For the past ten years, CPWF has carried out multi-disciplinary research to improve how water is managed for poverty reduction and crop production. Within our research teams, the CPWF fosters an evaluative culture that regularly questions assumptions, is self-critical, seeks to learn from experience and can adapt its program-of-work to emerging opportunities and threats.
Phase 1 (2002-2007)
Phase 1 (2002-2007) focused on discovery, and so the program ‘cast its net widely’. Its intent was to uncover elements of success; in the context of diverse water-related problems, which strategies are most successful in improving food security and reducing poverty. The 68 CPWF Phase 1 projects, operating in 10 benchmark basins in Africa, Asia and Latin America, were designed to explore an extensive set of water and food issues using a wide range of approaches.
Most Phase 1 projects were relatively self-contained; typically they did not depend on outputs or activities from other projects. The emphasis was on developing creative and innovative ways to define water and food problems, and to effectively address them through augmented partnerships.
To provide a broader context for these projects, a Basin Focal Project was conducted in each basin. Basin Focal Projects analyzed water availability, water access, water productivity, water-poverty links, and water-related institutions and policies for their respective basins. Some overarching themes in the 68 projects include:
- Rainwater harvesting and rainwater management
- Crop-livestock systems and livestock water productivity
- Multiple-use systems at the community level Integrated land and water management
- Small reservoirs and other small water infrastructure in dryland areas Wastewater management for peri-urban food systems
- Water rights and water access at the catchment level
- Water governance
- Benefit sharing mechanisms
- Payment for environmental services (downstream water users investing in improved upland land- and water-management practices)
- Crop-aquaculture systems The consequences of water infrastructure for downstream fisheries Broader water-related policy issues.
Phase 2 (2009 – 2013)
The research focus for Phase 2 has evolved based on lessons learned in Phase 1. The Phase 2 research aims to demonstrate ways to alleviate poverty by increasing farmers’ income and their resilience to change driven by external global forces, such as shocks to financial markets and climate change. The most notable changes have been in the program design and include:
- Establishing basin-level programs – creating integrated basin-level programs that will have the highest change for impact and targeting the nexus between poverty and water.
- Research, innovation and impact – having an integrated research, innovation and impact strategy for the whole program that cuts across basins.
- Topic working groups – ensuring that learning is shared across basins and lessons synthesized and harvested for wider application.
Research in CPWP’s Phase 2 is designed to contribute to solving an important and pressing Basin Development Challenge (BDC) in the six basins we work in (Andes, Ganges, Limpopo, Mekong, Nile and Volta). Some of the key themes that the basin development programs are working on include:
- Improving food security and income generation by scaling out appropriate technical innovations that were tested in Phase 1
- Developing multi-use systems to ensure that water is being used for different purposes by different user groups
- Improving how water is managed successively within a water basin or catchment
- River basin governance
Role of the Research Team
The Research Team (RT) works closely with all other sections of the CPWF, especially the Management Team, Knowledge Management, Basin Leaders and their respective teams. The purposes of the RT are several, including:
- Providing leadership in BDC research program design
- Ensuring science quality and relevance
- Design and implementing mechanisms for cross-basin learning; contribute to the shaping of key messages emerging from research;
- Contributing to the design and implementation of M&E processes, with an emphasis on substantive issues.
Some of the activities that the Research Team is specifically involved include:
- Provides technical oversight to BDC Research Programs
- Leads site-level field tours of BDC Research Programs
- Contributes technical intelligence about BDC Program performance to CPWF M&E
- Provides input on behalf of the CPWF to the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (CRP5)
- Oversees a series of “Research into Use” projects
- Manages “Topic Working Groups” aimed at encouraging cross-basin exchanges
- Carries out a “meta-synthesis” of findings from Phase 1 and Basin Focal Project research
- Assists in marshalling information on Phase 1 research outputs.
For more information contact:
Dr. Larry Harrington, Research Director
Lalith Dassenaike, Project Manager
Martin Van Brakel, Research Assistant