RFS Supports UNCCD in Developing a Technical Guide to Land Tenure for Land Degradation Neutrality in Preparation for COP15
18 January 2022
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
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To assist RFS country teams in strengthening the connection between science, policy and institutions from the national to the local level, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) partnered with the Stakeholder Approach to Risk Informed and Evidence Based Decision Making (SHARED) Decision Hub to increase the engagement of RFS country project teams with policy and institutional processes.
The SHARED toolkit is the result of a tailored engagement approach and training process that was carried out with each of the RFS country projects. This brief provides an explanation of the process to develop the toolkit as well as an overview of SHARED tools, methods and approaches.
UNDP and FAO support capacity building of resilient food systems stakeholders to better address institutional and policy barriers to the inclusion of ecosystem services and approaches in policies and investments for agriculture and food value chains improved and sustainable for smallholders. Their efforts are aimed at fostering dialogue, models, measures and practices that bring together agendas and agricultural and environmental interest groups at different scales.
The first step in facilitating dialogue and bringing agendas closer is to identify all relevant stakeholders and platforms. This report maps all civil society partners, institutions and platforms at global, regional and national levels that influence knowledge about sustainable and resilient agriculture in Africa. The report can be used by policy makers to identify platforms and partners that should be included in discussions at different levels of governance.
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.