Navigating amidst complexity: a guide to implementing effective research and development to improve livelihoods and the environment

Navigating amidst complexity: a guide to implementing effective research and development to improve livelihoods and the environment

How to use research and development to improve livelihoods and the environment

This guide looks at implementing effective research and development in improving livelihoods and the environment. The guide is mainly for researchers already involved in Natural Resource Management (NRM) but it will also be of interest to implementers of NRM projects, as many of the elements and strategies are common to research and implementation.

The authors point out that this guide is all about improving the effectiveness of research and development (R&D) in NRM, so that livelihood and environmental outcomes are enhanced. What is described here can be thought of as a “new way of doing business” for R&D in natural resource management, but builds on approaches in the agricultural, conservation and governance fields. They argue that research and development within NRM arenas is undoubtedly in an exciting phase, with a whole suite of organisations in different contexts embarking on more integrative research. Given the need to view rural development problems from multiple perspectives, the time is ripe for new approaches to NRM research.

The guide identifies and discusses a number of operational cornerstones for managing NRM interventions including:

  • partnership cornerstone: clear partnerships and collaborative arrangements built on trust, ownership and joint commitment to vision and impacts 
  • facilitation cornerstone: effective facilitation, coordination and negotiation at different levels 
  • governance cornerstone: enabling governance and policy that provides incentives, capacities and resources to key stakeholders 
  • incentives cornerstone: Interest and energy created in the short-term to ensure commitment to the longer term goals and processes among partners 
  • research design and process cornerstone: effective research design and process to integrate research and development objectives
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