Principles and Desired outcomes

In its expectation that the Regional Plans are making a significant contribution to both the regional priorities and CGIAR system priorities, the Alliance of the CGIAR Centres resolved that:

  • Support for the Regional Plans will take place in collaboration with regional and sub-regional organizations, i.e. FARA, ASARECA, CORAF and SADC-FANR.
  • The bulk of the funds required for the work of the Regional Plans will be earmarked for research or capacity building. These funds will be solicited based on project proposals prepared jointly, but in a decentralized manner, by the members of the teams of CGIAR and regional scientists involved in those projects.
  • The collaborative and evolutionary process by which the Regional Plans are being implemented will continue to constitute the mode of operation
  • It will continue to support investments in developing the program of work of the
  • Regional Plans by supporting the engagement of CGIAR scientists in this process and recognizing and rewarding their contributions in the annual performance assessment system of each member Center of the Alliance.
  • It will support the work of the Regional Plans through coordinated communications, internal and external, and fund raising where necessary.

The following key Principles guide the Regional Plans for Collective Action:

  1. Adopt a systems approach to the change process: i.e. with respect to;
    1. Agricultural and renewable natural resources systems (e.g. operating within the paradigm of “productive landscapes” where genetic improvement is integrated with natural resources management, within explicit eco-regions),
    2. Institutional & organizational frameworks for agricultural research, extension and policy making (i.e. looking beyond the CGIAR Centers to the other key players)
    3. Inherent uncertainties, lag-effects, multiple interconnections and scales that are part of these complex systems
    4. Seeking key intervention areas (thematic, capacity building, institutional) for collective action that promise improvement without too great a risk of causing existing, functioning agricultural research frameworks and arrangements to collapse.
    5. Respond and co-evolve with the evolution to the context for agricultural research in the region. A case in point is to keep up with the evolution of the SROs that are undergoing quite significant reorganization in most cases.
    6. Operate within the triangle of:

  1. Balance a bottom-up approach with the needs for institutional innovation that responds to stakeholders expectations
  2. Start with a focused approach on research that has both utility and probability of success, evaluate the costs and benefits of the approach (including its impacts on the ground through proper monitoring) rigorously, and scale up organically

Outcomes and Outputs:
Within three years the Regional Plan, in support of SROs and FARA, expects to contribute to significant improvements to research in the region (i.e. outcomes):

  • Overlaps and redundancies in research carried out by CGIAR Centers and partners no longer occur
  • Collectively designed and implemented research is the preferred option, rather than the exception, in order to address the goals expressed in CAADP Pillar IV
  • Economies of scale and scope are clearly discernible as a result of collective action

Three types of outputs need to be distinguished :

Type 1 – Institutional Arrangements and Frameworks: these are essentially facilitative and coordinating outputs resulting in improvements to collective action, institutional arrangements and framework conditions for better CGIAR integration among the Centres and with SRO & FARA plans (i.e. ‘the creation of critical masses of researchers linked through networks’) in order to contribute more effectively to CAADP & FAAP. Type 1 outputs are a direct consequence of funding of activities under this proposal and form the basis for Type 2 outputs.
The expected outputs in this case are varied, from a functioning coordinating mechanism (the ‘Hub’) through to facilitating or strengthening communities of practice in Flagship Program areas, promoting development of common approaches and frameworks, joint proposals, collective (research) actions, workshops, reports, and plans. Outputs include, for instance, representation of CGIAR Centres on ASARECA’s Board of Directors, and ensuring ASARECA’s research plans find a reflection and response in CGIAR Centre plans.

Type 2 – Collective, Value-adding Research: to solve complex developmental problems. These are the outputs of the four Flagship Programs of the Regional Plan involving CGIAR Centres, SROs, NARS and Advanced Research Institutes (ARIs) . Type 2 outputs will require investments in agricultural research, over and above those requested here. Co-funding for these are reflected in Centre MTPs. If incremental research is required, additional funding will be sought separately. Outputs are reported in Center MTPs (see Annex 1, Table 5 for a list of relevant MTP projects) or are listed below for Flagship Program research that spans organizations and competencies.

Type 3 – Aligned, Independently Managed Research: that supports the Regional Plan and regional (CAADP) goals, but is not directly coordinated by the Regional Plan because the Regional Plan would not be likely to add value. These are essentially projects that are managed by one or a few Centres and fall completely within their (and their partner) competency domains (e.g. development of vaccines by ILRI, fruit tree breeding by ICRAF) and are reported in Centre MTPs as such. In some cases funding for these projects will be sought from the EU, in which case there will be a direct application by that Centre to the EC under this current call. Type 3 research will not be reported here, see Centre MTPs/proposals instead.

It is important to recognise that the Regional Plan is an institutional innovation that seeks to be responsive to the needs and capacities of the CGIAR Centres and Regional and Sub-Regional organizations. This is only possible if the Regional Plan is flexible and adaptive in its approach to realising the CAADP and FAAP agendas, within the constraints of those frameworks.

Output targets 2008:

The year 2008 will be the second year of the Regional Plan. The aim will be to consolidate gains made in 2007 in terms of the wide array of partnerships, governance arrangements and collective action that have been achieved. While outputs of different types are targeted below a more general aim is to move forward the agenda on working within a paradigm of agricultural innovation systems across the partnerships.

  • Output 1: (Type 1) Interactive database of CGIAR research in Eastern & Southern Africa available on the internet.
  • Output 2: (Type 1) Formulation and launch of a systemic capacity strengthening initiative to support SCARDA.
  • Output 3: (Type 2) At least four collective action (i.e. CGIAR, SROs, NARS & ARI) initiatives launched respective to CAADP Pillar IV. (See full version of Regional Plan for more details on the four Flagship Programs)
    1. Workshop, proposal and work plans related to: ‘INRM based observatories of rural change’ – an initiative to link up long term experimental sites in the region to better understand all key drivers of change, including climate change. This will be discussed at a workshop in April/May 2008. This will be linked to the Climate Change Challenge Program that is currently under preparation, if the latter is successful.
    2. Workshop, proposal and state of the art review related to: “Agricultural market development as a mechanism for pro-poor growth”, which is being discussed as a collaborative venture with major agricultural research donors.
    3. Workshop, proposal and state of the art review related to: common tools and approaches for characterizing, using and enhancing agricultural genetic resources. The goal of the workshop is to engender economies of scope, if not scale among researchers.
    4. Workshop, proposal and work plans related to:Improving Impact of Emergency Response on Agricultural Livelihoods in areas where chronic or acute stress prohibits target populations from improving their livelihoods. In the ESA region, 17 out of 25 countries are in “stressed situations” due to climate variability, political instability or conflict.
  • Output 4: (Type 1) Value-addition and strengthening of regional institutional frameworks that bridge between SROs and CGIAR centres, as well as support to FARA’s Sub-Saharan Africa Challenge Program.

Output targets 2009:

  • Output 1: Updated version of web-based interactive database of research. Workshop on insights from use of the database, report on exploration of the data-base as a pan-SSA tool hosted by FARA. Report on progress made in key areas of overlap as well as bridging of gaps, based on analysis of the interactive database.
  • Output 2: Follow-up and related outputs on capacity strengthening, including support to emerging African Centres of Excellence, e.g. BecA.
  • Output 3: A wide range of workshops, reports and publications are expected from activities and projects initiated under Outputs 3a-d by participating partners.
  • Output 4: Continued value-addition and strengthening of regional institutional frameworks that bridge between SROs and CGIAR centres, as well as support to FARA’s Sub-Saharan Africa Challenge Program.

Output targets 2010:

Output targets will continue to follow the pattern set (i.e. Outputs 1-4) for previous years, with scope for additional outputs to be targeted within the overall strategy and framework of the Regional Plan and in response to partner/stakeholder needs and support.

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