Unfolding results: CCAFS research put into action

In the 2012 Annual Report, we are illustrating how our research is turning into action on the ground, assisting farmers and countries manoeuvre its agricultural development amidst climate change. Photo: N. Palmer (CIAT)

by Bruce Campbell

Last year was an exciting time for us, as our targeted research unfolded into actions on the ground. Successful outcomes, as well as outcomes-in-the-making, can now be reviewed in our newly released 2012 Annual Report: Unfolding results: CCAFS Research into Action.

For the last two years, CCAFS has had the opportunity to operate as a CGIAR Research Program. During this time, we have made sure to actively build partnerships and capacity, engage with all the other CGIAR Programs, and ensure that activities across all of our research sites have been targeted.

These strategic measurements have ensured that conducted research is not only assisting smallholder farmers, extension workers and agriculture organizations with climate change adaptation and mitigation, but our research has also been fed into high-level policy deliberations on agriculture and climate change worldwide.

CCAFS science inform policies

Access CCAFS 2012 Annual Report here.More than ten countries have used our research products to inform decision-making processes.

Examples of successful research uptake can be found in relation to the Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change report Achieving Food Security in the Face of Climate Change, launched last year.

Mexico’s Congress supported a draft climate change bill based on the Commission’s report and its recommendations. The bill was subsequently passed as the General Climate Change Law 2012, only the third such law in the world. In Kenya, the same report was used as a reference for preparing the national Agriculture Act 2012.

Work done on banana–coffee intercropping has influenced major shifts in attitudes and policies in Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda.

On-the-ground action

Our 22 climate-smart villages illustrate how our research is turning into action on the ground. This concept was initiated by CCAFS and rolled out with the help of partners, concentrated in our benchmark sites South Asia, West Africa and East Africa.

The idea is for farmers to test integrated solutions to climate change, and then evaluate them in a participatory manner. The aim is to improve and scale-up these climate-smart learning sites, for additional communities to benefit from the techniques, institutions and information. 

CCAFS aspires to empower and build capacity among smallholder farmers, either through participation, information dissemination or opportunities. As an example, we helped facilitate trainings for 1,700 women farmers in India, Bihar, on how to manage climate risks, as part of a “train-the-trainer” activity.

Last year, we also had the privilege to collaborate with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) where we together published a manual for gender-differentiated research on climate change and agriculture. The manual provides basic tools for mainstreaming gender work in all of our activities.

New ways of working

Climate change affects men and women differently, which is why addressing gender is a main priority for us. Together with partners and scientists, CCAFS is defining and working towards implementing new values in the CGIAR, including mainstreaming gender, in all of our activities. Other values include focusing on open access to data and research and keep building partnerships. One example that can be mentioned in this context is our household survey results, released on the internet prior to any papers being published. The data was downloaded nearly 2000 times last year.

Our hypothesis is that this way of working will result in many useful analyses and publications about our research sites, far in excess of the number we would have been able to produce working in isolation.

We are now looking forward to 2013, to further find our research activities unfold on the ground into successful examples of agricultural adaptation and mitigation under climate change.

Dr. Bruce Campbell is Director of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. Follow him on twitter: @bcampbell_CGIAR