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Informing public policy

One of CIRAD's roles – as a public targeted research organization – is to inform public action, policy and instruments. This relies on the scientific knowledge co-produced with our partners in tropical and Mediterranean countries. One specificity is our ability to work on a range of scales, from local to global.

Playing a part in modifying public policy on food security, agroecological transitions, biodiversity, health and climate change is a strong lever for rolling out the necessary changes on a broader scale. It is a key instrument for fulfilling our remit:  building resilient farming systems for a sustainable, inclusive world.

The merits of foresight studies

CIRAD and its partners conduct various types of foresight studies.

The scenarios method was used for Agrimonde Terra, an exercise coordinated with INRAE to explore the future for food security and land use. The work done has been shared in international forums and has fuelled numerous exchanges with policymakers. Other institutions  sometimes directly request foresight studies, such as the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

We have also developed an operational method for imagining the future and building local development strategies, notably for local decision-makers and stakeholders in rural territories. This territorial foresight study method combines a diagnosis of past local dynamics, an estimate of the population in the territory 20 years hence, and participatory foresight exercises. It enables collective debate on sustainable pathways and provides a framework for monitoring and steering public territorial action.

Some recent examples:

A portfolio of publications to inform decision making

CIRAD coordinates and publishes several types of research-based recommendations and analyses, to provide scientific support for public policymaking. These include:  

Analysing public policy and proposing alternatives

CIRAD analyses public action and the instruments used, on its own initiative or on request. This may mean policy in support of agroecological transitions, or on food, forestry, value chain support, low-carbon economy incentives, etc.

Public players often work alongside us on ImpresS analyses, as part of change-related research operations. Such players often have considerable power to slow down or on the contrary accelerate change, and to steer public sustainable development policy and make it more effective.

Analyses include:

  • Public policies to support agroecology in Latin America and the Caribbean. An analysis conducted within the Public Policy and Rural Development in Latin America platform in partnership for research and training (PP-AL)
  • Land Matrix, on the agricultural land market, conducted with the International Land Coalition, associating 260 organizations in 78 countries
  • Value Chain Analysis for Development (VCA4D), which involved 25 in-depth studies of value generation within several tropical value chains worldwide
  • Food security in the Sahel: CIRAD is studying existing structures and has proposed new insurance-inspired, participatory instruments for public action, capable of guaranteeing food and incomes for the region's dry cereal producers
  • Policy and instruments to mitigate climate change and protect biodiversity; analyses of payment for environmental services instruments.

Active participation in international bodies and events

CIRAD experts participate in bodies at the science-policy interface, to support policymaking from the national level (CICID, GISA, ANSES, etc.) to the global level (IPCC, IPBES, RSPO, etc.). A CIRAD researcher also chaired the FAO High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) from 2015 to 2019.
CIRAD regularly organizes international conferences. Events such as the Fourth International Conference on Global Food Security in 2020,  the World Agroforestry Congress in 2019, Our Common Future under Climate Change in 2018 and Living Territories in 2018, to mention just a few, attracted up to 1000 experts, if not more, including a number of policymakers.
CIRAD also makes its expertise available to support international talks, often via multilateral organizations. Some of our researchers are members of global bodies at the science-policy interface.