Understanding the different conditions of regions and adjusting development activities to the unique circumstances of each area is key to ending poverty. This is one of the conclusions that the global planning team for the CGIAR Research Program on Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics. The team working on this program met in Nairobi June 4-7, 2012.
“As systems intensify different locations follow different paths. In some places natural resources are heavily degraded but people have graduated out of poverty. In other areas natural resources are still in reasonable condition but poverty is widespread. These different starting conditions require different interventions to move smallholders towards the ‘golden quadrant’ where poverty is overcome while natural resources are maintained”, said Alan Duncan who coordinates ILRI’s linkages with this research program.
The Humid Systems research program aims to enhance the opportunities for rapid productivity improvements at the system level based on best technologies. It will pay a lot of attention to sustainable use of natural resources and resilience to climate change. The research will focus on increasing available options and strengthening the capacity of poor and vulnerable people to enable them improve their livelihoods and living environment. In the humid tropics, promising agricultural systems’ innovations and technologies are needed urgently to improve the livelihoods of the more than 2.6 billion people who live there and where poverty and poor nutrition are widespread.
To achieve this, integration of expertise in scientific research is key hence the effort by the CGIAR to reform its way of working through ensuring that different centres pool expertise, thinking about links between different system components and fitting technical work such as crop breeding into a wider social and systems context.
Markets which have been previously marginalised were brought to the core recognising that market access is inseparable from poverty reduction. A draft was developed for site selection based on the three main variables: natural resource condition, poverty rates and market access. The action site selection protocol will allow a common approach to site selection across the four main research areas – Central America, West Africa Humid Lowlands, East and Central Africa Highlands, Greater Mekong.