Abstract: ISDC Symposium at TropAg Conference

Alyssa Jade McDonald-Baertl, CGIAR Board Member

UN FAO and WEF have called for 1% of food-related GDP to be invested in innovation. What are the institutional perspectives to ensure it is inclusive, socially responsible and sustainable?

While agri-food systems have delivered staple crop yield increases over the last decades, it has not reduced global nutritional deficits or environmental degradation, nor improved farmer livelihoods. While 30% of greenhouse gases, 70% of freshwater and 80% of tropical deforestation are attributed to global ag, it may be the only sector which can genuinely produce its own environmental and social improvement. Opportunity exists for ag-science to co-create new ideas, products, services, and solutions; introduced and scaled by an interlinked set of individuals, processes, assets, and institutions.  Fostered systems transformation, inclusive by nature, stimulates goal-driven action, and addresses emerging trends and power (and imbalances).  Siloed research organizations tended to ‘push’ endeavors, rather than ‘pull together’ the ecosystem. Good practices exist which combine (g)locally scaled practices and co-created socio-technical innovation bundles which can reduce negative tradeoffs. Multi-stakeholder platforms can interact with innovation platforms via Farmer Research Networks and facilitate Participatory Innovation Development.

Evidence suggests that a high degree of diversity among contributor can nourish a fertile environment for new ideas. Beyond gender, ethnicity, (dis)ability and neurodiversity, what role does non-human diversity have? Eg. Animal rights, environmental justice and AI rights of technology.

Our institutional capacity, (i.e., value-driven, authentic leadership) to overcome the current challenges and future scenarios will depend on our capacity to grapple with ‘do no harm’ principles, agile programming and iterative design to redesign interventions.