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The Global IFSA Forum on April 2nd 2014 in Berlin: "Global Issues: Rebuilding a Systems capability?"

Facilitation :  N. Sriskandarajah,  B. Hubert & R. Ison


At this moment IFSA Europe has built strong recognition for its dynamics and capacity to capitalize on Farming Systems Research (FSR). Thus, at the 2014 Symposium, IFSA Europe has chosen to re-examine FSR in the context of global issues and widen its influence to a larger audience. This could lead to a greater involvement in advising European decision makers about the future of agriculture and to help them take a broader view on the diversity of farming practices and what it means to those on the rest of this planet.

At the same time, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) is involved in an important reform since 2010 which aims to lead its 15 International Research Centers located all over the world to work together through cross-cutting-programmes called the CRP (CGIAR Research Programmes). These are focused on major issues and are built in partnership with other research bodies from the North and the South.

Three of these CRPs explicitly refer to a systems approach (Aquatic Agricultural Systems-AAS, Humid Tropics and Dryland Systems) which means taking a new approach for many CGIAR researchers who were, up to now, mainly involved in specialized approaches according to the major commodities (rice, wheat, maize, barley, sorghum, millet, bananas, cassava, meat, milk, etc).

Considering this recent research tradition at CGIAR institutes (not to overlook the important beginnings of FSR in IRRI and CYMMIT for example) it is very relevant to develop research skills to take into account the whole farming system, the relations between crops and livestock, the gender relations within the labour cast, the share between self consumption and commercialization, the role in territorial dynamics, etc.

The proposed IFSA Global Forum provides a unique opportunity to better link CGIAR researchers to the farming system community represented today by the European IFSA. To capitalize on this opportunity this forum will comprise two sessions:

the first,  where Patrick Dugan (who is the director of the CRP AAS) will present these new issues for the CGIAR along with Richard Bawden (Prof. Emeritus at the University of Western Sydney, Australia) who will speak about his long experience in systems approaches.

The second will be built on three successive round tables on
(1) the epistemologies supporting the diversity of systems approaches,
(2) the interest of systems approaches to involve practitioners as partners and develop participatory research and
(3) the contribution of modeling to systems approaches.

Forum I (13h30-15h): 2 presentations to set the frame

Patrick Dugan (Director of the CRP Agricultural Aquatic Systems and Scientific director of WorldFish): Farming systems approach in the CGIAR reform: a way to achieve "Intermediary Development Outcomes".
Richard Bawden (Prof. Emeritus at the University of Western Sydney): Opportunities for systemic transformations: 50 years of reflections.

Forum II (15h30-17h): 3 round tables(1) to discuss the research issues:

  • Systems thinking: a diversity of approaches and epistemologies (introduced by Ray Ison, Open University, UK & Monash University, Melbourne)
  • Systems research and practitioners' engagement (introduced by N. Sriskandarajah, SLU, Uppsala)
  • Modeling for learning and action (introduced by  H. Belhouchette, J. Wery or C. Gary, UMR System, Montpellier)

(1) each will be introduced by a 10' talk by a relevant lecturer followed by 20' of exchanges with the audience.



The IFSA 2014 is hosted by


Action and Research for Climate Change Adaptation in Land Use
Tuesday, 1 April 2014, 16:00 h
Senatssaal Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Download programme (pdf, 551 KB)

Book of Abstracts now available

The IFSA team is pleased to present the book of abstracts for the IFSA 2014. It comprises the abstracts of all presentations that will be given in Berlin. Even more important it contains all necessary information about the conference itself (maps, workshop locations, complete programme etc.).
You will be handed a printed copy upon signing in.

Download pdf (8,4 MB)

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