Adversity as opportunity
 Complexity and diversity as new
frontiers in development research



           Carlos Sere, ILRI
Main propositions
• The ‘big’ challenges we face today are not
  ‘simple’, they arise out of dynamic
  complexity
• To add...
Complex challenges
• Often have many causes, interacting in
  complex and conditional ways;
• Causes and consequences are ...
Towards an understanding of the
   programmatic challenge
Food crisis and agriculture
The growth in crop yield gains has slowed, while food demand
     continues to rise rapidly


           Growth in Crop Yi...
Stubborn maize yields
                     10                                                           Burundi
          ...
Global crisis,
                            regional exceptions
                                                           ...
Regional response to food price crisis

• Protect the vulnerable
• Exploit regional diversity and facilitate
  regional tr...
Reducing vulnerability, risk,
           building assets
• Vulnerability not only damages people’s welfare,
  it also redu...
New organizational approaches to
 addressing complex challenges
East African Dairy Development
Overall Goal
• To transform the lives of 179,000 families—or approximately
  one million people —by doubling household dai...
Three major objectives
• To generate information for evidence based
  decision-making on the dairy value chain and to
  de...
Confronting Complexity
• Challenges
  – Business model
  – Conflicting objectives and trade-offs
• Opportunities
  – The h...
EADD project model:
   Dairy Hubs
Dairy Sector Value Chain
                  Farmer
     ILRI

    Heifer

     ABS

    ICRAF

Techno Serve

    Heifer

  ...
However…
• Policy research on African agriculture is
  progressively long on prescriptions for
  – what needs to be done t...
CGIAR Reform
CGIAR has evolved to a System with more than 8,500 CGIAR
scientists and staff working in over 100 countries, addressing
 e...
Since its launch, CGIAR has delivered innovations that
have resulted in feeding an additional 13 million people
per year

...
CGIAR launched a change initiative at the
        beginning of 2008 in service of greater impact


                       ...
With additional resources, existing capabilities could be
scaled up and out to provide even more impact on
emerging challe...
Conclusions: networked science to
  address complex challenges
Forward looking, opportunity oriented
  – For researchers:
...
Thank you!

c.sere@cgiar.org
   www.ilri.org
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Adversity as opportunity: Complexity and diversity as new frontiers in development research, October 2008

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Adversity as opportunity: Complexity and diversity as new frontiers in development research, October 2008, by ILRI Director General Carlos Seré

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Adversity as opportunity: Complexity and diversity as new frontiers in development research, October 2008

  1. 1. Adversity as opportunity Complexity and diversity as new frontiers in development research Carlos Sere, ILRI
  2. 2. Main propositions • The ‘big’ challenges we face today are not ‘simple’, they arise out of dynamic complexity • To address them we will require new approaches: – Programmatically – Organisationally
  3. 3. Complex challenges • Often have many causes, interacting in complex and conditional ways; • Causes and consequences are often scale-dependent, or operate across scales; • Sometimes have their roots in differences in human value systems.
  4. 4. Towards an understanding of the programmatic challenge
  5. 5. Food crisis and agriculture
  6. 6. The growth in crop yield gains has slowed, while food demand continues to rise rapidly Growth in Crop Yield Gains Developing Country Consumption Source: World Development Report, 2008
  7. 7. Stubborn maize yields 10 Burundi Comoros 9 DRC 8 Djibouti Egypt Maiza Yield (Tonne/Ha) 7 Eritrea 6 Ethiopia Kenya 5 Libya 4 Madagascar Malawi 3 Mauritius 2 Rwanda Seychelles 1 Sudan 0 Swaziland 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 Uganda Zambia Year Zimbabwe
  8. 8. Global crisis, regional exceptions FAO global food 160 price index 150 Ethiopia 140 Food Price Kenya 130 120 Tanzania 110 Uganda 100 90 Madagascar 80 Malawi 70 Mar- Jun- Sep- Dec- Mar- Rwanda 07 07 07 07 08 Source: FAO, 2008; country statistics offices, cited in Karugia et al 2008
  9. 9. Regional response to food price crisis • Protect the vulnerable • Exploit regional diversity and facilitate regional trade • Enhance supply response • Strengthen and use regional institutions for preparedness and response
  10. 10. Reducing vulnerability, risk, building assets • Vulnerability not only damages people’s welfare, it also reduces growth directly by destroying assets … (Dorward et al 2008) • Need to assist poor people in the agricultural sector by reducing: – The risk and vulnerability to shocks and stresses, and – the perceptions of high risk in the sector, which may otherwise prevent the poor from venturing into new opportunities.
  11. 11. New organizational approaches to addressing complex challenges
  12. 12. East African Dairy Development
  13. 13. Overall Goal • To transform the lives of 179,000 families—or approximately one million people —by doubling household dairy income by year 10 through integrated interventions in dairy production, market-access and knowledge application • Beneficiaries: – 169,000 poor smallholder dairy families that earn less than $2 per adult equivalent per day and have 1-5 cows – 10,000 Fodder producers that earn less than $ 2 per adult per day • US$ 48 million investment
  14. 14. Three major objectives • To generate information for evidence based decision-making on the dairy value chain and to develop innovative solutions for use of resources that increase income • To expand dairy markets and increase market access for smallholder farmers • To increase dairy productivity and efficiency in a sustainable manner
  15. 15. Confronting Complexity • Challenges – Business model – Conflicting objectives and trade-offs • Opportunities – The hub concept – Multi-country project
  16. 16. EADD project model: Dairy Hubs
  17. 17. Dairy Sector Value Chain Farmer ILRI Heifer ABS ICRAF Techno Serve Heifer ILRI Techno Serve Techno Serve Techno Serve ILRI Consumer
  18. 18. However… • Policy research on African agriculture is progressively long on prescriptions for – what needs to be done to spur agricultural growth but short on – how such prescriptions might be implemented in practice (Omamo, 2003). • The issue is how to promote – “evidence-readiness” among inherently conservative and pragmatic policy makers and practitioners and – “user-readiness” among inherently abstraction- oriented researchers (Omamo 2004).
  19. 19. CGIAR Reform
  20. 20. CGIAR has evolved to a System with more than 8,500 CGIAR scientists and staff working in over 100 countries, addressing every critical component of the agricultural research sector IFPRI ICARDA Washington, DC Aleppo, Syria ICRISAT USA Patancheru India IRRI Los Baños Philippines Bioversity International Rome,Italy WorldFish Penang IITA Malaysia Ibadan CIMMYT Nigeria Mexico City Mexico IWMI ILRI Colombo Nairobi Sri Lanka CIFOR Kenya CIP Bogor Lima, Peru CIAT Indonesia Cali Colombia Africa Rice Center-WARDA Cotonou, Benin
  21. 21. Since its launch, CGIAR has delivered innovations that have resulted in feeding an additional 13 million people per year Without the CGIAR’s investment: – World food production would be 4 to 5 percent lower – Developing countries would produce 7 to 8 percent less food – 13 to 15 million more children would be malnourished
  22. 22. CGIAR launched a change initiative at the beginning of 2008 in service of greater impact FROM TO  Clear vision with focused priorities that respond to  Mission creep and trying to do everything global development challenges  Duplicative mandate of the Centers without clear  Centers that collaborate, work toward the System System-wide vision and strategy for impact agenda and priorities, and deliver impact  Complex and cumbersome governance and lack of  Streamlined and effective System-level governance accountability with clear accountability  Static partnerships that are not enabling scalable  Strong and innovative partnerships with NARS, the impact and research adoption private sector and civil society that enable impact  Lack of coordination among investors  Strengthened, coordinated funding mechanisms that are linked to the System agenda and priorities  Declining core resources  Stabilization and growth of resource support Greater impact on food security and poverty reduction
  23. 23. With additional resources, existing capabilities could be scaled up and out to provide even more impact on emerging challenges ILLUSTRATIVE SOLUTIONS  Drought-tolerant chickpea  Combating deforestation, the source of 20% of annual GHG emissions CGIAR Capabilities Capabilities  Disease resistant potatoes Currently  Drought-tolerant high-yielding rice Leveraged Untapped Against  Drought-tolerant maize with 30% higher yields Capabilities Development  Flood-tolerant rice with yield 2-3 Challenges  Super-early chickpeas  Pest resistant maize  New Rice for Africa(NERICA) - pests and disease resistant - reduced import dependence  Aquaculture techniques double yields
  24. 24. Conclusions: networked science to address complex challenges Forward looking, opportunity oriented – For researchers: • All kinds of research can have impact • Classical ideas of ‘critical mass’ less valid • Must be networked, have ‘digital footprint’ – For research managers: • Huge expectations of transformation of societies • Need to engage much more in networked science • Engage with postmodern approaches
  25. 25. Thank you! c.sere@cgiar.org www.ilri.org

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