A member of the Prolinnova International Secretariat at ETC Foundation, Ann Waters-Bayer, took part in the CGIAR Development Dialogues on 25 September 2014 in New York City. This event focused attention on the vital role of research in crop farming, livestock, forestry, fisheries, landscapes and food systems in achieving the emerging United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The Dialogues featured lively panel debates among research scientists, high-level policymakers, private-sector players and people from philanthropic organisations, academic institutions and civil-society organisations.
Ann spoke in the session on “Resilient systems and communities towards sustainable development: Fostering the capacity to innovate“. This session explored strategies and actions needed to foster the capacity to innovate in smallholder farming systems and key challenges to building inclusive innovation in these systems. Fostering capacity to innovate at all levels is critical to strengthening the resilience of these systems in the face of change, so that progress can be continued in improving agricultural livelihoods, promoting sustainable agriculture, restoring terrestrial ecosystems and engaging in effective partnerships to this end. Place-based agro-ecosystem research involving researchers, development workers, farmer groups, civil society, the private sector and policymakers can increase the impact of development policies and investments on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, and the resilience of natural resource systems on which they depend.
The session was organised and opened by Kwesi Atta-Krah, Director of the CGIAR Research Program on Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics, and moderated by Stephanie Strom, journalist with the New York Times. Other panel speakers on fostering the capacity to innovate were: H.E. Ruth Nankabirwa, Minister of State for Agriculture, Uganda; Sara Scherr, President, EcoAgriculture Partners; Stephen Muchiri, CEO, Eastern Africa Farmers Federation; and Blake Ratner, Research Director, WorldFish.