Integrated and multi-stakeholder approaches

As with other activities in the sector, forestry research and extension is affected by and must respond to changes within and outside the forest sector: changes in the objectives and conditions of forest management, globalization, decentralization, contribution of trees, forests and forestry to global cross-sectoral challenges, among others.. Adequately addressing these challenges using the mainstream linear 'technology transfer' paradigm has proved problematic. National forest-related research institutions have frequently expressed their frustration at the low impact of their research and expressed the need for improved technology transfer.

Studies by regional forest research networks have indicated that to deal with these challenges, forest-related scientists need to strengthen their ability to address complex issues through an interdisciplinary approach and integration of a broader array of stakeholders throughout the research and development cycle. Only through such stakeholder interaction and social learning can the relevance ' and hence the efficiency and effectiveness ' of forestry research be improved.

While over the last decades, many such interdisciplinary and inclusive approaches have been developed and successfully practised in specific conditions, these approaches have yet to be mainstreamed in the different institutions involved in forest-related and natural resources research and development. A substantial part of the challenge in mainstreaming collective innovation is to enhance the capacity in national research, extension and education organizations to support and guide these processes. Experience indicates that the change from a ¿technology transfer¿ paradigm to ¿multi-stakeholder innovation¿ paradigm requires capacity strengthening at various levels: the training of individuals and teams, changes within the organization and management of organizations, and changes in the way institutions relate to each other.

This web page presents practices and experiences gained, in FAO supported programmes, in integrated, multi-stakeholder research and development approaches in agroforestry, forestry and natural resource programmes, and provides some reflections and strategies towards capacity building in national institutions, to facilitate the mainstreaming of collective innovation in forestry and natural resources research and development.

last updated:  Thursday, January 12, 2006