Speaking at the Launch of the Nile Basin Development Challenge program (29 September 2010), ILRI Director General Carlos Seré explains why ILRI is partnering in a program focused on improved water management in Ethiopia and the Nile Basin. He emphasized how the type of integrative science envisaged in this Program is in line with directions envisaged for the new CGIAR.
He drew attention to a few ILRI lessons from this type of project: that technology alone is not the issue – we also need to understand policies and institutions; that gender is absolutely critical to understand household interventions; that we need good baselines and good impact data; and that we must go beyond diagnostics and the characterization of systems to the identification of drivers of change and key tipping points.
He also emphasized the importance of serendipity … that requires open minds to look at and take advantage of unexpected opportunities and ideas.
In the end, he argued, it all has to achieve impact at scale – which requires more than just the efforts of researchers, it needs many other types of people and skills brought together to innovate along value chains.