out to do. TVE Asia Pacific produced this TV series in close partnership with CGIAR-CPWF, whose work is featured through various case studies.
Living Labs was filmed in late 2006 in nine countries in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe and Latin America. As CPWF researchers started synthesizing their findings after three years of field work, TVEAP camera crews travelled to eight of benchmark river basins -– the ‘living laboratories’ of this action research –- to find out what has been accomplished, and what remains to be done.
The Living Labs series was premiered at the International Forum on Water and Food, held in Vientiane, Laos, on 12 - 17 November 2006. Hosted by the Mekong River Commission (MRC), it brought together 300 top researchers and policy makers from all over the world.
The series reflects the spirit of the Challenge Program: researchers working with each other, as well as with farmers, officials and others having a stake in water management, land use or food production. Interviews bring in the views of men and women from different backgrounds, who speak over a dozen local languages.
Supervised by TVEAP’s location filming director, all filming was done by locally-based and internationally credentialed camera crews in each country –- an important element in TVEAP’s policy of engaging local talent. The series was edited in Melbourne, Australia.
“This was one of the most ambitious and challenging video production we have undertaken,” says Nalaka Gunawardene, TVEAP’s Director and CEO, who wrote and executive produced the series. “We immediately recognized the scientific, survival and development value of these stories. But we wanted to tell these stories in a way that everyone can understand and relate to.”
In conceptualizing and producing Living Labs, TVEAP applied its tried-and-tested approach: be informed by science, but not immersed in it.A regionally operating non-profit foundation, TVE Asia Pacific has a decade’s experience in documenting the Asia Pacific’s quest for environmentally and socially sustainable development. It taps the power of moving images to tell factual, authentic stories drawn from the ground level and ‘ground zero’. All TVEAP films are produced journalistically to suit non-technical, public audiences, and are distributed without copyright restrictions worldwide.
The Challenge Program on Water and Food is a worldwide research initiative under the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research, or CGIAR -- a strategic alliance of members, partners and international agricultural centres that mobilizes science to benefit the poor. Ultimately, the Program seeks to reduce poverty and enhance food security –- two of the most important international development priorities.
Click here for promotional flyer on Living Labs