Nepal policymakers in the forage plots (ILRI / Madeline Wong)

CGIAR Research Initiative scientists advise Nepal government on linking research and policy

On 10 May 2023, CGIAR scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Alliance Bioversity & CIAT leading research in four different CGIAR Research Initiatives recently met with Nepali policymakers to discuss the linkage between research and policy at ILRI in Nairobi, Kenya. The meeting aimed to strengthen cooperation and collaboration between Nepal and CGIAR's Sustainable Animal Productivity for Livelihoods, Nutrition and Gender Inclusion (SAPLING) initiative, focusing on enhancing sustainable buffalo value chains in rural Nepal.

The dialogue was a follow-up to a March sensitisation meeting organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD) in Kathmandu, Nepal, where stakeholders discussed the country's Livestock Master Plan (LMP) and emphasised the need for research to inform and support its development. During the session in Kenya, policymakers from Nepal engaged with CGIAR scientists to address the challenges of bridging the gap between researchers and policymakers.

Session in progress (ILRI / Derek Chan)

CGIAR scientists presented their experiences in engaging policymakers in various countries. Spanning the Resilient Cities and One Health initiatives, Silvia Alonso Alvarez, senior scientist epidemiologist at ILRI, discussed the MoreMilk project, which proved effective and facilitated communication between Kenyan policymakers and informal milk vendors essential in bridging the gap between policy and reality. Michael Peters, tropical forages team leader at CIAT, highlighted the need for an enabling policy environment for forage adoption, emphasising Public-Private partnerships and multinational approaches. Hung Nguyen, co-leader of the animal and human health program at ILRI, introduced the One Health initiative that he also leads, emphasising the importance of strengthening national One Health platforms. Lastly, as a contribution from the Livestock and Climate initiative, Jason Sircely, ecosystem scientist at ILRI, discussed rangeland policy integration with One Health, climate and conservation concerns.

Following the presentations, a discussion provided an opportunity for the Nepali delegation to identify areas for collaboration. They expressed the need for their national One Health strategy to improve research on vaccine development and address food safety risks in informal markets. Collaboration with ILRI's successful approaches in India's informal markets was suggested. Additionally, Nepal sought collaboration on forage development and importation and addressing challenges in managing rangelands.

Policymakers also requested assistance in identifying areas for investment and potential policy obstacles to aid LMP development. Sirak Bahta, senior agricultural economist at ILRI, reiterated ILRI’s commitment to supporting Nepal in developing a comprehensive LMP that aligns investments, policies and interventions to optimise livestock development outcomes. Deepak Kumar Kharal, secretary of MoALD, responded by pledging to lead a participatory process that actively involves the private sector and other stakeholders.

Deepak Kumar Kharal (MoALD) in forage plots (ILRI / Madeline Wong)

The session demonstrated the strength of CGIAR initiatives and their role in improving livelihoods across countries by integrating research findings into the policymaking process. The collaboration between CGIAR and the Nepal government will continue to develop ideas and support the LMP's development.

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