Options for Further Work by TAC
Recommendation to TAC
Bringing together the threads of previous thinking (see References), the comments received, and the analysis of the consultant, some conclusions emerge on the subject of NARS-CGIAR relationships. Based on these conclusions, some suggested options emerge for TAC's next steps in looking strategically at the collaborative relationships between the CGIAR centers and organizations within national agricultural research systems (NARSs). Agriculture is here defined broadly to include crops, livestock, agroforestry, forestry and fisheries. NARS are here defined in the broadest sense to include national agricultural research institutes (NARIs), universities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector, extension agencies attached to research groups, farmer cooperatives and other configurations of farmers involved in the consultative and research processes.
We note right up front that the term "NARS" is a useful shorthand term in policy level discussions within the CGIAR and elsewhere to refer to all the organizations that address agricultural research and related subjects in a given country. However, it is less useful in discussions of operational issues associated with collaborative relationships with centers. The reasons are several. First, in most countries, the organizations included in the so-called NARS do not operate as a connected system (although it is recognized that this is a goal).2 At present, in many countries they operate quite independent of each other, often competing with each other and ignoring the work of each other, and operating with quite different goals and priorities. Second, the organizations that go to make up a "NARS" tend to vary widely from country to country. Thus, there is no standard definition that is useful. Third, and following on the other reasons, CGIAR centers with few exceptions have collaborative relationships at the organizational or scientist level, not at the "system" level.
2 One NARS reviewer suggests that "...the main constraints existing in most of the NARS of the developing countries are lack of institutional linkages, effective decision making mechanisms, coordination, etc., among components of the NARS....In a majority of countries of the various regions, a common concept of NARS does not exist."
With the strong urging of many of the reviewers of the first draft of this paper, we submit that a main challenge facing the international agricultural research community is to help countries themselves form more coherent and indeed system focused groups of complementary organizations that can build on synergies, thrive through healthy competition for niches in the agricultural research portfolio, and give each other support in accomplishing the various pieces of the research puzzle facing each country. The CGIAR centers can help in this process and can fit much more productively and effectively into such a coherent system than with an isolated group of individual organizations pulling and pushing in different directions. (We might add that the same comment has been made by many in the Group who suggest bringing the centers together in a larger systems context).
Thus, in what follows we often refer to the shorthand term "NARS-CGIAR" collaborative relationships, but always in the context of individual organizations and/or scientists collaborating in various forms with CGIAR centers.
As a second point of clarification, we note that the term "partnership" refers in this paper to a formal partnering relationship between two or more entities, with the term "collaborative relationship" used in the broader sense of all types of linkages between CGIAR centers and other organizations, including through information and research networks, training relationships, and so forth. (It is the consultant's understanding that TAC, in collaboration with the CGIAR Secretariat, is looking in more detail at the specific nature of partnerships. Thus, the present paper addresses the broader range of relationships).
- Collaborative relationships with organizations and scientists within NARSs are a positive part of all of the CGIAR's work. One has only to look at the 350 projects in the System to realize that partnering is all pervasive in the System and in the work of the centers. Considering the goals of the System (and the centers), and recognizing that the CGIAR is only one small part (4% generally is assumed) of the total activity in agricultural research for developing countries, Centers see collaboration and partnering as obvious mechanisms for leveraging resources and linking to the rest of the global activity.
- In the specific case of partnerships, a function of each partner is to help strengthen others in the partnership. It follows that strengthening of partners also should be an all pervasive, albeit not necessarily always explicit goal of the NARS and the CG System. Related to this point, the 20 percent of CGIAR resources allocated in the Priorities and Strategies to the category five "undertakings" or activities (institution strengthening) is a somewhat misleading figure. First, we know that some centers put all their publication costs in category five, and some publications are not intended for institution strengthening (although they may end doing so). Second, we also know that much more training and other capacity strengthening activity takes place in the System than labelled as such. Thus, training and capacity strengthening often take place within the other four activity categories. On balance, the amount spent on capacity strengthening probably is considerably more than 20 percent.
- Good partnering involves learning as well as teaching on the part of each partner. There has to be a give and take, a two-way flow of benefits. It is important that the partnering culture instilled in the researchers in the CGIAR System includes explicit consideration of, and concern for what and how they can learn from the partnerships. Gain for the System comes in terms of learning about local conditions and insights, input for Center priority setting, science advancement by learning new techniques from local partners, and, most importantly, informal learning regarding the pros and cons of alternative transfer mechanisms for the results derived from Center activities. The areas for CGIAR gain are many.
- Sorting out and agreeing on what a center best can give and what it can gain from partnering is a crucial step in developing sound, productive and effective collaborative relationships. Centers and NARS organizations and scientists need to have a good understanding of each other's relative strengths; and then they need at a very early stage in the relationship to establish and agree on their respective roles, taking those strengths into account. At the same time, of course, they need to recognize that (a) changes will need to occur over time, and (b) most partnerships are not meant to last forever; they accomplish their purpose and then should be amicably dissolved as new, more relevant ones are formed. This requires active management of collaborative relationships.
- CGIAR collaborative relationships should be established in the context of the basic criteria for CGIAR participation in research, namely, that the CG produces or focuses on "international public goods" and that the center(s) involved should have a "comparative advantage" in carrying out the research involved.3 The latter criterion is qualified by the principle of "subsidiarity," i.e., the primary responsibility for a research activity should be devolved to the lowest level in the hierarchy from global to regional to national to local level that can carry out the activity appropriately, effectively and efficiently.
3 To repeat from elsewhere, international public goods are those for which: (1) it is difficult for one country to appropriate the benefits (i.e., exclude others from benefiting); (2) there is non-rivalrous consumption (i.e., use of the research results by one country does not harm or exclude other countries from also using and benefiting from them); (3) there are significant economies of scale or scope that go well beyond the needs and/or abilities of one country; (4) there are significant international externalities; and (4) the research can help strengthen national systems and help improve access of NARS to new knowledge and technology not otherwise easily obtained. Comparative advantage (a term quite loosely used in the System) means that the CGIAR (center) is best placed to undertake the research or be involved because it has inherent international, scientific, financial, or other advantages that would result over time in more effective and/or efficient production of the research.
- Success of CGIAR activities depends on how well the System's outputs achieve its goal of improving the lives of the poor of developing countries on a sustainable basis; and that, in turn, depends both on the quality and relevance of the research results produced and on the effectiveness of the mechanisms used to extend research results to the ultimate intended beneficiaries. Research that sits on the shelf, no matter how good from a scientific perspective, is not contributing to success of the System in terms of its goals. It presumably is for this reason that TAC is concerning itself with the whole continuum from knowledge creation through dissemination and application.
- While few advocate direct CGIAR involvement in extension activities, many (including many members of the Group) have urged that centers need to become more involved in researching the means to improve extension and adoption processes, sometimes through comparative adaptive research in relevant countries and through support to (e.g., through training) national and local extension arms, whether in the public or private sectors.
- In collaborative relationships, the appropriate balance between CGIAR activity in information generation (research) and activity in information transfer is a dynamic one that cannot be generalized, other than to say that, ideally at least, no CGIAR research that has potential for contributing to its goals should be sitting idly on the shelves of partner NARS. The dynamics enter the picture as more fundamental or basic CGIAR research enters the stream of more applied and adaptive research, and where the tasks of dissemination for adoption become much more complicated than the narrow task of dissemination of basic research results to research colleagues through journals, papers and germplasm transfer. The impact pathways of CGIAR research can be long and complex.
- In forging principles, priorities and strategies for effective collaborative relationships with NARS organizations, the centers, TAC and the Group need to address the fundamental fact that the CG centers work with a wide variety of NARS organizations that differ in a number of dimensions, including: (1) objectives and priorities, (2) strengths and weaknesses in different areas of science and activity, and (3) resources available (skilled people, funds, facilities).
- For each of these dimensions, there is a continuum from one extreme to another. We are not dealing with "either or" situations. Along the same lines, one too often finds a "we-they" mentality existing, both in the centers and in organizations within the NARS. For example, the term "NARS" often is used to refer only to developing country systems and ARIs used to refer only to advanced research institutes in developed countries. The paper argues strongly that a "we-they" mentality needs to be replaced by one that recognizes a continuum of institutions and individual scientists that differ in terms of a number of dimensions that are independent of whether the institution or individual happens to be in a so-called developed or developing country. (The need to focus on continua of NARS is stressed by a wide variety of groups working in and outside the CGIAR System; and it was stressed in the System Review. Yet practice in the System does not necessarily follow the advice, partly because categorization is such a handy mechanism for ordering everything).
- There are at least three continua that TAC in its deliberations should consider: (a) a continuum of NARS organizations (as indicated above with the various dimensions); (b) a continuum of comparative strengths of the CGIAR Centers in relation to those of collaborators; and (c) a continuum of possible relationships from those that are purely research results oriented (e.g., outsourcing of certain tasks to a NARS institution) to those that involve both research and institution strengthening objectives (e.g., various forms of research partnerships and networks), to those that are purely institution strengthening in nature (e.g., training courses).
- With regard to the NARS continuum, some information about the NARS in different countries is available, e.g., through ISNAR, although much of the information is case specific and much of it is outdated because of the dynamics of change in NARS structures and organizations. Also, we understand much better the NARIs of countries than most of the other actors in the entire NARS. Yet, future partnering of the CGIAR will increasingly involve the other actors in the system. There is need to expand our understanding of the continuum of NARS and the organizations within them so that the global agricultural research community has a better feel for the entities within these systems and thus can act more effectively to remove barriers to more productive relationships and, ultimately, to more productive agricultural research in terms of the goals of the global community. This point was stressed by many of the reviewers: NARS for the most part are not organized, coordinated groups of organizations with, necessarily, similar objectives and priorities.
- With regard to the "comparative strengths" continuum, for some activities producing international public goods, the CGIAR System often has a clear comparative strength. In the case of other research outputs, an entity within the NARS of a collaborating country may have clear comparative or relative advantages. In between there is a vast array of research needs where the comparative or relative advantages of various collaborators are not so clear, yet need to be agreed upon if collaboration is to be successful (effective and efficient). There is need to expand our understanding of the dimensions of the comparative or relative advantage concept that are crucial to the success of partnering activities between CG centers and NARS. Among other things, such improved understanding should be flowing from the operation of the ecoregional programs and other related activities initiated by the centers and their NARS collaborators over the past years. The on-going study of the ecoregional programs should pick up useful information in this regard that will be relevant to TAC's deliberations on partnering and other collaborative relationships.
- There are many different kinds of partnering and other collaborative modalities used in the CGIAR System. Their appropriateness and effectiveness depend on the objectives addressed, the relative strengths and weaknesses of the centers and national organizations involved, and the contextual environment in which they operate. Few of the CGIAR projects involve only one kind of collaboration or partnering. While we know quite well the nature of the relationships, we have very little systematic, openly available information on substance and success of the different kinds and combinations of collaborative mechanisms used in different contexts. There is need to expand our understanding of the successes and failures, the costs and the benefits of different types of collaborative relationships in different contexts. There also is need to understand better the impacts of alternative collaboration mechanisms in terms of achieving the goals of the System, as reflected more concretely in the intermediate goals, purposes and outputs in the Logframe recently adopted for the System. (It should be noted that several CG centers indicated in their reviews of the earlier draft that they have such information available locally and keep quite detailed reviews of partnering activities and their problems and successes).
A. Suggestions related to choice of collaboration modalities to use with different types of research organizations and programs.
A1. The System needs to develop an improved framework for looking at the characteristics and relative strengths of the NARS organizations involved in collaboration with CGIAR centers. It needs to use this framework in generating improved information on the continuum of NARS organizations with which the System and its centers work; and it needs to understand better the types and intensities of relationships that function best under different conditions along the various continua that are relevant. TAC could encourage an increased effort to characterize and assess relative strengths of NARS in terms of the continua mentioned above. This work could be done in collaboration with the NARS Secretariat, with the operational input from ISNAR and other groups. TAC also could revive interest in the already accepted, but not funded Systemwide Program on "the establishment and upkeep of a global data base on national agricultural research and analysis of policy implications," which was to be led by ISNAR with major input from IFPRI. Ultimately, whatever activity is undertaken it has to be a joint one involving the NARS, the centers, FAO and the donors (in terms of increased funding). And it has to focus on the dynamics of NARS, since changes in some systems are rapid, and static information thus can become outdated rather quickly. Because of the need for widespread collaboration, the activity will be undertaken only if TAC can show others that it is in their interest to develop the type of information suggested. Generating such interest will depend in turn on the projected usefulness of the information in development of stronger and more effective programs and relationships. (Note: Several experienced persons reviewing the earlier draft indicated that the resources required for the type of activity suggested above is significant and that caution should be used in starting on such an activity. Here, we are suggesting a phased approach, starting with a limited sample of collaborative relationships and centers, moving on only if the preliminary results indicate value in this type of information).
A2. TAC and the System need to consider the variety of mechanisms and modalities that can be used in the future to ensure maximum effectiveness of relationships in different contexts. Indeed, one of the factors driving the priority given to this study is the perception that the existing relationships can be strengthened if we understand better the changes that have taken place in conditions, interests, capacities and political linkages, for example, those that have been forged through GFAR and the regional fora. While some types of existing CGIAR-NARS relationships may be optimum at present, there are bound to be ways in which new relationships that are being formed can be more effective and efficient than past ones.4 Examples of opportunities that TAC needs to consider include:Regional and Subregional organizations (SROs). One of the trends in agricultural research is a model that involves NARS organizations forming their own regional or subregional partnerships, with the IARCs joining as partners in those that fit with their mandates (that relate to the System's goals and the IPG and comparative advantage requirements). As the paper points out there are mixed views of the success of these relationships, partly because it sometimes is difficult to get countries to agree and generate the authority to let their work be guided by regional priorities and plans. Other problems relate to funding and to the high transactions costs involved, oftentimes costs that individual country organizations cannot afford.
New forms of interaction with non-conventional partners. This includes opportunities for interactions between the CG centers and a variety of organizations within the NARS, not just the NARIs of a country, e.g., with the private sector, NGOs, universities; also opportunities for associations with professional associations; it also includes encouraging closer links between NARIs and universities, the private sector and other members of the NARS community of a country; and it includes getting strong NARS in some countries to work with the weaker ones in their regions.
IARC coordination and cooperation with each other and with NARS organizations: Systemwide and Ecoregional Programs. Over the past few years, the centers have started to experiment with different types of systemwide and regionally defined partnerships, both with each other with various NARS organizations. All different variations exist. TAC is in the process of mounting a study of the ecoregionally defined programs. In that study, it should look at (a) how multiple CGIAR centers coordinate their work with the same organization within a NARS, and (b) the transactions costs of such multiple relationships, particularly for smaller and weaker organizations. The results of the regional studies for West Africa and Latin America should provide useful insights in this regard. We also note here that several centers pointed out that they have been working in an "ecoregional" mode long before the formal ecoregional programs were established.4 Several reviewers thought that the earlier draft was implying that present collaborative arrangements were ineffective and/or inefficient. Hopefully, the present draft has dispelled that perception, since there was no intention to imply such deficiencies in the present relationships. A judgement on adequacy of existing collaboration would require considerable detailed assessment of actual practice and not merely a desk study of available documentation and thinking.
A3. TAC might work with the NARS Secretariat and other groups to develop strategies and guidelines for different forms of collaboration. This would require a substantial effort, since a first requirement would be to generate and assess information on existing relationships, their costs and benefits, their advantages and disadvantages in different contexts (an expansion on A1 above). It also would need to include development of criteria for choosing different modes of collaboration between NARS and the CGIAR in different contexts (for example, in the case of working with and complementing small country NARS). Initially, a case study approach may be the only practical way to approach this need.
B. Suggestions related to CGIAR comparative advantages and choice of CG center contributions in various collaborative relationships:
B1. As mentioned above, in TAC's on-going assessment of the experience to date with the ecoregional (ER) approach, it should pay particular attention to the issues associated with the creation and building of CGIAR-NARS relationships in these programs. In fact, the System Review recommends that the NARS should be leading such ecoregional programs. This is consistent with what a number of SROs are suggesting. What are the implications for the CGIAR in making this happen? The concept of the ER approach was based partly on the idea that it would help centers and organizations in NARS work more functionally and effectively together by each of them addressing common issues with approaches based on their respective comparative advantages (cf. TAC 1991). Again, we note that several centers have a wealth of experience in working in an "ecoregional" mode because they were set up to operate essentially as ecoregional entities.
B2. It is not clear the extent to which centers and national organizations spend enough time right up front (1) defining systematically their respective strengths and their relative advantages in contributing to a collaborative relationship and then (2) developing explicit agreements on roles in the relationship based on such advantages. Where this void in assessment and communication exists, it likely is linked somewhat to the sensitivity of both centers and NARS in addressing the "we-they" issue mentioned earlier. The fact of the matter is that partners in any relationship (including in a marriage!) have to at some early point address such issues head on and come to some agreement on their relative advantages in terms of accomplishing the objectives of the partnership. However, this implies common agreement on the definitions and criteria that should be used in identifying comparative advantages. TAC might explore with the centers and their collaborators in NARS the definitions and assessment approaches used and how they could become more systematized and formalized in negotiating collaborative agreements. This might help to reduce misinterpretation of intentions on the part of one or more of the collaborators in a program. In the final analysis, of course, this remains a matter for design and decision by the individual centers and national organizations forging the collaborative relationships. TAC should only enter the picture to suggest guidelines and strategies for discussions and reaching agreement on rules of collaboration.
B3. The item above does not address, of course, the question of comparative advantage of the CGIAR and its partners or other collaborators relative to that held by other partnerships, consortia or individual research organizations doing work in the same fields and areas as the CGIAR-NARS collaborators. This consideration has to be part of the input in forging more effective and efficient CGIAR-NARS relationships. It implies the need to understand better the nature of alternative suppliers of the research being considered - the other 96% as they often are referred to in the System. TAC might wish to explore the nature of the "other 96 percent" in this context, again involving the centers directly in the activity, through written and verbal input and/or through targeted workshops addressing in specific ways the issues of comparative advantages and collaborative mechanisms across centers.
C. Suggestions related to reconciling differing CGIAR and NARS priorities in collaborative relationships.
C1. TAC might initiate activity to explore both conceptually and empirically the relationships between priorities of the centers and those of the different organizations in the NARS of host countries in which they work. This is a particularly relevant question in cases where CGIAR/center priorities are not necessarily those of the host country's main public NARI (e.g., where the NARI is focused on commercial, export crops and the CGIAR center is focused on food crops for the poor). It also is important for countries in which universities, development and environmental NGOs and private agricultural research groups are strong elements in the NARS. Development of a concept paper and guidelines in this area may be deemed appropriate by TAC, working closely with the centers and representatives of the various groups. ISNAR has done some work in this area which needs to be drawn upon.
C2. To what extent in countries where CGIAR priorities and those of the host countries differ should the host countries influence CGIAR priorities? This question of national influence on CGIAR priorities is being addressed at the broader System and regional levels by the regional fora of NARS and likely will be a prominent issue on the plate of the NARS Secretariat in Rome. As has been pointed elsewhere, there are different levels of priority setting, from the project through the center and up to the System; and there are different ways in which organizations from NARS influence the priorities at the various levels of priority setting. Perhaps a TAC activity could be undertaken, with cooperation from the NARS Secretariat (and the regional fora) to understand better the modalities available for NARS involvement in CGIAR priority setting.
D. Suggestions related to financing of collaborative relationships and increasing NARS funding opportunities.
D1. TAC might explore the implications of the CGIAR collaborating more directly and closely with groups involved in funding research in NARS. This activity might also look at the ways in which the NARS themselves could develop more effective strategies for mobilizing external and internal country support for agricultural research, based on the future benefits it can bring to countries. Finally, TAC might explore the ways in which the CGIAR might help NARS organizations in developing improved means to assess impacts of their research. Perhaps this needs to become a stronger focus in collaborative relationships between the System and various NARS organizations, both through the collaborative research projects, but also through the System level collaborative activities associated with GFAD and the Regional Fora of NARS. In any event, something needs to be done to reverse the steady decline in funding for agricultural research in regions such as Africa.
E. Suggestions related to improvements in information flows and knowledge transfer through modern communications developments: Taking full advantage of the information revolution.
E1. TAC has debated for a long time the priority that should be given to working with "stronger" vs "weaker" organizations within NARS. Given the fact that it is extremely difficult to define strong and weak organizations, much less whole systems such as NARS, the focus could more productively turn to identification of the types of activities that can provide benefits across NARS, albeit in different ways. For example, the building up of databases and information systems of various kinds can benefit all (including the CGIAR centers). But to what extent are such databases appropriate for CGIAR centers? TAC and the System need to explore further the opportunities to aggressively support collaborative relationships for improving information flows within NARS, within them, between them, and between them and the IARCs and other partners. A variety of mechanisms already are in place and many initiatives exist in this area (e.g., cf discussion on ARKIS). The need is to consolidate and rationalize the existing activities and fill the most critical gaps.
E2. TAC might explore the ways in which the CGIAR System could contribute to the emerging joint FAO-World Bank initiative on ARKIS (Agricultural and Rural Knowledge and Information Systems).
The above issues, questions and options represent the main ones that TAC might address in searching for strategies to make CGIAR-NARS relationships more effective in achieving the goals of the CGIAR System. Out of them come one main and general recommendation.
The main conclusion derived from this study is that TAC, collaborating with others, should undertake further assessment of the NARS-CGIAR collaborative relationship theme, including an assessment of current practice. It appears that there are enough issues at stake, and enough potential for gain from TAC deliberations to justify additional activity. As mentioned in the foreword, there appears to be general agreement on the recommendation among those NARS representatives, Centers, and others who commented on the first draft of the study. At the same time, many respondents suggested that such an activity should involve full collaboration with centers and with representatives from NARS (perhaps through the NARS Secretariat).
Why TAC involvement?
The issues surrounding NARS-CGIAR collaborative relationships are of direct and central concern to the CGIAR centers and NARS organizations, and most of them have devoted considerable thinking and resources to developing relationships appropriate to their missions, goals, objectives and priorities. However, the issues also have Systemwide implications that justify TAC's involvement at the strategic level along side the activity of centers and NARS organizations at the more operational, center-specific level. Thus, several justifications for TAC's involvement can be put forth:
(1) There is a changing environment in which the CGIAR operates and thus has to establish its relationships with others; and this new context affects the System as a whole, not just the centers individually. A few examples of the elements in the new contextual environment that need to be considered in TAC's next priorities and strategies exercise for the System include the following:the strengthening of many national research organizations' capacities and leadership;
the evolution of regional and subregional organizations of organizations from NARS that have implications for the whole System and for involvement and coordination of the activities of more than one CG center with a given national organization;
the establishment of the regional fora of NARS, the NARS Secretariat and the GFAR (of which the CGIAR is only one of 13 members of the Steering Committee); these developments create a different dynamics that has implications across the CGIAR System;
the evolution of the Ecoregional Programs that cut across centers and that potentially involve increased leadership within the programs by organizations within NARS;
TAC's role in developing the logframe approach at the System level (this includes explicit consideration of purposes related to NARS strengthening and indicators that relate to the effectiveness of NARS-CGIAR collaborative relationships).
(2) There is a certain "political" need to assess, at the System level (i.e., outside the self-interests of individual centers and NARS organizations) the collaborative relationships issues that arise in the changing environment or context described above. TAC is a logical entity to undertake such a broader assessment - of course, in close consultation with the centers and national organizations. The theme should have the visibility it deserves; and it needs to gain the widespread involvement of all stakeholders in the process.
Considering the above points, it is recommended that a TAC led study of alternative strategies and modalities for CGIAR-NARS collaboration should be undertaken, considering the options presented above, plus ones that TAC identifies through its own deliberations. The study should be a collaborative one with others, including the CG centers (contributing in terms of center specific, operational issues), organizations within NARS, and the NARS Secretariat (contributing a NAR systems perspective). Although Centers and organizations in NARS are more focused on the issues related to their own operational linkages, they also provide critical inputs at the strategic level.
Specific elements of an overall TAC study might include (at a minimum):
An assessment of selected, existing NARS-CGIAR collaborative relationships (see A1 through A3 above). This can be done as a collaborative activity to meet the interests and planning information needs not only of TAC, but also of the centers, organizations within the NARS, the NARS Secretariat. This assessment also should focus on CGIAR relationships with groups other than the NARIs of countries (see C1 above). Centers have a great deal of information and experience to contribute; and they should be consulted right from the beginning in such an activity;
Identification and assessment of alternative new modalities for collaborative relationships by a consultant or team familiar with the variety of collaboration models available and their advantages and disadvantages in different contexts; ISNAR logically could become centrally involved in this activity;
A revisiting of the question of CGIAR relative advantages in relation to the "other 96 percent," in light of the strong sense that the CGIAR centers should be involved in IPG research and only if they have a relative advantage in carrying out the research involved (see B2 and B3 above); and, finally,
A TAC strategy paper that brings together the results of the first three activities to present TAC's thinking on promising avenues for strengthening relationships in the context of the changing global agricultural research management and funding environments, and considering the changing nature of the NARS (in terms of interests, priorities, capacities, resources and needs).
The resulting TAC paper hopefully can usher in new thinking on the issues and opportunities; and it should be able to further clarify involvement of the CGIAR in helping to strengthen positions of developing country organizations with national, bilateral and multilateral financing authorities (see D1 above). It also should consider the ways in which the CGIAR System can provide support in improving NARS organization in countries; and it should provide TAC's thinking on how research organizations can gain better access to the benefits of the global information and communication revolution. If deemed appropriate at the end of the exercise, TAC might produce a set of guidelines and suggested policies for CGIAR-NARS collaborative relationships, keeping in mind that these should be proactive and not restrictive in nature.