Strategy for Implementation:
1. The Regional Plan will
- Develop its program of work in coordination with the key partners.
- Focus on areas where greater benefits from critical mass and combined skills can be achieved by joint action. The corollary of this is that where an individual Center with a small number of partners has a distinct comparative advantage in a specific research area, it will be encouraged to continue to operate independently with its partners.
- Create synergies at the intersection of the CGIAR priorities and regional and subregional needs for public good research.
- Support an evolution towards integrated research in the region and promote collective action within a framework that responds to regional demands for international and regional public goods in accordance with CG system priorities and comparative advantages.
- Engender full consultation with all partners and meet with the agreement of a large majority of partners
- Ensure regular communication and consultation with all partners and open to potential partners
- Contribute to lowering transactions costs
- Have one agreed ultimate level of governance, the Alliance Executive, rather than multiple levels.
- Work as much as possible through existing institutions, instruments and structures in a devolved and distributed manner.
2. In line with the above considerations, participating Centers and partners have agreed on the creation of an innovative mechanism. This mechanism draws research and researchers across institutions and the region into self-directing groupings. These groups or ‘clusters’ reach critical mass through networking and have clear goals and research plans. These ‘clusters’ are the backbone of the Regional Plan and are time bound as well as mission directed.
Researchers in these clusters remain in their present institutional affiliations and geographic locations, but are linked to key collaborators in a task oriented manner.
3. The Hub unit for the Regional Plan is charged with ensuring coordination, impact monitoring and mission focus. This Hub is itself a result of networking: lead scientists from participating Centers, SROs and FARA provide guidance, based in their institutions and usually using cyber-links, with a full time Coordinator providing the ‘glue’. Thus we have an innovative institutional framework to support collaborative efforts that is ‘soft’ in the sense that it is not ‘housed’ in a formal organization avoiding thereby considerable investment and maintenance. It enables participating organizations to be flexible, agile and collaborative around new and emerging agendas.
4. The efficient and effective operation of network clusters that are the operational entities through which the Regional Plan will be realized, requires a structure that draws clear distinctions between the group providing the links and the support system (i.e., the Hub Unit) and the group concerned with the direct delivery of the products and services of the Network (i.e., the Operating Nodes), in other words the various Centers and their regional & national partners. They commit to collaboration where gains from integration are to be expected.
5. The approach taken is evolutionary in program, structure and scope.
6. The Alliance Executive, Alliance Board and Executive Council of the CGIAR have agreed that in SSA the proposed evolutionary approach is the way forward.
The Regional Plan is an initiative of the Alliance of the CGIAR (i.e. all 15 Centres) and its delivery strategy is congruent with the impact and capacity strengthening strategies agreed for it: all the main stakeholders are actors in the Regional Plan with collective responsibility for achieving its goals. The Coordination Hub of the Regional Plan consists of representatives of all 15 CGIAR Centres, FARA, ASARECA and SADC-FANR. The Hub maintains an overview of all activities under the Regional Plan and provides guidance on new initiatives. All Regional Plan initiatives include a number of CGIAR Centres, SRO and ARI representatives as active participants. Additionally, where appropriate other stakeholders in the innovation system concerned are or will be incorporated (e.g. farmer’s organizations, private sector, policy makers, and development partners). Thus actor engagement is the core plank of the delivery strategy as it is expected that actors will guide the focus, outputs and outcomes of the research, facilitation and coordination undertaken under the Regional Plan so as to increase impacts and strengthen capacities, where such strengthening is needed.
Recognising that the partnerships and communities of practice around the research envisaged under each Flagship Program is going to be fairly fluid, there are nonetheless nascent and growing partnerships in the active development of projects with over 30 organizations.