PRESS RELEASE: Renowned Global South experts join new Commission on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification

PRESS RELEASE: Renowned Global South experts join new Commission on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification

Colombo, Sri Lanka – Twenty-two renowned experts from across the Global South are joining a major new Commission on Sustainable Agriculture Intensification (CoSAI). These scientists, experts and decision-makers are serving as CoSAI Commissioners to collect and assess evidence to accelerate the urgently needed transformation of agriculture.

Initiated by the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE), CoSAI will work over 18 months to guide investments in agricultural innovation.

Progress toward feeding growing global populations, while protecting the natural environment is behind schedule, according to a major recent study that calls for a “ruthless focus” on solutions. It follows a growing body of evidence on the imperative need to improve food security and nutrition, protect biodiversity, reduce poverty and bolster climate resilience.

In response to these challenges, CoSAI Commissioners are setting out to fill persistent evidence gaps to support policy-makers and private sector investors to boost investments in innovation and accelerate progress toward sustainable intensification of agriculture (SAI). Their efforts will complement insights derived from past commissions and studies on agriculture, food and the environment.

“Our 22 newly appointed commissioners include some of the most eminent experts and decision-makers from Africa, Asia and Latin America,” said Dr. Ruben Echeverría, chair of CoSAI. “They are uniquely placed to bring to light the challenges the Global South is facing in developing and adopting innovations that can help meet our food needs, whilst regenerating the natural environment.”

In many parts of the Global South, demand for food is quickly rising, resources are limited and external shocks – such as from extreme climate events – have become increasingly common.

“We are in the midst of an unprecedented global public health crisis, which is at risk of turning into a food and nutrition crisis for millions of poor families and smallholders,” said Izabella Koziell, WLE Program Director. “It’s time to tackle the shortcomings of our food systems, and turn around agriculture’s contribution to ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss. This requires innovation – in policy, institutions and financial instruments as well as in science and technology.”

The CoSAI Commissioners will follow a process of “open inquiry” – a process that will call upon a wide range of input – from farmer organizations to policy-makers, researchers, civil society and leading thinkers – to share their solutions to these big challenges, and debate the practicalities of implementation, taking a Global South lens.

The process aims to give more oxygen to some of the big practical questions in implementing sustainable agriculture intensification and spotlight some of the impressive work already generated in this field. CoSAI will also commission studies to fill in knowledge gaps, for example examining current investment flows supporting agricultural innovation for the Global South.

The results of CoSAI’s work will guide global and national decision makers to support approaches to innovation that boost food production and access, ensure natural environments thrive, and reduce poverty and inequality.

CoSAI will have its official launch in June, in a global web event, featuring prominent experts sharing their insights on the Global South’s food future.

Press coverage:

BEN Television

Revista Cultivar

Farmer’s Review Africa

Página Rural


The News on Sunday (TNS)

Commissioner releases:

Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) - Uduak Igbeka

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) - Sara Mbago-Bhunu

Department of Geography at Royal Holloway (RHUL) - David Simon 

Michigan State University Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability (MSU) - Jack Liu

Embrapa - Maurício Lopes

WWF - Alice Ruhweza

AGRA - Jennifer Baarn


About the Commission on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification (CoSAI)

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



Media Contact:

Adam Hunt, CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE), a.hunt(a)