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Publication | 29 October 2020

Capacity Development for Agricultural Research for Development

Global Food and Nutrition Security
This paper discusses issues related to support for capacity strengthening for agricultural research for development (ARD) by member countries of the European Initiative for Agricultural Research for Development. It summarises the findings of an analysis of the policies, programmes and projects in capacity strengthening for ARD of fourteen European countries. These policies, programmes and projects were previously examined in relation to a common set of criteria covering aspects of needs identification, design, implementation, assessment, documentation and sharing of information. The findings are discussed in the context of emerging opportunities and challenges for capacity development for ARD and recommendations are made for improvements in the way that support is provided. Key messages are that increased support to capacity development for ARD is needed if the projected increasing levels of investment in ARD are to generate sustainable returns; capacity strengthening initiatives should have a stronger focus on organizational and institutional strengthening as opposed to individual training; multi-stakeholder initiatives should be encouraged as they are likely to lead to larger impacts than those targeted exclusively towards research organizations and institutes of Higher Education; greater attention should be given to applying participatory methods of identifying capacity needs and facilitating the institutionalisation of capacity strengthening processes and outputs; the planning, monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment of capacity strengthening initiatives is weak and greater efforts are needed to design and adopt harmonized approaches and to share relevant information; greater attention should be given to encouraging young people, especially women, to enter agriculture as a profession and there should be a stronger focus on vocational training utilising a combination of distance and face-to-face learning. Although the agriculture sector is facing many challenges, there are also opportunities to enhance the benefits of capacity strengthening for ARD. Several new regional or inter-regional capacity strengthening initiatives are under discussion and EIARD members are well placed to help shape the direction of these initiatives. Most importantly, EIARD members should explore how these initiatives can be used to improve the coordination of programmes and projects to strengthen capacity development for ARD and facilitate the dissemination of experiences and good practice.