Perspectives in International Development Seminar Series Fall 2020

Green and fuchsia plant macro photography

Carol Colfer: From Sustainable Forest Management to Forest Landscape Restoration

Analysis of Two Participatory Approaches

September 9, 2020 

Carol Colfer, Adjunct Professor, Cornell Southeast Asia Program 

Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) has given way to Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) within the global world of forestry. Colfer compares two programs, ‘Adaptive Collaborative Management of Forests’ (ACM, SFM) and ‘Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration’ (CFLRP, or ‘Collaboratives’, seeking FLR). The former is an international program she led at the Center for International Forestry Research in the early 2000s; the latter is a US-based approach funded by the Federal Government through the US Forest Service since 2010. This talk examines the similarities and differences between these two superficially similar approaches — both of which seek to involve local communities more meaningfully in forest-related decision making.

Watch the September 9 seminar

John Recha: Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA)

Why is it needed in developing countries?

September 16, 2020 

John Recha, Participatory Action Research Specialist, CGIAR Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)

In the next three decades, increasing the productivity and incomes from smallholder crop, livestock, fishery, and forestry production systems will be key to achieving global food security. Majority of the world’s poor are dependent on agriculture, and experience has shown that growth in agriculture is often the most effective and equitable strategy for reducing poverty and increasing food security. Climate change exacerbates the challenges of achieving the needed growth and improvements in agricultural systems and its effects are already being felt. Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) is an approach to dealing with these interlinked challenges in a holistic and effective manner. 

Watch the September 16 seminar

Louise Buck: Using Integrated Landscape Management to Scale Agroforestry

Examples from Ecuador

September 23, 2020  

Louise Buck, Senior Extension Associate, Department of Natural Resources and Program Lead, Collaborative Management, EcoAgriculture Partners

Agroforestry is considered a foundation for multi-functional, socio-ecological landscape transformation. Landscapes where agroforestry is practiced contribute to the full range of goods and services needed for social and ecological sustainability. Yet the barriers to large-scale agroforestry adoption are substantial, rooted in the misalignment between risk-takers (small-scale farmers) and beneficiaries (society at large). Integrated landscape management (ILM) offers a strategy for scaling up agroforestry by mobilizing collaborative efforts among multi-sector stakeholders to address these barriers. The seminar presents a study that explored the application of ILM strategies in agroforestry initiatives in two landscapes in Ecuador: the Chocó-Andean Bio-Corridor led by Ecuadorian society and the Agenda for Transforming Production in the Amazon project of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock. The cases demonstrate ways that ILM has been valuable in advancing the knowledge-intensive and adaptive collaborative management processes needed to scale agroforestry.

Watch the September 23 seminar

Incorporating Stakeholder Input in the Development of Croatia’s National Agricultural and Rural Development Strategy, 2020-2030

September 30, 2020


  • David Lee, Professor, Dyson School and Global Development
  • Philip Van der Celen & Svetlana Edmeades, World Bank
  • Nikša Tkalec, Assistant to Minister of Agriculture of Croatia at Special Committee on Agriculture, European Union

The agri-food sector is a key part of the economy of Croatia, which joined the European Union in 2013 as its 28th and most recent member. The sector is in transition, making the government’s strategic planning efforts critical to its future development. Stakeholder involvement has been a cornerstone of the strategic planning process, and is also mandated by EU CAP guidelines. This seminar outlines the role, strategy, and some of the results of incorporating stakeholder-based input in the development of Croatia’s National Agriculture and Rural Development Strategy (NARDS) and the new national CAP Strategic Plan.

Watch the September 30 seminar

Bram Govaerts: Integrated Innovation System Programs

A No Regret Investment for a +Covid World?

October 7, 2020 

Bram Govaerts, Interim Deputy Director General, Director of the Integrated Development Program, Representative for the Americas and Mexico Country Representative, CIMMYT. AD White Professor at Large – Cornell University

The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced basic economic inequalities, none more important than access to food, since this pandemic also destroys the income of the poorest populations and increases the risk of undernourishment. The largest numbers of vulnerable communities are concentrated in South Asia and Africa, especially in countries that are already confronting crises such as military conflicts, extreme poverty and climate-related issues such as drought, flooding and soil erosion. In Latin America, 83.4 million people are also facing the risk of hunger in 2020. In order to deal with these crises, CIMMYT is utilizing a foresight scenario-building exercise, in which agri-food systems are seen as interconnected with social, economic, and political systems.

Watch the October 7 seminar

Vibhu Nayer: Transforming Parastatal Systems and Enhancing Agricultural and Water Productivity

Multi-Sectoral Experiences from Tamil Nadu, India

October 28, 2020

Vibhu Nayer, IAS Officer and Project Director, Tamil Nadu Irrigated Agriculture Modernization and Water Resources Management Project.  Government of Tamil Nadu, India

Climate change has brought in frequent cycles of floods and droughts exposing the vulnerability of the farm households and rural economy in India. In Southern States of India, irrigation infrastructures called tank (mini reservoirs) were created centuries ago to facilitate surface irrigation for farmers. These tanks serve the dual purpose of storing excess rain water runoff from nearby catchments and recharging the underground water. Traditionally, parastatals have engaged with water from a narrow engineering perspective, while water is a multi-dimensional resource requiring an understanding of many other disciplines for its sustainable management. Therefore, a multi-sectoral approach with the farmer at its center is imperative so that farmers can effectively come together to manage their water in an equitable and sustainable manner. Climate resilience requires a shift from endless exploitation and command and control centralization to participatory sustainable demand management through convergence, budgeting and diversification towards sustainable water and crop productivity. TNIAMP is implemented with these perspectives and objectives of enhancing productivity and climate resilience of irrigated agriculture in selected sub-basins in Tamil Nadu.

Watch the October 28 seminar

David Kay: Large-scale Renewable Energy in New York

Issues of Governance, Community Participation, and Benefit Sharing

November 4, 2020

David Kay, Senior Extension Associate, Department of Global Development, Cornell University

Watch the November 4 seminar

Ed Mabaya: Getting Improved Seed to Smallholder Farmers

Findings from The African Seed Access Index

November 11, 2020 

Ed Mabaya, Senior Research Associate, Department of Global Development, Cornell

Timely availability of improved seeds at affordable prices is critical to increased productivity by smallholder farmers in Africa. Improved seeds can deliver state of the art technology to farmers including higher yields, disease and pest resistance, climate change adaptation, and improved nutrition.  Over the last two decades, formal seed systems in Africa have been gradually liberalized resulting in increased participation of private seed enterprises (multinationals, regional and domestic companies). However, in most countries, the public sector often hinders or competes with private sector.  This seminar shares the latest findings from The African Seed Access Index (TASAI), a tool that monitors the development and competitiveness of national seed sectors in Africa.  The central objective of TASAI is to encourage African governments and development agencies to create and maintain enabling environments that will accelerate the development of local private sector-led seed systems serving smallholder farmers.

Watch the November 11 seminar

Maxwell Gomera: COVID-19, development and environment

New social contracts for the economic recovery process
December 2, 2020, 12:40 to 1:30 p.m.

Maxwell Gomera, Resident Representative, United Nations Development Program in Rwanda

COVID-19 has challenged existing frameworks on economic development and the role of public policy in transforming societies. Few development experts imagined the depth and breadth of the crisis that the world is facing today. There is hardly any aspect of our social and economic system that has not been shackled or halted by the pandemic. For most development practitioners, the temptation has been to resolve the immediate health crisis, and the short-term problems of jobs creation and income generation. The objective of securing the long-term basis of wealth – environmental assets – is out the window. However, we can take inspiration from the stories of those in Africa, whose lives have been changed by COVID-19. To build better and stronger economies and societies, a new conversation is needed. This talk takes a wide-angle look at the COVID-19 economic recovery process by exploring the tension between economic development and environmental stewardship.

Join via Zoom

Andrew Mude: Building Resilient and Sustainable Food Systems

Perspectives from the Africa Development Bank

December 9, 2020, 12:40 to 1:30 p.m.

Andrew Mude, Division Manager, African Development Bank 

Join via Zoom

Explore all events in Global Development

Max Gomera


COVID-19, development and environment: New social contracts for the economic recovery process
Perspectives in International Development Seminar Series COVID-19 has challenged existing frameworks on economic development and the role of public policy in transforming societies. Few development experts imagined the depth and breadth of the...
  • Department of Global Development
  • school of integrative plant science
  • Dyson School
David Kay


Large-scale renewable energy in New York: issues of governance, community participation, and benefit sharing
Perspectives in International Development Seminar Series David Kay, senior extension associate in Cornell's Department of Global Development, explores issues of governance, community participation, and benefit sharing. About the seminar series...
  • Community and Economic Vitality
  • community development
  • Department of Global Development
Ed Mabaya


Getting Improved Seed to Smallholder Farmers: Findings from The African Seed Access Index
Perspectives in International Development Seminar Series Timely availability of improved seeds at affordable prices is critical to increased productivity by smallholder farmers in Africa. Improved seeds can deliver state of the art technology to...
  • Global Development
  • Economics
  • Plants
A man leads a discussion with others in a group outside


Symposium on Gender Responsive Crop Breeding: Community Research Showcase
On Tuesday, November 24th, 2020, Gender Responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation (GREAT) will host its first virtual Symposium on Gender Responsive Crop Breeding: Community Research Showcase. The live event will be...
  • Plants
  • global development
  • Department of Global Development
Pat Mooney


Hi-Tech and/or/vs. Wide-Tech? Climate-Smart Agriculture, Nature-based Solutions, and Agroecology
Polson Institute for Global Development Seminar Series The potential to harness new Hi-technologies such as Big Data, AI, robotics, gene editing, synthetic biology, etc. is obviously enormous. Yet, many social movements and civil society...
  • Polson Institute
  • Polson Institute for Global Development
  • Department of Global Development