Managing Natural Resources for Sustainable Production Systems: A Research Agenda at the Crossroads?

This brief summarizes the outcomes of the SPIA workshop on ‘Assessing the Impact of Research on Managing Natural Resources for Sustainable Production Systems’ and the proposed next steps. Key messages include: Broad acknowledgement of—and little resistance to—the findings that adoption rates for these practices in the target countries in Africa and Asia are generally low outside of project contexts. Strong challenge on the “adoption of NRM technologies and practices” paradigm—many felt that it is an inappropriate paradigm through which to understand, and to track uptake and influence of, CGIAR research on on-farm NRM. Strong support for continued methodological innovation in impact assessments of NRM research, along the lines of tools applied in the SPIA studies and the advances being made outside of the CGIAR. Recognition of the lack of a clear and compelling vision for this research area, and NRM research as a whole, even as the motivation to positively influence both social and environmental outcomes is apparent.