Agriculture is one of humanity’s great success stories, yet it is one of the lead causes of environmental degradation and social inequity. Business as usual is clearly unsustainable - we cannot afford to produce food the way we are now if we are to survive as a planet or a species.

The CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) promotes a new paradigm, in which sustainably managed agricultural food systems are the key to healthy, functioning ecosystems and human well-being. Agriculture doesn’t have to be the cause of degradation - it can be the cure.

WLE combines the resources of 11 CGIAR centers, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the RUAF foundation, and numerous national, regional and international partners. Through these partners, we provide evidence and solutions on natural resource management in order to influence key decision makers, including governments, international development organizations, and financiers. Read our partnership strategy.

Our mission is to help make agri-food systems environmentally and socially sustainable. We do this by taking scientific findings from across disciplines and applying this knowledge in order to effect large scale changes in how agricultural interventions and investments are made. In so doing, we work to increase the resilience of communities and farmers who are part of these systems. ​

Led by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), WLE is a member of the CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future. It finished its first phase at the end of 2016 and began its second phase of work in January of 2017.

WLE supports implementation of multiple Sustainable Development Goals and works in the following research areas: