Why multi-stakeholder collaboration is essential

17 June, 2015 by (comments)
10th Brown Bag seminar speaker Marc Schut. Credit: IITA.

10th Brown Bag seminar speaker Marc Schut. Credit: IITA.

At the 10th joint ICRAF-CIAT Brown Bag Seminar sessions in Hanoi,  Marc Schut, a social scientist working with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Wageningen University (WUR), based with IITA in Bujumbura, Burundi, gave a presentation on multi-stakeholder collaboration.

He holds a MSc in Agro-ecological Knowledge and Social Change and a PhD in Communication and Innovation Studies from WUR. He coordinates research for development activities related to scaling and institutional innovation under the CGIAR Research Programme for the Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics. One of his key responsibilities is supporting MSPs and social science activities in East and Central Africa, and sharing these lessons with other colleagues.

Collaboration essential 

Multi-stakeholder collaboration is essential to foster a paradigm shift in agricultural research for development (AR4D) needed to address complex agricultural problems. Complex agricultural problems are problems (1) with multiple natural and social dimensions, (2) embedded in interactions across different levels, and (3) that involve a multitude of stakeholders and organizations. Furthermore, complex agricultural problems are (4) surrounded by uncertainty and unpredictability.

Multi-stakeholder processes (MSPs) can facilitate interaction, negotiation and collective action between farmers, researchers and other stakeholders to address complex agricultural problems. First, different stakeholder groups can provide various insights about the biophysical, technological and institutional dimensions of the problem, and what type of innovations are technically feasible, economically viable, and social-culturally and politically acceptable.

Second, stakeholder groups become aware of their fundamental interdependencies and the need for concerted action to address their constraints and reach their objectives. Third, stakeholder groups are more likely to support specific solutions when they have been part of the decision-making process.

However, successful implementation of MSPs requires institutional change within AR4D establishments. Their performance and impact depends to a large extent on how MSPs are implemented. For example, stakeholder representation, facilitation and institutional embedding determine the extent to which MSPs can strengthen systemic capacity to innovate that can lead to real paradigm change, or are merely a continuation of ‘business as usual’.

Download the presentation here

Download the session agenda 

Download the paper: Towards dynamic research configurations: A framework for reflection on the contribution of
research to policy and innovation processes. 

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Filed Under: Inside Asia, Inside CIAT