Online consultations to enhance agricultural research for development – September CAN

CAN September 2009Online consultations to enhance agricultural research for development Broad representation and trust

This contribution is by Simone Staiger-Rivas, Knowledge Sharing Specialist at CIAT, who is serving as a coordinator, facilitator and technology steward for aspects of the ongoing Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD) and e-consultations on reform of the CGIAR.

Broad representation and trust
Stakeholder engagement is crucial to successful reform. Where we often fail is
in developing and cultivating the indispensable networks and connections that allow us to involve a representative range of stakeholders actively in the reform process. This is further exacerbated by deeply institutionalized perceptions, norms and behaviors in regard to other actors of change. One consequence of these is the lack of trust among actors, which then leads to confidential side conversations that undermine the efforts for inclusive and transparent consultations around a reform.

Getting balanced representation and earning trust are two challenges in the ongoing efforts of the Global Forum on
Agricultural Research (GFAR), a global multi-stakeholder forum on agricultural research for development (which
includes the CGIAR), to organize in consultative processes for GCARD and CGIAR reform. Although virtual environments have the great advantage of allowing for broader engagement than physical meetings,
holding e-consultations does not guarantee that the desired range of actors, sectors and regional views are represented. And even if broad representation is achieved, distrust among participants and absence of face-to-face interactions can make it difficult to reach consensus in virtual environments.

The promising case of GCARD…Read more

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