REGIONAL COLLECTIVE ACTION: ACHIEVEMENTS TO DATE

It has been three years since the establishment of Regional Collective Action in Eastern and Southern Africa, and in this issue of Collective Action News we look back at the achievements to date.

The goal of the Regional Collective Action program is to foster the emergence of a coordinated, cohesive program of agricultural research in Eastern and Southern Africa that produces clear economies of scale and scope at low transaction costs, to successfully address regional priorities. Collective Action involves a network, which includes the fifteen CGIAR Centers, sub-regional organizations, FARA, regional networks and voluntary partners (primarily from national agricultural institutes and universities) in order to add value to ongoing and future agricultural research in the region.

The two most visible outputs – the CGIAR Research Map for Africa and this newsletter – have been highly praised. The Research Map (http://ongoing-research.cgiar.org/) allows access to up-to-date information about the research projects undertaken by CGIAR centres throughout Africa. It is a collaboration between Collective Action, the ICT-KM Program of the CGIAR, CGIAR centres and over 250 scientists who have contributed their research information. . The newly released map gives users the unique opportunity to carry out a more specific and targeted query based on different key fields, link the data to project outputs and other relevant documents while allowing project managers to have complete ownership over their information.

Fifteen issues of Collective Action News (see all back issues here) have been published since 2008. The newsletter aims to alert agricultural researchers and professionals in Africa to the importance of collective action in research. It does so by highlighting successful cases of collective action, and has reported on collective research on food prices, crises response, urban farming and agricultural markets among other topics. It is distributed to an estimated 9,830 recipients including agricultural researchers in CGIAR centres, staff in partner organisations, donors, and government policy advisers.

In terms of collaborative research, the Collective Action program is expressed in four Flagship Programs, each coordinated by a CGIAR scientist, namely: (1) Integrated natural resources management (led by ICRAF); (2) Policies, institutions and information for achieving impact at scale (led by ILRI); (3) Conservation and enhancement of agricultural biodiversity for improved agricultural production (led by Bioversity); and (4) Improving impact of emergency response on agricultural livelihoods in highly stressed and unstable systems (led by ICRISAT). Recent reflections by Flagship Coordinators suggest there have been useful insights in engendering collective action through low key, low cost consultation processes, and that the use of the Flagships as platforms for consultation will continue to be especially important as the CGIAR goes through its process of change.

Click on the article to access the full news.

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