Our aim

A major boost in global support to innovation in agricultural systems is urgently needed to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

CoSAI's vision is a world where there is:

  • Wide availability of affordable, safe and nutritious food
  • A healthy natural environment
  • Reduced poverty and inequality.

Meeting these different objectives is a huge challenge – especially in many parts of the Global South, where demand for food is rising quickly and resources are limited.  Innovation in policy, institutions and financial instruments, as well as science and technology, is a crucial way forward.

CoSAI's aim is to influence public and private support to innovation in order to rapidly scale up sustainable agricultural intensification (SAI) in the Global South. 

CoSAI promotes technical, policy, financial and social/institutional innovation in agricultural systems, to deliver the SDG objectives of food and nutrition security, social equity, resource use efficiency and an improved natural environment. 

Approach and Timeline

CoSAI was launched in July 2020 to investigate the current state of investment in agricultural innovation and explore how to overcome constraints to the development and uptake of key innovations for SAI. To do this, CoSAI is taking a public inquiry approach and commissioning key studies. CoSAI Commissioners are collecting evidence on several relevant 'big questions', exploring them in six collaborative working groups.

Contributions from people with ideas and practical experience, from farmer organizations to policy-makers, researchers, civil society, entrepreneurs and leading thinkers will be critical to CoSAI’s success. Through an open inquiry process, these contributors will help answer the big questions and support an effective case for investment in innovation. CoSAI Commissioners will continue to ask critical questions and benefit from the open inquiry to formulate context-relevant recommendations.

CoSAI will finish at the end of 2021. Findings and reports will feed into important global decision-making events, and will be shared with national and international funders and investors. 

CoSAI is working closely with other global and regional initiatives to maximize joint impact.


CoSAI is building partnerships with regional bodies, research and development agencies, and the private sector to share knowledge and engage collectively to promote more and better-targeted innovation in SAI.

In the lead-up to major summits such as the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) and the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), 2021 is a critical year to get major investors behind innovation.

CoSAI is one of the partners in the COP26 Transforming Agricultural Innovation for People, Nature and Climate campaign, which hopes to unlock billions in investment for more sustainable agriculture around the world.

CoSAI is working with the USAID-funded Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab at Kansas State University and other partners to develop and agree on a set of principles and metrics to support innovation in SAI.

The Commission

CoSAI brings together agricultural and food systems experts and decision-makers from the Global South and is collaborating with scientists, innovators and partner organizations from across the globe. CoSAI was initiated and is supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). WLE is supported by the CGIAR Trust Fund and other donorsCoSAI Commissioners are independent.  

CoSAI is facilitated by a Secretariat based at WLE’s headquarters at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in Sri Lanka.  

To contact CoSAI, please email: wle-cosaisecretariat@cgiar.org