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Tag: policy

Re-inventing the wheel or shaping agriculture and forest resilience exchange instead?

Despite the continued funding of scientific projects, new knowledge, innovative ideas and methods from practice are not sufficiently captured and spread. The research findings are often not integrated into agricultural and forestry practice. 

Let’s imagine that there was no exchange of knowledge between countries. Every nation would be forced to reinvent the wheel, on its own, when someone, elsewhere, had already done so. You may think that this situation is not possible in the interconnected 21st century but, for some types of knowledge, this is still the case. 

The publication and dissemination of scientific articles in scientific journals is a well-trodden path. A few global printing houses offer worldwide access to discoveries and innovations described according to scientific thinking, and in English: the global scientific language. However, knowledge and innovation do not belong exclusively to scientists. Thousands of practitioners, managers, policy makers or teachers innovate in their daily professional lives. With a bit of luck, these innovations are not only applied, but also published in a report or a factsheet, or conveyed to colleagues from the same region or country at technical conferences, field visits, or regional or national congresses (all in the local language). And they don’t go further, as in most cases their creators do not have the mandate to disseminate them internationally. 

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Breaking down barriers to sustainability transition

Imagine an approach that can tackle the complex and interconnected challenges we face today— commonly known as “wicked problems”. Consider sectors like water, energy, and food, traditionally, these sectors have been treated in isolation, leading to fragmented decision-making and unintended consequences. Take, for example, the issue of water scarcity, which directly impacts agricultural productivity, subsequently affecting our food security. On the other end of the spectrum, consider energy production, which often demands significant water consumption, creating potential conflicts between allocating water for energy generation and meeting agricultural needs.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the nexus approach as a framework for addressing those wicked problems that defy traditional, siloed solutions. The nexus approach embraces a systems-thinking perspective, recognizing that the actions we take within one sector can have ripple effects across other sectors. It is a call to move beyond the confines of siloed thinking.

Despite its promising potential, the nexus approach has not been widely implemented in policy or practice. This realization propelled our investigation into the challenges surrounding the application of integrative approaches, such as the nexus approach, with a special focus on how international organizations embrace them. As a collaborative effort between researchers from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), the European Forest Institute (EFI) Forest Policy Research Network (FPRN), University College London, and the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT), we were interested in exploring what the “street-level bureaucracy” concept means for the nexus approach. We are thrilled to announce that our recent paper, titled: ‘The mirage of integration: Taking a street-level perspective on the nexus approach‘ encapsulates some of our findings and insights from this work.

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A look into the crystal ball: the future of global forest governance

New study evaluates directions for policy making and research

“Deforestation and forest degradation continue to take place at alarming rates, which contributes significantly to the ongoing loss of biodiversity,” said the FAO in her “State of the world’s forest report” in 2020. It seems that even though a variety of global forest governance initiatives have emerged over the past 25 years trying to stop deforestation and forest degradation, they have failed to achieve their overarching goal. One example is the UN-endorsed New York Declaration on Forests, which aimed amongst others to halve tropical deforestation by 2020 and recently declared failure. As shown by different scholars, global forest governance initiatives overall remain fragmented, inefficient, and face major implementation challenges. Policy makers thus lack clear evidence of successful anti-deforestation measures and are left not knowing into which basket(s) to put their eggs.

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