The fifteenth meeting of the ISPC was held from 04-05 April 2017 in Rome, Italy.
The ISPC conducts strategic studies and trend analyses to inform the CGIAR System Organization on new trends and emerging issues in agricultural science and in the wider development environment (including types of, and approaches to, partnership) and to present opportunities that could inform prioritization of research and thus ought to be considered in adjusting the CGIAR’s research agenda. Results from these studies can help steer the current CGIAR Research programs (CRPs) toward unexplored questions and new partnerships, or identify areas where new research programs or program components would be needed. Such study results feed into periodic revisions of the Strategy and Results Framework (SRF) and should also inform adjustment of current CRPs.
The requirement for progress and agreement on metrics, indicators, and data management has emerged as an urgent challenge presented by the changing agenda of the CGIAR System Organization and the broadening of its system-level outcomes (SLOs). The need for new concepts, tools, and procedures for program and system-level analysis has been reinforced by the ISPC’s review of the 15 CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs), and a number of previous ISPC studies. These have all led to concern that CGIAR has not had a strong record of systematically measuring, monitoring, and curating data on the principal systems that it is seeking to influence. Long-term data sets on changes in the resource base, agricultural production, and the livelihoods of target beneficiaries of research have not been maintained. The need for a set of standard metrics was also highlighted as a priority in the new performance management system being developed by the Consortium for CRP monitoring and evaluation and for impact assessment. CGIAR needs to undertake appropriate target setting and develop the means to monitor progress toward the achievement of intermediate development outcomes (IDOs) and the overall CGIAR impacts.
The study was undertaken by a panel of external experts. The study included a survey questionnaire to the CRPs about their planned use of metrics and indicators for CRP- and system-level intermediate development outcomes (IDOs), and a workshop with CRP members, selected partners, donors, and other CGIAR stakeholders. The Workshop report is available at: https://sites.google.com/site/metricsmeeting/home.
The general principles for the strategic study on metrics planned by the ISPC were to: (i) promote the science for improving metrics within CGIAR in a transparent, consistent, reproducible, robust, and unifying manner; (ii) ensure that the metric systems adopted are relevant across disciplines and spatial scales to integrate different IDOs (e.g. productivity and human well-being and/or environmental sustainability); (iii) strengthen the community of practice working on metrics appropriate for CGIAR; (iv) identify a set of simple, low-cost metrics and decision tools that can be used for CGIAR’s specific needs; and (v) identify and prioritize new research to fill the gaps and develop the science underlying metrics.
This document contains the final report of the Panel together with the ISPC commentary. The Panel Report presents an analysis of the current activities within CGIAR concerning data, metrics, and indicators, and offers a series of recommendations to address the key issues and challenges identified.
The metrics study, expected to be finalized soon, focuses on two main objectives: 1) collate and analyze existing initiatives on monitoring systems and metrics within the CGIAR in the context of initiatives external to the CGIAR; and 2) explore new conceptual frameworks, methodological approaches, tools, and technologies for cost-effectively assessing research and development outcomes.
The ISPC considered that the CGIAR system would benefit from a strategic study on biotechnology with three main objectives: 1) to assess the biotechnology research pipeline in CGIAR, exploring to what extent and in what time frame the research is likely to produce improved technologies and/or improved efficiencies in research with significant impact on CGIAR target beneficiaries; 2) to analyze how CRPs are positioning themselves strategically in internal partnerships and with partners outside to achieve maximum synergy and efficiency in biotechnology research; and 3) to provide strategic guidance to the CGIAR system and CRPs based on an analysis of the near- and midterm developments in biotechnology research, research application, and constraints to adoption that will influence the investment choices in CGIAR. Issues of particular importance in this objective include proprietary control of technologies, capacity and resources in CGIAR’s partner and beneficiary countries, including development of regulatory frameworks and the political landscape that influences the choice of research pathways.
The initial findings of this study were discussed with CRP/Center representatives and selected partners and CGIAR stakeholders in a workshop at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington, DC. The workshop report is available at https://sites.google.com/site/biotechmeeting/.
This document contains the final report of the Study Panel together with the ISPC commentary. The report addresses issues ranging from gene discovery to the delivery of GM variety and livestock research products, bioinformatics, IP rights, and capacity issues. In addition to 10 recommendations, the Panel also offers detailed suggestions for implementation.
This study is designed to provide the CGIAR system, the CGIAR Research Programs, and Donors with an analysis and recommendations for enhancing biotechnology research, through investment and partnership strategies that can best serve system efficiency and the attainment of CGIAR goals. It focuses on genomics and bioinformatics, and GMOs, including the related policy and institutional aspects.
How are trends in urbanization and changes in farm and herd sizes affecting agricultural development in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia? What impact does this have on local and regional economies, on trade and on poverty? What effect does this have on CGIAR priorities for agricultural research?
Tufts University, Boston, hosted the ISPC Foresight Study workshop, bringing together leading scientists to examine the relationship between urbanization and farm-size in developing countries and their direct and indirect effects on research priorities for international agricultural research.
The synthesis report identifies six conclusions, from which it derives six corresponding recommendations. For the most part, the ISPC endorses these conclusions and recommendations. Each of these is summarized in the commentary, followed by specific comments from the ISPC.
This report summarizes findings from an ISPC Foresight Study asking what urbanization and farm size and other major trends imply for CGIAR agricultural research priorities. The study is based on 5 background papers reviewed by 15 discussants and debated during a 2-day workshop, then revised and synthesized in this document.
The study assesses the available empirical data on urbanization trends and changes in farm size in the context of South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa on the basis of spatial perspectives. For this purpose, the authors propose to answer the four research questions around which the report is structured.
This paper identifies issues for livestock research emerging from urbanization and changing farm size in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. It highlights the strong past and the expected, although somewhat slower, continuing demand for livestock source food in the developing world.
This review identifies how major trends in African urbanization and agricultural land dynamics are shaping the research priorities of the international public research system. The study’s specific purpose is to inform the research agenda and priorities of the CGIAR system.
This paper explores the implications of recent trends in urbanization and farm size for prioritizing future small farm assistance policies in Asia and Africa, including agricultural R&D.
This paper focuses on emerging evidence from surveys and broad trend information of the interrelated 5 transformations (urbanization; diet change; food market transformation: rural factor market transformation; agricultural technology and farm scale change). South Asia is the focus of the paper.
The next two decades will see continuing and dramatic changes in world food systems. This concept note is intended to point the way towards a systematic study of the ways in which some major trends and issues are likely to impact the international public research system, with specific relevance for the research portfolio of CGIAR and its partners.
Conservation agriculture (CA) is defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as a package of agronomic practices that includes reduced or eliminated tillage, continuous soil cover with crop residues and/or cover crops, and a diverse crop rotation or intercropping. The rationale for this package of practices is that it protects the natural resource base, thereby contributing to maintenance of long-term agricultural productivity. While CA practices have been widely adopted in North and South America and Australia, there is little evidence for widespread adoption in developing countries despite considerable research and extension by national programs and the CGIAR in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Moreover, there are a number of CGIAR Research Programs that propose to develop and understand the performance of CA technologies in these regions. The CA workshop to better understand the role of CA research in meeting CGIAR system level outcomes was held at the University of Nebraska, September 2012.
A set of papers from the ISPC strategic study on CA was published in a special issue of Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment entitled “Evaluating conservation agriculture for small-scale farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.” The editorial includes The Nebraska Declaration on Conservation Agriculture. The 13 papers in the issue give insight into the state of the science on CA across a range of disciplines—agronomy, economics, environmental science, and social sciences.
This strategic study will examine the evidence base for conservation agriculture and associated soil-based technologies in achieving the system-level outcomes of the new CGIAR system. The concept note describes the motivation for the study, its objectives, and outlines a workplan.
Based on the papers in the special issue and the discussion at a workshop, a consensus emerged around a number of key issues leading to the “Nebraska Declaration” on conservation agriculture (CA). The signatories to the Declaration (listed in Appendix A) represent the major academic disciplines relevant to the study of CA for small-scale resource-poor farmers in developing countries.
The NRM Research Stripe Review was designed to provide CGIAR leadership, CRP and Center management, and donors with insights that may facilitate the design and implementation of future successful NRM programs – programs that can produce international public goods and achieve impact at scale. CGIAR Centers participated through a series of iterative consultations with Center focal points, including a face-to-face meeting at the Science Forum in Beijing in October 2011. Key messages from the review include: (i) NRM research must play a foundational role in the CGIAR; (ii) there is an increasingly blurred distinction between NRM research and research on crop genetic improvement; and (iii) the paradox that despite the importance of NRM research to ensure sustainable agricultural systems, it is difficult to find well documented evidence of impact from NRM research at scale. The key to overcoming this deficiency is to ensure appropriate partnerships for conducting NRM research for development, and to ensure appropriate monitoring, evaluation, and impact assessment of NRM research within the new CGIAR research portfolio.
The NRM Research Stripe Review, for which the ISPC developed the Executive Summary on the basis of the Panel’s inputs, seeks to identify conceptual and operational issues that still require attention from CRP leaders, CGIAR Centers, and CGIAR leadership, in order to develop research that will meet CGIAR system level outcomes.
The present study “Natural Resources Management: Challenges and Way Forward for the New CGIAR – a Stripe Review” is designed to provide CGIAR leadership, centers, and donors with perspectives on the factors that influence achieving impact at scale from NRM research, sharing insights and information helpful to assist in developing quality programs.