Managing natural resources for sustainable production systems: A research agenda at the crossroads

©FAO/Luis Tato

Policy seminar co-organized by CGIAR Independent Science and Partnership Council (ISPC); International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); and CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM).

FEB 28, 2018 - 12:15 PM TO 01:45 PM EST

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  • Karen Macours, Professor, Paris School of Economics and Chair, Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA) of the ISPC
  • Sara Scherr, President and CEO, EcoAgriculture Partners
  • James Stevenson, Agricultural Research Officer, CGIAR Standing Panel on Impact Assessment Secretariat, based in FAO


  • Frank Place, Senior Research Fellow, CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM)

In 2015-16, the Standing Panel on Impact Assessment commissioned a set of studies to document the adoption and impact of five well-recognized natural resource practices that were developed, adapted, and promoted by CGIAR centers, research programs and its partners. The practices—conservation agriculture, fertilizer tree systems, alternate wetting and drying (AWD), integrated soil fertility management (ISFM), and micro-dosing of fertilizer—were all expected to enjoy large-scale acceptance among smallholder farmers where they were promoted in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Results have landed and they are sobering. The low adoption rates reported by these studies provide an important reality check on the returns to some natural resources management (NRM) research investments, and suggests the need to rethink the impact pathways through which NRM research is expected to contribute to sustainable development outcomes—outcomes that nonetheless depend acutely on changes in the way we manage scarce natural resources.

This policy seminar provides insights from economics, integrated landscape strategies, and geospatial analytics to recommend ways forward for NRM research that most effectively contribute to the development of sustainable production systems, while also highlighting innovative methods and tools to evaluate adoption and impact more precisely.


 Presenter bios (468.53 KB)

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