FAO and the SHARED Decision Hub provide a virtual training on enhancing the science-policy interface
12 August 2020
The cross-cutting theme of Science, Policy, & Institutions is integrated into all RFS country projects and is a key focus within the Regional Hub. This theme focuses on fostering a common understanding of key evidence around ecological sustainability and resilience as well as integrating that evidence within relevant policy processes.
The multi-dimensional nature of agriculture and food security within sub-Saharan Africa is inherently complex, involving a wide range of actors, mandates, and priorities that often compete and conflict. Government ministries often work within specific mandates with little cross-sectoral communication, knowledge exchange, and collaboration. This has resulted in policies and institutions that fail to reflect the interconnected nature of climate, environment, agriculture, and food security.
Effective policymaking and public programme implementation is often further challenged by the information and data gaps that exist in African countries due to lack of capacity, lack of funding, or lack of quality control and data harmonisation. In the absence of accessible information and usable evidence, actors with both public and private spheres are often tasked with establishing strategies and action plans without a strong evidence base. This leads to, for example, agricultural policies and incentives programmes that are misaligned with future climate scenarios, resulting in potentially negative impacts, such as the promotion of crops that are ill-suited for future climate realities.
Science, Policy & Institutional interventions aim to bring together the right stakeholders in the appropriate forums to analyse and disseminate scientific and practical evidence in order to effectively align policy and institutional frameworks with realities on the ground. The ultimate goal is to bridge the gap between agricultural and environmental agendas through the promotion of integrated approaches that work to achieve food security, improved incomes, and the protection and rehabilitation of ecosystems in rural communities.
Interventions within this theme involve the establishment and promotion of mechanisms for multi-stakeholder coordination, planning and investment. These mechanisms and platforms provide an opportunity for cross-sectoral dialogue and collective decision-making. RFS country projects are also working to influence existing policy and institutional dialogue processes by improving access to information, facilitating knowledge exchange, and developing institutional capacities.
Within each country, the RFS programme is working to promote dialogue and collaboration between relevant government ministries and stakeholders from the development community, private sector, and civil society. The ultimate aim of this multi-stakeholder collaboration is the development of supportive policies and incentives for smallholder farmers to adopt productive, sustainable and resilient agricultural practices.
In Burkina Faso, the RFS country project team is facilitating national and regional dialogues to support the integration of Land Degradation Neutrality targets within national planning frameworks. The Nigeria team has established a Public-Private Partnership platform for policymakers, civil society actors, and representatives from all links within groundnut and rice value chains to establish sustainable structures and partnerships for value chain development. The Regional Hub has developed a digital Science-Policy Interface to provide up-to-date information to decision-makers and to document best practices for country project teams.
Explore the RFS Country Projects to see more examples of how RFS countries are implementing Science, Policy & Institutions activities.
Stories from the Field
Explore our stories from the field to learn more about how RFS country project teams are implementing activities related to the programmatic theme of Science, Policy & Institutions.
We have a growing library of reports, briefs, case studies, media, tools and guidelines. Explore all resources related to Science, Policy & Institutions to get greater insight into our programme activities.
To assist RFS country teams in strengthening the connection between science, policy and institutions from the national to the local level, FAO has partnered with ICRAF’s Stakeholder Approach to Risk Informed and Evidence Based Decision Making (SHARED) Decision Hub. In July 2020, FAO and SHARED organised a two-part webinar training series to build the skills of country project teams in enhancing policy and institutional engagement.
As a follow up to the training event, FAO and the SHARED team have developed a toolkit to offer further guidance on applying a systematic approach to influencing policies and decisions using the SHARED framework. The toolkit provides easy step-by-step instructions for tailoring various approaches, methods and tools to country project needs. In addition, the toolkit integrates practical examples and lessons learned from RFS implementation gathered during consultations sessions with each of the RFS country teams.
Under Component 1 of the Regional Hub, FAO and UNEP, in partnership with RFS country projects and a range of other actors, platforms and institutions in sub-Saharan Africa, aim to address institutional and policy barriers to inclusion of approaches and investments for improved and sustainable smallholder agriculture and natural resource management. This report provides guidelines on mechanisms for mainstreaming integrated natural resources management (INRM) and sustainable land management (SLM) for food security and innovative financial instruments and market opportunities for scaling-up INRM/SLM approaches. In addition, it helps to identify strategic paths to reinforce dialogue between science and policy stakeholders by making available scientifically-sound support tools for decision-making.
This guide was developed to inform decision makers (e.g. government officials, programme managers) about the potential of Livestock FFS to develop and support small-scale livestock production in pastoralist, agro-pastoralist and small-scale farming systems. In particular, it helps decision makers gain basic knowledge of the FFS approach, learn about how FFS contributes to the livelihoods of livestock dependent communities, and comprehend the potential value of the FFS approach in a wider range of animal production systems and socio-economic settings.
This guide was prepared by the Animal Production and Genetics Branch (AGAG) of FAO’s Animal Production and Health Division with the participations of experienced Crop and Livestock FFS practitioners.
The Knowledge Centre is a central platform for sharing resources and information generated by the 12 Resilient Food Systems country projects and Regional Hub.
Within the Knowledge Centre, you can find helpful resources, tools, case studies, and news stories related to the different countries and themes of the Resilient Food Systems programme.